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27.10.11

Thoughts

This is a short story I wrote for Japanese literature earlier this term to go along with a poem from the Kokinshū, which is an ancient Japanese text. The poem is translated for meaning so it does not have the same rhythm as it does in its native language....

Thoughts

The war had raged on for years and there seemed to be no end in sight. Shitami Yuzuru was one of the lucky ones as the last of his friends had been conscripted months ago. For many of them their war was already over. He couldn’t sleep as usual listening to the sound of the bombs pounding villages in the distance. The last several days the bombardments were getting closer every night. When he couldn’t sleep he usually thought of his friends still fighting in the war. He wondered where they were and if they were safe and warm. Fall had ended early this year and now it felt as if it were winter once the sun went down. However, tonight Shitami wasn’t thinking about his friends still off in the war. His thoughts were on his wife Mei, and newborn daughter Ai. He knew they would be safe tomorrow.

The moaning of his neighbor an old lady, Mrs. Okii, caught his attention for a second. When a government vehicle arrived at her door earlier that day Shitami thought he knew what that meant. Shitami’s best friend was Mrs. Okii’s son, Yuki. He had volunteered to fight in the war and had been gone for nearly two years. Mrs. Okii was prepared and ready for the news that she expected everyday but, that wasn’t the message she received. The separatists had bombed the village where Yuki had been living with his wife and two children before he left for the war. Nothing was left of the village just 10 miles over the eastern hills.

The letter Shitami was now grasping in his hand was given to him by the same official after leaving Mrs. Okii’s house. He was to report to the station at oh six hundred. He would head east just as Mei and Ai would flee west over the sea.

古今 p. 161

Travel

409

Into the mist, glowing with dawn

across the Bay of Akashi

a boat carries my thoughts

into hiding,

islands beyond.

Anonymous

24.10.11

All you (n)ever wanted to know about a bacteria you've never heard of

To summarize: this is a lengthy post on something that will never affect you about my adventures in a windowless room over the summer.



This Summer I was accepted to participate in an on-campus internship sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The internship was "eleven" weeks long starting early July and ending with a symposium in September. I started Spring Term and probably will not end until... I don't know.

The lab I work in is a Microbiology lab run by Dr. Stephen Giovannoni. The lab studies a marine bacteria named 'Candidatus Pelagibacter ubique' but called SAR11.

There are several "isolates" of SAR11. Different sub-species within a species. Think of it as different ethnicities. Humans have asians, europeans, islanders, etc. SAR11 has HTCC1062, 7211, 1002, 2155, 2181 etc. HTCC is a way to specify that a specific isolate is being referred to and specifies the way the culture is grown. I work with three of these isolates 1062, 7211, and 1002.

Due to its dominance it is important in the role of carbon cycling in the ocean. Carbon in the atmosphere is fixed by autotrophs in a process called photosynthesis. SAR11 then takes the byproducts (mainly sugars) and oxidizes the carbon releasing it into the atmosphere as CO2 (think green house gas).

The open ocean is much like a desert (aside from water). It contains sparse quantities of key nutrients needed to survive (Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sulfur). Thus, the organisms that live in the ocean have to compete for the nutrients available.

I specifically studied the types of phosphorus containing compounds SAR11 is able to utilize to alleviate phosphorus limitation. I did this by growing the strain in a phosphorus-limited media. The strain was then divided into a series of flasks. To each flask a test compound was added; in addition there was a positive control (had a usable phosphorus source) and a negative control (no phosphorus).

Here is a clip from my presentation, in it I summarize the above as well as present the data I collected. You can't hear me that well so turn up the volume.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRPIP1-hXnk

It was a neat experience. Now all I have left is a lot more testing and to write the paper summarizing my results.

2.10.11

Olympic Peninsula

Near the end of the summer EO and I took a weekend trip up to the Olympic National Park to do some camping and backpacking. Neither of us had ever been there so it was an ideal place for us to go and explore. We had fun and learned a few things for the next time we take a trip together. I'm pretty sure we will bring a more detailed road map and more food in the car for the drive.


Click to view Park Trail Map

On our first day in the park we backpacked about 11.5 miles and gained over 3000 feet of elevation. We traveled from the North Fork Trailhead up to Three Lakes and then continued to Three Prune to camp for the night.





We saw the World's Largest Alaskan Yellow Cedar. We didn't encounter much wildlife but, EO was able to make a friend within the first couple of miles.










Some scenery from day 1







The most beautiful scenery of the trip in my opinion






On the day 2 we hiked along Skyline Ridge toward Kimta Peak and climbed to the top of what is now known as Campbell's Lookout. About 9 miles round trip. We then backpacked out, adding another 13 miles to our pedometers. We went to Elip Creek then continuing along the North Fork Quinault River completing the loop back to the trailhead.


There were a lot of waterfalls along this stretch of the trail. EO seemed to like when we'd stop on the bridges to look at them.








So over two days we did about 25 miles backpacking and 9 miles hiking. We were tired but it was a great trip and we hope to go back again.