Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{October 28, 2005}   The Grouse Grind

Decided to do something a little more adventurous than sitting at my computer revising my lit review today. Actually, a whole lot more adventurous… me and my friend Shalu did the Grouse Grind!

“This rigorous 2.9 km (1.8 mile) hike takes you straight up the face of Grouse Mountain. By the time you reach the plateau, your ascent will have gained 853 metres (2,800 feet) – one and a half times the height of Toronto’s CN Tower!”

And let me tell you, they ain’t kidding! I’ve been wanting to do the Grind since forever and since it closes over the winter (once there is snow on the mountain, making it a bit too treacherous, although some people do climb over the fence and do it anyway) and since I could possibly be gone from Vancouver before it opens up again, I thought I’d better just go for it! Shalu & I had been planning to go for about 2 weeks, but today was the first sunny day that both of us were available.

Here’s me about to embark on the climb:

And here we are at the halfway point:

And we finally made it!

Didn’t see any of these fabled black bears though.

I know you enjoyed the previous one, but now I have a new & improved outline for my lit review!

1.1 Introduction

1.2 Fetal Alchol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
     1.2.1 Diagnosis & Prevalence
     1.2.2 Effects on Overall Growth and Skeletal Development
     1.2.3 Mechanisms of Ethanol’s Effects on Fetal Bone

1.3 Fetal Programming/Fetal Origins of Adult Disease
     1.3.1 Potential Mechanisms of Fetal Programming
     1.3.2 Fetal Programming and Bone Health

1.4 Growth Retardation

1.5 Fetal Bone Development
     1.5.1 Mesenchymal Cell Condensation
     1.5.2 Chondrogenesis
     1.5.3 Cartilage Development
 Indian hedgehog and parathyroid hormone related peptide
 Fibroblast growth factors
 Bone morphogenetic proteins
 Runt-related transcription factors (Runx)/Core binding factor(Cbf)
     1.5.4 Chondrocyte Apoptosis
     1.5.5 Cartilage Resorption and Angiogenesis
 Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs)
 Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)
          1.5.6 Ossification

1.6 Animal Models of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

1.7 Thesis Objective

See — isn’t that a waaaay better outline? I knew you’d like it!

I’m up to section 1.5.2 on the revisions… my supervisor wanted a lot added to the Intro and the sections on FASD and Fetal Programming, so that took a while ‘cuz I had to do a bunch more reading (or re-reading, I should say)… but she wants the Fetal Bone Development section simplified, so I’m hoping that that won’t take me too long (since it’s a lot easier to cut stuff down than it is to add stuff in), but we’ll just have to see how that goes…

OK, that’s enough for procrastinating for the moment…

{October 21, 2005}   T.M.A.

You’ve heard of T.M.I… but how about T.M.A – too many authors! I’ve been working on the lit review and just cited a paper with 30 authors!! I mean, this was a task force report, so I guess task forces have a lot of people on them, but 30 people to write one paper?

How silly is this going to look in my reference list:

Harry K. Genant, Cyrus Cooper, Gyula Poor, Ian Reid, George Ehrlich, J. Kanis , B. E. Christopher Nordin, Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, Dennis Black, J.-P. Bonjour, Bess Dawson-Hughes, Pierre D. Delmas, J. Dequeker, Sergio Ragi Eis, Carlo Gennari, Olaf Johnell, C. Conrad Johnston Jr, Edith M. C. Lau, Uri A. Liberman, Robert Lindsay, Thomas John Martin, Basel Masri, Carlos A. Mautalen, Pierre J. Meunier, Paul D. Miller, Ambrish Mithal, Hirotoshi Morii, Socrates Papapoulos, Anthony Woolf, Wei Yu, Nikolai Khaltaev. (1999). Interim Report and Recommendations of the World Health Organization Task-Force for Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis International. 10(4) 259 – 264.

I wonder what the world record for most authors on a single paper is….

{October 19, 2005}   Hockey Night in Canada

My hockey team finally won a game! And we didn’t just win — we wiped the ice with them! I was a bit nervous before the game started ‘cuz we only had 6 skaters and the other team had three full lines! (For those of you not familiar with the nuances of hockey, this means that their players could spend ~30 seconds-1 minute on the ice and then get a 1-3 minute break before their next shift and our players had to stay on the ice for at least 2 minutes (usually longer) and then get a 30 second break before having to go back out… can anyone say “exhausted”?) Plus, our regular goalie couldn’t make it, so another player, who has never, ever played in goal before in her life, had to be goalie. So I totally thought we’d get slaughtered… but we totally out-played them and by halfway through the second period, when three more of our players showed up (they had been playing ball hockey right before and the games overlapped), we were winning 3-0. Final score: 6-0. And, I scored my first and second goals of the season! Including the game winning goal! Yay me! I really hope that I get credit for my goals (we only have one ref and they don’t always catch who scored the goal… you have to make sure you turn your back to the ref after you score so he can see your number and record it as your goal (otherwise he’ll just leave it blank!)… so I did my back-turning-on-the-ref best after my goals, so he better have got my number!

OK, so that has absolutely nothing to do with the theme of this blog… but I was just so excited I had to share it!

Update: They did, in fact, count my goals! Also, must give a shout out to Emily on my team, without whose beautiful set ups I could not have scored my goals!

{October 14, 2005}   Exploding Trousers

Anyone who knows me from high school and remembers my fascination with a certain physics teacher will understand why I got a thrill when I saw this headline in the British Medical Journal:

Mr Buckley’s exploding trousers and other scientific observations
Mr. Buckley. So stoic. And the Buckley death stare – oh baby. I’ll make scientific observations of those exploding trousers any day.

{October 12, 2005}   Obturating Prehension

So, I’ve read approximately 6,382,467 journal articles over the course of the last few months working on my lit review. And I must say, scientists like to use big words. Preferably words that no one on earth can understand. Words that you forget the meaning of right after you look them up in the dictionary, because they are so inane.

For example, here’s a selection of words & phrases that I have been subjected to as I’ve been conducting my literature review:

  • “a fortiori” means “for a still stronger reason” or “all the more”
  • “consanguineous” means “of the same lineage or origin; having a common ancestor”
  • “anisotropy,” of course, means “not isotropic.” Thanks, for that ever-so-illumninating definition! Isotropic means “identical in all directions.”
  • “pathognomonic” means “decisively characteristic of a particular disease”
  • “obturate” means “to close or obstruct”… as in “using the word ‘obturate’ will obturate anyone from understanding what the hell you are talking about!”

Why say “hole” when you can say “interstice”? Why say “local” when you can say “vicinal”? Someone might actually understand what you mean if you say “local.”

Thank god for the Online Medical Dictionary!

{October 7, 2005}   New Draft of Chapter 3

Well, it took me about 3 weeks longer than I’d hoped, but I’ve finally finished the next draft of chapter 3 (not for any real reason other than the fact that I was totally procrastinating… I could blame it on school starting back up so I’ve spent my time teaching and organizing the science outreach program that I coordinate, but in reality, although I have done those things, I’ve also done a damn hell lot of procrastinating)… At any rate, I’ve just emailed the draft to my supevisor, and now feel like I should goof off for the rest of the night instead of working on the revisions to my lit review.

Speaking of doing things other than my work, both the ice hockey and ball hockey seasons have started up! Yay! Unfortunately, both my teams lost our first games =( but we had fun nonetheless. If you check the stats on my ice hockey team’s page, you’ll note that we lost 3-2 and although they recorded that Janice had 2 assists, no one on my team scored any goals… apparently keeping accurate statistics is not their strong point…

{October 2, 2005}   Happy Birthday Sarah!

OK, so I’m getting very, very off topic here on the so-called thesis writing blog (but I have been doing some reading so that I can do the revisions on chapters 1 and 3, I swear!), but I HAVE to give a shout out to my good friend Sarah on her birthday!

This is a pic of Sarah & the members of her bridal party when they came out to Vancouver for a bachelorette weekend (Sarah, for those of you who don’t know her, is the one in the middle). Sarah is proofreading my thesis and is coming out to Vancouver for my defence (whenever that may be), so it’s not totally off-topic! OK, I’m going to go do some more reading, but Sarsh – I hope you have a wonderful b-day!!!

et cetera