Blue skies and White Coats

As I was walking back from the hospital in the muggy weather in far too heavy clothes, and with a far too heavy bag, I encountered a rather odd bunch of people. They didn’t look vastly different from you or I, the difference was in their clothing. Something rather peculiar was printed on the back, which I can safely say I never expected to see in Belfast. I would go as far as to say I never expected to see it…ever…anywhere. But here we are in this crazy world where anything can happen, and it appears that anything is perfectly happy to suprise me every so often. This is a departure from my normal style, but I’ve wrote a tiny passage vaguely emulating Douglas Adams, the fantastic writer of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series of books which I am currently reading. Though it pales in comparison to Mr Adams, hopefully it is at the very least entertaining, and at the very most, out of this planet and random. I don’t know how his mind worked, but it must have been incredibly unique to come up with the things he came up with.

But what’s the question?!


The Unusual Occurrence of the RPIHT

Suddenly, and without warning, they were there. Just outside of a local Tesco Express in this end of the Galaxy materialized the entire Russian Police Ice Hockey Team, in all their magnificence. Nobody was quite sure how this worked out, as Belfast isn’t particularly associated with Russian Police sports teams, particularly those practicing sports requiring ice. In fact, Belfast isn’t often associated with Russian Police, or Russians whatsoever. It just so happened that today, this improbable event occurred. Though they were not in their natural habitat, that is, a cold and icy place, but rather out in a warm street in the city centre. These sorts of random occurrences are unusual around these parts, and made for an impressive, if confusing, sight. I couldn’t understand what they were saying, thanks to my lack of fluency in Russian, but I like to think that it was something along the lines of,

“This is an entirely unusual place for us to be. In fact, of all the unusual situations and places we’ve been in” and the Russian Police Ice Hockey Team had been in their fair share of unusual situations being simultaneously: a) Russian, b) Police, and c) An Ice Hockey Team, “this probably takes the proverbial biscuit” or borscht, because as known to all non-Russians, Russians themselves eat exclusively cold beetroot soup. Suprisingly, this fact is almost unknown to Russians themselves, who view the entire Western world as consisting of approximately 70% Shepherd’s pie.

At the same time, a man sat on a train speeding away from civilization, surrounded by screaming and kicking children, and typing absurd rubbish into a tablet computer. Whether this was a coping mechanism to deal with the madness, or he himself was entirely insane, historians will dispute forever. Mainly because they are historians, and without a good dispute, they would have nothing else to do. Nobody has made any good history in a long time, so all historians are left to do is bicker and quibble over whether something happened, or whether it didn’t, or whether it is even relevant at all because at the end of the day, we’re only tiny specks in the vastness of the cosmos. Whether we’re specks, or spots, or even blotches, is also up for debate. It depends on your take on the universe. Whether the Ultragalactic glass is half full, or mega full, is not one of those things up for debate.


Hopefully that was mildly interesting. As the title states, these last few weeks have been filled with white coats and blue skies. White coats from my lab work, though not quite as much as I would have hoped this week, and blue skies from the fantastic weather. As far as weather has been concerned, this week wasn’t quite as idyllic, and we had a combination of overcast days, and dramatic thunder and lightning, along with brief showers. My days are spent in an over-airconditioned office, so I’m oblivious to most of what is going on outside, but the thunder was so loud the other night that I woke up at 3 am. Our mild and damp country is getting a bit of a shake up, though I could do without the humidity. I also had a presentation today about my project, which I called “Unravelling the Mitochondrial Genome: The Search for Variants Associated with End Stage Renal Disease”, because I do like a grand title. It was a fairly enjoyable experience, though incredibly warm, and only slightly nerve-wracking. Doing all the research for the presentation has also helped me to understand more about my project, and figure out some basic things, like how my sequencer works. Below is a fantastic guide explaining how the Ion Torrent PGM determines the sequence of DNA samples on the chip. The Ion 318 chip is a semiconductor chip with many many transistors, and 11 million tiny wells its surface. That is an insane amount!


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