My Name Is Tyson, and I’m Germaphobic

Alright, well it’s actually called Mysophobia, but I figured more folks would recognize it better if I called it Germaphobia!

I will admit though, I am a bit afraid of germs and bacteria. Kinda odd especially since I was all into making E. Coli cultures today in the microbiology lab. But I like having clean hands, and not getting sick! Also, I’m working towards applying to the only level 4 lab in Canada, and one of fourteen in the world. That’s right, this incredibly accident prone guy might be working with some of the most dangerous biochemical substances in the history of mankind!

The other night, I watched that movie Contagion, which really doesn’t help this little bit of a fear at all. It’s all about the spread of a super-virus that’s taking millions of people’s lives. It uses a lot of camera angles and imagery to show just how easily disease can spread throughout the world, causing an epidemic. While I was watching the movie, I was chowing down on my popcorn and instantly thought that someone had to touch it at some point…

Also, sometime during the movie, they said that a person touches their face up to 3000 times a day. If its true, that’s an incredible and scary amount that I really have difficulty fathoming. My face must be absolutely filthy by the end of the day really. But I found the movie very interesting as well; especially how it punched in the reality that a super virus is actually very possible. Especially with some of the stuff I have been learning in my advanced microbiology classes. For example, in the entire worlds stockpile, we have only been able to find a medium to grow/reproduce 0.1% of all bacteria.

I don’t really like to think about it all too much, it just kinda shows how weak the human race really could be, and everything I learn in my classes don’t really help that viewpoint at all.

Neither does Contagion!

In my biochemistry class, we need to find a topic for our scientific research essay. It’s not due until mid-November, but it’s still imperative to work on it at a constant basis until then. I’m not sure what to choose for a topic though. It needs to be biochemistry related and very recent research, so I probably just need to do some research on recent findings. Maybe I’ll ask a biochemist too, I have a friend working at the University of Calgary in Biochemistry. Unless anyone has any suggestions? They would be greatly appreciated!

Since I’m talking about science things, I might as well continue along that subject line. Yesterday I got the new issues of Science Illustrated and Popular Science to help me look for a possible topic. But I actually enjoy reading them, a lot of the articles are extremely interesting and have some pretty insane information and experiments that have been going on. There’s actually a pretty inspirational story in Popular Science about a college student that was paraplegic, but didn’t want to graduate in his wheelchair. So a group of student engineers at U.C. Berkeley built him a machine that allowed him to walk across the stage and get his diploma. Basically he’s considered a cyborg since the exoskeleton they installed into him is a combination of his flesh and this machine. I would recommend to read the entire issue though if you have the time, its apparemtly a special education issue.

“If you can’t get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you’d best teach it to dance.” – George Bernard Shaw

Tyson Trepidations

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By Golly! First Day Of The Semester

Today I had my first day of the Fall 2011 semester and the only day this week. Thursdays I have labs and they don’t run the first week, so no need to go tomorrow. Then Friday I’m skipping classes for Ke$ha. Yes I know, skipping already; but it’s Ke$ha and LMFAO in VIP seating! Plus I know someone in all my classes (with exception to one),so I will be able to get the notes anyway.

Thompson Rivers University CAC

It was a good day overall and I feel as though it will be a very interesting semester learning some really neat things. My five classes that I have are filled with 4 biologies and 1 Theatre class. But I’ll go through each one of them.

 

First class: Biochemistry

I think this class will prove to my toughest subject of the year. Just because there’s a lot of difficult material being covered and the prof is well known for making a very difficult final exam (worth 35%). So I’m going to have to do my best to get great grades for the other 65% of the marks for the class. This class features a scientific paper due in two months. I’ll probably start researching for it next week though since research takes so long. I know the paper is a pretty big undertaking but honestly, I don’t mind, since we pick our own topics (biochem related), I get to choose something to do with neurology. I’ll probably go in the direction of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease since I’m already very familiar with both of those. Plus I consider myself pretty good at writing papers, usually I get a very decent mark.

 

Second class: Biometrics

This one is basically my science maths class, mostly statistics in a scientific method. So that means a lot of word problems, and a lot of very difficult ones as my prof pointed out too. As long as I don’t get lost somewhere along the way, I should be fine and I like maths when it’s not calculus. But I will admit, I’m a bit nervous that my prof will go too fast, it’s Nancy, and I had her before in my first year of university. She just blasted through the material like a bat out of hell. The other thing too is that my sister is also in this class. Usually that’s a good thing, but when it comes to any maths, my sister has major issues, and I always feel obligated to help her too. Which can prove to be very very difficult since she’s like a mule.

 

Science!

Third class: Microbiology

Another tough marker of a prof; but not technically, everyone just complains because he never uses multiple choice. Instead he always essay questions and long answer questions on his exams. Meaning I’m going to need to study a lot. Although, with that said, it’s a class mostly about processes, meaning diagrams, charts and flow. When I have any of those elements, I get an instant photographic memory. All-in-all, it should be quite fun of a class too.

 

Fourth class: Introduction to Theatrical Acting

At the start of this class I felt quite out place. There were all these artsy students that I have never seen before, but luckily this one girl noticed me and somehow knew I was a science student. So we sat together as the only science persons in the class. I was very impressed though, my prof seems very passionate about teaching us to act and improv. He’s so passionate that it just transfers over to everyone in the class and makes you really want to be there. I think this is going to be very fun, even though I am an awkward science student.

Thompson Rivers University Old Library

Fifth Class: Ecology and Evolution of Land Plants

This is my biology elective and I really only chose it because Lyn is teaching this class. I just had to take one of her classes. A couple of years ago I met her in the science building, and she is the most passionate scientist ever to study and teach botany. Not only that, but she is literally insane and incredibly funny. Especially with her flying penises and peeing carrots. PLUS! There’s a field trip in two weeks for this class. Camping at Wells Grey park and looking at all kinds of plants. It will awesome and a great way to make some new friends I hope. I’m incredibly excited for this class though, just because of the prof whose teaching. Passion makes the biggest difference.

 

“Friendship — is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” – Muhammad Ali

 

Tyson Trepidations.

Coming Soon To A Tyson Near You

Seeing as my last post was a review of my summer, I thought I should share my plans for the fall and a bit of the winter. I’ll only go as far as New Years though.

Just Thought I'd Share A Photo From My Younger Years. It's My Sister and I!

Coming up this weekend already is the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo. It’s a very hick event that attracts all the rednecks and farmers from all over the country. It’s kinda neat though. I mostly just like going sometimes to watch the rodeo, but haven’t been for a couple years due to a complicated work schedule. Hopefully I can get in at least one day this year. Oh! And can’t forget the cotton candy. I know its pure sugar and its going to make me incredibly high, but I love the feeling of it melting in my mouth. I don’t care about the taste, its all about the feeling! Maybe even this year I’ll stay on the mechanical bull longer than a few seconds too.

As soon as the long weekend ends, then school starts right after. It’s not bad though, I usually enjoy the first week of classes. It’s pretty relaxed, no labs and mostly just review/going over the course outline and material. Also, like I’ve mentioned in many blog posts already, I have some really wicked classes this year! So I’m excited to see what I get to learn. BONUS! I have a field trip in my Biology 2280 class (Ecology and Evolution of Land Plants), that’s more like a camping trip and its only in the third week of classes. Very stoked.

Next week, on the Friday, I’m going to be skipping classes for Ke$ha feat. LMFAO in Vancouver! I’ve been working myself up for this for a while now, and I can’t wait to get my VIP package! I’ll be driving myself and two of my sisters there and spending the night in downtown Vancouver. Then on the Saturday, my sisters are going to be doing some shopping while I visit with some old summercamp buddies of mine! I love being able to see them, they are amazing friends that I wish lived a lot closer to me because they are so reliable, loyal and trustworthy. Something a lot of my friends here lack.

The week after that, on Thursday, my dance lessons start. I spent a lot of money to get some top of the line tap dance shoes, now I’m ready to fly across the dance floor like a couple of my movie heroes, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.

My birthday comes on October as well! So I need to start thinking about what I’m going to ask for. Usually I put a lot of thought into my birthday list, I try to keep things very affordable. I don’t want my family spending much money on me at all, but also things that I’ll genuinely use and appreciate. So I need to take off my dunce cap and do some thinking.

I don’t have too many other things on the go for this fall, most of what I mentioned will keep me quite busy anyways, so its probably a good thing. Although, with that said, I’m going to try and make a very hard effort to go and visit my friends in San Francisco again over New Years.

As far as goals go, I just look to get similar grades as what I got last year, but hopefully even better. I really want to make more international friends as well, I need to build connections all over the world to be able to be free to travel and have friends to show me the ropes, guide me and give me a place to stay. I also look to get out a little more than last year, I’m incredibly self-disciplined with my studying and focus on doing my best and getting people to smile. But this year I want to try and have a little more fun, meet more people and do some crazy adventurous things I’ve never experienced before.

 

“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” – Sam Keen

 

Tyson Trepidations.

Nerding Out With TED

I do admit confidently, that sometimes I can nerd out quite a bit. I don’t really care, if it interests me then hey, it’s okay.

Once in a while though, I’ll go on Wikipedia to look something up or read into whatever is on my mind and I end up Wiki-surfing. I go from one subject to another and another just looking random things up. For example, the other day I went on Wikipedia to look into that new show called Terra Nova, then I ended up reading about Steven Spielberg, then onto Stephen King, Jack Layton, Fallout 3 and lastly, Rio.

Maybe I have an addiction to learning random facts. I could be like that random fact guy who sits in a corner, then whenever someone walks by, I’ll shuffle out of hiding yelling “RANDOM FACT!” and give them one. Even if their running away.

But really, that’s not even what this post is about, and I shouldn’t be creeping out the people that have to put up with reading this neither. It’s more about how I can nerd out a tonne with TED.

Who’s TED anyways? I don’t even know a TED.

Well, okay, TED isn’t a person, its a nonprofit organization that specializes in “ideas which are worth spreading”. It’s basically a conference full of guest speakers that have some innovative ideas for the world. I gotta say, some are pretty inspirational and creative. It has all kinds of people giving the talks, from scientists, to actors, to magicians, soldiers, writers, dancers, investors, etc. Any person, even just regular people that have a big idea.

So if you feel like nerding out, seeing something inspirational or really cool, give it a try! Below are a couple of my favorite conferences.

This TED conference video features Marco Tempest, he’s a magician that uses iPods as his magical props. While he performs, he talks about truth and lies, art and emotion. It’s really neat and worth a watch.

Here’s another one, this ones a bit longer at 18 minutes. This inspiring lady is Charity Tillemann-Dick. She had a double lung transplant and after being told by her doctor that she will never sing again, she proved them all wrong. Watch her amazing speech and musical performance if your up to it.

 

 

 

“In order to do good, you have to do something.” – Emily Pilloton

Tyson Trepidations.

I’m a Scientist! Your a Scientist! Science!

“Sometimes I do.”

 

I’ve always been a bit of a science nerd and interested in that subject matter, so of course on the weekend I went and saw The Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. I’ll try not to give anything away, but you’d think a movie like that would make me be a little less interested in science. It was actually the opposite effect for me, it made me even more interested in science and just researching things in general.

As far as the movie goes though, I really enjoyed it! Some parts were a little farfetched to me, but otherwise I did enjoy it quite a lot. Not to mention it had some really cool eye candy too in some parts, which is always appreciated.

With all that said, the new school year is under four weeks away already, so I need to start shopping for a few school supplies. I gotta remember to buy paper early too, last year I went to buy some the same week school started and everywhere was completely sold out of paper! So maybe next week I’ll do that instead. I already got some new reading material, I ordered an old version of “Electronic Life” by Michael Crichton on Amazon and finally got Catch-22 along with Get Laid or Die Trying.

Thompson Rivers University Update

I already have my courses for next year too, I signed for them all the way back in June, and for the most part, I have some really interesting sounding ones. The most noteworthy ones are my Cell Physiology class, which seems to have a lot of wicked cool subject matter, Biochemistry, Ancient Philosophy (also my last elective credits I need, WHOOT), microbiology, genetics, and the evolution and ecology of land plants (featuring a wicked multi-day hike field trip). The other classes that I’m not looking forward for are both in the winter semester, Philosophy of Science, which will be interesting reading Galileo and such but I feel as though there will a tonne of essays. The other one would be Calculus Two. I struggle with math way more than I should have to…

Oh! My tap dance lessons start at the same time as well, so that’s pretty exciting. I just need to go and pick up my shoes basically. Plus I was contacted by the regional organizer for Scouts Canada, and he somehow heard of my name and gave me a call to ask if they could use my expertise as a leader this year. I’m not sure how I feel about that one yet because I think I’m going to have a busy year, but it should be fun if I can.

Just a music update from my iTunes, I’m really liking Alyssa Reid’s, Alone Again (Encore Seule) avec Dice B. I’m loving the French rapping and singing. Other good mentions are Nick Carter and Britton “Briddy” Shaw’s, Burning Up and Titanium by David Guetta feat. Sia.

 

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity” – Ellen Par

 

Tyson Trepidations.

Percey’s Seaside Antiques

This is the start to my story, it begins with an older lady named Angela Percey who owns an antique shop on the island of Saint Crista. Don’t worry though, the main character of this story isn’t this old lady with a bad memory, she just happens to the person I open with. Maybe you’ll meet the main character later though. But enjoy the small amount I’m posting of what’s going to turn into a zombie story!

Angela Percey was gazing outside the window of her little shop, Percey’s Seaside Antiques, when the sun began to fade behind the encroaching clouds.

To her it was just another day of business. She stood at her post behind the cash register, in wait for one of the shoppers to purchase some of her antiques; or as she liked to call them, her “pre-owned treasures”. Of course, she never really expected anyone to purchase anything, they rarely did. But she didn’t mind, being a widowed older lady in her mid-sixties, she just enjoyed the company of the occasional local or traveller to talk to. She actually loved to hear about the travelling and life stories of her visitors, as well as talking to some of the locals that stopped by. In fact, Angela loved her antique shop in general, it meant everything to her over the last thirty-five years that she’s been running it.

As the clouds overtook to sun, there were only four customers present at Percey’s. Only one Angela recognized as a local and like most of the residences that came in, she knew he was a fisherman. Other than that, she couldn’t remember his name, making her grow quite frustrated with her once quick mind.

She didn’t recognize any of the other three customers though, they were most likely tourists since the island of Saint Crista attracted an estimated half a million guests every year. That was always something that baffled Angela though, she could never understand nor envision that amount of people. It was probably since she only left the island once in her life, which is something she vowed to never do again. She liked the simple and stress free life that she had there, so she never felt as though she ever really needed to leave the island. For Angela, where most people see the world as small, it was always huge to her, and quite a monstrosity too.

She lived in the larger of the two towns on the island, Port Champlayne. In general, both of the towns were fairly small, with Port Chanplayne consisting of about four thousand people. Then there’s the smaller of the two, Bellwich Bay, having only about three hundred folks residing in the town. Other than the size though, both towns were mainly occupied by fishermen, retirees, and tourists from all over the world.

As Angela was lost in her own thoughts, the local fisherman then began to walk towards her, snapping her out of her own thoughts and also cause her to straighten her posture. The fisherman shot a smile at her, which she returned immediately, yet still fighting with her brain to remember his name. But almost as soon as he smiled, his face immediately went flat, straight into an empty and lifeless expression. Angela had never actually seen such an expression before, it was almost as if the soul had been sucked right out of the fisherman. All of the colour had left his face, his lips went completely flat, his eyes lifeless and no longer looking at Angela, moreso looking right through her. Angela began to feel an odd tingling sensation run over her body from head to toe, and even though it had passed quite quickly, her heart rate doubled as a result.

It was in that moment she noticed that the fisherman’s face didn’t just turn completely lifeless, his entire body did as well. He stood there in mid stride with his right foot protruded forward and arms still in their swing, but he was frozen in place. Not so much as a muscle twitch could be seen come off of his body. Nothing.

Everything about the fisherman began to horrify Angela, she reached up and placed her hands over the hollow of her neck, where her mothers medallion could always be found. She clutched onto it tightly, and told herself a quick prayer, something she had become quite accustomed to since her husband had passed away from a heart attack no more than two years prior. After a few minutes to take in the scene before her, Angela’s slow and old brain finally began to work again, and she reluctantly took her eyes off of the fisherman to look at the rest of the store.

Her shop was quite dark for mid afternoon, the clouds had blocked out a lot of the suns light, and caused an eerie green glow to protrude through the windows. Everything was very quiet though, and all Angela could hear was her own heart beating. The other three guests looked the same as the fisherman. Perfectly still. Almost as if God had pressed the pause button on all other life in her store.

Two of the people were together, Angela observed earlier when they arrived that they were a young couple, she assumed on a honeymoon or something of the sort. But now, they were frozen in place, looking at some of Angela’s antique tableware, holding her favorite bowl that she remembered was made in Sicily. On the outside, the bowl wasn’t anything special, just white porcelain. But on the inside it had the most beautiful hand painted rendition of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. In the back of her mind, she wondered how she could remember a bowl was made in Sicily, but couldn’t remember a fisherman’s name. But that thought quickly passed.

The last person in Percey’s Seaside Antiques, was a middle aged woman who was completely still in a very thoughtful pose. To Angela, it looked almost as though the lady could be a mannequin, especially with her ghostly white face and the soulless expression that had subdued all of the customers in the antique store.

Angela closed her eyes, horrified at the frozen people before her, but partially frozen in place herself as a result of utter fear. She clenched her medallion with both of her hands tightly, causing the flesh in her knuckles to turn white. She prayed. It was a while since she last attended church, probably longer than she would have liked to admit. But she recited every prayer that she could remember in her head, with her eyes clamped tightly the whole time and embracing the medallion Angela’s mother had passed down to her during her childhood.

Suddenly there was a series of loud thuds that filled the room, accompanied by the sound of something breaking. The loud noise caused Angela to jump and snap open her eyes which immediately fell on the porcelain bowl, now in several pieces scattered across the floor. She scanned through the pieces of her beloved bowl and frowned deeply at the sight of it, but then she noticed the young couple that were admiring its beauty were now littered on the floor next to the porcelain shards.

Tears began to fill Angela’s eyes, as she continued to notice that all of her customers were now in a lifeless phase on the floor, appearing to be dead. Her legs began to shake under her due to fear of the situation and she fell to her knees as tears began to stream down her cheeks. She could not fathom what had happened, but was much too shaken still to try and do anything about it. Her hands finally broke free from her medallion, but only to bury her face into her hands instead, letting out a shriek of a mixture of grief, horror and shock.

After a few moments, she managed to take some deep breaths, or at least enough to stop the crying. As she wiped the tears from her cheeks and eyes, she took another glance around the room with a deep feeling that she was the only one alive in the entire store. Angela’s eyes eventually met the fisherman’s face, he still had his eyes open, a vision that would bothered her for the rest of what life she left. In his eyes, she could see the whites of them slowly turn red and his once brown iris was now completely black.

It was at that moment when she was looking into his strange eyes, she finally remembered his name.

“If you can dream it, then you can do it. Always remember this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse” – Walt Disney
Tyson Trepidations.

Say Cheese For Scanning Electron Microscopy

I’ve always had this weird intrigue with looking at things under the scanning electron microscope. They always look so cool and interesting. Probably since they aren’t like anything I have seen before.

It’s like the hidden art in science (and yes, I’m totally geeking out right now).

So I thought I would share some images from the scanning electron microscope for others to see. You probably don’t think its so interesting, but for some reason I’m always really compelled by the images scientists get from them.

Just some information about it: A scanning electron microscope works by scanning the subject with a high energy beam of electrons that interact with the subjects atoms to give information like the topography and composition.

Butterfly Tongue Under The Scanning Electron Microscope

 

Hornet Leg Under The Scanning Electron Microscope

 

Pollen Under The Scanning Electron Microscope

 

Spider Under The Scanning Electron Microscope

 

Triturus Under The Scanning Electron Microscope

 

“Nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope and the telescope” – Theodore Roszak

 

Tyson Trepidations.