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Archive for the ‘Bio Technology’ Category

Wow!  One of the men on a social site similar to MySpace (called Fubar) put 2 and 2 together about a small town that we both had family connections to.  It so happened that his aunt and uncle were bee farmers in that town and had died in the 80’s.  I couldn’t help but respond to him by stating —

“When I was little there was a bee farmer that would bring over to my Grandma’s and Grandpa’s ranch a couple of jars of the best honey with the combs still in it.  Honey became my favorite commodity.

The man that would bring the jars would sit with my family in the country air and talk to us.  He was the nicest man and I really got a kick out of his visits — especially when it meant that he would bring us honey… lol!!

One time, he had held me in his lap and a bee landed on me.  He said to me – don’t worry.  The bee won’t sting you unless you show him that you are scared….

It was a great exercise in overcoming any possible fears of bees and every time I encounter bees, his voice echoed in my head.

My Grandpa worked for Humble Oil for many years, then the Lumberyard until he simply couldn’t work anymore.  He ended up with TB, lung cancer, and emphesema…so he stayed in the house connected to the garage mostly and would come out on the porch, smoke us pipe, and tell us all kinds of stories.

Because he stayed in that house, we would meet in the yard between the two (the garage house and the main house) and socialize; hence why the bee man was also visiting us in the country air versus in the house.

You stating that they died in the 80’s makes perfect sense since it was a rare find after that time to have that delicious honey.  Whether or not they are one of the same, it was nice to relive that memory.”

It is amazing how small of a world that we may or may not live in….and it is wonderful still that such inquiries can trigger such marvelous memories from our childhood.  I can still smell the freshness of that honey that the bee farmer would bring to us, a quality unmatched from honey sold today.

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In Slate.com there was a cartoon that indicated the lack of US cooperation with the Global Warming issue.  With Al Gore’s campaign for the “Inconvenient Truth” that he has been doing in the past few years, you would think that the prospect of US’s involvement with the global warming issues would be higher.  What this cartoon fails to portray is the thought of what cooperation is being had by the other countries in this world.  I wonder what that would actually look like????

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I know that they have talked about it for a while… and you have been able to purchase a kit online and send it off to the various DNA labs, but now (in accordance to the Houston News Station) they are available over the counter as well?

What do you think about that?

I am sure that, if it came to a legal matter, the courts may only accept the paternity tests that go through the official DNA labs; but for the millions of folks that are pondering if the paternity of the child is their child or not, this may be able to provide an affordable means to determine the paternity.

Would you trust the results though?

Would Maury Povich relay on these OTC test results as well, or would the producers make him utilize the DNA labs for their accuracy and reliability of that accuracy?

Interesting…

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Summer has been eventful for me…..

1. Biotechnology Program — I attended ACC’s fasttrack program this summer. A very intense program whereby we had 5-1/2 weeks of classes for 3 full days each week, then later had 5-1/2 weeks of nearly 40 hrs/wk internship at many Biotech type locations. Mine was held at the Texas Department of Health. It was an invaluable learning experience and I would love to consider it for a career option; however, the market for Biotech personnel, on the whole in this area, require a degree in Science already. My degree is in Criminal Justice, but they would prefer a degree with more of a forensic approach to it, if in Criminal Justice. Therefore, I am looking to attend in the Spring, perhaps, if I get a Scholarship to do so.

2. Granddaughter — This summer my granddaughter was born. She is absolutely beautiful and growing slowly but surely. Well, that isn’t exactly true as she is outside of the growth percentile range, but weight/height proportional. They are thinking that she may end up being very tall.

3. Still working in the crisis field. I am enjoying it and may continue to make it my career option — if only the money was better!

4. Took a bit of time this summer for a short retreat to reflect upon the summer events and assess where I should be moving forward in my life. Still not sure about the whereto, but really enjoyed the retreat time to enjoy some much needed R&R. (The picture above is one of many pictures I took during my retreat.)

Other than that, not much else happening. Still involved in my Red Hat Society group and planning activities to keep myself active — Church, bowling, reading books, blogging, etc. Would love to hear from you all to see what you have been doing this summer, as what your current aspirations might be. 🙂

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I have but one more day to complete of the intense program that began at the end of May and continued well into August.  The first half of the program was intense classes covering scientific math skills and problem solving, ethical issues, and biotechnology laboratory science and lab skills classes for 3 days a week for 5-1/2 weeks.  Then, in July, we began our intense internship at differing locations.  While some of my classmates went to CellzDirect and Ambion, some of my classmates went with me to DSHS.  I was there for 4 days a week.

Having to keep an income coming in for purposes of paying bills, etc., I had to continue working my parttime job at the hotline.  Keeping up with an intense internship and working hours was grueling at times; however, it was extremely rewarding in the end. 

I am certainly appreciative to be a part of the program and look forward to furthering my education in this arena.   I wish I could somehow attach my final presentation to demonstrate some of the enriching experiences I had this summer; if I do figure it out, I will certainly attach it.

In the meantime, I am relieved that the intense program is behind me now….

and I will have more time to communicate in my blogs in the future! 🙂

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“I think good lab practice, consideration for other people, and safety are three totally related issues.”

— David H. Beach, PhD, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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This first clip is from Coronado High School for a Environmental Awareness Informercial Project. A bit silly at times, but I think that they drive their point across:

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BldbzKBE1Iw]

and, not so entertaining videos as prepared by Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District Public Affairs Manager Deborah Bass who gives insight into how this virus, which currently has no human vaccine, can impact the health of the public.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YirZ77EvA8Y]

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYw9uu2tIck]

 

 

 

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For 6 years now, the West Nile Virus has been hitting the crow population hard. Scientific American’s May 17th, 2007, article, “West Nile Hammers U.S. Birds”, spells it out best.

“Now a major analysis confirms that American crows have been extremely hard hit nationwide–populations have fallen by 45% since the West Nile virus arrived–and several other common birds continue to decline as well.”

However, with some bird populations bouncing back from the devastations of the disease, the article concludes with the following caution:

“Ecologist Carsten Rahbek of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark notes in an accompanying commentary that the study shows that “West Nile virus could potentially change the composition of bird communities across the entire continent.” That could bode ill for plants, Kilpatrick notes, as many of the birds eat caterpillars and other pests, while others disperse seeds. The crisis for birds isn’t over yet, adds ecologist Kevin McGowan of Cornell University in Ithaca, as a lot of birds have not yet been exposed.”

One cannot help but think about how all the viruses (good and bad) are affecting our world.

See also…

What is one Bee’s Pleasure is Another’s Disdain?

PS. If you see a dead bird or squirrel, or suspect symptoms of the West Nile Virus, call 1-877-WNV-BIRD, IF you are in the State of California only.  If you see a dead bird or squirrel, in any another State, please contact your local animal control or health agencies in your State.

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One of my many fond memories of my childhood is being very little (maybe 4 or 5 – the age that many older adults still enjoy picking you up and letting you sit on their knees). We were sitting outside in the “courtyard” of sorts between my Grandparent’s home and the guest house that was attached to a detached garage (detached from the main home, that is). The yard had a huge pine tree that overpowered the levels of the roofs of the structures and hid the water well from view. Along the sidewalks and the outer outlining areas, separating it from the rest of the ranchland were many flowerbeds that had roses and daisies planted in them. They were all a-bloom.

One of the visitors that my Grandma had over was an older man and a friend to my Grandma and Grandma. I always loved it when he would come over because he would bring us the largest jar of honey that you would have ever seen in your life with the largest honeycomb right smack in the middle of it. I loved picking up the honeycomb and allowing the fresh honey to be dribbled all into my mouth. It was almost tradition that my Grandma would let me have the first taste of the fresh honey brought to us.

My Grandma would have made fresh bread for this occasion and we would spoon heaping spoonfuls of honey all upon the hot bread and savored each and every bite as my sister and I would play outdoors and the adults would continue talking beyond when the sun went down.

Before the sun went down though, I sat on this man’s knees for a bit. A bee landed upon my knee and I quickly got the attention of everyone by saying, “Grandma!” without even a flinch. This man quickly patted me on the back and assured me that, if we just watch the bee, he will fly away soon and look for something else to light upon. The bee did fly away while the beekeeper continued to tell us a story about how he collects the honey from the bees and how the bees were our friends.

Apparently, this story wasn’t heard near and far though!!

Katie Couric, from the CBS News, aired a story entitled, “FYI: What’s happening to the bees? Lots of theories but little proof as scientists scramble to solve what could be an agriculture crisis!” She started out with the story about a Pennsylvania farmer:

“As if by one sudden swoop, thousands of bees disappeared from the Pennsylvania farm of Dave Hackenberg. But he was just the first of hundreds of bee farmers — also known as apiarists — to report a sudden die-off or depopulation of their hives to researchers.

He told National Geographic: ‘In almost 50 years as a beekeeper, I’ve never seen anything like it.'”

and then continued by explaining:

“In short, a quarter of the country’s 2.4 million bee colonies have been decimated or lost. There are many theories about what’s caused the loss, but there is no definitive answer.

One thing has almost been agreed upon: Scientists are calling this Colony Collapse Disorder. Well, except for those who call it Fall Dwindle Disease (the phenomenon’s former name).

A Congressional Research Service report for members of Congress listed the following possible causes of CCD, as reported by scientists.

 

  • Parasites, mites, and disease loads in the bees and brood
  • Known/unknown pathogens
  • Poor nutrition among adult bees
  • Level of stress in adult bees (e.g., transportation and confinement of
    bees, or other environmental or biological stressors)
  • Chemical residue/contamination in the wax, food stores and/or bees
  • Lack of genetic diversity and lineage of bees
  • A combination of several factors”
  • and concluded with some resources that will be posted at this end of this blog posting.

    In the meantime, I am remembering another story where a virus has been developed to destroy the pesty and annoying fire ants, such as in the May 7, 2007, CNN story entitled, “Fire Ants May Have Met Their Match”. They said:

    “Researchers have pinpointed a naturally occurring virus that kills the ants, which arrived in the U.S. in the 1930s and now cause $6 billion in damage annually nationwide, including about $1.2 billion in Texas.

    The virus caught the attention of U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers in Florida in 2002. The agency is now seeking commercial partners to develop the virus into a pesticide to control fire ants.

    The virus was found in about 20 percent of fire ant fields, where it appears to cause the slow death of infected colonies.”

    They are now looking for a partner to introduce this virus into pesticides. But one has to wonder if by gambling with the development of this virus that, supposedly just affects the ants, isn’t potentially affecting our bee supply too????

    With so much biotechnology being developed, one has to wonder if, perhaps, development of some viruses could also be an upset to our balance of nature. What do you think?????

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    As promised, some of the additional resources for more information about bees that was given in the CBS News article are (for quick access):

    USDA’s “National Honey Report”

    The National Honey Board – This month’s top topic is the “Colony Collapse Disorder”

    Prepared Testimony of Diana Cox-Foster, Professor Department of Entomology at the Pennsylvania State University before the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture on Colony Collapse Disorder in Honey Bee Colonies in the United States, March 29, 2007

    Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, Recent Honey Bee Colony Declines, March 26, 2007, by Renee Johnson, Analyst in Agricultural Economics (Resources, Science, and Industry Division) for the members and committees of Congress

    Honey Locator

    Additional Resources:

    National Human Genome Research Institute

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