26 April 2008

Mouse Solves Maze Researchers Spent Months Building

Warning: mild profanity.
"IOWA CITY, IA—University of Iowa neuroscientists studying spatial learning and the effects of stress on memory announced Tuesday that a little son-of-a-bitch mouse ruined an experiment on cognitive performance by effortlessly navigating a maze that researchers spent nearly a year designing and constructing. [...]

"It is regrettable to spend such a tremendous amount of money studying mammalian neuropathways, only to have some hotshot mouse ruin everything," Eng said. "However, we have compiled substantial data on this species's ability to breeze right in and destroy an entire postdoctoral legacy."

Repeated trials yielded similar results, with the mouse performing equally well despite added variables of Dr. Eng trying to "scoot" it back with a pen and Dr. Barret tipping the entire maze upward 45 degrees. Additional attempts to deceive the mouse by placing a reward of cheese in an impassable section of the maze were also unsuccessful.

"Taking into account my past successful experiments with chimpanzees, it is my final analysis that we are dealing with one smart little fucker," said team member Dr. Russell Sutton, who has already applied for an additional grant to study cognitive learning in the same mouse. "I wonder if he'll be so smart without a functioning hippocampus."" -- The Onion.
Maybe it's just because I work in a lab, but I thought this story was hilarious. Follow the link for the full article.

20 April 2008


In the past 3-4 weeks I've been greeted about four times with the Blue Screen of Death on my Vista Home Premium computer -- IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. I haven't been able to replicate the circumstances upon which this BSD appears. After some research, the potential causes of this particular BSD may be bad memory, over-heating of my CPU, or faulty hardware. I've ruled out software issues as I don't recall installing or modifying anything in the short time before the BSD first appeared. Though, perhaps I shouldn't take that for granted - Windows did open an user account without my knowledge, after all.

Anywhoo, my computer is still within its 1-yr warranty, so I'll be taking it down to have the Geek Squad look at it. Hopefully it won't take too long to diagnose and repair.

UPDATE: For what it's worth, I ran the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool and it didn't seem to find anything. Oh well.

ASP.NET Machine Account

Try to imagine my dismay when I discovered a password-protected standard user account on my Vista Home Premium computer - an account I definitely did not create and had no previous knowledge of. And did I mention that this user account is password-protected?! If I was fond of swearing by typing you'd be reading a long string of profanities right about now.

My first concern was that my computer had been infected. I did a quick search, though, and discovered that this account is 'normal', created by Windows itself, and required for .NET programs (developer/server tools, if I understand correctly). Needless to say, I don't have any such programs installed on my computer -- unless Windows once again had installed something without my knowledge/permission.

Chalk this up as added to the long list of things about Vista that annoy me.

Anywhoo, from what I've read it's okay to simply delete the account -- assuming I don't run programs that use it. I'm going to do just that, but I'm going to wait until after I talk to Geek Squad, as I need to bring my computer in anyway. For more information on that see my post: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL.

19 April 2008

John Edwards and The Colbert Report

Although I can't vote in U.S. elections, I still had my preferred presidential candidate, ever since he first ran for the Democratic nomination back in 2004. Too bad former Senator John Edwards decided to suspend his campaign earlier this year. Edwards appeared earlier this week on The Colbert Report and I thought his bit was very funny.

Anyhoo, here's Edwards' appearance:

16 April 2008

The Onion

The Onion always has an interesting take on the news. :o)

Here are a couple articles: Grandfather Accidentally Switched at Hospital, and my personal favourite, Goalie Clearly Living in Net.

"...Suter recalled an incident that occurred during the Predators warm-ups before their game against the Blackhawks on March 22, when an errant puck reportedly slipped past Ellis and cracked the housing of the goaltender's television set. According to Suter, Ellis played with such tenacity over the next eight days that he stopped 147 consecutive shots and would not allow players from either team within 12 feet of the goal...."

09 April 2008

Vancouver Canucks go home early

Old, depressing news. The Vancouver Canucks played their way out of the playoffs. Sitting in 7-8th spot in the Western Conference (and hence in a playoff position), the Canucks then proceeded to lose SEVEN of the the last EIGHT games to end the regular season in 11th place and OUT of the playoffs. Wangos. Wangos in spades. This is the second time in three years the Canucks failed to make the playoffs.

I wonder if Trevor Linden will retire. I hope he doesn't. But Alain Vigneault scratched a healthy Linden how many times during the season? If this does turn out to have been Linden's last year, the Canucks organization had better give him a send off to remember.

A photographic tribute to Canucks legend, Trevor Linden.

04 April 2008

Site Visitors in March 2008

A little late, but the top 5 visitors last month were:

1) United States,
2) Canada,
3) Great Britain,
4) an European country,
5) Australia.

Full list of visitors for March 2008.

Visitors in previous months.