Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Milk as a chemical reagent

I was just reading this paper from Nano Letters, and found the following sentence quite entertaining (the bolding is mine):

"Nonspecific binding of rhodamine-labeled anti-Ad 12 Knob protein attached to carbon nanotubes was prevented by blocking this reaction with 4% milk, which contains a number of unrelated, nonspecific proteins in high concentrations."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Allerton Trail Race

I ran the Allerton Trail Race this morning for the second year in a row and finished in second place overall for the second year in a row. My running buddy Harley Johnson took first place in the race. I finished the 5.5 mile race in 31:20.4 (5:42/mile pace). It was a beautiful morning and a bunch of guys from my lunchtime running group ran really well. The picture here was taken from the album of a member of the Second Wind Running Club, who puts on the race.

I love running the trails at Allerton (and need to make it out there more often), which is a park owned by the University of Illinois about 30 minutes away from campus. The race is a well-run event and has a really nice spread of baked goods after the race provided by members of the club. My one gripe about the race was the couple of places where the course was not marked at all. About 100 meters into the race the guy leading nearly led us astray rather than taking us down into the trails and then when I was leading just past the mile mark and came to an unmarked Y, I had to turn back to the guys behind me and ask if I had taken the right fork. Then as I was coming down the last hill, Harley turned back to me and threw his hands up in the air because there were cones running in two different directions through the field. At the time, I thought he was shrugging at me as if to ask, "why didn't you give me a better race than this," but it turned out he was just confused about the course.
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Friday, October 26, 2007

Carbon Based Curiosities

My friend Aaron who shares a chemistry blog with a Kentuckian (mentioned previously here), have upgraded to a new look. I've updated the link on my sidebar, but you should give the new Carbon Based Curiosities a look.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bonk Hard Racing :: Castlewood 8-Hour

I got recruited to fill in for somebody who can't make it to an adventure race that's coming up at the beginning of December in Missouri the other night while I was out. I'm really excited because I've done a couple of adventure races before and love it.

I'll be on a 4-man team and it should take us 5-8 hours to complete the mountain biking, running, canoeing, hiking, orienteering, and mystery events.

Bonk Hard Racing :: Castlewood 8-Hour

Pumpkin Carving

Several of my friends came over last night and we carved pumpkins. Here are 6 of the 7 pumpkins carved last night on my front porch. We need impartial judges to decide who wins the award of excellence. Leave a comment telling which pumpkin is your favorite.
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I was on my bike ride home the other day and somebody was taking a picture with a cell phone as I rode toward her. I was trying to figure out why she was taking my picture (aside from me looking really ridiculously good looking in my bike helmet) and then I glanced behind me. I pulled my camera out of my pocket and took some shots over my shoulder.

The first picture here is headed east the direction I was riding and shows the awesome bright red fall trees that I ride past every day on Pennsylvania Ave in Urbana. The second picture is the best of the ones that I took over my shoulder to the west as I was riding. Not bad for a blindly taken shot, eh?

I love fall, except for the fact that it means the ridiculously cold Illinois winter is on the horizon.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Illini Madness

Speaking of basketball season, we went to Illini madness a few weeks ago. To get in, you had to buy a $7 pink t-shirt, $2 of which went to Coaches vs. Cancer. So, in the spirit of breast cancer awareness month, we painted Assembly Hall pink.

It was kind of fun to go to the event once, but I doubt I'll go again. It's really not that exciting, but it was good to experience. Plus, I now have a sweet pink Illini basketball t-shirt, which I actually wore to the lab today.
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Illinois Football

I have student season tickets to Illinois football and went to the game against Michigan last Saturday. It was a really exciting game, which we unfortunately ended up losing. We made some huge mistakes that cost us the game, what with roughing the kicker on a punt, blatant pass interference, and a dropped fair catch that resulted in a turnover.

It's hard to justify buying single game tickets when they're $24 for students and the season tickets are $60 (6 games). Plus you get extra points towards your seating priority for basketball season (we have much better seats for basketball this year than our 3rd from the top row last year)! The football season tickets come in the form of vouchers which you trade in on game week for seats, so you can sit with whoever you want to that week. I go with a group of chemistry grad students, some of whom are pictured with me here.

The last picture shows "Block I," which is part of the student section that does a halftime show holding up colored cards to make various symbols and write things out. Since our quarterback's name is "Juice Williams" part of the routine always involves a glass filled with juice that then slowly unfills as everyone chants "chug chug chug!"

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm now a Wikipedia author

Yesterday evening, I made my first contribution to Wikipedia, a major overhaul to the article on Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (which was a fairly minimal article before I contributed). We had to write a Wikipedia article on a surface science technique for my Surface Physics course. In December, I'll be posting an article on some topic within surface thermodynamics.

Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Owen's Wedding

Last weekend, I went to North Carolina for the wedding of my good college friend, Owen. It was one of the most fun weddings I've been do and the food was unbelievable. Here's a link to my pictures.


Owen's Wedding

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cave Run Storytelling Festival

This past weekend, I made a quick trip back to Morehead for the 9th annual Cave Run Storytelling Festival. It was a beautiful weekend and, as always, the storytelling was amazing. Here's a picture of the venue at the beach area in the Twin Knobs Recreation area at Cave Run Lake. I was the emcee for 4 of the tellers during the Saturday afternoon session. One of my favorite tellers, Donald Davis, was at the festival, but I came away with another new teller to add to the list of the favorites: Kevin Kling.

Mark your calendar for next year's festival; it's always the last weekend in September.
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