Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hello from Dangarsleigh

Just thought I would share one of the best parts of living in this part of the country. Up here we have lots of waterfalls, and with the southern oscillation index being what it is at the moment, lots of rain. Rainfall means great waterfalls, and here is Dangarsleigh Falls last week. Its about 12 kms from my place, and probably looking the best it's been in over 10 years. The waterfall is about a 120m drop into the gorge.

Friday, December 14, 2007

¿Qué es de la vida de Cocodrilo Dundee?

Cierto es que Paul Hogan (Australia, 8 de octubre de 1939) le debe su popularidad al personaje del cazador de cocodrilos que llega a la gran ciudad. Sin embargo, antes de la saga de Cocodrilo Dundee Hogan se hizo famosos en su país con su propio show televisivo (The Paul Hogan Show).

Además de la película de 1986 (que tuvo otras dos partes) a Hogan se lo vio muy poco en la pantalla grande. Uno de sus apariciones fue en Flipper, el film basado en la serie sobre el delfín amaestrado, en el que compartió cartel con Elijah Wood, muchos años antes de convertirse en Frodo.

También participó en el western Lightning Jack, en la comedia Almost an angel y en Strange bedfellows, su última producción de 2004.

En 1990 se divorció de Noelene, su primera esposa y con quien tuvo cinco hijos, y se casó con Linda Kozlowski, su pareja en las tres películas de Cocodrilo.

Feliz Navidad y feliz 2008 a todo el mundo!!!
El martes nos vamos para la patria temprano, asi que nos veremos en enero. If someone want a postcard from Spain, send me your address!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Presidenta habemus

Argentina has joined today the select group (?) of countries with elected female leaders. They are currently: Ireland, New Zealand, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Philippines, Mozambique, Liberia, Chile and India. Thus, of the 193 states with official recognition, 11 are ruled by women. It's still a long way to gender equality.

I think Cristina Kirchner is an incompetent crypto-fascist. But I hope from the bottom of my heart that she proves my wrong.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Health 'care'

I’m not particularly prone to criticize the countries that generously open their doors to a wanker like myself, and even less to sing the praises of my own 'fatherland', but this is worth posting. Clarissa had a bike accident on Saturday (she hit a lamp post) and her toe was badly swollen, so on Sunday afternoon we took a bus to the curiously named Calvary Hospital.

We arrived at 4:10 pm and everything went fine in the emergency room, she was examined, taken straight to X-rays and then told to wait to be called by a doctor. The waiting room was not too packed, the TV was showing a particulary unappropriate show, and a guy lying next to us was in terrible pain with his mother looking after him. Clarissa hadn’t had lunch so I headed to the cafeteria to get her something to snack and a coffee, but it was closed. Apparently Catholics take their Sundays quite seriously here. OK, how about the espresso machine in the corridor? 'Out of order'. Jesus H Christ.

The last bus going back to O’Connor passed at 7 pm, and we were still comfortably sitting there waiting. A little boy came with his parents, holding his arm, covered in blood and crying inconsolably. They told them to take a sit and enjoy the TV show (?). At 8:40 Clarissa was at last called in and the doctor gave his verdict: ‘broken toe’. That’s it, go home, get a good rest and don’t go around hitting lamp posts.

OK, just to put things into context, we are talking about a public hospital in Canberra, the capital of Australia. Some facts about the city:

Population: 325,800
Life expectancy: 82 years
Unemployment rate: 3 %
Annual per capita income: U$S 47,131
Public hospitals: 2
Population per doctor: 383

As compared to Corrientes, the last place where I lived in Argentina, and its second-poorest (!) capital city:

Population: 328,600
Life expectancy: 72 years
Unemployment rate: 6.8 %
Annual per capita income: U$S 3,964
Public hospitals: 5
Population per doctor: 189

I had to go to the public hospital several times there and the maximum waiting time in all cases was 45 minutes.

So, my question here is simple: WHAT THE FUCK???

Addendum: Lu Liang, my Chinese colleague from the lab, lived in Canada for some time, and she commented that the health system there is remarkably substandard, with waiting times of 5 hours or more in the emergency rooms of public hospitals. She even had a friend passing out in a waiting room after an 8-hour delay to see a doctor. The Canadian director Denys Arcand addresses this point in two extraordinary movies: Jésus de Montréal and Les Invasions Barbares. I'd better not get sick if I go to there next year (?).

Seriously, what’s wrong with these absurdly wealthy countries’ health care system?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Where are the boundaries Hermeto?

Hermeto Pascoal - Música da Lagoa
Enjoy it!

Monday, December 3, 2007

The news in Australia

Ham thieves leave festive greeting

Police are appealing for help as they investigate the robbery of 16 tonnes of ham and bacon from a warehouse in Sydney's north-west.

Sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, thieves broke into Zammit Ham and Bacon on Nirvana Road at Pendle Hill.

Acting Inspector Rod Ormes from Parramatta Police says they left the message "Merry Christmas" on the warehouse wall.

He says it's an unusual thing for a criminal to do.

"I certainly haven't seen a message left like that in my policing experience, no," he says.

"We're asking the public if they come across any Zammit meat products being sold at significantly reduced prices to contact Crime Stoppers or us here at Parramatta Police Station".


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Photography masters

Meet Japanese Maestro photographer Nakano Masataka. The top picture is from his first book 'T0kyo Nobody' (2000), which features a collection of snaps of Tokyo - completely empty of people and vehicles. Taken on an 8x10 inch camera, they are not digitally edited images, just patiently acquired during 10 years on days when everyone leaves town, such as New Years Day early in the morning.

His latest work is called 'My Lost America' and comprises a collection of images taken in NYC between 1983 and 1993, with the particularity of having the WTC in every single one of them.

The first image generates an ominous feeling which reminds me of one of Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles - the whole of Mars was evacuated and one unlucky bastard was left behind. What would he do completely alone in the metropolis? I don't remember what he did, but wow, he was quite fucked.

The second one also leaves you thinking. How mighty and awe-inspiring do the Twin Towers look? And still, a couple of deranged cockmunchers could fly right into them and knock them down. Unbelievable.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Grand Theft Beer

This is the news story of the moment. Right about the time when the Dublin police is starting the traditional Christmas blitz to target drink-drivers, some BIG TIME pisshead sneaked in the legendary St. James's Gate Guinness Brewery with a truck, attached to it a fully-loaded trailer and drove away. The bounty? 450 kegs = 40,000 pints.

The Irish are not unanimous on their stance: whereas some are devastated by the loss of 180 kegs of Guinness Stout, others applaud the fact that the cunning bandit got rid of 180 Budweiser + 90 Carlsberg kegs.

If the story was not bizarre enough as is, when interviewed, the Guinness spokeswoman posed the rhetorical question: 'What could they possibly want with all that beer?'

Yeah, right. What could someone in Ireland possibly want with 40,000 pints?

My guess: chips?

PS: just read this on another blog, I think it's a worthy addendum.

'Please, 480 kegs missing in Dublin is like 480 barrels of oil missing in Iraq. Sure, something happened, but is it worth worrying about?'

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Canberra appears on Jetstar radar

See full article:

Canberreans, you will have other option to scape to nicer spots.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Four hands guitar


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Featured music: Jazzed up Beatles

These tracks are great to play in the background while you are doing something else. I have no idea who the heck plays it (the album is 'A bite of the apple'), so I decided to upload a painting instead. Inspired by the trivia night yesterday at BoZo, which, by the way, we won with my fellow students from RSBS, I propose the following challenge:

For a pint: whose painting is this?

If you can also correctly state the title and year, I take off my chapeau and you don't have to prove your artistic erudition ever again.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A kilo of cotton does NOT equal a kilo of iron

A group of scientist from ANU and CSIRO discovered today that a kilo of cotton doesn't equal a kilo of iron. These hypothesis has been involve in many jokes all over the world and in many different languages. "Today we have found evidences that demonstrate and validate the hypothesis " said Dr. Yves Al' Godon. The experiment was carried out in the labs over Cave Beach, Australia, where a 2 kilos iron pan was placed on sea water, and after a couple of minutes it floated. The same protocol was then applied for a cotton T-shirts , and for the surprise of the scientist the t-shirts sank immediately!
More evidences were compiled from independent sources, for instance a colleague form the Gold Coast in Australia noticed that humans get rid of the cotton clothe before getting to the water... Moreover, speedos and wet-suits are in general made of lycra and NO cotton.

The formula that validate the hypothesis:

Ct = 2Yp + 69

Ct = cotton T-shirt
Yp = Yves' pan
69 = our wishes for your weekend

For more information check the cotton article in the Crappypedia web site.

As you can see, lunches at Disco are more than a good occasion to feed yourself.

You might know that we're always behind the last news in science...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Travel log.

hi everyone - recently I caught up with some old mates........

 you can see, Regis is looking forward to his trip to the Netherlands. We made a trip to Amsterdam where Jan was our host.....
We had too many Belgium beers and had to get a lift home in the "Tuk Tuk"..... was cosy inside.
Tomorrow I leave Lausanne to start the last leg of my trip in Spain: firstly in Madrid with Lucia, Regis and family and friends then to Cordoba with Marga et al.
cheers, David.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A must

Como cantaba un amigo... "La naranja se pasea de la sala al comedor, no le tiren con anfeta, tirenle con tafirol..."

Have a bloody nice week!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Poll Results: King Shaun

Once again, popular consultation has helped us determine the truth (?). This time, in response to Jose's false dilemma (also known as false choice, false dichotomy, falsified dilemma, fallacy of the excluded middle, black and white thinking, false correlative, either/or fallacy, and bifurcation).

After a heart-stopping votation, Shaun narrowly beats Agustin by 9 to 7 and gets the crown of heavyweight gossipers. I wonder whether the Howard v. Rudd race to the PM's seat will be so thrilling.

Friday, November 16, 2007

He did it again

The guy is a machine. Skotomorphowhat?

I don't wanna know

Hampshire police thought it would be a good idea to advertise on the rear of a bus. Their planning did not take into account the position of the exhaust pipe.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Happy birthday mate!

Oh my god!!! 33!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Palabras de Fidel

Fidel's words...

We have to show both sides of the story in this blog.
Sorry, nowadays Fidel only writes in Spanish, but if you want to see his article in English you can click here (I don't know how good is the translation). Remember that Cubans only have access to this news (The Granma), other opinions are forbidden.

Reflexiones del presidente fidel castro
El debate de la Cumbre

Las paredes, la distancia y el tiempo se redujeron a cero. Parecía irreal. Nunca había tenido lugar un diálogo parecido entre Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno, que en casi su totalidad representaban países saqueados durante siglos por el coloniaje y el imperialismo. Ningún hecho podía ser más didáctico.

El sábado 10 de noviembre de 2007 pasará a la historia de nuestra América como el día de la verdad.

El Waterloo ideológico ocurrió cuando el Rey de España le preguntó a Chávez de forma abrupta: "¿Por qué no te callas?". En ese instante todos los corazones de América Latina vibraron. El pueblo venezolano, que debe responder sí o no el próximo 2 de diciembre, se estremeció al vivir de nuevo los días gloriosos de Bolívar. Las traiciones y los golpes bajos que recibe diariamente nuestro entrañable hermano, no harán cambiar ese sentimiento de su pueblo bolivariano.


Fidel Castro Ruz
Noviembre 12 de 2007
Hora: 4 y 45 p.m.

Click here to see the rest of this article in Spanish.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Guess the bird

This little fella got locked in my garage the other day. Actually, there were two of them, but the other one got away before I could take the pic.

I offer a beer to the first who correctly gives the name of the species. A bonus point (pint) if you also provide the gender.

Luciana is ruled out of the contest because I've already told her.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Xavier Rudd

Mr. Rudd played yesterday at the Canberra Theatre. Yves, Tara, María and me were there, and Luciana and Juan almost... This guy can play a dozen of instruments, at the same time! It was really good.

"I guess I should say,

This is all that I need,

Music and you and the air that I breathe.

And I guess I should say,

These feelings we have,

Come out from the soul make you just want to dance.

And I guess I should say,

We are lucky today,

And cheers my friends for the vibes you bring.

I guess I should say,

This is all that I need,

Music and you and the gift of the trees."

A followup

Chávez you SUCK.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


That's what Juan Carlos, King of Spain, said to Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela. This happened in Santiago de Chile, last night.

Good for the King!! I am with him.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Who is the King of the Gossips?

If you want to keep a secret there are some people that you should avoid... or if you want something in the grape vine then you should tell them the "secrets"...

There are two candidates to be the King of the Gossips... which one do you think should be the winner?

-----La Chounie or Agustin? If the decision is too tough... a draw could be the answer... ;)

Olga the alga and Karl the coral

Once upon a time in the reef ... long before all types of life were created, an alga called Olga was traveling around the tropics. Suddenly Olga saw something in the bottom of that warm and lovely sea and she went to have a look to that weir fellow.

Zara: Hello stranger. Who are you? What is your name?
Fellow: G'day mate, I'm a coral, my name is Karl.
Zara: Oh, nice to meet you Karl! Actually I'm a homeless and I'm looking for a place to spend the night, and you seem to have some room over there, don't you? Would you mind if I stay here for tonight?
Karl: No, I don't, but how will you pay me?
Olga: I can do photosynthesis and give you some of that energy ... basically, I'm able to feed you.
Karl: Ohhh! that's great!

And Olga the alga and Karl the coral live together for ever ever...

These is the story that we were told in the aquarium by the lovely old volunteer :) Isn't it great?

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

New species in the Great Barrier Reef

In a reef nearby Townsville (Tropical Queensland, Australia) a group of scientist from the Australian Institute of Marine Science discovered three new species (see picture below) that might evolved in a combination from apes and fishes. One of the scientist, Dr. Mick Dundee said that these discovery supports that Man is descended from the apes but also add that that transitional stage in which "Man" lost the hair was in a reef.

As you can see, we're always following the latest news in science!

Have a nice day

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

So much house work, so little time

Shaun: "One of the best things about tango is that it teaches women how to walk in high heels."

Anne: "Except that most of the time you walk backwards. Forwards, well forwards is another thing all together."

Leah: "Didn't you once say that stilettos are good for housework?"

Shaun: "Wearing stilettos to do the housework in well, that looks pretty good. Oh, let me clarify that: for women that is....hee hee hee."

Hmmm. Red t-bar metallics for sweeping, blue satin ankle straps for dishwashing, black patent leather for cleaning the shower (Mee-ooow!)

I dunno, but Shaun looks pretty excited about taking these babies home, putting on some Queen ("I want to break free") and getting out the Hoover ;-)

Leah: "I never let the truth get in the way of a good story Shaun."

Poll Results: Loonie Keith

This was a close one: Keith 4, Mel 3, Tom 2 and Mike 1. To be honest, at first I doubted whether it would be appropriate to classify Keith Richards as a lunatic. But now, given that he got the most votes, that he fell from a coconut tree in New Zealand (what the f...?) and that he sniffed his dad's ashes with cocaine, make me feel reassured: he is completely out of his fucking mind. And he's awesome.

By the way, check out the "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks, it's great.

Friday, November 2, 2007

"This is an urban legend"

I finally found the report that I was looking for!

Some time ago I had a strong discussion with a colleague about cooling water in plastic bottles o warming food in plastic containers (specially designed for microwaves and so on...) into the microwave oven. He pointed that I was contaminating the microwave (or the water, but in that case the 'injured' would have been myself) with dioxins, and basically because of that everybody would get cancer.
Today, I received an email form a friend that was supporting his idea (bugger!)... but it looked like a spam. The good thing was that there where a reference to The John Hopkins University. I went to the JHU site and the report saying that the e-mail is spam was there to be read. Basically the issue of cooling water in plastic bottles or warming food in plastic containers is an urban legend, there are not scientific proves supporting that idea.

Part of the report:

Question: What do you make of this recent email warning that claims dioxins can be released by freezing water in plastic bottles?

Answer: No. This is an urban legend. There are no dioxins in plastics. In addition, freezing actually works against the release of chemicals. Chemicals do not diffuse as readily in cold temperatures, which would limit chemical release if there were dioxins in plastic, and we don’t think there are.

Question: What about cooking with plastics?

Answer: In general, whenever you heat something you increase the likelihood of pulling chemicals out. Chemicals can be released from plastic packaging materials like the kinds used in some microwave meals. Some drinking straws say on the label “not for hot beverages.” Most people think the warning is because someone might be burned. If you put that straw into a boiling cup of hot coffee, you basically have a hot water extraction going on, where the chemicals in the straw are being extracted into your nice cup of coffee. We use the same process in the lab to extract chemicals from materials we want to analyze.

If you are cooking with plastics or using plastic utensils, the best thing to do is to follow the directions and only use plastics that are specifically meant for cooking. Inert containers are best, for example heat-resistant glass, ceramics and good old stainless steel.

Question: Is there anything else you want to add?

Answer: Don’t be afraid of drinking water. It is very important to drink adequate amounts of water and, by the way that’s in addition to all the coffee, beer and other diuretics we love to consume. Unless you are drinking really bad water, you are more likely to suffer from the adverse effects of dehydration than from the minuscule amounts of chemical contaminants present in your water supply. Relatively speaking, the risk from exposure to microbial contaminants is much greater than that from chemicals.

And here’s one more uncomfortable fact. Each of us already carries a certain body burden of dioxins regardless of how and what we eat. If you look hard enough, you’ll find traces of dioxins in pretty much every place on earth. Paracelsus the famous medieval alchemist, used to put it straight and simple: it’s the dose that makes the poison.--Tim Parsons

Have a nice weekend!
And win some money betting horses...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Following up the discussion

Science 26 October 2007:
Vol. 318. no. 5850, p. 550
DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5850.550b

From Science

Watson Condemned for Comments on Intelligence

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee


Watson has apologized for the remarks, which also prompted London's Science Museum to cancel a scheduled talk. "I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said," he told The Associated Press. "To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly." But in a 19 October commentary published in The Independent, Watson seemed also to put up a defense. "The overwhelming desire of society today is to assume that equal powers of reason are a universal heritage of humanity," he wrote. "It may well be. But simply wanting this to be the case is not enough. This is not science."

Neither were his own comments, says Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner. "He has taken an extremely complex set of issues--what is intelligence, what is race, how valid are IQ tests--and reduced them to a provocative sound bite," says Gardner. As someone "of almost unique prestige in the scientific community," Gardner notes, Watson "has a special responsibility to watch his tongue."

To read the entire article, follow this link (only if you have access to Science):

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Can not be better than that.

We (Maria, Yves, Tara, Kathy, Jayne, Paul and me) went last Monday 29th to the John Butler Trio concert at the Canberra University. Two words: fucking good.

Peace, love and union.
Or something like that.

And the big stadium is already waiting...

Picture taken in front of the Maracanã stadium. It's saying: new Maracanã. Where the 2014 world cup final will be held (or something like that) :) See you there!

Bras(z)il 2014 !!

Congratulations to Brasil, they will host the World Cup in 7 years time. I am already saving money for being able to attend what will be remembered as the Maracanaço II: Argentina winning the final 2-1 to the hosts :)


Featured music: Mazzy Star

Mazzy Star were Mexican-American Hope Sandoval (from East LA) and David Roback. They were the most representative band of dream-pop from the 1990s. And... I don't know, I like the music. It's quite 'easy listening' (is it?). Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Canberra, 2050 a.D.

The other day, Michael Costello, chief of ACTEW , made a very grim statement about the ACT's future. He said that if severe drought persists, Canberra will eventually cease to be a viable place to live in. So, as in JG Ballard's famous novel, The Drought, people would end up moving to the coast, and 'screw the capital'.
Of course it would be a political disaster and a great blow to aussie pride, but I think it's not a matter of 'if' but 'when'. Desalinized water is what some are counting on as the providencial savior. But it's expensive and the coast is far. So everyone would move anyway when they see the first water bill.
Hence, I will put forward my pilot project for the new capital. It will be equally distributed throughout the whole country. O'Connor is to be moved to Cairns. Uni, of course, will go to Sydney. Thus, I'll be forced to work from home. Weston Creek goes to Perth (sorry Juan, it'll be a long way to soccer training). All of South Canberra goes to Adelaide, where they'll blend nicely with the locals. And the Parliament House will sit on top Uluru (a.k.a. Ayers Rock), as a strong political statement from Howard to the Aborigines: 'I've got the power, suckers'.

Addendum: If you want to see a place where this happened before, go to Fatehpur Sikri, India.

Some play in the major leagues

Cheers man. When are you signing autographs?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Poll results: Cheers Barney

Yes, he is a classic. Of all the Simpsons characters he's certainly the most philosophical and sensitive. Anyway, there were votes for many characters, so each one seems to find identification with a different one. Maybe the secret of the series' success?

Beach volley ball

Days are longer, temperature higher guys fit :-/
The beach volley ball season has to start this week!
We don't have a proper beach in Canberra, but we do have sand, a net and a volley ball.
Those who are interested in join us, the season will start this Thursday after work at Dickson pool. More info soon...

Thank you very much mates! – Gracias totales!

We want to thank Matt, David B., José, María and Nano for the enormous hand they gave us last Saturday moving our stuff to the new place. Also to Kathy for the chocolates and to the owner of the house (who will not see this, but anyway...) that left a bottle of champagne for the housewarming*.

So ... a housewarming party is coming soon!

Have a nice week.


* The bottle has gone, forget about it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Barrero Guerschman Duo"

Dance the La Bamba

Dance the La Bamba
It´s necessary to have a little grace (style)
A little grace for me and you

Up! Up!
Up! Up! I´m for you
I´m for you
I´m for you

I am not a sailor
I am not a sailor, I am a captain
I am a captain
I am a captain

Thursday night at the Old Canberra Inn Karaoke...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Canberra Girls

Not all Aussies, but Canberra Girls all the same....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

drinks Thursday

hi everybody - i'm heading out of town for five weeks on Saturday so how about we get together for a beer and a game of pool at the Old Canberra Inn 7pm Thursday. Oh and best of luck to Yves who's having both wisdom teeth removed Wednesday(?)......ouch.

23 Mirning Crescent, Aranda, 2nd part

OK guys, it's official now: we will live in Aranda for the next 12 months.

Moving out this Saturday, any help will be welcome.

I promised an esky full of cold beers
(only for those able to lift the fridge to the truck with no help).


Homeward Sound

Despite spending weeks at sea as larvae, potentially scattered over many kilometers, young coral reef fish find suitable settlement habitat and in some cases return to their natal reefs. We report that some dominant families of larval reef fish use the sounds made by fish and shrimp resident on reefs to help them locate and settle on reefs and that some fish groups use specific components of the reef sound to guide their behavior. These findings could offer potential for active management of reef fisheries.
Stephen D. Simpson, Mark Meekan, John Montgomery, Rob McCauley, and Andrew Jeffs (8 April 2005)

Science 308 (5719), 221

One Out Of Ten (A Classic Commercial)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Interesting... but what about the sound they make?

Following our discussion, this is the article/report about corals and the moon light.

Science 19 October 2007:
Vol. 318. no. 5849, pp. 467 - 470
DOI: 10.1126/science.1145432


Light-Responsive Cryptochromes from a Simple Multicellular Animal, the Coral Acropora millepora

O. Levy,1 L. Appelbaum,2 W. Leggat,1 Y. Gothlif,3 D. C. Hayward,4,6 D. J. Miller,5,6 O. Hoegh-Guldberg1,5

Hundreds of species of reef-building corals spawn synchronously over a few nights each year, and moonlight regulates this spawning event. However, the molecular elements underpinning the detection of moonlight remain unknown. Here we report the presence of an ancient family of blue-light–sensing photoreceptors, cryptochromes, in the reef-building coral Acropora millepora. In addition to being cryptochrome genes from one of the earliest-diverging eumetazoan phyla, cry1 and cry2 were expressed preferentially in light. Consistent with potential roles in the synchronization of fundamentally important behaviors such as mass spawning, cry2 expression increased on full moon nights versus new moon nights. Our results demonstrate phylogenetically broad roles of these ancient circadian clock–related molecules in the animal kingdom.

To read the complete article follow this link (it'll work only if you have access to Science)

Some empanada from 'El Cuartito' anyone?

23 Mirning Crescent, Aranda

G'day everyone,

Start remembering that address, because it looks like that's the place where we will live for the next 12 months.

Housewarming party coming soon.

We will probably move next Saturday, I will call for hands to help moving the heavy stuff. Will let you know.

This is the ad in all classifieds:

And (you know me) a map:

View Larger Map

have a good week


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Featured music: Egberto Gismonti

With some delay again, I proudly present you the Brazilian virtuoso Egberto Gismonti. He was born with a gift, but on top of that he studied music with no other than Nadia Boulanger (!). This guy is a 'MacGyver' of music, give him a pen, a rubber band and bubble gum and he will play it.
Interestingly, he struggled for years and years to buy the copyright of his huge musical production off EMI International. He succeeded, but that's not quite it for him. In his own words:

“In the last 3 years I have been working to get permission from the great copyright powerhouses such as ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors y Publishers) and GEMA (Society for Musical Performing and Mechanical Reproduction Rights) to allow people to download my entire production for free. Why do I want to give my music away? Because after more than 30 years as a professional musician I know that the real responsibles for all I have done are the people who enjoy my music and attend my concerts and buy my records, not the companies that produce them. I would love to see the day when music and books are free. In Brazil, a book costs 20 dollars. The same for a CD. That’s absurd. As a producer, I know a record cannot possibly cost that much. In a world like the one we live in, the only way to make our art transcedent is to make the financial question become irrelevant.”



Watson strikes back

Published: 19 October 2007 ,The Independent

James Watson: To question genetic intelligence is not racism

Science is no stranger to controversy. The pursuit of discovery, of knowledge, is often uncomfortable and disconcerting. I have never been one to shy away from stating what I believe to be the truth, however difficult it might prove to be. This has, at times, got me in hot water.

Rarely more so than right now, where I find myself at the centre of a storm of criticism. I can understand much of this reaction. For if I said what I was quoted as saying, then I can only admit that I am bewildered by it. To those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologise unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief.

I have always fiercely defended the position that we should base our view of the world on the state of our knowledge, on fact, and not on what we would like it to be. This is why genetics is so important. For it will lead us to answers to many of the big and difficult questions that have troubled people for hundreds of years.

But those answers may not be easy, for, as I know all too well, genetics can be cruel. My own son may be one of its victims. Warm and perceptive at the age of 37, Rufus cannot lead an independent life because of schizophrenia, lacking the ability to engage in day-to-day activities. For all too long, my wife Ruth and I hoped that what Rufus needed was an appropriate challenge on which to focus. But as he passed into adolescence, I feared the origin of his diminished life lay in his genes. It was this realisation that led me to help to bring the human genome project into existence.

In doing so, I knew that many new moral dilemmas would arise as a consequence and would early on establish the ethical, legal and societal components of the genome project. Since 1978, when a pail of water was dumped over my Harvard friend E O Wilson for saying that genes influence human behaviour, the assault against human behavioural genetics by wishful thinking has remained vigorous.

But irrationality must soon recede. It will soon be possible to read individual genetic messages at costs which will not bankrupt our health systems. In so doing, I hope we see whether changes in DNA sequence, not environmental influences, result in behaviour differences. Finally, we should be able to establish the relative importance of nature as opposed to nurture.

One in three people looking for a job in temporary employment bureaux in Los Angeles is a psychopath or a sociopath. Is this a consequence of their environment or their genetic components? DNA sequencing should give us the answer. The thought that some people are innately wicked disturbs me. But science is not here to make us feel good. It is to answer questions in the service of knowledge and greater understanding.

In finding out the extent to which genes influence moral behaviour, we shall also be able to understand how genes influence intellectual capacities. Right now, at my institute in the US we are working on gene-caused failures in brain development that frequently lead to autism and schizophrenia. We may also find that differences in these respective brain development genes also lead to differences in our abilities to carry out different mental tasks.

In some cases, how these genes function may help us to understand variations in IQ, or why some people excel at poetry but are terrible at mathematics. All too often people with high mathematical abilities have autistic traits. The same gene that gives some people such great mathematical abilities may also lead to autistic behaviour. This is why, in studying autism and schizophrenia, we believe that we shall come very close to a better understanding of intelligence and, therefore, of the differences in intelligence.

We do not yet adequately understand the way in which the different environments in the world have selected over time the genes which determine our capacity to do different things. The overwhelming desire of society today is to assume that equal powers of reason are a universal heritage of humanity. It may well be. But simply wanting this to be the case is not enough. This is not science.

To question this is not to give in to racism. This is not a discussion about superiority or inferiority, it is about seeking to understand differences, about why some of us are great musicians and others great engineers. It is very likely that at least some 10 to 15 years will pass before we get an adequate understanding for the relative importance of nature versus nurture in the achievement of important human objectives. Until then, we as scientists, wherever we wish to place ourselves in this great debate, should take care in claiming what are unarguable truths without the support of evidence.

The writer, a Nobel prizewinner for his part in unraveling DNA, is chairman of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the United States

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Highlights of our trip to Argentina, Fiji and Auckland. First of all, I won't say/write anything about the wedding and I don't want to make this post too long because I know nobody will be keen on read it. Let's see the top 5 hot-moments of the trip:

top5: The great time we spent snorkeling and drinking beers in Fiji. In Spanish: Rascada de panza a 4 manos.
top4: Jose and Maria rescuing us (6:30 am at 100k from Canberra) in our way to the airport.
top3: The mess in Ezeiza airport and the US$100k that were stolen from the security bag.
top2: sanguchitos de miga (dobles triples con matenca o mayonesa), mates with friends, alfajores, beeers, wines and nightlife, and the best of my country: asados with family and friends.
top1: The day the All Blacks lost against France we were in the airport in Auckland and as soon as the game finished Juan went to the Adidas shop asking if the price of the shirts were cheaper ... no no no no... in my neighborhood that means 'fight'. He survived.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Photo lovers

For those that love photography, this is a blog to get in touch with people that love it too.

Hasta luego!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Regis' videos shown during the wedding

Hi there!

I think Régis included in his email all of you who regularly read the blog. I am including his videos here anyway.



Si Si Comrade Curtin!

Whilst on a recent holiday in Buenos Aires, Mr Shaun Curtin was snapped outside the Communist Party headquarters in Sarimento. Sources close to Mr Curtin maintain that he was on a 'purely diplomatic mission', eager to discuss ideological positions and political philosophy. Exactly what position Curtin took in these discussions remains unclear. It seems that during Curtin's visit to South America, he exhibited some mysterious behaviour. One source travelling with him, a Dr Giger, reported Mr Curtin hooded and disguised as a Jedi Lord. "Shaun was acting very strange, he gets into the taxi saying 'follow that cab'. It was just so.....weird." Exactly whom Mr Curtin was following is unknown. Curtin is well known for his outspoken views on Marxism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Capitalism, Secular Humanism, Doing The Housework In Stilettos, and more recently, Elephant Vaginas, but THAT my dear friends is another story........

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


A short story by the Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar.

There was a time when I thought a great deal about the axolotls. I went to see them in the aquarium at the Jardin des Plantes and stayed for hours watching them, observing their immobility, their faint movements. Now I am an axolotl.

I got to them by chance one spring morning when Paris was spreading its peacock tail after a wintry Lent. I was heading down tbe boulevard Port‑Royal, then I took Saint-Marcel and L'Hopital and saw green among all that grey and remembered the lions. I was friend of the lions and panthers, but had never gone into the dark, humid building that was the aquarium. I left my bike against the gratings and went to look at the tulips. The lions were sad and ugly and my panther was asleep. I decided on the aquarium, looked obliquely at banal fish until, unexpectedly, I hit it off with the axolotls. I stayed watching them for an hour and left, unable to think of anything else.

In the library at Sainte-Genevieve, I consulted a dictionary and learned that axolotls are the larval stage (provided with gills) of a species of salamander of the genus Ambystoma. That they were Mexican I knew already by looking at them and their little pink Aztec faces and the placard at the top of the tank. I read that specimens of them had been found in Africa capable of living on dry land during the periods of drought, and continuing their life under water when the rainy season came. I found their Spanish name, ajolote, and the mention that they were edible, and that their oil was used (no longer used, it said ) like cod‑liver oil.

I didn't care to look up any of the specialized works, but the next day I went back to the Jardin des Plantes. I began to go every morning, moming and aftemoon some days. The aquarium guard smiled perplexedly taking my ticket. I would lean up against the iron bar in front of the tanks and set to watching them. There's nothing strange in this, because after the first minute I knew that we were linked, that something infinitely lost and distant kept pulling us together. It had been enough to detain me that first morning in front of the sheet of glass where some bubbles rose through the water. The axolotls huddled on the wretched narrow (only I can know how narrow and wretched) floor of moss and stone in the tank. There were nine specimens, and the majority pressed their heads against the glass, looking with their eyes of gold at whoever came near them. Disconcerted, almost ashamed, I felt it a lewdness to be peering at these silent and immobile figures heaped at the bottom of the tank. Mentally I isolated one, situated on the right and somewhat apart from the others, to study it better. I saw a rosy little body, translucent (I thought of those Chinese figurines of milky glass), looking like a small lizard about six inches long, ending in a fish's tail of extraordinary delicacy, the most sensitive part of our body. Along the back ran a transparent fin which joinedwith the tail, but what obsessed me was the feet, of the slenderest nicety, ending in tiny fingers with minutely human nails. And then I discovered its eyes, its face. Inexpressive features, with no other trait save the eyes, two orifices, like brooches, wholly of transparent gold, lacking any life but looking, letting themselves be penetrated by my look, which seemed to travel past the golden level and lose itself in a diaphanous interior mystery. A very slender black halo ringed the eye and etched it onto the pink flesh, onto the rose stone of the head, vaguely triangular, but with curved and triangular sides which gavie it a total likeness to a statuette corroded by time. The mouth was masked by the triangular plane of the face, its considerable size would be guessed only in profile; in front a delicate crevice barely slit the lifeless stone. On both sides of the head where the ears should have been, there grew three tiny sprigs, red as coral, a vegetal outgrowth, the gills, I suppose. And they were the only thing quick about it; every ten or fifteen seconds the sprigs pricked up stiffly and again subsided. Once in a while a foot would barely move, I saw the diminutive toes poise mildly on the moss. It's that we don't enjoy moving a lot, and the tank is so cramped we barely move in any direction and we're hitting one of the others with our tail or our head --difficulties arise, fights, tiredness. The time feels like it's less if we stay quietly.

It was their quietness that made me lean toward them fascinated the first time I saw the axolotls. Obscurely I seemed to understand their secret will, to abolish space and time with an indifferent immobility. I knew better later; the gill contraction, the tentative reckoning of the delicate feet on the stones, the abrupt swimming (some of them swim with a simple undulation of the body) proved to me that they were capable of escaping that mineral lethargy in which they spent whole hours. Above all else, their eyes obsessed me. In the standing tanks on either side of them, different fishes showed me the simple stupidity of their handsome eyes so similar to our own. The eyes of the axolotls spoke to me of the presence of a different life, of another way of seeing. Glueing my face to the glass (the guard would cough fussily once in a while), I tried to see better those diminutive golden points, that entrance to the infinitely slow and remote world of these rosy creatures. It was useless to tap with one finger on the glass directly in front of their faces; they never gave the least reaction. The golden eyes continued burning with their soft, terrible light; they continued looking at me from an unfathomable depth which made me dizzy.

And nevertheless they were close. I knew it before this, before being an axolotl. I learned it the day I came near them for the first time. The anthropomorphic features of a monkey reveal the reverse of what most people believe, the distance that is traveled from them to us. The absolute lack of similarity between axolotls and human beings proved to me that my recognition was valid, that I was not propping myself up with easy analogies. Only the little hands . . . But an eft, the common newt, has such hands also, and we are not at all alike. I think it was the axolotls' heads, that triangular pink shape with the tiny eyes of gold. That looked and knew. That laid the claim. They were not animals.

It would seem easy, almost obvious, to fall into mythology. I began seeing in the axolotls a metamorphosis which did not succeed in revoking a mysterious humanity. I imagined them aware, slaves of their bodies, condemned infinitely to the silence of the abyss, to a hopeless meditation. Their blind gaze, the diminutive gold disc without expression and nonetheless terribly shining, went through me like a message: "Save us, save us." I caught myself mumbling words of advice, conveying childish hopes.They continued to look at me, immobile; from time to time the rosy branches of the gills stiffened. In that in­stant I felt a muted pain; perhaps they were seeing me, attracting my strength to penetrate into the impenetrable thing of their lives. They were not human beings, but I had found in no animal such a profound relation with myself. The axolotls were like witnesses of something, ­and at times like horrible judges. I felt ignoble in front of them; there was such a terrifying purity in those transpar­ent eyes. They were larvae, but larva means disguise and also phantom. Behind those Aztec faces, without expres­sion but of an implacable cruelty, what semblance was awaiting its hour?

I was afraid of them. I think that had it not been for feeling the proximity of other visitors and the guard, I would not have been bold enough to remain alone with them. "You eat them alive with your eyes, hey," the guard said, laughing; he likely thought I was a little cracked. What he didn't notice was that it was they devouring me slowly with their eyes, in a cannibalism of gold. At any distance from the aquarium, I had only to think of them, it was as though I were being affected from a distance. It got to the point that I was going every day, and at night I thought of them immobile in the darkness, slowly putting a hand out which immediately encountered another. Perhaps their eyes could see in the dead of night, and for them the day continued indefinitely. The eyes of axolotls have no lids. I know now that there was nothing strange, that that had to occur. Leaning over in front of the tank each morning, the recognition was greater. They were suffering, every fibre of my body reached toward that stifled pain, that stiff torment at the bottom of the tank. They were lying in wait for something, a remote dominion destroyed, an age of liberty when the world had been that of the axolotls. Not possible that such a terrible expression which was attaining the overthrow of that forced blankness on their stone faces should carry any message other than one of pain, proof of that eternal sentence, of that liquid hell they were undergoing. Hopelessly, I wanted to prove to myself that my own sensibility was projecting a nonexistent consciousness upon the axolotl. They and I knew. So there was nothing strange in what happened. My face was pressed against the glass of the aquarium, my eyes were attempting once more to penetrate the mystery of those golden eyes without iris, without pupil. I saw from very close up the face of an axolotl immobile next to the glass. No transition and no surprise, I saw my face against the glass, I saw it on the outside of the tank, I saw it on the other side of the glass. Then my face drew back and I understood.

Only one thing was strange: to go on thinking as usual, to know. To realize that was, for the first moment, like the horror of a man buried alive awaking to his fate. Outside, my face came close to the glass again, I saw my mouth, the lips compressed with the effort of understanding the axolotls. I was an axolotl and now I knew instantly that no understanding was possible. He was outside the aquarium, his thinking was a thinking outside the tank. Recognizing him, being him himself, I was an axolotl and in my world. The horror began -- I learned in the same moment of believing myself prisoner in the body of an axolotl, metamorphosed into him with my human mind intact, buried alive in an axolotl, condemned to move lucidly among unconscious creatures. But that stopped when a foot just grazed my face, when I moved just a little to one side and saw an axolotl next to me who was looking at me, and understood that he knew also, no communication possible, but very clearly. Or I was also in him, or all of us were thinking humanlike, incapable of expression, limited to the golden splendour of our eyes looking at the face of the man pressed against the aquarium.

He returned many times, but he comes less often now. Weeks pass without his showing up. I saw him yesterday, he looked at me for a long time and left briskly. It seemed to me that he was not so much interested in us any more, that he was coming out of habit. Since the only thing I do is think, I could think about him a lot. It occurs to me that at the beginning we continued to communicate, that he felt more than ever one with the mystery which was claiming him. But the bridges were broken between him and me, because what was his obsession is now an axolotl, alien to his human life. I think that at the beginning I was capable of returning to him in a certain way, only in a certain way-- and of keeping awake his desire to know us better. I am an axolotl for good now, and if I think like a man it's only because every axolotl thinks like a man inside his rosy stone semblance. I believe that all this succeeded in communicating something to him in those first days, when I was still he. And in this final solitude to which he no longer comes, I console myself by thinking that perhaps he is going to write a story about us, that, believing he's making up a story, he's going to write all this about axolotls.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


What's the difference between the All Blacks and half a pill of Viagra?

At least the Viagra will give you a 'semi'

Monday, October 8, 2007

On guys wearing pink shirts

Pink is a feminine colour. Pink shirts are feminine. Pink is the colour worn on the dresses and clothing of the fairer sex to remind us of the sacred treats inside.

So gentlemen, although though some girls may think that some guys look good in pink, before you don the pink to face the world ask yourself: how do I really feel?

Mario Cippiolini (centre left) is one hip, cool dude.
And the Lion King does not wear pink.

Con el corazón: Argentina 19 - Scotland 13

It was worth waking up at 4:30 am to see the Pumas wrestle Scotland. Heart -stopping last 10 minutes played within diving distance from the Argie in-goal, but the Puma 'claw' overcame again. As for me, I'm quite happy we made it to semifinals, faring better than the Wallabies and the 'World Champions', hohoho. I think only a miracle could put Argentina in the final, since the Pumas have never (ever!) beaten the powerful Springboks.

If Argentina beats England in the final, then not only God exists, but He is Argentinian.

Vamos Los Pumas CARAJO !!!