Talking Points

Three things you can talk about this week:

1. Wiretapping powers

2. The appendix’s function

3. Ayaan Hirsi Ali

And three things you can’t:

1. The Diana Inquest

2. Steroids

3. Google phone

By the numbers

Value of the American dollar against Canada’s loonie

Years since the American dollar’s value last fell below the loonie

Value of the Euro against the American dollar yesterday

Source: and

Quotes of the Week

“This first murder, it’s like first love, it’s unforgettable.”

– ALEXANDER PICHUSHKIN, of Moscow, at his trial where he admitted to murdering 63 people with the goal of marking all
64 squares of a chest board

“George Bush just vetoed Abby.”

– AMERICANS UNITED FOR CHANGE in a national ad featuring images of children, one presumably named Abby, that criticizes Bush’s veto of a children’s health care bill

“If we’re talking about hot pursuit, then there is no need for parliamentary authorization.”

– VECDI GONUL, the Turkish defense minister, on the power of Turkish troops to cross the Iraqi border to pursue Iraqi rebels

“I am now a heavenly body.”

– GEORGE TAKAI, who played Hikaru Sulu on the original “Star Trek,” on having an asteroid named after him by the International Astronomical Union’s committee

Drink of the week

The Black and Blue

The Black and Blue is for those who appreciate a good beer. Properly enjoying it gets a bit technical and involves ruining a spoon, but it’s exploitation of the physical properties of liquids will wow any guest you serve.

The black represents the black Guinness label and the blue is for Blue Moon. Contrary to intuition, the Blue Moon is actually more dense, so add it first by filling a glass halfway. Then take a metal spoon and bend the round part so that it lies at approximately a 90-degree angle from the stem.

Next, positioning the concave portion like an umbrella 2 inches above the glass, slowly drizzle Guinness over the top so that it slides off the rounded top and splatters into the Blue Moon without being mixed.


Theme Party Suggestion

Columbus Day Rediscovery – Take the day off to observe the day Christopher Columbus thought he found India. Later in the year, pick a random day to celebrate the discovery of America by Viking Bjarni Herjolfsson.

Wikipedia Article of the Week

“Gene targeting”

Gene targeting is a genetic technique that uses homologous recombination to change an endogenous gene. The method can be used to delete a gene, remove exons, and introduce point mutations. Gene targeting can be permanent or conditional. Conditions can be a specific time during development / life of the organism or limitation to a specific tissue, for example. Gene targeting requires the creation of a specific vector for each gene of interest. However, it can be used for any gene, regardless of transcriptional activity or gene size.

Mario R. Capecchi, Martin J. Evans and Oliver Smithies were declared laureates of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on “principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells”, or gene targeting.

Gene targeting methods vary depending on organism. To target genes in mice a rough outline of the necessary steps is as follows: First, a targeting construct made out of DNA is generated in bacteria. It typically contains part of the gene to be targeted, a reporter gene, and a selectable marker. This construct is then inserted into mouse embryonic stem cells in culture. After cells with the correct insertion have been selected, they can be used to contribute to a mouse’s tissue via embryo injection. Finally, chimeric mice where the modified cells made up the reproductive organs are selected for via breeding. After this step the entire body of the mouse is based on the previously selected embryonic stem cell.

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