Saturday, January 8, 2011

his fingers slipping from her hand

The longer I'm out of school, the fewer things I remember about the material I learned. I do remember one lecture from Biology 420, Evolutionary Biology, and since I don't have much else to do I will share it with you now.

We were talking about random mating. The professor asked if we could think of any examples of when humans participate in random mating. The first answer alluded to picking someone up at a bar, but depending on one's inebriation even that isn't completely random.

But guess what? Everyone that gets married is doing some random mating of some kind or other. Some may care but most don't look at toe length when considering a prospective spouse. As far as I've heard, none of my married friends tested each other for PTC tasting prior to getting hitched.

(I should call it random gene interaction? I don't know. That's a lot harder to quantify. Sticking with the awkward one.)

My personal favorite, though, is hairy knuckles. Or, rather, hair on the knuckle. Here's how you test your own (pictures may be added later, if I'm motivated enough):

1. Place your hands palms together, in the "praying" position.
2. Curl your fingers down until the fingernails of each hand are touching each other. This should put your second knuckle flat across the top.
3. Peer at these second knuckles. You may see some fine hairs (or not so fine, depending on your hairiness). Or you may not. Even if you only have one, that's enough for you to have the trait.

As soon as we learned that, I determined that this would not be an instance of random mating for me! As soon as I get engaged (perhaps even before) I will check my fiance's hand for hairs. This is important for our unborn children!

Turns out I'm heterozygous. (I called my parents after the lecture and had them check themselves, and my siblings.) Having hair on the knuckles is a dominant allele; not having them is recessive. One of my parents has them, one does not. That makes me heterozygous (one allele of each), and I have hair on my knuckles.

If my husband loves me enough, he might ask his parents and siblings whether they have hair on their second knuckle. We might find out from the beginning what his genotype is, and we can draw Punnett squares to predict our children. Or we might have to wait for kids to start showing up with their second knuckles intact to find out his genotype.

And the presence or absence of hair on the knuckles of my children will no longer be due to random mating, but ... carefully controlled experimenting? That's what I'll tell them. That's sure to be reassuring!

Well, the above is about the extent of my interest in genetics. Tiem for diffrunt career nao?

"St Stephen's Cross"

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I can trace all my books [2010]

Hello, and welcome to the list of books I read last year! I am willing to answer questions about any on this list. I am trying to decide if I should bold or star the ones I particularly enjoyed, but I reread enough that there seems no fair way to do it. So if you see something on this list that looks interesting, you might want to ask me first to make sure it's worth reading. Some ... aren't.

1. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
2. Austenland by Shannon Hale
3. Betraying Season by Marissa Doyle
4. First Light by Rebecca Stead
5. The Extra-Ordinary Princess by Carolyn Q. Ebbitt
6. The School of Fear by Gitty Daneshviri
7. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
8. The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith
9. Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith
10. Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith
11. 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling*
13. The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider
14. Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith

*A note about this one: I didn't actually read it all the way through in order. It was in the bathroom for a few days and I ended up reading the whole thing.

15. Wings by Aprilynne Pike
16. The Last Knight by Hilari Bell
17. Rogue's Home by Hilari Bell
18. Player's Ruse by Hilari Bell
19. The Ever Breath by Julianna Baggott
20. Paper Towns by John Green
21. The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox
22. Love Over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith
23. Jovah's Angel by Sharon Shinn
24. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
25. Crown of Earth by Hilari Bell
26. War Games by Audrey and Akila Coloumbis
27. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
28. Geektastic edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
29. Aunt Dimity Down Under by Nancy Atherton

30. The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine
31. The Death-Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean
32. Sword of Waters by Hilari Bell
33. The Genie Scheme by Kimberly K. Jones
34. Shield of Stars by Hilari Bell
35. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
36. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
37. The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith
38. Green by Laura Peyton Roberts
39. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
40. The Lost Children by Carolyn Cohagan
41. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
42. A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
43. Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
44. My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath

45. Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
46. Stuck on Earth by David Klass
47. The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr
48. All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot
49. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
50. Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
51. Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce
52. Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
53. Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin by Nancy Atherton
54. Aunt Dimity: Vampire-Hunter by Nancy Atherton
55. Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett
56. Maskerade by Terry Pratchett
57. The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk
58. Northward to the Moon by Polly Horvath
59. Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce
60. Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
61. The Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce

62. Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne
63. Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett
64. Mort by Terry Pratchett
65. The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones
66. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett
67. Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
68. Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett
69. The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell
70. The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne
71. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
72. Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson
73. Drizzle by Kathleen van Cleve
74. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
75. Archangel by Sharon Shinn
76. The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith
77. Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
78. The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

79. The Magician of Hoad by Margaret Mahy
80. Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede
81. The Magician's Ward by Patricia C. Wrede
82. The Princess and the Snowbird by Mette Ivie Harrison
83. The Sheen on the Silk by Anne Perry
84. Twice a Prince by Sherwood Smith
85. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
86. Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
87. The Giant-Slayer by Iain Lawrence
88. The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King
89. The Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt
90. The Ring of Five by Eoin McGamee
91. Word after Word after Word by Patricia McLachlan [not sure this one should count. It was seriously only 100 pages long.]
92. Raider's Ransom by Emily Diamand
93. Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception by Wendelin Van Draanen
94. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
95. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

96. Ever by Gail Carson Levine
97. Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman
98. Forest Born by Shannon Hale
99. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
100. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
101. Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt
102. Emma by Jane Austen
103. Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol by Jim Krieg
104. The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
105. White Cat by Holly Black
106. Spells by Aprilynne Pike
107. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
108. 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison
109. Once a Witch by Carolyn McCullough
110. The World Above by Cameron Dokey
111. Never Blame the Umpire by Gene Fehler
112. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
113. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
114. The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear

115. Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
116. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
117. Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear
118. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
119. Magic Belowstairs by Caroline Stevermeyer
120. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
121. In the Teeth of the Evidence and Other Stories by Dorothy L. Sayers
122. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
123. Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
124. Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
125. The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler
126. The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker
127. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

128. Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edgehill
129. Flecks of Gold by Alicia Buck
130. Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton
131. The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
132. The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
133. The Light of the Oracle by Victoria Hanley
134. Persuasion by Jane Austen
135. The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
136. Imaginalis by J. M. Dematteis
137. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
138. The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival: Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone by Dene Low
139. Chalice by Robin McKinley
140. The Red Blazer Girls: The Vanishing Violin by Michael D. Beil
141. Savvy by Ingrid Law
142. Scumble by Ingrid Law
143. Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones*
144. Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
145. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
146. Powerless by Matthew Cody

147. The Ghost at the Takaido Inn by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
148. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
149. Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle
150. Living Hell by Catherine Jinks
151. I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
152. The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones
153. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
154. Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
155. Relative Chaos by Kay Finch
156. The Squire's Quest by Gerald Morris
157. The Legend of the King by Gerald Morris
158. Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner
159. The Goblin Gate by Hilari Bell
160. The Fabled Fourth-Graders of Aesop Elementary by Candace Fleming
161. The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn
162. No Such Thing As Dragons by Philip Reeve
163. The Oracles of Delphi Keep by Victoria Laurie
164. The Curse of Deadman's Forest by Victoria Laurie
165. A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

166. Emily the Strange: Stranger and Stranger by Rob Reger and Jessica Grunner
167. The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O'Connor
168. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith
169. Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher by Wendelin van Draanen
170. Walls Within Walls by Maureen Sherry
171. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
172. The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones
173. The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh
174. On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells
175. The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
176. Grounded by Kate Klise
177. Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash by Wendelin van Draanen
178. Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith
179. The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees
180. Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
181. Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

182. Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes by Wendelin van Draanen
183. Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones
184. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
185. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
186. The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum
187. The Golden Spiral by Lisa Mangum
188. The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey
189. Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner
190. Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale
191. Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale
192. The Charming Quirks of Others by Alexander McCall Smith
193. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
194. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
195. Season of Gifts by Richard C. Peck
196. Academy 7 by Anne Osterland
197. Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn
198. Quatrain by Sharon Shinn
199. The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
200. One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey

Total number of books: 200
Number of First-time Reads: 150
Number of Rereads: 50
Average number of books per month: 16.67
Number of nonfiction books: 1
Number of fiction books: 199

Any other stats you're interested in seeing?