Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Glucose song

This is the funniest nerd song I've ever come across! Sung to the tune of "Sugar, Honey, honey" performed by The Archies and parodied by Greg Crowther.

Glucose -- ah, sugar sugar --
You are my favorite fuel
From the blood-borne substrate pool.
Glucose -- monosaccharide sugar --
You're sweeter than a woman's kiss
'Cause I need you for glycolysis.

I just can't believe the way my muscles take you in.
(For you, they'll open the door.)
All it takes is a little bit of insulin
(To upregulate GLUT4).

Ah, glucose -- ah, sugar sugar --
You help me make ATP
When my predators are chasing me.
Ah, glucose -- you're an aldehyde sugar,
And you're sweeter than a woman's kiss
'Cause I need you for glycolysis.

I just can't believe the way my muscles break you down.
(My glycogen is almost gone.)
A few more seconds and I'll be rigor mortis-bound.
(Acidosis done me wrong.)

Your sweet is turning sour, baby.
I'm losing all my power, baby.
I'm gonna make your muscles ache.
No, no, no!
I'm swimming in lactate, baby.
Yes, I'm swimming in lactate, baby.
Now I'm drowning in lactate, baby.
I'm gonna make your muscles ache.
No, no, no!
I'm drowning in lactate, baby.

Ah, glucose -- ah, sugar sugar --
I used you up and you left me flat;
Now I'll have to get my kicks from fat.
Oh, glucose, glucose, sugar, sugar,
The honeymoon is over now.

Jargons demystified:

  • ATP - adenosine triphosphate, the "money" of energy inside all of you cells
  • GLUT4 - glucose transporter type 4. The transporter protein that carries glucose across cell surface membranes. This variant of glucose transporter is found in muscles, its number is increased by the presence of insulin
  • glycolysis - the stepwise breakdown of sugar (glucose/fructose/galactose) in cellular respiration
  • aldehyde - organic compounds containing a terminal -CHO group in its molecular structure.
  • rigor mortis - muscle stiffness after death. This property is important in the meat industry and forensics.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Track events effectively with

I am very sure that most of you use Twitter to share the moments of your life and catch up with friends on how they're doing. And we get excited over things that come by once in a while, either it's a meeting of the minds during an event or happenings that unite us, things we show a great cause for.

Getting excited, WE TWEET! It's great sharing our minds revolving around a cause that brings us together, our timelines will never stop telling the story.

Twitter is a great way to show our passion, but what about a specialised service that helps us to keeping track of tweets centred around an event? It has been shown that number of tweets can spike up to 3200 per second around major events (normal load: 750 per second). Expecting more than 30 entries per minute, it's hard to keep track of things using Twitter search.

For this purpose, I introduce you , optimised for keeping up with event stream.

Distlr home page
The home page of

When you reach the home page, sign in with your Twitter account. After entering a #hashtag for an event you're interested for, you'll be directed to the live stream. The screen is pretty self exploratory, plus the feed streams and refreshes automatically.

You're free to reply and RT any entry. They're right there.

For this example, I typed #budget2011 and hit Go. What are we finding for? It's the Malaysian Government's budget for 2011.

Clicking on the "Popular" tab, let's check out what are the popular retweets...

popular retweets

Number (counts) of retweets for entries is there to satisfy your crave of numbers.

If you come across an interesting person, point over their profile picture. One click and you're now following him/her! Or else, by clicking on the profile picture yield other interesting stuff. Try clicking on pictures on the stream and under "Top User", each gives different results. Try it!

warisan merdeka 100 storey budget 2011

Too many entries coming in? You can search tweets according to *trending* keywords at the right hand column.

PM biggest erection yet

Oh-em-gee this is so funny. Here you are, a filtered stream with your keyword of interest.

Do have a try of Distlr and watch an event at your fingertips! Made in Australia.

Related post:
on Tribalytic blog

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Malaria in 3D

Malaria is a mosquito borne disease that afflicts tropical countries worldwide, however the poorest countries are afflicted most, especially in Africa.

Ever wonder why the malaria parasite, the protozoa under the genus Plasmodium, is so deadly? How does it cause disease in humans? What is the life cycle of the parasite?

Let the video do the job!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Kudos to Dr Drew Barry of the for producing these awesome videos!

Trivia: the name 'malaria' means "bad air".

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When faith collides with tradition

Ever since I come into contact with Christianity since my high school days, all the love shared by the people, the generosity shown to the needy, the purpose in life that gives direction, the heart of living a holy life to bring glory to the Creator and the faith in Him to overcome difficulties, they never fail to impress me. Or even, love your enemy that seem to be the best solution, if not for the sake of Kingdom but also for the sake of your health that is to bring peace to my social surroundings. The weekly church that gives me the opportunity to be a better person, on the notion of faith comes by hearing.

All of these are invigorating nourishments that keeps me forward, making everyday fresh.

Growing up from a traditional Chinese family, my parents keeping with their Taoist-Buddhist ways, has also left an indelible mark on me. Compassion, the central value in Buddhism, goes well with my new faith. Since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by the idols placed on altar, anthropomorphic they are indeed, it was my maternal grandfather who taught me, they have their names. Being a foolish kid that I was, I never really understood what those stuff placed on the altar are for. Through the years, I grew in understanding, although not well versed in what the items mean, at the very least I knew to show reverence to those religious objects.

Suddenly.... my maternal grandfather departed. A person who loved and understood me that he was, I grieved on his demise, I am thankful to have him as my grandfather. As per the Chinese tradition, his name will forever be remembered on the ancestral tablet.

Getting to know Planetshakers in Melbourne since I started university was a turning point in my life. I am made anew, and be at peace with all.

Being a Chinese, carrying the heritage and lineage of something so ancient, also as the eldest in the family, I have my responsibility. Being a first generation Christian, converted to bring joy and blessing. But.... this one thing gets in the way.

I know that Christians have totally forgotten about the ancestral worshipping, they worship God and God alone. Being at the crossroads, I am in a kind of dilemma. My late grandfather loves me so much, and I of course will remember him for what he has done. Now, you said that not paying the respect with a joss stick to the ancestral altar is showing disrespect to a grandparent who loved me so much.

That's when faith collides with tradition that gets in my way. This is a storm I've always been seeking an answer for. I've read countless opinions and heard about practices, there are so many stances to the same issue. This is personal, yet contentious.

The old has passed away, why would I need to adore those that are dead and gone? What about the question of filial piety then? Shouldn't you and I fulfill it during life, that's all the enough time for us to honour; any act beyond death of either is considered too late? As I have been told, it's an irony that children argue with parents in life, but upon death children are asked to show filial piety and worship their parents' spirits.

And now, why parents fear so much about children's conversion into Christianity? Really, there is nothing to be afraid about Jesus. The real reason turns out to be: the FEAR of losing cultural tradition.

I'm now set free, I'd want to see my family set free too.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Test tube babies bags 2010 Nobel Prize

While I was busy watching athletes in action in the Commonwealth Games at New Delhi, another event, worthy of attention, no other than Nobel Prize announcements for groundbreaking works that left their indelible mark on humanity.

Why am I so particular about Nobel Prizes? What I'm interested about Nobel Prizes is not about who're getting the awards, but rather what are they awarded for. The Nobel Prizes began with a will by Alfred Nobel (guess who's he?) to reward people who made substantial contributions to humanity and changed the course of history.

Who wins the award?

The first Nobel Prize to be announced (every year) is in Physiology or Medicine. The award for this year goes to Robert G. Edwards from the University of Cambridge.

Robert Edwards
Robert Edwards

What is it awarded for?

As with any Nobel Prize you'd expect it will be awarded for something that has high impact on our well being. Robert Edwards is awarded the Nobel Prize for a technique called in vitro fertilization, which everybody calls it test tube babies. Test tube babies was first shown in rabbits (not by Robert Edwards) to show that egg cells can be fertilized in test tubes with a sperm and produce baby rabbits.

It turned out that human eggs have an entirely different life cycle from rabbits'. Robert Edwards sorted out everything that regulate maturation of human egg, sought gynacological expertise in obtaining a human egg and viola, the first test tube baby, Louise Brown was born in 1978.

nobel prize physiology medicine 2010 ivf poster
Click to view full size image. You can download a pdf version here.

What is the impact of his research?

By pioneering IVF, Robert Edwards brought great joy to many infertile couples. Infertility affects 10% of couples worldwide, to date more than 4 million people have been born through this technique. Many of these test tube babies have children and become parents themselves (by natural means). Not only this technique brought joy to couples, IVF has the potential to change the course of world history should any of these test tube babies or their descendants become world leaders. That's why I ask you not to underestimate this contribution of him.

Under normal circumstances, 20 - 30% of attempts lead to birth of a child. Complications in pregnancy can occur but it's very rare. Long term studies of IVF children shows that they are just as healthy as normal children. So, IVF is a safe and proven way to treat infertility.

What are the implications of infertility?

Infertility is not just a medical problem, it poses psychological consequences to affected people as well. Many infertile couples faced disappointment and psychological trauma all their lives. If you put yourself into their shoes, wouldn't IVF come as a gospel to you?

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine became one of the trending topics in Twitter moments after it was announced, so you can see how much it impacted the world. Likewise, the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Nobel Peace Prize trended on Twitter, so stay tuned for my write up on them.

Related links:
Press Release (from
Advanced information (if you think you understand biology! - opens in pdf)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Fillers

tulip close up
Close up of a tulip flower. Can you observe the reproductive parts (anther, stigma)?

Chemistry molecular model. What am I trying to tell? (Hint: the spatial relationship of atoms)

I don't know what fruit is this, taken on Philip Island.

A wallaby consuming cabbage in Melbourne Zoo.

Took me great effort to shoot this macro of a bee on a lavender. Shot at Ashcombe Maze, Mornington Peninsula.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Brighton Beach shoot

Some day last year, I took a train to Brighton Beach south of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia to watch the sunset.

brighton beach sunset victoria australia
Coastline of the beach.

The beach is walking distance from the train station. Along the eastern coast of Port Phillip, notable beaches are South Melbourne, St Kilda, Brighton and Sandringham. Unlike typical beaches, Brighton Beach features rough sand and shell debris.

Seashell collectors, anyone?

dead jellyfsh
Jellyfish washed up ashore.

The sea has living jellyfish! Be careful when you enter the body of water.

bivalve shell
Played with a bivalve shell and took this.

I miss my first year at uni!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Synchrotron radiation - the REAL thing

synchrotron radiation beamline
Image taken from Wikimedia commons.

This is a synchrotron light beam, 1 million times brighter than natural sunlight. So, what light do you want? Name any part of the light spectrum and you'll have it.

Do check out my Australian synchrotron tour posts!

Part 1
Part 2

A mysterious antigen, I'll find my way

mysterious picture

What do you think this is?

A bouquet of flowers

a bouquet of flowers

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bio21 Institute atrium

Before the semester break, I visited Bio21 Institute in Parkville, Victoria with other biochemistry students.

Bio21 molecular science and biotechnology institute atrium couch

This place is where new discoveries are happening. Inside are canggih equipments. If you're considering to do research in Bio21 why not check out their website? Here.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Barnacles on Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

barnacles mornington penisula victoria australia

Barnacles belong to the crustaceans (shrimps, crabs, prawns, lobsters), are sessile suspension feeders and live at intertidal zones. They secrete a strong and hard glue to attach onto hard surfaces.

Love them because they are at beaches, hate them because they corrode ship bodies.

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bioflashback: Outing with Yien Yien

On a date idr (I dont remember) in 2009, came to Melbourne so I asked for a meetup.

We went to Melbourne Zoo, then to State Library of Victoria.

state library of victoria la trobe reading room table
The La Trobe Reading Room in the State Library, under the dome. I lifted the table to show you the ergonomics.

woon yien yien
Had dinner in Kum Den New Restaurant.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bioflashback: Melbourne Zoo take 1

tree kangaroo
A tree kangaroo.

Outing with in Melbourne last year!


On the 30th July 2010, I went to Melbourne Docklands with Melbourne University Photography Club. Full post will be coming.

fotoholics MUPC melbourne docklands fireworks

I took this using a compact camera with free hand. Any comments & critiques?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Genetically Yours

Who knows a relatively boring photo of gel electrophoresis (which I encounter in lab) can be turned into a piece of art.

dna art

Head over to or to check out more!

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Sony Fan Fiesta

That was the night leading up to the final of FIFA World Cup 2010.

replica of jabulani
A faithful replica of the official ball.

jabulani model close up
Admiration in fine details :)

It's so awesome right?

Hello Spring

photo taken with Nokia N97

More daylight hours, more active lifestyle, leaves sprouting. Warmer temperatures, it's a new beginning!

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Photomemories of Cheer 2010 National final

Was enjoying my winter recess in Malaysia. One place to go during the season is inter-school Cheerleading Competition national final @ Stadium Putra.

dynamitez mascot
Can you handle this?

anchorz smksbs 2010
Anchorz of SBS.

cyrens sri kl 2010
Admire the Cyrens outfit too!

Some result are better communicated with photos rather than words. Here you go:

Best dressed:
pirates girls cochrane cheer 2010 best dressed

Best make up:
dstarz cheer 2010
1st place.

calyx girls cheer 2010
2nd place.

vivacious cheer 2010 make up
3rd place.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Malaysia International exhibitions 2010

3 months ago, I was at PWTC to browse co-located exhibitions of food processing & packaging; rubber, plastic, mould & die technology; and sign and digital prints.

robotic arm pwtc
The robotic arm used in factories.

one malaysia pwtc robotic arm write
Use it to perform delicate jobs.

One company used showgirls! At where? Trade show!

I took a blood test at the mezzanine floor of Tun Razak Hall 2 (it's another, but co-located event!). Test was done by UCSI Faculty of Applied Science staff. Everything's normal, also a good chat with UCSI students too!