Take Two Aspirin And …

Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba retired from blogging some time ago. But the other day, Quilly was wishing for posts for this site, and since YFNA’s pseudopods have gotten too short, and too weak with age, to go digging up local fences and bringing them home as presents (they wouldn’t have been easy to convert to .html anyway), he had to think of something else if he was going to (um) help.

Well, he just found out something about his work that he decided he just had to share.

As some of you may remember, YFNA studies seaweeds and related plant-like stuff (you know, pond scum) for a living. The dictionary word for this stuff is algae. No, this isn’t Greek to you, or me either. It’s Latin. This will become important in a minute.

You probably know that there are a lot of “-ology” words out there that describe particular fields of study. The “-ology” comes from the Greek word logos, which can mean “(the) word”. As in “the last word on something”. Thus, the study of animals (Greek zoon) is zoology. The study of the mind (Greek psyche) is psychology. If you don’t mind. So it would make sense that the study of algae is algology.


Y’see, there’s this arcane rule of English that says you can’t make a compound word out of other words that are derived from more than one language. There’s a fancy term for this sort of thing, which YFNA is too lazy to look up right now. Besides, Quilly wants him to be going to bed, not sitting up writing blog posts.

So putting algae, which is Latin (said this would be important later), together with logos, which is Greek, is verboten, which is German and it means “don’t do it”. Somebody might think that algae is Greek, and spend the rest of the evening quoting Shakespeare and creating a nuisance.

You’re supposed to pair up Greek words with other Greek words. It so happens that there is a Greek word for “seaweed”. It’s phykos. From which we get the word phycology. And a whole lot of mail from pharmaceutical companies that are trying to get us to prescribe their antidepressants. A phycologist going to a psychologist’s clinic to seek treatment for his identity crisis would probably wind up fatally confusing both of them.

But YFNA knew all this already. Has been living with it for, well, since elephants had fur. What he didn’t know is that there is a Greek word that begins with alg- and can be legally combined with logos. That word is algos. Which means pain. So, algology actually is a legal word, and it means “the study of pain”.

Wait ’til I tell the folks at the next phycological society meeting about this. They’ll probably tell me that I need a shrink. I heard that!

Friday Harbor Labs, UW

Come see where Amoeba works.  Dave Hays, a UW film making class student, interviewed Hillary, one of the TAs who works with Charley (Amoeba) and Megan in their “ZooBot” class which is an entire quarter (16 credits: Marine Zoology 5 credits; Marine Botany 5 credits; and a Research Apprenticeship in Intertidal Ecology and Physiology for 6 credits).   Hillary is currently working on her PhD focusing on the study of the interactions of marine organisms with their environment.

That might all sound intimidating, but the video below makes it easy to understand and gives you a glimpse of Amoeba’s working environment.

Dude and Dude: Ave Gravitas

Uuhnngh … uuhnngh … uUungghh …

“Dude! Either turn off the video or close the do … what are you doin’ now?!?

“Buildin’ (oooOOF!) an altar, dude.”

“A what?

“An altar, dude! Like I said the first time.”

“OK, dude. To what?”

“To gravity, dude. And ’cause it’s to gravity, it’s gotta be (uuuhhHHNn!) heavy.”

“Right, dude. You want gravity? You keep luggin’ those slabs around like that, you’re gonna be a grave man.”

“Very funny, Bill. You could, like, try helpin’?

“Who put you up to this, dude?”

“That Hawking dude, dude. You know, the one who played poker with Data.”

“He did not, dude! They’d throw him outa the Royal Society if …”

“He did so, dude! I saw him! On Star Trek!

“Oh fer cryin’ out …”

“And he just wrote this book that says ‘gravity created the universe’.”

“So you’re buildin’ an altar to gravity.”

“I wonder when I should schedule the sacrifices …”

No, dude! Hawking’s a scientist. Scientists try to explain how the world works by means of natural phenomena. He thinks that by understanding gravity, a natural phenomenon, he can understand how the universe began. He doesn’t want you to worship gravity, ’cause that would make gravity supernatural. Then he couldn’t work on it no more, and he’d have to start all over. He wouldn’t like that.”

“He wouldn’t?”

“Trust me, dude.”

“So I don’t need …”

“No, dude. You don’t.”

Phew!! … But, dude!”

Now what?”

“What about the holidays?

“Oh, dude, can we at least wait ’til Columbus Day?”

“Not if they’re already startin’ the advertisin’, dude. And if gravity created the universe, like you said, how’s it gonna sound? ‘Only 45 shoppin’ days ’til Massmas.’



“Let the lightweights worry about it, willya?”

Noncontroversial Stem-Cell Research?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of CryoCell International. All opinions are 100% mine.

Can a stem cell research company be as committed to protecting the rights of unborn babies as you are? Believe it or not, the answer is yes.

Rather than focusing on fetal stem cells, Cryo-Cell International, committed to protecting and preserving life, collects adult stem cells to further their research.   Since 1992, Cryo-Cell has helped almost 200,000 families worldwide preserve the umbilical cord blood from their new born babies. These stem cells can be used to combat many diseases.  Along with cord blood banking, Cryo-Cell is pioneering other noncontroversial solutions to collecting and preserving stem cells.

Cryo-Cell made the breakthrough discovery that menstrual blood is a viable, renewable, prolific source of  stem cells. From that they launched C’elle SM, their revolutionary menstrual stem cell service which has made astounding research advancements in just a few years.

From the C’elle Blog :

Since the launch of Célle in 2007, Cryo-Cell has announced eight research and development collaborations that may possibly lead to the treatment or cure of conditions such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, wound-healing, vascular regeneration, endometriosis and urinary incontinence. Cryo-Cell is extraordinarily fortunate to partner with some of the world’s most distinguished stem cell researchers who are exploring therapeutic developments that utilize our menstrual stem cell technology and who are as excited about the potential of Célle technology as we are.

Stem cells from umbilical cord blood has been utilized to treat or cure more than 75 diseases, and used in over 12,000 transplants worldwide. During the last three years at Cryo-Cell their cord blood stem cell transplants have increased by 135%. That is absolutely awesome news.

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Whew!  It has been a long time since I was here last.  I bet you want to know what I’ve been up to.  Well, for awhile I was down.  I just couldn’t look at the computer screen without my eyes and head screaming in protest.  Since I was also blowing my nose and feeling icky in general, I thought I was coming down with a cold, but OC says it was probably just another bout of allergies, since I wasn’t exhibiting other cold symptoms.  For those couple of days I mostly slept and felt sorry for myself.

Then Saturday came and the scientist —

— said he was going to Haleiwa to look at alga (seaweed) and did I want to come along? Okay, I know that doesn’t sound very exciting to you but let me translate — OC was asking if I wanted to ride with him to the other side of the island and spend the morning beachcombing, and — if the water was clean despite the recent storms — maybe even do some swimming. My answer, of course, was YES!

Haleiwa Photo Slide Show
For some reason this won’t load on my blog.

We returned to the same place we went last time, which isn’t really a swimming spot, but I think you’ll agree that it’s beautiful.  By the time OC finished collecting and examining seaweed, the storm that had been forcasted was coming over the mountain and it was time to leave.

*   *   *

A Hawaiian Language Lesson for Melli and Other Interested Readers: As I have said before, the syllable break on a Hawaiian word is at the vowel.  If there are several vowels in a row, each is it’s own syllable.  So Haleiwa is Ha-le-i-wa.  The Next thing you need to know is that the Hawaiian alphabet doesn’t have the “W” sound in it.  All Ws should be pronounced with a “V” sound — including Havaii!  So, in parts: Ha (like the laugh); Lay; E (like the letter name); Vuh. Four Syllables:  Ha Lay E Va.  Ha Lay E Va.  Ha Lay E Va.  Now, if you’ve got that down, try saying it with the actual word:  Haleiwa.