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January 17, 2010

When Adam met Barack


Sculptor Adam Beane, whose work appeared here last year, received a commission from Esquire magazine to create a sculpture of the president to accompany a story in the just-published February 2010 issue.

The original (above and below) was created using clay-and-wax-based composite material and stands 18 inches high.

Adam just emailed me as follows:


Hey Joe,

I want to thank you again for including me in your blog! You may be interested in my most recent piece. Esquire magazine contacted me recently to see if I would be interested in sculpting President Obama for the February issue. It was one of the tightest deadlines I've ever had, but I was absolutely determined to complete a full standing figure for the article. I highly recommend checking out the actual magazine, as it's a bit difficult to see the detail online, but here's the link to the article. 


There are a few pics of it there (three-page article) and in three months (contract obligation) I will be allowed to show the really cool pictures I took of the process and finished piece. In the actual magazine there is also a small article on me with pictures of the sculpting process, but I don't believe those are available in the online version.

The sculpture itself will soon be available, cast in bronze as a full figure and also a version as a bust. I will put up a notice on my website when they are ready. 





Yo, Adam — send me the "really cool pictures..." in three months and I'll feature them in "Adam Beane: Episode 3."

January 17, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Creepy crawly cockroach cup — 'NOT for the faint of heart'


"This is a sweet little teacup featuring creepy little cockroaches crawling around the surface. As you finish your beverage, one more little roach peeps out from the inside of the cup."


"Please note: these little suckers like to crawl around. Due to the hand-made nature of these cups, roach placement varies from piece to piece. So if you buy a set, each cup will be slightly different."


"You can bake in these — and not just cupcakes. With each cup you’ll receive a postcard detailing how you can properly use these bad boys for baking."


"This is a cream-colored restaurant-style teacup that has been refired to 1,990°F, with hand-made roach decals fused onto the glazed surface."


4.75"Ø (with handle) x 2.5"H.



January 17, 2010 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic Orchestra performs "Les Toreadors" from Bizet's "Carmen"


Under the baton of litigator (and fellow Bruin — UCLA BA '71) Gary Greene.

January 17, 2010 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Travel birdhouse


Foldable water-repellant cardboard birdhouse ships packed flat in a paper envelope.

10" tall with a hole size that will accomodate a variety of bird types.

Perch included.



January 17, 2010 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Backupify — free* unlimited cloud storage for life

Screen shot 2010-0dfdfw1-16 at 2.02.20 PM

*Through January 31, 2010.

So you've got two weeks.

Get on it.

Reviews here and here.

[via Joel Ordesky]

January 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



"Hairglasses evoke the usefulness of sunglasses as a hairband for winter (or any other season). Manufactured by IDEA in Japan."


White or Black.



January 17, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Caption for the photo above: "Beds of vertical silicone nanowires can act as a method for delivering molecules into cells. In this falsely colored scanning electron micrograph, a connective-tissue cell rests on these tiny spikes, which impale the membrane and allow direct access into the cell."

Here's Courtney Humphries' Technology Review story about this new technology.


Needling Molecules

A simple method may solve the problem of getting stuff into cells

Many experiments in biology rely on manipulating cells: adding a gene, protein, or other molecule, for instance, to study its effects on the cell. But getting a molecule into a cell is much like breaking into a fortress; it often relies on biological tricks such as infecting a cell with a virus or attaching a protein to another one that will sneak it through the cell's membrane. Many of these methods are specific to certain types of cells and only work with specific molecules. A paper in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers a surprisingly simple and direct alternative: using nanowires as needles to poke molecules into cells.

Author Hongkun Park, a professor of chemistry and physics at Harvard University, says that, in theory, "you can put more or less any molecule in more or less any kind of cell." If the method proves effective, it could greatly speed the ability to manipulate cells in a variety of applications, including stem-cell reprogramming and drug screening.


Caption: "A microscopic image of a cell with the structural protein tubulin tagged in fluorescent green is grown on a bed of nanowires, labeled with magenta (left). Viewing the cell without the wires shows the holes in its membrane where the nanowires have penetrated."

Park's lab recently discovered that cells can be grown on beds of vertical silicon nanowires without apparent damage to the cells. The cells sink into the nanowires and within an hour are impaled by the tiny spikes. Even resting on this bed of needles, cells continue to grow and divide normally. This setup makes it possible to directly interface with the cell's interior through the nanowires. "Since we now have direct physical access, we can deliver molecules into cells without the restrictions of other techniques that are available," Park says. He adds that while his lab has found that many different types of cells seem to accommodate the tiny wires without negative effects, further studies will be needed to examine whether any important cell behaviors are affected.


Caption: "Cells growing on the nanowires appear to behave normally; these rat neurons even form connections."

To use the nanowires to deliver molecules, Park's team first treated them with a chemical that would allow molecules to bind relatively weakly to the surface of the nanowires, then coated the wires with a molecule or combination of molecules of interest. When cells are impaled on the nanowires, the molecules are released into the cells' interior. The chemical treatment of the wires could potentially be manipulated to control the binding and release of molecules--releasing them more slowly, for instance--and the wires can be constructed at different lengths to reach different parts of the cell. To demonstrate the method's flexibility, the team used the approach to deliver chemicals, small RNA molecules, DNA, and proteins into a range of cell types.


Caption: "The nanowires can be coated with various types of molecules to deliver them into cells. Here, the wires were used to deliver a gene encoding an orange-red fluorescent protein into human cells."

The beds of nanowires can be arranged on microarrays suitable for rapid experiments and imaging cells under a microscope. These microarrays can be "printed" with different patterns or combinations of molecules, making it possible to test many different molecules at once on an array of cells. The authors believe it could be possible to screen 20,000 different proteins or other chemicals on cells within a single microscopic slide.


Caption: "Silicon nanowires can deliver a variety of different molecules at the same time. Here, a fluorescent protein (green) and a small RNA molecule (magenta) have been simultaneously, and yet distinctly, administered to cultured cells in a checkered pattern. Arraying different molecules, alone or in combination, makes it possible to perform parallel screens."

Aviv Regev, a computational biologist at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA, says that when she first heard about the method at a meeting, she thought: "It is obvious that this has great potential." Regev explains that being able to perturb cells by delivering molecules into them is an increasingly popular approach to biology. And while getting things into cells sounds like a simple task, "it's actually a great stumbling block to doing things systematically." Ideally, Regev says, a delivery method should be controlled, allow high-throughput testing, and not cause any damage to the cells. The nanowires appear to do all of these things, and "that is why this is so transformative."

Thorsten Schlaeger, a stem-cell researcher at Children's Hospital Boston, is investigating the potential of the approach for reprogramming stem cells. His lab is interested in turning embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells into blood stem cells like those found in the bone marrow. Currently, this task requires infecting cells with a virus to introduce new genes into their DNA, and, Schlaeger says, "there's no good alternative right now." Schlaeger's team is looking for better ways to manipulate cells, as well as ways to screen stem cells for factors that can transform them from one cell type to another. "It's hard to say what will be possible because it's new, but it's intriguing," he says.

January 17, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

January 17, 2010 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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