Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone

A Little something from me to you

Have a Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Of Glowing Pets

Imagine your new pet, an adorable kitten, a white fluffy fur ball. It does all the stuff that kittens are supposed to do and more. In addition to that how would you like if it glowed in the dark. Freaky…

No it’s not the attack of the glowing cats or some other horror movie. This is the story of two cloned cats that glow in the dark. This is the latest feat by the scientists at Gyeongsang National University in South Korea, who managed to successfully clone two Angoran cats with a manipulated fluorescence protein gene. As a result of which they tend to glow when exposed to ultraviolet light.

It’s hoped that these type of research may help scientist better understand human genetic diseases. This is because cats have around 250 of the same genetic disorders that affect humans. Researches hope that this ability to clone genetically altered cats may also help to develop new stem cell treatments for humans. And, using the same technology, researchers say they may be able to clone endangered animals like tigers, leopards and wildcats. Ain’t science wonderful eh?
Unfortunately, it’ll be a long time since these lightshow kitties will make an appearance in you nearest pet store. People are still arguing over the ethics of cloning.

If glowing kitties are not you cup of tea, why not go for a “GloFish®”. These are genetically modified fluorescent zebrafish in a range exiting colors, such as Starfire Red™, Electric Green™, and Sunburst Orange™. According to the company website “They look great under white light, even better under blue light, and appear to glow-in-the-dark under a black light in a dark room! “

These fluorescent fish were first created so that scientists can detect environmental pollutants, by adding a fluorescent gene into the fish, which in turn creates a beautifully colored protein that can be seen when looking at the fish. These fluorescent protein genes are naturally occurring genes which are derived from marine organisms, such as jelly fish. The process of starting a fluorescent fish line begins by inserting the FP Gene into one-minute old fish embryos. Once the gene integrates itself to the embryos genome, the resulting fish can pass on the gene to it’s offspring.

The glowing effect is created because the fluorescent fish absorbs the light and re-emits it. This creates the perception that they are glowing, particularly when shining a black light on the fish in a dark room.

Ok I’m not going to bore yall with more details. Bellow are some links for those who are interested :D

Glowing Cats Article 1
Glowing Cats Article 2

Glowing Cats Article 3

GloFish Site


Thursday, December 13, 2007

To the Hills and Back


Well the old gang of usual suspects and I went on one of our expeditions last weekend, a three day break from work and other dreary things in life. Out on the road and off to Haputale and Nuwaraeliya. We the “gang” have been friends since school and even after *ahem* eight years of leaving the alma mater, we still hangout and go on trips frequently, which is great. Some of the folks that we went to school are, well I don’t know where they are. Now keep getting some info thanks to facebook. Alas some of the usual suspects couldn’t make it so only 8 went this time.

Anyways back to the journey. I was supposed to meet up at M’s place at 4.00 am Friday morning, coz L was bringing the van there. I hit the sack early Thursday night, so I’ll be able to get up on Friday. Unfortunately I woke up around 1.30 and couldn’t get back to sleep, even after counting sheep, cats, dogs and other animals that came to mind. With no sleep in sight I decided to listen to the radio and tuned into one of the Sinhala stations. It brought back memories of those weekly, 7 hour, late night bus journeys I used to take when I was working outstation. Them bus drivers do love to have the radios blaring even in the middle of the night. You’d be surprised at the number of people that call in even at these times for requests and dedications, which are like roll calls out of a telephone book. Glad to know that there are many insomniacs and nocturnal creatures in the country. Ok now I’m getting sidetracked here :D

After picking up the assorted gang members we said adios to Colombo and were off to the hills. Actually this was I think the first ever trip that went on schedule. All the previous ones, if we say leaving at 4.00 we’d ultimately leave around 5.30 or so. Thanks to the punctuality of the guys we managed to reach Belihuloya around 8.30 am.

There’s this new place opened up in Belihuloya, not on the rest house bank, but the other one, called “Diyapanasa Sancharaka Gimanhala” (Diyapanasa Tourist Rest) and I think it’s operated and maintained by the municipality in the area. They have built several sets of benches and tables all along the river bank. These sets are spaced apart so that people at one set of benches have privacy from the others. The ten bucks they charge for entrance is quiet worth it coz they keep the place spick and span. We only got down to have a look around and be on our way, but ended up spending around 5 hours and emptying 3 bottles of OR there. I think this is another record for the earliest time we’ve started a boozing session. :D. After a nice ice cold dip in the river we got back on the road around 1.30 and managed to reach Haputale around 3.00. We booked a holiday bungalow from a government bank, thanks to two of the gang members being employed there. So we practically had the whole place to ourselves with a caretaker, who was also the cook. It was a chilly day and even at 3.00 in the afternoon, the mist has covered the whole town, brrr.

Belihuloya Rest Place

Belihuloya good place to chill

Haputale Town

The second boozing session of the day got underway at around 7.00 that night. It kind of went slow coz we were still reeling from the effects of the morning session. We were also waiting for one of the guys to turn up as well. K couldn’t make it early morning coz he had some business to attend to in the morning so he said he’ll take the bus and join us later. He had gotten into a bus at Colombo around two, but the bus has only left Colombo around 4.00. For those who are unaware, SL buses do not have a schedule, especially some of these long distance runners. They’ll stay put until the last seat is filled up, even if it takes half a day. So K only managed to get to Haputale around 10.30 in the night.

The next day we were off to Nuwaraeliya. Left Haputale around 10 and came to Nuwaraeliya around 1.30 / 2.00. We’d booked a house, well half a house, which came with 3 rooms with attached bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen. Unfortunately there was no cook so, as K and I got stuck with the cooking, we being the only ones in the gang who knows how to and willing to take up the job  FYI we do make some mean bites dishes he he :D. So ended Saturday evening and night, same as on the day before, if you get my drift. :D

Sadly Sunday morning it was time to say goodbye to the hills and head back to the dust and smog of Colombo. We came back along the Kandy road and stopped at the newly built Ramboda Tunnel to have a look around. We took a walk to the other side and back, and after that little trek we got in to go. However the van apparently had different ideas and refused to start up. It had been acting up since getting to Nuwaraeliya, must be the cold. It usually starts up after leaving it for awhile but this time nothing. With nothing else to do, we got together with three little kids from the area, and played some Cricket with them. Hey after all how many can say that they’ve played cricket inside a tunnel eh? After some two hours later we thought we’d better go find a mechanic or we’ll be spending the night inside the tunnel. What do you know? The van decided to start up. We were happily on the way again. No more stops, but straight home, which was another first for us. Managed to get home around 8.00 pm.

Now back to dreary old work…After all the fun I’m coming down with a cold too :(

Choo Choo train

Ramboda Tunnel

Anyone for tunnel cricket?


Monday, December 03, 2007

Puss Wins by a Landslide

Prominent politician, Chaminda Pusswedilla has won a landslide victory in the recently concluded presidential elections in Sri Lanka. This marks the dawn of a new era in Sri Lanka. His Excellency, president Pusswedilla has promised to make Sri Lanka an economic powerhouse in the world.

For those who are not tuned on to current affairs, do not worry. You did not sleep your way through an election. I’m talking about the newest drama that was staged at the Wendt during the past few days. “Thank you for Voting” by Stage Light and Magic, under the excellent direction of Feroze Kamardeen.

The plot line wasn’t something new actually. The same old story of the business of politics, stupid, corrupt politician and misgovernance, nothing new to us is it? The same can be said about the jokes as well. However Chaminda Pusswedilla did manage to steal the show.

It didn’t matter the storyline or the jokes were familiar, because it was hilarious. A big round of applause to Dominic Kellar, for his superb portrayal of the quintessential Sri Lankan politician. I think this was a role made for him and would not have had the same effect if played by some one else. Not forgetting the other actors did a great job as well.

It was a good production, which I enjoyed a lot. Had a good laugh to last awhile :D. Although I was expecting a more bang of an ending.

To all those who missed it, Too Bad :P

Good work guys!!!

“My name is Chaminda Pusswedilla, mata jayawewa”
H. E. President Pusswedilla