February 4, 2008

Trying to NOT pay attention

Posted in Randumb at 4:29 pm by Iram

I’ve decided that I really do like this place. Medical school overall has been a terrific experience. But, every once in a while, you end up with somebody – an administrator, a classmate, a professor – who really makes you wonder about the nature of your future colleagues. I’m sitting in class right now (yes, right now, as I’m writing this post). We’re supposed to be learning about toxicology, but this particular lecturer really has a fighting chance at winning the award for the most disengaging lecturer of all time. Not only did we have an exam this morning, this is the third hour of lecture after a very heavy lunch and I’m beginning to wonder why I even bothered coming. The funny thing is, it’s very easy to gauge how my opinions of a lecture rank amongst the opinions of the rest of my classmates. I signed onto aim, hoping to use it as a means of entertainment. When I first logged in (five minutes into the lecture when I realized that the professor speaks in a monotone that is sure to put me to sleep) there were only three people on my buddy list signed on, and none of them are in medical school. Within the next 15 minutes, about thirty members of my class had logged on as well. I wonder what would happen if all of us just decided to get up and leave and make a bold, although disrespectful, statement about the quality of the lecture. Would they fix it???? I doubt it. But it’s nice to imagine myself doing something like that anyways…

September 28, 2007


Posted in Randumb at 11:41 am by Iram

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

–William Ernest Henley

September 20, 2007

A Serenade from the Laughing Spaceman

Posted in Randumb at 5:50 am by Iram

As sung by Spock on the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” that just happened to be playing when I turned the t.v. on during breakfast this morning.

Take care young ladies and value your wine.

Be watchful of young men in their velvet prime.

Deeply they’ll swallow from your finest kegs,

Then swiftly be gone, leaving bitter dregs.

Ah, bitter dregs.

With smiling words and tender touch,

Man offers little and asks for so much.

He loves in the breathless excitement of night,

Then leaves with your treasure in cold morning light.

Ah, in cold morning light.

August 22, 2007

Something to contemplate…

Posted in Randumb at 6:17 pm by Iram

“If you want to explain a poison properly, what then is not a poison? All things are poisonous, nothing is without poison; the dose alone causes a thing not to be a poison.”

~~Paracelsus (1493-1541)

July 9, 2007

The Personalized Movie Quote Generator

Posted in Randumb at 1:02 am by Iram

No, it is not dangerous to confuse Iram with angels.

Which movie was this quote from?

Get your own quotes:

June 12, 2007

A stroll down memory lane…

Posted in Randumb at 10:48 pm by Iram

At a friend’s wedding I had the welcome opportunity to catch up with some of my old Rice buddies. While we were chatting, we somehow ended up on the topic of random songs we used to sing down in the Dungeon during Protein Lab in order to entertain ourselves and I was reminded of one in particular…Bill Massie’s rendition of American Pie with lyrics written to suit the nature of our experiment. I have included the lyrics below for everyone’s entertainment…

(the 1st verse is to the tune of the 1st verse of “American Pie;” the 2nd verse is to the tune of the last verse of the song)

A short, short time ago,
I can still remember how old Jon made the E. coli lyse
And we homogenized the tongue
Then centrifuged and everyone
Then went and put their samples on some ice
And SEC gave us purer
Enzyme and it made us surer
That we were on the right track
Cause there’s no time to turn back
The next few steps entailed that we
Do dialysis and AEC
Spec.’s made sure that we could see
That we had our protein

Hey, hey, now just what do you say
Can E. coli make the native form of mouse ADA
Can its enzyme work in the very same way
To take that old amine group away
Take that old amine group away

Our messed-up gels gave me the blues
So I asked TA’s for happy news
“Well that don’t matter anyway”
I went and did kinetics runs
Though I knew that they would not be fun
And I made the tables to see what they’d say
And in the next lab we were staining
While outside the sky was raining
We heard not a raindrop
The dungeon makes the world stop
Then came the time we’d longed for most
We ended lab with hopeful toast
“May your paper grade let you coast
Your way through protein lab”

(Refrain: repeat twice)

May 22, 2007

Just a thought…

Posted in Randumb at 10:44 pm by Iram

In studying parasitology I have come across one bug in particular that has sparked my interest: Schistosoma. Schistosoma is a water-borne blood fluke that ranks second behind malaria in terms of socio-economic and public health importance in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Its importance is highlited by these two pieces of information:

1. It is believed that Napoleon’s army in North Africa was not defeated by the enemy but by infestation of his soldiers with schistosome infections.

2. During World War II, General Douglas MacArthur stated that he lost more of his soldiers to this disease in the Philippines than he did to enemy fire.

So many people forego their own so-called unalienable rights, or the opportunity to restore rights to another individual, with an excuse that belittles their potential contribution. After all, what impact could a single individual possibly make, right? Wrong! If a bug that is no larger than two centimeters in length can change the course of history, just imagine what a single human can do.  Think about it….

May 4, 2007

Revolutionary Dreams

Posted in Randumb at 9:52 pm by Iram

i used to dream militant
dreams of taking
over america to show
these white folks how it should be
i used to dream radical dreams
of blowing everyone away with my perceptive powers
of correct analysis
i even used to think i’d be the one
to stop the riot and negotiate the peace
then i awoke and dug
that if i dreamed natural
dreams of being a natural
woman doing what a woman
does when she’s natural
i would have a revolution

~Nikki Giovanni

April 12, 2007

Tu Guardian

Posted in Randumb at 5:06 pm by Iram


Duérmete pronto mi amor
Que la noche ya llegó

Y cierra tus ojos que yo
De tus sueños cuidaré
Siempre a tu lado estaré

Y tu guardian yo seré
Toda la vida
Si un dia te sientes mal
Yo de bien te llenaré

Y aunque muy lejos tu estés
Yo a tu sombra cuidaré
Siempre a tu lado estaré

Y tu guardian yo seré
Toda la vida
Esta noche
Te prometo que no vendran
Ni dragones ni fantasmas a molestar

Y en la puerta de tus sueños yo voy a estar
Hasta que tus ojos vuelvan a abrir

Duérmete mi amor sueña con mi voz
Duérmete mi amor hasta que salga el sol
Duérmete mi amor sueña con mi voz
Duérmete mi amor que aqui estaré yo


February 11, 2007

Why your heart is like a toilet…

Posted in Randumb at 1:38 am by Iram

Everybody’s heart functions in the exact same way – an electrical impulse induces a rapid depolarization that travels down the heart and stimulates a muscular contraction that pumps your blood to the rest of your body. The electrical impulses used to stimulate your heart, and for that matter to stimulate every other muscle in your body, are called action potentials. You can find this information in any biology or physiology textbook. So why am I telling you about it? Because the one thing you cannot find in any textbook is the explanation for how these action potentials are exactly like your toilet:

1. Both toilets and action potentials have thresholds. If you don’t give them enough of a push, they will not flush (errrr….propagate).

2. The flush is all or none. You either flush or you don’t. Do I have to get any more specific?

3. Both your toilet and your action potentials have absolute and relative refractory periods. What happens when you try to flush twice in succession without waiting in between for the tank to fill? The darn thing doesn’t work! And that is the exact same mechanism that your heart uses to keep its heart rate steady.

*Inspired by Dr. Nathan and the upcoming cardiovascular physiology exam. Wish me luck!

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