Happy Birthday Macintosh!

Happy Birthday Macintosh, 30 years and still strong!

I have to admit, I was never a Mac zealot until late in my life but I crossed Apple products several times in my life. I grew up in a blue-collar family and Macs were out of scope to me, but grew up with exotic computers if you lived outside France or Europe such as the Thompson MO5 and TO7 (a blatant failure to introduce kids with sloppy computers), Alice 90, Amstrad CPC 6128 (3″disks!) and Atari 520STF (worst serial ports location ever). But my first experience with Apple was getting in touch with a Mac LCII when a young family practitioner setup his practice in our building (Dr. Abdallah) and discovering the famous “Afterdark’s flying toasters”. Then I got into a hiatus from 1997 to 2003, in which I was PC because that was where games were back then. Then I got exposed to Apple products again through my professors. It was not until I got into my PhD that I entered Apple. Back then my PhD supervisor was a Mac fan and had this cool Powermac G4 and told me “if you want to spend your time fixing your computer then fine. If you want to use your computer to have work done, then get a Mac” and a couple of weeks later my brand new Gericom laptop died from a faulty hard drive. I bought an G3 Blueberry iBook for $100 to keep connected and got a MacOS X Panther CD from the IT campus (campus licence, another cool stuff from Apple) and it was so user-friendly. Seeing Lara (my PhD supervisor) getting her brand new water-cooled Quad G5 with an Apple Cinema Display (23inches) was such a pleasure. I had to wait until April 2007 to get my first MacBook. Since then, I never used Windows ever (except when using scientific instruments in which the computer was connected).

Apple computers have this unique story that you rarely get rid of them, unless when they are beyond repair. They are unique, they are your Macs and become part of your life. I have still my G3 revamped with a G3/466 Firewire, a Powermac G4 that Mom uses, a Powermac G5 with an ADC 17″ and a MacBookPro 15″ October 2011 model.

source: NPR http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/01/24/265238567/at-30-the-original-mac-is-still-an-archetype-of-innovation


How Vaccine Fears Fueled The Resurgence Of Preventable Diseases : Shots – Health News : NPR

How Vaccine Fears Fueled The Resurgence Of Preventable Diseases : Shots – Health News : NPR.

This heat map is chilling if you consider the pre-2008 map. You will notice the emergence of epidemic of infants and toddler diseases that were almost extinct, thanks to a massive vaccination campaign. Then came the fad of being “anti-science” under the umbrella of “natural” lifestyle.
Let me be clear on it. I am a spiritual son of Louis Pasteur, I have the honor of being an Alumni of the same University that carries his name, and I have been a child of a generation grown without any fears of hearing names such as “polio” or “rougeole (measles)”. I did not even know what was “scarlatine” when I was reading Tintin comics (in the “Bijoux de la Castafiore” volume). I had to ask my elementary school teacher about it because it was completely unknown to me, to discover that it is a grave form of measles for those who escaped it.
A hundred year ago, TB was one of the most devastating diseases in Western countries, with very few options for its treatment with exception of being in sanatoriums and fresh air. This was until Calmin and Guerette developed the attenuated vaccine called BCG in France that revolutionize TB management with increased hygiene measures (spit in the street was forbidden). Yes, vaccines are not panacea, they are not fool-proof like any drugs, like any food even the so-called “organic natural food” that maybe indeed more risky in terms of health safety (E.Coli outbreak does not come from pesticides or industrial fertilizers, but from “natural” ones but this is another story). But vaccines can keep us from having mobile reservoirs around in public areas, by decreasing the ability of such pathogens to infect and spread such germs.
Remember, there is a so-called incubation time prior you develop symptoms that makes you a vector of contamination. By maintaining a pool of such strain, you encourage the spreading of such germ and in the same time some novel variants that may have an advantage for virulence and infection efficiency (pure Darwinian evolution).
Another reason to vaccinate yourself and your children? Look at Syria and the polio epidemic, see how a government tyranny that leveled basic need of civilian population (healthcare providers, basic hygiene) set a almost extinct disease into a global health concern.

Anti-vax should have been surprised to hear from Jenna McCarthy (that has no credentials to provide recommendations on health related issues) that her son autism was not linked to vaccination, and the seminal studies has been disproved by many others. In addition, anti-vax are considerably putting their children at risk of some major health hazard unless they want to contribute to Darwinian evolution of human species.

So please, vaccine your children and yourself.

When science reaches art….it gives you nice scientific journal cover


When science reaches art....it gives you nice scientific journal cover

When you are a scientist, you learn to think as a scientist into a rational and objective, that sounds pretty opposite from arts. However, there is one I thing I like with my research work is the use of fluorescent tags to observe cellular structures and proteins under a fluorescent microscope. This is what we called immunocytochemistry. It takes you some skills in doing the technical procedure, it takes another one to take a picture….and the latter one requires a touch of artistic photography.
This is a staining from primary human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMECs), the same cells that lines the inner side of your blood vessels. These cells have a special protein called glucose transporter-1 (GLUT-1, red) that plays an important function as it transports glucose (the main fuel source for your neurons) across the blood-brain barrier.