Showing posts from August, 2012

Fishing in Woods Hole: Northwest Gutter

No, this is not about the movie or related to the movie salmon fishing in the yemen. This is about me going fishing and swimming with friends/lab mates after passing my quals. After studying for months, having tense muscles from trying not to think negative and going to sleep with my mind still riotously wide awake, I had a bit of relieve when the post-doc in the lab invited us (by us I mean myself and the summer student who is now actually a part-time member of the lab) to come fishing and swimming with him. We said sure. You see, working in the lab in a place like Woods Hole is not a big deal in the winter. In the summer, it's almost torture to look out the window and see the water spread as far as your eyes can see, sail boats, speed boats and yes canoes, bopping up and down the blue water.

But you can't really go out as you wish, because you are in the lab, working on a planned experiment. Yes, you can walk by the harbor after lunch, or sit by the park and watch summer hoa…

centre de promotion de l'artisanat

The centre de promotion de l'artisanat is a place in Cotonou that showcases art and craft in different forms. Specifically, drawings, carvings and paintings. An artisanat is a place where skilled craftsmen (and women) create interesting objects and pieces. This got me a little confused in the definition of art and craft. Art is expressive, think literature, music, paintings and sculptures. Craft, on the other hand, isn't. A craft can be decorative art, like vases, small decorative paintings and so on. But then again, I suppose a craft that is expressive enough can be described as an art.  (o_O)?

At any rate, in this little quaint place in Cotonou, the main attractions were carvings and drawings. By driving slowly around the center, we were able to see most of the drawings, sculptures, drums and other artistic elements carved from wood. There were also unique yards of colorful clothing, known as ankara and one of a kind jewelries on wooden stands.

Do you see women in colorful b…

Cotonou, Republic of Benin

After spending a couple of days in Porto Novo, we moved on to Cotonou. Cotonou, although not the capital of Republic of Benin, is the financial, government and economic center of the country. All the major ports (both national and international), government houses, embassies, airport and central religious houses (i.e. the national mosque) are in Cotonou.

To get into Cotonou, we crossed a bridge and overlooking the bridge into the far distance is the Oueme River. The river flows into the Atlantic Ocean. There are small fishery and local merchants trading around the river. There are stories of erosion of nearby lands into the Oueme River and off into the Atlantic (don't know how true that is). While crossing the bridge, our driver said if we look closely, real closely, we can see Badagry, a small town between Lagos and Republic of Benin, in the distance (don't know how true this is either).

Upon entering into Cotonou, we had lunch with friends (I tried ordering in French and fai…

Porto Novo, Republic of Benin

There are no two places more divergent in architecture and economy than the cities of Porto Novo and Cotonou of the Republic of Benin.

While I was in Nigeria in May, I went to the Republic of Benin. Why? Because it is so close geographically. It is bordered by Nigeria to the east and a trip from the heart of Lagos into the Seme Border will take you just about two hours by car. Also, my dad wanted to visit a few of his friends so I tagged along for the free ride, free food and ...well, free everything.

When we got to the border, I wanted to take pictures but as is typical of many African states, there were fierce looking border patrol people in khaki-like uniforms, that I dared not act the tourist. Truth be told, the best bet in a place like that was to act as inconspicuous as possible and in a grey and black dress with cream-colored cropped cardigan, I blended quite well into the dusty air and grey clouds. Although the border is notoriously known for "unofficial transports",…

Artiscence or Artiscience? I Ponder.

I have always loved Arts and Sciences. Going to a liberal arts college only made it easier. So much so, I majored in Biology and minored in English Literature as an Undergrad. I read anthologies voraciously while simultaneously studying Genetics and Biochemistry. Minoring in Eng. Lit brought much needed relieve from studying (and barely understanding) Physics and Biotechnology. Some of the classes I took for my minor were:
1. English: Tragic Vision (and you guessed it, we read Oedipus, Chronicles of a Death Foretold, and Hegel versus Aristotle's Tragedy Theories).
2. The Old Testament ( the Old Testament as literature; its cultural relation to biblical times and its impact on the subsequent literature of the Judeo-Christian world).
3. Creative Writing ( learning to write imaginative short stories and poems. fun class).
4. Short Story Workshop (an advanced workshop for short story and novel writers aiming at publication).
I love to write, read, sky-watch, sing, travel...and I am into as…

I Passed My Quals!

I passed my Qualifying Exam!

What is Quals?

Qualifying Exam (Quals) or Preliminary Exam (Prelims) or Generals is THE examination that qualifies/transitions a graduate student to continue graduate studies.

The quals varies based on institutions, but there are some basic concepts that they all follow. Most Bio-med programs (Bio-med might include STEM: Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics) follow these concepts. These concepts include some or all of these:

1. A Written Thesis Proposal (or a proposal based on something other than your thesis project)
2. An Oral Examination (Presentation) (might be chalk board or powerpoint)
3. You must have completed some basic requirements such as classes, lab rotations, TAship, ...
4. You should have a good idea what your short term and long term goals are, as far as your research goes. Although this might be tentative (that's ok), you should be able to back up your reasoning.

My quals process started in January with Choosing Committee M…