December days: Transcription factors

Dec. 20th, 2014 04:29 pm
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
[personal profile] liv
[personal profile] lilacsigil wanted another post about transcription factors and why some of them just blindly copy and some have more complex roles. I am not sure quite what further to explain without going into technical details, so I'll have a go at that. If it works out that this post is boring or too obscure, please feel free to ask me more questions about what it is that you actually want to know.

genes make RNA, RNA makes proteins, but it's more complicated than that )

I'm running a day behind on the meme at this point, I wrote this yesterday while travelling but didn't get online to post it until today. I don't know if what I've written quite makes any sense, so please do ask any questions. Either to clarify what I've written here, or to ask about how transcription factors work at a different level from this.
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
[personal profile] silveradept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot. If you would like to prompt for a part of the game or a card from the deck, there's still plenty of space. Leave a comment with a prompt. All other comments are still welcome, of course.]

There are four main calls from the umpire in baseball - ball, strike, out, safe. Evenly balanced between helping the defense and helping the offense, these calls drive the game of baseball forward. Safe helps the offense, and is a call delivered by spreading the arms out from the chest, palms down, usually in a quick motion, and then holding that pose until everyone understands the call or a request for time is granted.

Safe indicates that the batter or runner has successfully and legally arrived at the base they are attempting to reach, whether by batted ball, attempted steal, retreat to beat a pickoff throw, or through the use of tag-avoidance measures designed to allow them to make contact with a base and deny the defense their body for touching. Generally, to be safe, a part of the body of the runner must be in contact with the intended base before the ball arrives to that base and a tag or force is applied. Some part of the body must also remain in contact with the base (excepting home plate) while a tag is applied - woe to those runners who overslide their bases, as any break in the contact results in the runner being out if there is a tag applied to them.

The safe gesture, like the out gesture, is designed to be visible from very far away, and so has developed into the method by which an umpire indicates a no answer to questions. This is most commonly seen in appeals made from home plate to ask whether a batter's partial swing was complete enough to be called an attempted swing, and therefore a strike. Other appeals, such as whether a runner legally touched a base, are also usually answered in this manner.

Safe is usually a gratifying call to the offense, an indication of success in their difficult endeavors. When it shows up in a reading, it's always an indication that your efforts have succeeded. There are, however, varying degrees of success, and all of them are indicated by the safe call without distinction. Just barely getting there (or back) may earn you a talking-to from the coaches or the manager about the need to play the game smarter and to leave yourself more room for safety, or the need to train harder so that you can go faster and not have so many close plays. How you get there may earn you congratulations if your method was particularly effective at avoiding the defense. In any case, safe is safe, but the context around it will need to be analyzed to figure out whether your "playing it safe" is something to be rewarded and replicated, or whether it's being frowned upon for being too conservative and you need to open up your game so as to have the possibility of scoring more runs.

Several readers reading

Dec. 21st, 2014 01:14 pm
oursin: hedgehog in santa hat saying bah humbug (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

Deviating a little from the general 'hedjog goes bah humbug' seasonal theme:

In today's Observer The 10 best Christmases in literature.

And, of course, while I like her inclusion of a fairly obscure short story by Stella Gibbons (it's in Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm) I am thinking of what I would include in such a list:

a) Could you count Susan Coolidge's memorable Christmases in What Katy Did and What Katy Did at School as one entry; or would it have to be two?

b) Christmas with the Aubrey family in The Fountain Overflows.

c) And if you want grim and ghastly, la patronne racommande Angus Wilson's 'Saturnalia' in The Wrong Set and other stories.

Arrival of Keiki

Dec. 21st, 2014 12:58 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila


[Image of Keiki sleeping on me in the hospital ward.]

He's a little early.

More pictures )
finch: a large stompy boot next to a small stompy boot (parenting)
[personal profile] finch
[personal profile] shipwreck_light asked lots of things!

Awesome/gross things the wee one has done
I can't think of any particularly gross things, just the usual diaper blowouts and spitting up on everything. Oh, and when she had that cold and everything I wore had snot on it.

Your biggest writing influences
1. Nina Kiriki Hoffman
2. Diana Wynne Jones
3. Neil Gaiman
4. Madeleine L'Engle
5. Douglas Adams

What you are/aren't serving for holiday dinners
Well, we're doing a roast because they're pretty easy to source inexpensively and because [personal profile] p_cocincinus doesn't like ham. So what we're not doing is ham.

[personal profile] heliager asked lots of things too!

Books that changed your life.
Where the Wild Things Are, The Monster at the End of This Book, Maniac Magee, The Girl With the Silver Eyes, Wrinkle In Time, The Thread That Binds the Bones, James Robinson's Starman

Trips you would love to take.
Assuming I had the ability to teleport or otherwise travel quickly without setting off vertigo/migraines? I'd like to visit the Philippines again, and tour Asia. I'm looking forward to taking Cori to Disneyland when she's older. And we've been talking about touring the national parks in a camper...

What has surprised you the most about being a parent?
How my sleeping has adjusted. I've always been a dead-to-the-world sleeper, and I was worried I'd sleep through the baby crying or something. But Chase tells me that when I don't think they're home, or for whatever reason believe I'm 'in charge' of the baby, I wake up on a dime. But if they're there with the baby? Still dead to the world.

Also I am always surprised that I seem to be managing it.

Thank you, anonymous writer(s)

Dec. 20th, 2014 02:46 pm
jae: (yuletidegecko)
[personal profile] jae
It is amazing how much better I feel about being on the defaulted-on-after-the-deadline pinch hit list when I can see that there's a gift for me in the Madness archive.

Thank you so much, whoever you are! You have already made my yuletide.

#

For my eventual pinch-hitter, though: thank you, too, for stepping up to the plate!

I'm quite aware that I'm hard to match (because my small-fandoms-of-choice tend to be pretty atypical fannish fare). So let me clarify that even though my "dear yuletide writer" letter specifies a preference that you work with or jump off from the established canon in some way, I absolutely will understand if that turns out to be too tall an order on such short notice. Honestly, whatever you can give me at this point is something I'll be grateful for, given all the difficulties. And I really do appreciate so much that you were willing to give it a shot.

#

Come revealtime, I will owe you both cookies!
queen_ypolita: Woman in a Mucha painting (Mucha by auctrix_icons)
[personal profile] queen_ypolita
I was browsing the full list of requests this morning and suddenly had this idea for a treat to somebody. Coming back to the idea this afternoon, it's beginning to feel complete at around 750 words, which made me wonder if I want to attempt to write some more to make it a full-length YT story, or just tidy it up and leave it as is. Which could result in 250 words of padding which doesn't add anything. I'm not sure, so I'm probably going to leave it until tomorrow and then see how I feel about it.

In other news, I did parkrun this morning, which was pretty hard work as the sections on grass were pretty soft and muddy, and running in a Santa hat gives you a very sweaty head. I'm suspecting one of the reasons it felt so hard is because it feels like I'm coming down with a cold (which is really one big DO NOT WANT just a couple of days I'm due to fly). I also cleaned my oven, which for some reason is one of the things that make me feel I'm ready to Christmas although I'm not going to be using my oven to cook anything over the Christmas period.
silveradept: A representation of the green 1up mushroom iconic to the Super Mario Brothers video game series. (One-up Mushroom!)
[personal profile] silveradept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot. If you would like to prompt for a part of the game or a card from the deck, there's still plenty of space. Leave a comment with a prompt. All other comments are still welcome, of course.]

The pitcher is accorded a special place among the defense. Position 1 on scorekeeping systems, they are the only position in the entire game who will be guaranteed to touch the ball for all outs. And, for that matter, all the parts of any at-bat. They are physically elevated above all the other positions in the defense, bit receive a corresponding increased share of the danger of being struck by a batted ball while defenseless, as human reflexes can only go so quickly. The delivery methods and mechanics for their pitches are wide and varied, and their personalities often come through in their pitching. They are the only players of the defense that can be "perfect" for a game, even though such perfection is a result of teamwork.

They are the only position about which the is a dispute as to whether they should bat in the batting order or whether another player should be designated to do the hitting for them. When the interleague experiment first started, much hay was made that American League pitchers would finally have to bat, and that a good time would be had by all watching them do so. Some pitchers that year recorded their first hits, RBI, and home runs of their career, which revealed to many a secret of baseball they hadn't been considering - most of the work involved in determining how far a ball will fly when stuck is done by the pitcher, not the batter. Even when they bat, they are more likely to be used to perform a sacrifice hit (usually a bunt) than others, with the intention of keeping them rested and off the basepaths.

The statistics kept for pitchers are an entirely separate category, involving how many runs, on average, other teams collect against them, not counting runs scored due to defensive errors that should have resulted in outs, how many times they have been penalized with bases on balls, how many times they have recorded outs through a third strike, and how many times they have won or lost their game. Pitchers who do not start the game often have a mark of how many times they have been able to "save" (preserve) close leads into victories for their team. Determining which pitcher is the winner or the loser, and whether a save has occurred uses its own set of rules. Generally, to be eligible for a win in today's game, a starting pitcher must not be substituted for before they have recorded fifteen outs (five innings), their team must be ahead when the pitcher is substituted for, and their team must stay ahead for the ready of the game. With many teams on a five-pitcher rotation for starters, that gives each pitcher approximately thirty-two starts every year - which is why any pitcher that can make twenty wins is both a good pitcher and has a good team behind them that can score runs early and often. Other pitchers may receive wins, as the winning pitcher is otherwise the pitcher when the winning team goes ahead and stays ahead until the end if the game, but closers (pitchers that specialise in high-velocity pitching at the end of a game to prevent the offense from getting the rhythm of the pitching) are often rated on their saves, which say that a game has to be close, their team to be leading while they are pitching, and for the lead to be preserved to the end of the game while they are pitching. Closers can mount impressive streaks of their own - Eric Gagne of the Los Angeles Dodgers currently holds the record for consecutive saves with eighty-four - and are an effective weapon in the pitching arsenal.

Television cameras focus on the pitcher because of their unique role in the defense - all things, all plays, all action in a baseball game begins with the pitcher's delivery to somewhere, whether the plate or a base in a pickoff attempt. The variety of pitches at the command of the pitcher provide variance and deception in the modern game, and many pitches other than the fastball make the pitch move ("break") from one place to another, in addition to variations on pitch speed during the delivery, to make them harder to hit, with some pitchers breaking more than others. The manner of the break determines the pitch (curveballs generally break down, sliders break side-to-side, the slurve does both, the knuckleball is...random), and all pitchers at the Major League level will have at least one of these pitches at their disposal. Many good pitchers will have more, even if they are known more for one of them than the others. Pitching is one of the reasons that three out of ten is fantastic in baseball - a hitter has to hit a moving round ball with a round bat somewhere where nine people cannot catch it in the air nor collect it off the ground and throw to the base ahead of you before you get there. It's hard!

A pitcher that is firing on all cylinders can retire batters quickly and with few pitches, which is the ideal situation for a defense. Pitching takes a lot of energy and stresses the body in unique ways. The current rotation system among starting pitchers is meant to give their bodies sufficient rest in between throwing up to 100 pitches (between 80 and 100 MPH) on their outings. Many pitchers in their lives will undergo reconstructive surgery on their pitching arm to prolong their career (Tommy John surgery), which is a commonplace and routine operation in these modern times. The stresses of pitching are so well-acknowledged that the Little League system instituted hard rules about rest time required in between pitching outings and a maximum pitch cap, 65 + the at-bat where the pitcher reached 65, as a protective measure for the bodies and arms of their players.

The Tarot equivalent of the Pitcher is the Sun, completing the dyad with the Moon that the Pitcher does with the Catcher to comprise the battery. The Sun and the pitcher are both regularly thought of as the animating force for their respective institutions. Their positive aspects are things like performing consistently at a high level, being able to do what's needed without problems, having the necessary creativity to handle new scenarios as they arrive, being illuminating and warm, and taking initiative at the right times to produce results.

The is a big danger associated with the Pitcher, though, and it's one that's not always easy to see coming. A lot of people will readily proclaim that without the sun, life as we know it would not exist on Terra. Which is true - we need the radiation of the sun to warm us and brighten our days, as well as to provide the energy for several organisms, mostly plants, to start the food chain going. But in giving praise to the sun so much, we sometimes forget that we also need the moon to provide its gravity so that the tidal forces work, moving the waves and cycling the water to prevent it from stagnating too much. The pitcher needs a catcher to receive their work, to provide targets and guidance and to help the umpire with their calls.

It's easy, with the television cameras as the stardom potential and the way that sports writing and statistics tends to talk about pitching a lot, for a pitcher to start believing they are in charge of the defense, or that they are the star of the defense. The pitcher's greatest danger is hubris. Star pitchers are usually lauded for their velocity and control, and the ways in which they get batters to strike out (because, like the long ball to a hitter, a strikeout is the most exciting-for-TV thing a pitcher can deliver). If you don't have that kind of stuff, it's not likely you're going to rise in the ranks of fame. The sobering thing to remember is that a pitcher cannot win a ball game by themselves, from the mound. At some point, they have to get help from someone in the batter's box scoring a run. Pitching can only prevent runs from scoring - it can't actually score runs on its own. A pitcher that forgets that their wins are inherently a team effort risks being traded...or benched.

In my summer ball days, when I was able to pitch, I was usually one of two pitchers. The other part I most clearly remember was someone with speed and a few off-speed pitches that was quite good at getting people out. I thought of him as a good pitcher. Since I didn't have that stuff, I didn't think of myself as all that good of a pitcher, even though I wanted to do it as a relief from the tedium of the outfield. My dad pointed out something to me at the time, though, that has stuck with me and that I think is a better metric by which to measure the pitcher's effectiveness. As a pitcher, he said, my best asset was that I would throw strikes for most of my pitches. Batters would not be able to just wait me out and draw walks - they would have to swing the bat to get on base. What that meant in practical terms was that, as a pitcher, I was really only as good as the fielders I was playing with. With time and perspective, I realize that an awful lot of the pitches where contact was made resulted in a ground ball of some sort. Very few people hit my pitches in the air to the outfield. If I had a good set of infielders, I could produce a lot of outs fast by forcing hitters to hit balls. (Many of my pitching years, this was not the case.)

Evaluating pitchers by their ability to get outs quickly, and their percentage of ground ball outs, seems like a better metric for figuring out who is a good pitcher than just strikeouts. The WHIP calculation, ((Walks + Hits) / Innings Pitched) hints at this kind of metric, as each out recorded while a pitcher is on the mound counts as a third of an inning. Many pitchers will not become famous, but will be in demand for their ability to throw few pitches and collect many outs by using the field behind them. It's Boring, But Practical to do things this way. Which may describe many of the people in your life and your workplace. If you have one of those kinds of pitchers, be sure to thank them and recognise them for the consistent high quality work they do. If you don't, they might sign with another team, or they might decide they don't need to give you full-quality work any more, since you're not recognizing them or paying them enough for it.

Pitchers are unique entities on the field. Treat them with care, and they'll help you win lots of games.
oursin: Photograph of Queen Victoria, overwritten with Not Amused (queen victoria is not amused)
[personal profile] oursin

The two Georges were more Victorian than Victoria and made mid-20th-century Britain into a nation that was prudish, dingy and insular.

Yes, I think that is a point one could make, but might one not also invoke who George V's father was and the sort of (negative) influence that might have had on How He Wanted To Be King? (I.e. not Edward the Caresser).

We note that they were both not the Designated Heir who ended up landed with the job.

I rather love the idea that Ramsey MacDonald was George V's favourite Prime Minister - we ask ourselves whether he (unlike his father) had liked John Brown... or whether there was a family love-that-Scottish-accent thing going on.

We note that the George VI bio goes with the standard narrative and doesn't go down that route which claims that far from being 'gracious, photogenic and supportive', his lady wife insisted on progenating via Artificial Insemination.

(no subject)

Dec. 20th, 2014 12:33 pm
oursin: hedgehog in santa hat saying bah humbug (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] hafren!

Daily Happiness

Dec. 19th, 2014 11:06 pm
torachan: tavros from homestuck dressed as pupa pan (pupa pan)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I have the sweetest cuddliest cat ever! (You may think it is your cat that deserves the honor, but I disagree!)

2. Oceanhorn is really fun. I've been playing it a lot.

3. It's so busy at work and people keep calling in sick (so far there's been at least two people out every day this week (plus one who's been out for a while due to appendicitis), though at least today it wasn't cashiers), but I still have managed to get some stuff accomplished (though really hardly anything today due to the morning delivery check taking so long because of large shipments + one fewer people to help check).

4. I get to sleep in three days in a row!

5. I made salmon and rice for dinner (with sauteed onions and mushrooms) and it was sooooo delicious.

Delusional? Aspirational? or what?

Dec. 19th, 2014 09:09 pm
oursin: My photograph of Praire Buoy sculpture, Meadowbrook Park, Urbana, overwritten with Urgent, Phallic Look (urgent phallic)
[personal profile] oursin

I was reading this interesting piece about sex positivity and critical analysis, and encountered the following about What Men Want:
they always tell me that they want a partner who’s down for whatever and wants it all the time.

Okay, in context that is really young men who have probably not done a lot of reality-testing about their desires and fantasies.

On one level this is a shallow sexist dream which is not even about a partner who is actually 'down for whatever' and 'wants it all the time': what they actually mean is a partner who is down for whatever they want to try or have seen in porn, and wants it whenever they do.

I think if they found a partner who did want it all the time, even when they did not, and whose downness for whatever included whatevers that were way outside their own comfort zone, they might find themselves to be seriously discomfited.

(Some years ago I read a literary sort-of sffy type of novel in which someone was putting something into the water supply, or something like that, so that women were going into oestrus: and the protag's wife started being unusually periodically sexually forthcoming, but not, I thought, in a way that to me mapped to 'woman with imperative desire for her own gratification' rather than 'male fantasy of male gratifications performed'.)

I also wonder a bit about the context, and whether this is expressed in public or private, but generally, is this really at bottom about a certain and possibly aspirational model of masculinity which is about being the kind of man who needs someone who wants it all the time and will accommodate any whatever that crosses his mind. (There is a sharp comment in, if I recollect aright, The Female Eunuch, apropos of a male-gazey novel, and the extremely sexually-gymnastic female love interest, and how a woman like that is actually some kind of comment on the macho-macho qualities of Our Hero.)

I feel another woman/car analogy coming on, whereby the fast sporty car thing is also about performing a certain kind of masculinity.

I do think the writer of that piece might have interrogated the kinds of expectations and attitudes that affect men and get expressed in statements similar to the one quoted.

(Not sure how coherent this is - Friday evening, long tiring week.)

Almost ready for Christmas

Dec. 19th, 2014 07:19 pm
queen_ypolita: A red candle (Christmas by snuffle_icons)
[personal profile] queen_ypolita
Today was my last day of work before Christmas and new year, I'm flying out to visit my parents for Christmas on Monday. Assuming my flight back works out (I have a tight transfer window), I'll be back on New Year's Day, and going back to work on Friday the 2nd.

I finished my Yuletide story earlier in the week and have posted it today after doing some changes following beta feedback and reading it myself with fresh eyes.

I've got a couple of Christmas present things to look for tomorrow, and obviously packing for the journey, but neither task should be too tasking.

I haven't really looked at any other Yuletide requests beyond my recipient's, but I suppose I'll have enough time over the next few days to take a look if I can see anything that teases my imagination.

December days: Health at every size

Dec. 19th, 2014 05:54 pm
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
[personal profile] liv
A while back, I made a post related to weight loss dieting, and in the comments, [livejournal.com profile] shreena asked me why I do believe that politically and scientifically, health at every size and similar approaches are 'better' than weight loss dieting, commenting:
I'm interested in the evidence base on this. I have not looked into it so I don't really have an opinion but I'm interested by the fact that many intelligent knowledgeable friends of mine hold the view that you [...] have expressed but so many health institutions and guidance hold the opposite view (i.e. that health and size are correlated.)
I possibly shouldn't have shoved this in with the December Days prompts, because really I want to put in lots of links to evidence rather than just writing off the cuff as I end up doing when I'm trying to post every day. But equally, I don't want to duplicate the work that lots of other fat acceptance / HAES bloggers have done really comprehensively, so I'm going to try a brief run-down here, and follow up in the new year if this isn't satisfactory.

In order to address this prompt, I am going to talk about weight loss and dieting and also about the medical establishment's attitude to fatness and fat people. My plan is to take this post in a fairly sciencey way, given [livejournal.com profile] shreena asked for the evidence base. I have a political opinion, which is strongly body positive and against medical and other discrimination against fat people. But I'm going to try to be as neutral as I can, and I'm going to entertain various possible interpretations of the evidence that I'm discussing. I'm aiming to present a case to intelligent, open-minded skeptics, basically, and I appreciate that even acknowledging the possibility that fatness may cause bad health is going to be offensive or upsetting to some people.

Further, I'm talking purely about the connections between size and health. I am committed to the view that health is not a moral imperative, so even if I saw enough evidence to completely convince me that it's always healthier for everybody to be as thin as possible, I would still argue that people have the right to choose whether they want to go on weight loss diets or not. But that's not the point of this post, I want to explore the question of whether losing weight actually is beneficial to health.

I should also warn about the comment discussion that might come up. I didn't do so last time I discussed this topic, and some of the comments ended up upsetting some friends – I'm very sorry about that. I generally get a lot of pushback when I talk about this sort of topic, because some of my friends are more politically radical than me, and some are convinced by the orthodoxy about fat and health. I hope everybody will be civil and sensitive about discussing a fraught topic, but I expect a fair range of opinions here. I may also not have time to answer comments, partly because it's about to be Christmas and partly because I'm trying to keep up this daily posting for another couple of weeks, given it's been so satisfying up to now.

wow, that was a lot of disclaimers! )
Does that help? Basically that's where I'm coming from on the issue, scientifically, though my political views do follow on from and extend that. I don't think it's going to be enough to help my brother and his housemate argue against the weight centric approach being applied to care home residents, but it's the best I can manage in an evening.

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