Collection of Samples

Several weeks ago I collected my final samples before returning from Barbados. After interviewing several potters it was discovered that two of five do not use local Barbados clay. When asked for a reason, one potter stated that there was too much variation within the local clay. This means that the content of iron and sand within the clay was not uniform throughout the entire clay deposit. Differences in the variation of the clay body can lead to variance in the firing temperatures of the pottery. If too much iron is present in the sample, the ceramic will fire at a lower temperature with the iron melted out of the clay. This would lead to more shrinkage in the ceramic than desired, and in turn to the breaking of the vessel due to the high heat of the kiln. Too much sand presents an entirely different problem, the ceramic fires at too high of a temperature. This leads to seeping of the ceramic, thus ruining any expensive mahogany tables underneath it. The potter explained that he had lost a whole kilns worth of work because of the local clay and changed sources, as well as complaints from clients about mahogany tables being ruined.

[Read more…]

Goodbye, summer. See you soon, research!

In less than 24 hours, I packed up my dorm room, worked my last summer day, gave my final presentation, and returned back home to Chicago.  Summer in Williamsburg has sadly come to close, but my research is far from conclusion.  While time away has been relaxing, having nothing to do on the rainy days is hard to get used to, and I am anxious to get back in my lab!

[Read more…]

Virginia’s Bullseye

One of the prevailing trends first identified in the case literature (e.g news articles) and supported by initial interviews is the role of local government and their bullseye-esque disposition to the Cypress Creek Power Station project. Since the announcement of the project in Late 2008, many of surrounding local jurisdictions have formally declared concern, both officially and provisionally. According to the environmental group Wise Energy For Virginia, the Cities of Norfolk, Williamsburg, and Virginia Beach, along with Isle of Wight and Southampton counties have expressed some manner of concern about the project. Conversely, Surry and Sussex (the alternate site) counties have approved permits for construction to be built. Geographically speaking, what has occurred is that the prospective downwind localities either by their own volition or with the prompting of local residents and outside organizations have declared opposition while the host location is in favor of the plant– thus a sort of bulleye has been created. The center is a different color (disposition) than the surrounding ring.

[Read more…]

Translation of Li’s Poem “Cicada”

Just translated another Li’s poem and I feel it’s really hard to keep the poem’s original tone. There’re only five syllables in each line in the original work, while iambic pentameter barely allows me to extract most literal meanings. Therefore, I let go all his fancy language, which is almost untranslatable. The original poem doesn’t have any pronoun, which makes it mostly consist of many pictures rather than the poet’s conversation with a cicada.

[Read more…]

The end of the summer

During this summer I have worked hard to obtain data that will be used to quantify the mutation rate of the hyper mutable region of interest in the genome of H. pylori. I have done procedures that have put me closer to inserting the hyper mutable region into the bacterium E. coli so that the mutation rates can be compared between these two bacterial species. The data gathered from the AFLP protocols done this summer have consistently shown the same number of cytosines within the hyper mutable region of interest in both the bacterial colonies and bacterial populations analyzed. It will be interesting to see if this result holds up when the bacterial environment is experimentally stressed. This will be the topic of experiments to come in the near future.