Wednesday, June 8, 2011

TX 6/7-6/8

Day 7: Tuesday, June 7, 2011
I didn't have to go into lab until after 1, so at lunch, I went to Henry's Cajun Food, this little square shack in the middle of the parking lot shared with Taco Bell and McDonalds'. I ordered the Crawfish Etouffee, because Rebecca said that crawfish was really good and I've been meaning to try some legit Cajun/Creole food (that doesn't break the bank! *shakes fist at Disney's Bayou restaurant).
Small (12 oz) Crawfish Etouffee - $4.75

I boiled up some kale and ate it with it. Good spices and flavors, but the taste/smell of crawfish is a little strong. I don't think crawfish is my go-to protein, but the dish is overall tasty. It's a tomato-based roux with crawfish pieces over rice. Reminded me of a spiced seafood risotto. The rice was thick and creamy thanks to the sauce all over it. I split this in two, enough for two (light-ish) meals.

At 6, all the REU students were invited to a welcome dinner with speaker Dr. Pettit on "How to get the most of your REU Internship." They catered from On the Border Mexican grill, and the food was good. I made two large flour chicken-black-bean-squash-lettuce-salsa-guacamole-sour cream tacos. The rice was simple, light red-brown, and came with corn. Good, didn't give me indigestion as most original Mexican rice does. The black beans were delicious with specs of tomatoes.

Dr Pettit was a very good speaker, telling us what we should do to make long-lasting relationships, learn thoroughly, and advice on how to approach academic research. Most important is to make yourself known to the professor, show efficiency and productivity, keep contact after the program, and always be ready for an opportunity. These I should really keep in mind, when I consider grad school soon.

Day 8: Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Darn bug bites. I got 4 total and 3 are persistent and aggravating. They are so itchy and they are almost like rashes. T_T Let it be over already...

Lunchtime we had our first seminar sponsored by Dr Hsieh. Dr Ji presented to us about MRIs. It was quite interesting. I get excited when I understand things. MRI used to be called "N"-MRI for "nuclear" magnetic resonance imaging, but the nuclear part was dropped later because it gave a misleading connection to radiation. The MRI works on the basis of quantum spins. The nucleus is mostly protons (+ charge) with electrons (- charge) revolving around it. This spin creates an individual magnetic field per molecule (right hand rule, thumb is direction of field). Normally, each molecule is oriented randomly in space, but when an external field is applied, some molecules line up parallel and others anti-parallel to the magnetic field. Furthermore, if an electric coil is placed near the molecules and the field, it can read a frequency coming from the molecules that translates into its spatial identity. There are more complex stuff, but that's what I remember and care to explain about right now. Look it up! Wiki MRI!

Went back to lab after that, where I observed and minutely helped my grad mentor attach lymph vessels to a fluid flow contraption, put flow through it, and try to get it to intrinsically pump. After 2 failed attempts (lymph vessels were dead), the third one finally showed pumping and we were able to get a pressure reading. Wow, 5-ish hours to jut get some pressure readings. This may be a tiring research project, but that's what research always is. A lot of waiting. It'll be interesting to see how things come along when I get my hands in on the action.
 Total fluid flow device
 There's a lymph vessel in the middle of that blackness.
Beautiful TX sky

Oh. And I want to bake. :'(

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