Archive for October, 2011

A Bouncing Little Monkey

I was going to rattle on about our Little Monkey developing more complex interactions with the world, etc. But then a lyric from a George Benson song popped into my mind, which I think is comment enough: “Let the children’s laughter remind us how we use to be” *.

* The original version by the estimable Mr. Benson is far superior to the better-known Whitney Houston cover, which in any case now reminds me of American Psycho.

The Cat Returns

I have literally been lying low recently, due to the arrival of a small noisy hoomin in my house. Again. I thought that if I was patient, my cuteness would prevail, but the little chap still seems to be dominating the attention, and laps, of my hoomins. The fightback starts here, my friends.

"I, Binky Mackenzie, hereby stake my claim to this lap,
and declare it to be feline territory in perpetuity."

Formal Grammars

Throughout the course of my PhD I have found it useful to write summaries of the various aspects of phylogenetics and biology that I have learned. That these will be useful to others is perhaps a vain hope, in both senses of the word, but I thought I might as well publish some of them on my blog.

Formal grammars are an extremely useful tool for conceptualising and analysing nucelotide sequences, and I have briefly summarised the topic, with an example of their application in the modelling of RNA structure. The summary includes some figures which make for somewhat awkward reading in blog format, so I’ve made it available as a pdf pdf.

Citing the Document
[If referring to the document, please cite its location on the Monkeyshines website:]

The War-and-Peace-O-Meter: Week Seventeen

Previous weeks: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16

And so we come to the end. I started War and Peace five months ago. Since then there have been riots on the streets of London, and the News of the World has closed due to the phone-hacking scandal. And on a more cheerful note, Mrs Monkeyshines and I managed to introduce a cute little monkey to the world.

War and Peace is unquestionably brilliant, and I enjoyed the characters, the history, and the slightly smug satisfaction one gets from reading such an immense work of literature. A more detailed review would be somewhat futile at this point; wittering on about how marvellous it is isn’t particularly ground-breaking, and I’m not presumptuous enough to think that I have any new insights.

I’m pleased that I got round to reading it, but I am now looking forward to a bit of a change of pace with my next book. I’ve already started The Midas Code by Boyd Morrison; sample paragraph (yes, paragraph): “Rohypnol. Otherwise known as roofies. The date-rape drug. He had put it in her coffee.” Amazing.

A Smart Young Executive/Beach Bum

The Little Monkey has always had an eye for a dapper outfit, but now that he’s a bit older, Mrs. Monkeyshines and I have fun getting him togged out in some lovely threads. (Although you’ll have to wait for pictures of him in his waistcoat, as he was sick on it before we could get the camera out.) The first couple of photos are from almost two months ago; the next two are from a month ago; the last was taken this week.

A smart young gentleman, ready to attend his first barbeque.

The Little Monkey wonders when he'll be able to grow a handsome beard.

The ginger-ish tint to the hair is just a trick of the light.

The poor boy wonders if matching Hawaiian shirts are some sort of punishment.

"Hmm, getting to wear this smart new coat is almost worth having to go out in the rain."

The War-and-Peace-O-Meter: Week Sixteen

Previous weeks: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14

I had thought that I’d have finished by now, and indeed, I have read the main body of the book plus most of the epilogue. But, to be honest, the latter part of the epilogue is a bit of a slog, being a post-narrative essay on the nature of historical studies. It’s interesting, but nothing like as riveting as the main story. I shall muster my thoughts for a final O-Meter post next week, but thought I should write an interim entry since I skipped last week as I was introducing the Little Monkey to the land of his forefathers…