James and the Giant Corn Genetics: Studying the Source Code of Nature

October 22, 2009

Agriculture in Popular Culture: CSI Miami

Filed under: biology,Entertainment — Tags: — James @ 7:54 pm

Sorry for missing my daily post yesterday. Still trying to get over whatever I caught last week.

Last week, 13.3 million people watched CSI Miami in prime-time. That’s more people than live in the state Illinois. It doesn’t consider reruns, Tivo recordings, or piracy.** So to the untrained eye (mine), it seems likely the show is making enough money to hire a scientific consultant or two. Clearly the untrained eye is wrong and budgets are so tight that that the expense of finding someone who’d taken intro biology anytime in the past fifteen years was far too much. As demonstrated in this weeks episode “Bad Seed.”

Before I continue, let me say first of all I’m not one of CSI:Miami’s regular viewers. They don’t have to worry about losing me as a fan. I never was one. Second, I don’t get angry when shows like Fringe or the SyFy (<–that’s really how they spell their name now) Channel’s disaster and/or monster movie of the week completely mangle science. They are, and acknowledge themselves to be, science fiction. Shows based on fictional science. On the other hand, shows such as the CSI and Law&Order families set fictional stories in what, we are supposed to believe is, the  real world. As such, the burden on them to get their facts straight is much stronger.

A burden the writers of CSI Miami clearly can’t be bothered to live up to. (Oh, if it wasn’t obvious already, spoilers ahead). (more…)

June 27, 2008

I’m the second hit on google!

Filed under: Entertainment,Fun With Numbers — Tags: — James @ 5:39 pm

This is very thrilling. Of course I’m still losing out to a genealogy site, so it reflects more the rarity of my name than my importance in the world. Just like a search for James Giant Corn returns this site as the top hit, there just isn’t a lot of competition. But I sure showed the guy with my name who finished in the mid-40s in a bass fishing contest who’s boss! 😉

April 9, 2008

3.5 pounds (1.5 kilos) of Citrus

Filed under: Entertainment — Tags: , , — James @ 9:01 am

Pomelo vs Orange (2 of 3)

It’s only in the past few years that I’ve begun seeing pomelos for sale in grocery stores. I remember eating the first one I’d ever seen in Matthew’s dorm room, which puts it just over 3 years ago. The Pomelo is one of the parental species, along with the orange, of the modern grapefruit, and if you’ve never had one, the best way to imagine the flavor is to imagine the distinctive flavor of grapefruit, only stronger and less sweet. Besides flavor, the other thing to take into account when dealing with pomelos is that while the overall  size of a pomelo fruit is quite impressive, the ratio of edible to inedible biomass is lower than in other commercially available citrus fruits.

Pomelo vs Orange (3 of 3)

March 17, 2008

10,000 BC

Filed under: Entertainment — James @ 5:37 pm

Since I had the day off, spring break, and my landlord was showing my apartment to several perspective new occupants, I decided to take the chance to do something I don’t normally do and go see a movie in theaters. The movie I chose was called 10,000 BC and while I had a wonderful time watching it (completely alone in the middle of a theater at least two stories tall), I’m not sure I would recommend it to most people as you have to go in compared to completely suspend disbelief. That said, the movie has qualities that would appeal to many people: action, true love, impressive CGI, and, most importantly for me, a small yet instrumental cameo appearance by Zea mays. 😉

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