I’m working late in lab (as usual) and I went to open Firefox (my default web browser), so I clicked Start and selected “Mozilla Firefox” at the top (where your default browser usually goes in XP). Nothing happened… then this message popped up! I had to take a screen shot because it’s so bizarre.

I swear this is straight from my screen (PrntScrn -> mspaint (pasted) -> PNG) with no modifications. I especially love how the computer is trying to tell me what could have gone wrong; the internet might have been moved, renamed, or removed. Slick.

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*I spent the day* in the lab with some random time on my hands between adding reagents to an ongoing immunohistochemical reaction I was performing. At one point I decided to further investigate the field of bioinformatics (is it worth seeking a PhD in this field if I don’t get into dental school again?). UCF offers a PhD in bioinformatics but it’s a new and small department (I think there are only 4 faculty). The degree itself is a degree in computer science (the logic side of computers, more programming than designing hardware). A degree in bioinformatics combines molecular biology (DNA, proteins, etc), computer science (programming), and statistics (developing code to analyze biological data). I feel a need to express what it is, because it’s not something that is commonly understood. Do you know what people who study bioinformatics do?

*I came across a paper* today “Structural Alignment of Pseudoknotted RNA”:http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/users/shzhang/app/RECOMB2005_pseudoknot.pdf (by Han B, Dost B, Bafna V, and Zhang S.) which is a good example of the practice of bioinformatics. Think about what goes on in a cell… the sequence of a gene (a short region of DNA) is copied (letter-by-letter) onto an RNA molecule. The RNA molecule is later read by an enzyme (called a ribosome) and converted into a protein based on its sequence. (This process is the central dogma of molecular biology) Traditionally, it was believed that RNA molecules’ only function was to copy gene sequences from DNA to ribosomes, but recently (the last several years) it was discovered that some small RNA molecules are never read and turned into proteins, but rather serve their own unique functions! For example, some RNA molecules (siRNAs) can actually turn genes on and off, and have been assosiated with cancer development and other immune diseases. Given the human genome (the ~3 billion letter long sequence all of our DNA), how can we determine what regions form these functional RNA molecules which don’t get converted into proteins? The paper I mentioned earlier addresses this. An algorithm was developed and used to test regions of DNA and predict its probability of forming small RNA molecules. Spikes in this trace (figure 7 of the paper) represent areas of the DNA which are likely to form these RNA molecules. (Is this useful? What if you were to compare these results between normal person and someone with cancer?)

*After reading the article* I thought to myself “Hmmm… logically manipulating large amounts of linear data… why does this seem familiar?” Then I realized how similar my current programming projects are with this one. (see “my latest DIY ECG data”:http://www.swharden.com/blog/images/ecg_goodie.png posted a couple days ago) Consider the trace (pictured, figure 7 in “Structural Alignment of Pseudoknotted RNA”:http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/users/shzhang/app/RECOMB2005_pseudoknot.pdf) of score (the likelihood that a region of DNA forms an RNA molecule), where peaks represent likely locations of RNA formation. Just generate the trace, determine the positions of the peaks, and you’re golden. How similar is this to the work I’ve been doing with my homemade ECG machine, where I perform signal analysis to eliminate electrical noise and then analyze the resulting trace to isolate and identify peaks corresponding to heartbeats?

*After reading* I shivered from mental-overload. There are so many exciting Python projects in the field of bioinformatics that are just waiting for me to begin work on! I know I’m like a child sometimes, but hey it’s my personality. I get excited. It’s just that I get excited about tacky things these days. Anyway, I got the itch to write a string-analysis program. What does it do? It reads the content of my website (exported in the form of a SQL backup query generated by PHPmyAdmin, pictured), splits it up by date, and allows for its analysis. Ultimately I want to track the usage of certain words (i.e.: the inverse relationship between the words “girls” and “python”), but for now I wrote a script which plots the number of words I wrote. Observe the output.

*Pretty cool huh?* Check out all those spikes between 2004 and 2005! (previous figure) Not only are they numerous (meaning many posts), but they’re also high (meaning many words per post). As you can see by the top trace, the most significant contribution to my site occurred during this time. So, let’s zoom in on it! (next figure)

*And of course, the code to produce this…* (obviously you have to have a wordpress backup SQL file in the same folder – if you want mine let me know and I’ll email it to ya’)

import datetime, pylab, numpy
# Let's convert SQL-backups of my WordPress blog into charts! yay!
class blogChrono():
    def __init__(self,fname):
    def load(self):
        print "loading [%s]..."%self.fname,
        for line in raw:
            if "INSERT INTO" in line
            and';' in line[-2:-1]
            and " 'post'," in line[-20:-1]:
                line=line.replace(', NULL',', None')
                line=line.replace(", '',",", None,")
                c= line.split(',',4)[4][::-1]
                c= c.split(" ,",21)
                line=line.replace(', ,',', None,')
                if len(line[4])>len('blogtext'):
                    x=str(line[4].split(', '))[2:-2]
                                                        "%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S")
                post["text"]=eval('"""'+text+' """')
                post["words"]=post["text"].count(" ")
        while len(self.posts)>0:
            for post in self.posts:
                if post["date"]==die:
        print "read %d posts!n"%len(self.posts)


for post in d.posts:

pylab.title("Total Blogged Words")
pylab.title("Words Per Entry")

print "DONE"

*I wrote a Python script to analyze the word frequency* of the blogs in my website (extracted from an SQL query WordPress backup file) for frequency. “This is what I came up with”:http://swharden.com/little/worddump.html I then took my giant list over to “Wordie”:http://www.wordle.net/create and had them create a super-cool little word jumble. Neat, huh? Here’s “a picture”:http://www.SWHarden.com/blog/images/wordie2.png that’s cool but not worth posting.

*This is the script to make the worddump:*

import datetime, pylab, numpy
body=body.split(" ")
for word in body:
    for i in word:
        if 65< =ord(i)<=90 or 97<=ord(i)<=122: pass
        else: word=None
    if word:
        if not word in words:words[word]=0
for word in words: data.append([words[word],word])
out= "<b>Out of %d words...n"%tot
for i in range(1000):
    out += '<b>"%s"</b> ranks #%d used <b>%d</b> times (%.05f%%)
print "DONE"

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So I was reviewing my website statistics generated by a Python script I wrote when I noticed a peculiarity so bizarre that it made me questin the very purpose of my life. Okay maybe it wasn’t that bizarre, but it was interesting. The python script (which is automatically run every hour) downloads my latest access.log and saves it to its own folder. It then analyzes the data, creates some charts and graphs, and dumps out a bare-bones results file displaying some of the information I found useful. Of note is the number of times each page is hit.

This is where things get funny. Outperforming my home page by nearly double was indexOld.php (now indexOld22.php) – a simple webpage I tossed of for about a year before I put my big blog back online! Why were people still going to this page? Further investigation (from the referring sites section of my stats page) revealed a lot of hits from Google image-searches. I started looking at the actual requests and realized that many of these hits were people searching for the term Dwarf Gouramis “a type of freshwater aquarium fish) which was mentioned on that old webpage. The ironic part about it is what happens when you google image search for dwarf gouramis there is a picture of an extremely rare zebra pleco which is actually a link to my website! However the link APPEARS to be to wallpaperfishtalk.com because on my page I just linked to their image.

My conclusion: People are Google image-searching for ‘dwarf gouramis’, and an amazing picture of a zebra pleco is coming up which links to my site (due to the fact that months ago I talked about dwarf gouramis but posted a photo of a zebra pleco) and people (in their awe at this amazing fish) are clicking on it. So what did I do? I pulled a bait-and-switch! You bet I did. Now when you go to indexOld2.php it just forwards you to my current website – mua ha ha ha ha

PS: I’m appending to this entry at 2:17pm to note that I made a wonderful breakthrough in the lab today. Due to intellectual property protection blah blah and the fact that I don’t want anyone else to beat me to my research goal I will not describe what this is, I’ll just say that it took months of preparation and today – presto! It worked beautifully =oD

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I know I wrote less than an hour ago but I found this and had to put it on my site because it is so freaking awesome. How do I randomly find the coolest crap on the internet? I was actually google image-searching for wrist-clamp ECG electrodes and I found this guy.

Apparently this is art by Cai Guo-Qiang seen in the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin.

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