New Pacemakers Shirts

A slightly tweaked version from before, I wanted to limit the number of colours to make the design more affordable. I also changed the ECG trace on the front so that it’s actually one that would be generated by a pacemaker. The back is also a specific trace, but I’ll let people try to figure that out.

MS Bike Tour

One of my very good friends (Hi Kait!) is participating in her second MS Bike Tour this month. Being a good neuroscience grad, her team’s name is homunculus. The homunculus is a sort of cartoon where the features of the little man are proportional to their representation in the brain, to boot it was characterized by Wilder Penfield, a Canadian! (and the doctor who helped found the Montreal Neurological Institute)

Penfield’s sensory and motor homunculi

Kait wanted something she could stencil onto her team shirts, so I did this simple little homunculus riding a bicycle (the bicycle was harder to get right than the homunculus). I’ll hopefully get some photos of her and her team wearing the shirts to post later!


MS is a pretty devastating disease, and is very prevalent in Canada, so if you want to donate to the MS society of Canada, sponsor a bike team, or bike yourself, please check out their website!

Lego (this sums up my childhood)

This is a TED talk by Hillel Cooperman about LEGO and how it’s not just for kids. I find it eerily similar to my childhood in the sense that Alex (my brother) and I were definitely lego rich. I think it was a ploy to make both of us engineers (my father being a civil engineer). It worked for one kid.

I wish I had some of those old photos to show here, but I think we must have around 2 cubic meters all, of course, excellently sorted. I wonder what kind of fighting will go down when it comes time to claim it out of our parents’ basement.

Eyeball (in progress)

I’m working on the cover illustration for a journal, which is good because it is forcing me to whip out the old pencil and paper. This is the preliminary sketch, not super high quality (but not bad for a phone photo). The plan is to colour it later today so we can get the issue out this week. I haven’t decided if I’m going to colour it on the computer or, heaven forbid, watercolour. Only time will tell.
Eyeball sketch

Stretched “canvas”

For almost as long as I’ve had the scanning electron micrograph (SEM) images, I’ve wanted to get one printed on canvas really big to show off in my house. This dream was somewhat squashed by the reality of just how much it costs to get an image printed on canvas and stretched onto a frame (upwards of 200$ for the size I wanted). And so, for a year and a half, I went micrograph-less. It was a hard time. With only my periodic shower curtain and rhinovirus soap dispenser to show off my true geekiness to all who visited me.

Not surprisingly, it was science that presented me with an alternative. While attending a poster session at a conference a couple weeks ago, Mike and I noticed that one of the posters was printed on vinyl and not paper. Turns out that Kinkos had a promotion on that made printing on vinyl only 6$/square foot. Slowly, the gears in my head started churning. Surely vinyl could be stretched over a frame much the same way canvas is, and was I not currently in possession of staple gun? I then decided that I would get one of my micrographs printed on vinyl and then stretch it myself.

So I took my image, enlarged it to 48″x30″ (4 feet by 2/5 feet) and took it to Kinkos to get printed. I then went to the local art supply store and bought the pieces for a frame in 44 and 26 inch pieces. It was about 70$ for the print (taxes in) and 15$ for the frame. I then brought it home and with a handy dandy tutorial, began to assemble the whole thing. Besides the fact that I had to use the mechanical staple gun again and ran out of staple halfway through, it wasn’t too bad. Turns out stapling pine is a lot easier than MDF with a thick layer of foam, but it still hurt my hands.

It turned out great and you can’t even tell that it is printed on vinyl and not canvas when you look at it. And now I get to sleep with an image of a retina above my head (you can even see the rods and cones).

Stretched vinyl micrograph

There’s nothing tastier than a sperm cake

So it turns out that it’s quite obvious when an exam is drawing near since the frequency of my posting shoots up dramatically (I’m an efficient procrastinator). I figure this sort of kind of counts as studying though, since it does involve what I’m supposed to be studying: genetics, embryology, and reproduction.


Except it’s in cake form, which makes it so, so much better.

(Yes, I do love Cake Wrecks, I think it is one of my favourite blogs out there)

Science tattoos

I’ve always had a guilty pleasure for tattoos (at least ones that are well done) and when I came across the Science Tattoo Emporium I was like a little kid in a candy shop. There’s just something inherently awesome about people getting their research passions (or otherwise) tattooed on themselves! I especially like the couple I’ve seen that are representations of Cajal’s* drawings of neurons.


*Cajal is one of my all time heros since he was both an amazing artist and a renowned scientist. Not to mention that he studied neurons, which I am particularly found of.

My little tattoo does have a speck of science in it though, a little Fibonacci spiral in the middle of it. Maybe I’ll post a photo later.


Mike suggested that I enter a t-shirt design contest for the upcoming useR conference. I’ve been looking around for inspiration, and I must say, I’m sad that I wasn’t the one to come up with this graphic:

Source: Phil Gyford via Revolutions

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