My Blog       Other blog pages

Amoeba splits

click to
see larger

April 17, 2012
Adventures in fish eating
Let me preface this by saying that I have never been particularly fond of fish. I wouldn't go to a restaurant and order a fish sandwich, and I certainly wouldn't want anchovies on my pizza! I can't stand the smell of most fish, especially sardines, and the idea of salmon jerky (as opposed to beef jerky) seems revolting.

It has come to my attention recently that I need more omega 3 in my diet. Modern farming methods have greatly reduced the amount of Omega 3 in eggs, butter, chicken and beef, (all good sources in a traditional diet, where cattle were fed grass and chickens had a varied diet instead of eating corn) so, the best way to get Omega 3 is, you guessed it, eating fish. Fish get omega 3 by either eating algae or by eating other fish who eat algae, much as humans got it in the past by eating animals who ate grass.

click to see
The one kind of fish that I have eaten sporadically is tuna. As it turns out, while it isn't a "prime" source of Omega 3, tuna is a decent source. It is also fairly inexpensive and conveniently packed in cans. In the past I got tired of tuna quickly, mostly because of the rather bland taste of mayonaise and the sogginess of bread that I prepared it with. So I decided to try something different.

I have hamburgers on Saturday and Sunday and thus I always have hamburger buns on hand. So I decided to try using hamburger buns for tuna instead of bread, this solves the problem of hamburger buns going stale, since they come 8 to a package and I only used 4 a week. I also, instead of ketchup and mayonaise, used barbecue sauce and tartar sauce so I decided to try tartar sauce with tuna instead of mayonnaise (that seems quite logical since it is, after all, fish). Another item I used with hamburgers was thin sliced white onions. It occurred to me that if I chopped the onions they would make a good addition to tuna.

So there I had it, tuna with tartar sauce and chopped onions, served on hamburger buns. It was good, but still a little on the bland side, so I added fresh ground pepper and salt (later replaced with "no salt" but that's a story for another time!). I don't remember tuna ever tasting so good, and I was getting about 250 mg of Omega 3 per serving!

click to see
After doing further research, I found that tartar sauce may not be the best stuff be eating. That's because not only do you need to add omega 3 to your diet, you need to reduce the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3. It turns out that, like mayonnaise, tartar sauce is made with soybean oil. Soybean oil has a ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 of 7:1. That's actually better than most vegetable oils, corn oil is 46:1, for example, and peanut oil has essentially no omega 3. Still, if you're trying to improve your omega 6 to omega 3 ratio then using a product made with oil with a 7:1 ratio is not a really good idea. My research did , however, suggest an alternative, canola oil.

Canola oil has a 2:1 ratio, which is the best you'll find in a commonly available vegetable oil, so I added it to the tuna instead of tartar sauce. This didn't give me quite the right consistency so I sprinkled a teaspoon of flour (white at first, then later whole wheat) on top and mixed it in to thicken it. This gave a consistency very similar to what I got with gobs of tartar sauce, but something was missing. Looking at the ingredients in tartar sauce, I found sweet pickle relish. So I added a heaping teaspoon of pickle relish to the tuna. This was even more delicious than it had been with tartar sauce, and was healthier too.

It was so good, in fact, that I began eating it more often. Before I knew it, I was eating two cans of tuna fish a day. I was also losing weight, which, if you weigh 230 pounds is definitely a good thing! It occurred to me, however, that eating two cans of tuna fish a day might have a downside.

click to see
Turns out, it does, mercury! Tuna doesn't have as much mercury as some other fish, which also have more omega 3, but it has enough to be a problem. According to the FDA, most people should not eat more than 2 cans of tuna a week. That advice was based on pollution levels as they were 25 years ago and things have improved. Also, tuna caught off the west coast of North America have much lower levels than tuna from caught off the coast of Asia, but you usually don't know where your supermarket tuna is coming from and recent tests by consumer groups suggest that current mercury levels are still a problem in most tuna samples tested. They say that fish is brain food and omega 3 does help to maintain and improve brain function but too much mercury can have the opposite effect! So while two cans a week may be a bit on the conservative side, two cans a day is definitely too much.

So now what? I was looking for a way to add omega 3 to my diet but not at the cost of mercury poisoning. While researching the topic of mercury levels I read about an alternative, canned Salmon. It was said that many people of have substituted salmon for tuna, so I decided to look into it. According to the FDA, canned Alaskan salmon has no detectable mercury, and is extremely low in other pollutants.

There are several reasons for this, First, most obvious, Alaskan salmon comes from Alaska, where the water is much cleaner. Second, they are lower in the food chain and so don't accumulate as many pollutants. Third, they have a shorter life cycle. This all leads to a much cleaner fish that is healthier to eat. Alaskan pink salmon come from well established stocks harvested in a sustainable fashion. The fact that a 2.1 oz serving of salmon has 4 times the omega 3 as a five ounce can of tuna is just icing on the cake.

Ok, so salmon has essentially no mercury and has several times the omega 3, but what good does that do if I can't stand the stuff? Will I be unable to stomach the taste, smell and appearance, or will it be something only mildly revolting that I'll get used to and eventually learn to like? There was only one way to find out!

I bought a can, at $2.48 it was certainly cheap enough, and if I got 5 servings out of the can it would cost about the same as tuna. When I opened the can, I must say, it looked rather disgusting! In fact, it's appearance when you first see it was the hardest thing to overcome. However, once it was broken up and mixed together with a fork/spoon it looked quite similar to tuna, except with dark spots and a pinkish color. The smell was very similar to tuna.

click to see
But what about the taste? It has a bit more character than tuna, but it's not that bad, especially when mixed with the other ingredients and taken in small doses, starting with a 2 oz eventually working up to a 3 oz serving. That brings up another point. Since there is almost 15 oz in a can, what do I do with the rest after I have taken out a 2-3 oz serving? An open can of fish in the refrigerator is not the most appealing thing in the world but then a solution occurred to me, I washed out one of my empty pickle relish jars and used it, and it's lid, to store the rest of the can.

Speaking of taste, I Added one more ingredient, crushed garlic. A clove of garlic is crushed in a garlic press then what remains is scraped out and added to what comes out the bottom. This is easier and more effective than trying to chop it! This recipe is not the best thing for my breath, but it tastes wonderful and both the onions and garlic have a lot of antioxidants.

I know this won't sit well with hard core philosophical vegetarians, who will try to tell you that all fish is loaded with mercury, but some of those same people would rather believe that early humans were coprophages (you don't want to know!) than to admit that humans are not naturally vegetarian.

Canola oil

Canola oil

click to see larger

Nov 20, 2011
Rainbow on a dreary fall day
It was a fairly dreary fall day today, so I spent most of it inside watching football. The torrential rain I saw in the 49ers game made its way to Sacramento and I decided to take a look. While the rain was starting to subside, a rainbow appeared along with its refection with the colors reversed. I couldn't miss the oppurtunity to grab the camera and takes some pictures.

I made a few updates and additions on the Things to do on the internet when you're bored page. Not much else to report.

Amoeba splits


Sep 14, 2009
Microbe videos
I added several pages of videos taken through the microscope to the Protist gallery, based on hay infusions from samples taken locally (95841):

Amoeba videos
Bacteria videos
Colpoda videos
Paramecium videos
Vorticella videos

Detailed colpoda
Colpoda sprialis ?

Aug 2, 2009
Colpoda Spiralis?
Today I drafted a page about a species of colpoda I first observed on June 3 that is unlike any colpoda I've ever seen before. I am tentatively identifying it as Colpoda spiralis based primarily on that species' most distinct feature. This is a very unusual species, which superficially resmbles a snail.

On the coploda spiralis page I have several pictures and a bunch of videos

Colpoda Sprilas ?
Paddy Pollen
Female mosquito   Whole Mount
Ascaris Cross Section magnified 40 times
Planaria Cross Section magnified 100 times

July 13, 2009
Microscopic Gallery
I added serveral new entries to the Microscopic Gallery:

Paddy Pollen
Ascaris cross section
Blood Fluke Eggs
Dog Columnar Ciliated Epithelium
Freshwater Fish Gill
Hydra Budding
hydra longitudinal section
Mantis Leg
Mitosis Ascaris Egg Cross Section
Female Mosquito
Mouse Cuboidal Epithelium
Pig Adipose
Planaria cs
Taenia Pisiformis

Freshwater fish gill 400X

Mouse cuboidal epithelium magnified 100 times
Zea seed ls   100X
Zea stem cs 400X
Tilia stem 400X

Jun 28, 2009
Microscopic Gallery
I added serveral new entries to the Microscopic Gallery:

Stomata Vicia Faba Leaf
Sunflower Stem cs
Tilia Stem cs
Tomato Flesh
Zea Root
Zea Root Tip
Zea Seed ls
Zea Stem
Zea Stem cs
Tilia stem
Zea seed ls 400X
Sunflower stem cross section 400X
Rhizopus magnified 100X
Poa Leaf 400X
Pumpkin stem cross section 40X

Jun 27, 2009
Microscopic Gallery
I added serveral new entries to the Microscopic Gallery:

Poa Leaf cs
Pome Scleroid
Pumpkin Stem cs
Rhoeo discolor
Rice Stem cs
Root Meristem
Seminal Bud Stem Tip ls
Stem Collenchyma
Stem Parenchyma
Stem Sclerenchyma
Stem Tracheid

Poa leaf magnified 400X
Rice stem 400X
Mitosis in an onion root tip 400X
Pine root magnified 100 times

Jun 23, 2009
Microscopic Gallery
I added serveral new entries to the Microscopic Gallery:

Mitosis Onion root tip
Onion Epidermis
Pine Leaf
Pine Root

Pine root 400X
Coprinus mushroom 400X
Ipomoea leaf 400X
Ipomoea root 100X

Jun 21, 2009
Microscopic Gallery
I added serveral new entries to the Microscopic Gallery:

Spirogyra Conjugation
Coprinus mushroom set
Cucurbita Stem
Fern Leaf Sorus
Fern Prothallium
Hydrilla Verticillata leaf
Ipomea leaf cs
Ipomoea root
Lillium Anther cs
Lilium Ovary

Spirogyra conjugation 100X
Fern prothallim showing chloroplasts 400X
Honey bee wing Housefly mouth human sweat glands Moquito mouth

May 18, 2009
More Microscpic views
Today I added:

House bee mouth
Housefly mouth
Human blood
Human Sweatglands
Hydra Cross Section
Mosquito larva
Mosquito mouth
Mosquito wing

house bee mosquito mouth
090517daphina40x1.jpg - 5210 Bytes

Cool, huh?

dog esophagus

090517dogileumm400x2.jpg - 5613 Bytes

090517dogrectum40x3.jpg - 8472 Bytes

090517dogtastebuds100x8.jpg - 6454 Bytes

dog trachea

090517rabbitttestis100x9.jpg - 7148 Bytes

090517rabbitttestis400x6.jpg - 5960 Bytes

Rabbit testis

May 17, 2009
New microscopic views
I recently obtained 3 sets of prepared slides, each one has 100 slides. These are mostly bilogical subjects but there are some that are manmade (most notably the letter "e", can you believe some people pay up to $4 for a slide with the letter "e" on it?). I finished imaging the first 50 of what turned out to be "set b" (there is a sheet with the contents but it doesn't identifiy the sets as "a" "b" and "c").

I also upgraded my microscope, not that the old one was that bad but it was my first lab quality microscope and I didn't know much about how to properly care for such an instrument, most notably how to clean it, or , more importantly, how *not* to clean it! So, for about $140 less than what I paid for my original microscope I got one that seems every bit its equal. I also upgraded my microscope camera.

I am now making webpages featuring the results of the first 50 slides. So far I have finsished:

Blood comparison
Butterfly Wing
Dog cardiac muscle
Dog duodenum
Dog esophagus
Dog Ileum
Dog Jejunum
Dog pancreas
Dog rectum
Dog skeletal msuscle
Dog small intestine
Dog smooth muscle
Dog spleen
Dog squamos epithelium
Dog stomach
Dog taste buds
Dog trachea
Dog ureter

[seeing a trend here?]

Earthworm cs
Fish blood
Fish scales
Frog blood
Frog skin
Rabbitt testis

dog esophagus

dog rectum

rabbitt testis

May 14, 2009
I'm still alive!
That seems like a strange thing to say, since I obviously couldn't have written this if I wasn't, but if I was superstitious I might be surprised by that fact. Why? Let's look at a little background...

On May 13, 1999 my father passed away a few months after being diagnosed with inoperable cancer.
On May 13, 2004 my sister passed away after being in a coma for two days due to brain damage caused by an adverse reaction to anti rejection medication for a kidney transplant. This was 5 years to the day after the death of my father.

So, on May 13, 2009 it was wondered if the "family curse" would continue. This reminds me of a curse supposedly put on by an indian that the president elected every 20 years would die in office. Sure enough, that's what happened, all the way through John F Kennedy elected in 1960.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected, when he was shot a few weeks into his term it seemed like yet another round of the curse. Then, much to some people's surprise, he recovered and served out two terms. The "curse" was broken!

And so, 10 years after my father's death, 5 years after my sister's death, our family curse is broken. It appears that this conincidence was just that, a coincidence. And, just as the president elected in 2000 didn't die in office either, I am sure that no great tragedy will befall my family on May 13, 2014.

Mar 8, 2009
Phone Phishing?
We've all heard of phishing, where scam artists send out bogus emails designed to look like they come from you bank, credit card company, etc., directing you to a phony site in hopes you'll enter your passwords, credit care numbers, social security number and so on. Recently a new tactic has emerged: Phone Phishing

This takes the form of a recording with a vague statement about your car's warrantee or your credit card interest rate and they usually lie that they have called several times before. The ambiguity makes it clear (how's that for a phrase?) that they are not actually calling about what they say they are calling about, otherwise they would give some details.

There are two possible reasons that they are making bogus statements:

#1 It is a ploy to get you to pick up the phone.
They know fully well that if they told you right off the bat that they are trying to sell you some unrleated product or that they are a debt collector trying to con you into paying somebody else's debt you wouldn't pick up the phone!

#2 They are trying to collect details about the item mentioned
When they are "extending your car's warrantee" or "lowering the rate on your cedit card" they will be collecting a lot of sensitive personal information which could be used in a scam!

March 1, 2009
Mysterious note on car
click to see larger

I was headed to work the other day when I found a note underneath my passenger side windshield wiper. Accounting for the handwriting as best as I can tell it says:

ola guera como estas sabes te mire en donde bibias antes y sabe ave eres toda una mujer la neta esque no tome ases diferente eras guapa cuando te arreolas temiros bien gugna y guapa me gustaria Berto el miercoles en las lubadorus donde y bas alabar donde 11: AM Bibias antes en los apartamentos de La Palm Sale

I took spanish in highschool but didn't get much chance to use it so at first I wasn't sure what it was, since it was handwritten it seemed unlikely that it was an advertisement. I thought it might be some kind of threat but that seemed unlikely. After studying it for a while I concluded that it was a love note. I took it to work with me and one of my coworkers provided the following translation:

Hello I've been watching you for a while even when you used to live elsewere and i think your a good looking women, I love you hair and your smile. You are all women for me. I woudl liek to meet you on Wednesday, @11am right by the La Palm Sale Apartments

As I suspected, it was a case of mistaken identity. This was probably aimed at a woman whose apartment bedroom window is near my my car. Some at work thought it was a stalker, I think it was a "secret admirer", though there is a fine line sometimes!

The translator suggested I should leave a note of my own saying "stop leaving notes on my car, I'm a dude!" I figure he'll know that if he sees me getting out my car, I just hope he doesn't think I'm her boyfriend!

640 x 480 = 920,000

Dec 30, 2008
Megapixel Fraud
Even the most mathematically challenged individual should see the problem with the equation shown above, yet such psuedo math is frequently used in false advertising of low end display devices. Think I'm joking? check out this spec page! So how is it that a device with only 307,200 pixels came to be advertised as having 3 times as many?
It's a con older than computers!

Microscope salesman used to describe their instruments in terms of "diameters" (power squared) rather than "power", thus an instrument that was 30 power would be described as magnifying by 900 diameters, a description obviously intended to mislead their customers. While this was dishonest, it wasn't fraud since the statement was technically true.

Similarly when digital optical devices first came out with resolutions greater than a million pixels a new term, "megapixels" was coined. Thus a device with a resolution of 1280x1024 was described as having 1.3 megapixels. This was all well and good, but makers of sub megapixel devices wanted to use the term too. Thus 800x600 could be desribed as having 480K pixels or, rounded off to the nearest decmal place, it could be described as 0.5 megapixels. Of course, having a spec that's fractional, starting with zero, tended to give customers an all too realistic impression of their product.

So, like the microscope salesman of earlier times, the makers of sub megapixel devices came up with a scheme to make their products sound better than they actually were. Instead of rating the actual pixels, they rated them in terms of subpixels , the red, green and blue dots that blend together to make a visible pixel. Thus, a device with a resolution of 800x600, which is actually 480K pixels would be described as having 1.44 Megasubpixels or, when rounded off, 1.5 megasubpixels. This is dishonest and misleading but since it is technically true it isn't outright fraud.

The term "megasubpixels" sounds kind of awkward and requires an explanation, so some marketers began dropping the "sub" and described a device with a resolution of 800x600 as having 1.5 Megapixels. This is outright fraud! Fortunately, this fradulent exxageration of pixel count by a factor of 3 seems to usually be limited to devices in the sub megapixel range, but there have been reports of 2 megapixel cameras being falsely advertised as sporting 6 megapixels, so buyer beware, don't trust a megapixel rating unless the maximum resolution is given.

Thus we see how a device with a mere 307,200 pixels is fradulently described in false advertising as having 920,000. I suppose that it could be argued that only the most naive individual would actually think that 640 times 480 equals 920,000 so perhaps they get away with it just as lightbulb makers get away with falsely claiming that their lightbulbs put out 100 watts of light while using only 87 watts. Nevertheless, should a maker of an 800x600 device be allowed to describe it as having 1.5 megapixels while a device with a resolution of 1280x1024 is correctly described as having only 1.3 megapixels?

Another aspect of this megapixel fraud involves colors. If we view the red, green and blue dots that blend to make a pixel as being separate pixels, then with 24 bit color each can be only 256 different colors so instead of 16 million colors, there are actually only 768!


Dec 22, 2008
Star Fish
I added a stereoscopic gallery of starfish. Several different types of starfish are featured including bat starfish , brown starfish , Crown of thorns , jungle starfish , knobby starfish , sugar starfish , sun starfish and tan starfish. I hope to be adding others in the near future.


Search Now:
In Association with
Visits since Nov 9, 2014:

$6.95/mo? What a deal!!!!
3Dham's homepage