Archive for March, 2009

Georgia stem cell/embryo legislation

My interpretation of the modified bill that passed the State Senate Thursday is that it would impact future stem cell research in Georgia less than the original.

From the AP:

The bill’s sponsor said it permits research on existing embryonic stem cell lines, which had been allowed under the Bush administration. It also allows new embryonic stem lines to be brought into the state. The bill does not say whether unused embryos created for fertility treatments could be donated to stem cell research.

That last point will need to be resolved.

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Chili verde recipe

Last week I participated in a chili cook-off at work. My chili verde recipe got third place, behind a more traditional beef chili with cubed steak and black beans and a chicken stew with flavorful broth.

Here is a recreation of my improvisation, which was adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless:

3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large or 2 small onions, roughly chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
12 tomatillos, quartered
2 cups pickled jalapenos
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
 
Saute onions and garlic in oil in a wide saucepan or Dutch oven with enough heat so that you get some golden color.
Add tomatillos and distribute so that mostly the tomatillos are facing the floor of the pan. Sprinkle salt and cumin all around. Now add the jalapenos, and then the pork on top.
Turn down the heat (how low depends on how your stove achieves barely simmering). The tomatillos will gradually release their water. Cook for six hours on low heat. If arranged properly, some of the pork pieces should brown as they cook.
 
Remove pieces of pork with tongs or slotted spoon and set aside. Take sauce and put in a blender along with:
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
Add back pork and two 16-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained.
Store before reheating and serving, or reheat and serve immediately.
 
Before serving, add:
 juice of two limes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt, pepper and chopped pickled jalapenos to taste.

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Tragic

I didn’t know the young woman who was fatally burned at UCLA working with t-butyl lithium. It appears that several errors intersected after the reagent spilled and caught fire: she was wearing a flammable sweater, the fume hood wasn’t down far enough, she didn’t run toward the emergency shower.

My first job working in a chemistry lab was at UCLA. It was just for the summer and I didn’t distinguish myself in any big way. I dropped a jug of organic solvent (heptane, perhaps) on my foot and the glass broke. Embarassing, but at least there was no spark!

I also remember a big liquid nitrogen tank having its valve stuck open and the lab folk wheeled it out onto a balcony so it could vent.

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