It’s Alive in Brisbane: Junior Dragon

22 09 2009

Even the animals in Brisbane are friendlier than Sydney ones.

The waterdragons in the Mount Coot-tha gardens are not intimidated by some human company. Three waterdragons swam across the Japanese ponds to let some friends and I get a closer look, including this little juvenile:

Juve Waterdragon 002

Juve Waterdragon 004

Very sure these are Eastern Waterdragons – same as this one I saw in Lane Cove earlier in the year (I’ll also sheepishly admit that I may have thought the adults were frilled neck lizards when I first saw them – but quickly realised they weren’t).





Behold the UggCroc

16 07 2009

Pic: UggCroc at the Valley Markets (yes, it’s what you think), originally uploaded by David Jackmanson. (Creative Commons by Attribution)

Pure Awesome.





Moving in pictures

12 07 2009
From this:
North Sydney view of Harbour

Sydney

To this:

The Derelict

Brisbane

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Who is testing cancer vaccines?

15 06 2009

ResearchBlogging.orgAs I wrap up my “Pharma is your Phriend” series, lets take a look at some more research.

This is a very interesting analysis of cancer vaccine trials using data mining from Open Access journal, Immunome Research.

The authors have taken advantage of there being quite a lot of publicly available information on clinical trials these days (yes, it is there, if you know where to look¹) to amass a whole host of information on cancer vaccine clinical trials for a type of analysis known as data mining.

There own summary of the results reads:

This application enables rapid extraction of information about institutions, diseases, clinical approaches, clinical trials dates, predominant cancer types in the trials, clinical opportunities and pharmaceutical market coverage. Presentation of results is facilitated by visualization tools that summarize the landscape of ongoing and completed cancer vaccine trials. Our summaries show the number of clinical vaccine trials per cancer type, over time, by phase, by lead sponsors, as well as trial activity relative to cancer type and survival data. We also have identified cancers that are neglected in the cancer vaccine field: bladder, liver, pancreatic, stomach, esophageal, and all of the low-incidence cancers.

Two cool things I learned from the paper were: Vaccines for cancers have been in development since the 1970s, and melanoma has been the cancer studied most for a vaccine, even though the first ones out to market have been for cervical cancer (expect melanoma vaccines in the next 1-5 years?).

But as we are looking to shift this discussion towards the pharmaceutical industry, let’s look at who runs clinical trials (Pop up: Figure 2a).

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Insert Psyschedelic Tortoise Fantasy Sequence … here

12 06 2009

Sky Gamera

Was afraid of going over my internet cap this week, so played around with GIMP to distract myself (okay, maybe I could have turned off the computer…)

This is a mash of several photos I’ve taken this year.





Free drugs: Just say no?

28 05 2009

ResearchBlogging.org “Everybody likes something free.” I don’t think anyone is going to disagree with Chimonas and Kassirer there.

Drugs are expensive. And even if in a country like Australia, universal insurance may mean that vital medicines are cheap for the end-consumer, somewhere someone has pay the full price (i.e. the government).

Because drugs are so expensive, many drug companies – particularly when releasing a new product, will offer “free samples”. Now these aren’t quite like a give-away taste-test counter like at the local deli – the drugs still need to be prescribed by the doctor to a sick patient – but the principle is the same. You try it, and if it works, hopefully you’ll buy the real deal.

Sounds great! Hospitals get free medicines. Doctors learn about new treatments. Patient receives expensive treatment cheaply. And Pharma makes a friend. Everyone is a winner! What’s not to love?

Well… turns out it’s not quite the rosy picture we’d pictured. PLoS Medicine carries an investigative essay on the ramifications of free drug samples on the health care system.

Summarised points below: Read the rest of this entry »





It’s Alive in Sydney: Goanna

24 05 2009

Big Fat Goanna 002, originally uploaded by zayzayem.

This big fat fella was found in Lane Cove National Park, the same weekend as the waterdragon I posted a while ago.

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It’s Alive in Sydney: My own private taxonomy fail

2 05 2009

Just so that we are clear I’m not afraid of kickin’ my own moronic ass sometimes.

I thought I was all clever adding this picture to an Agamid group in Flickr as a bearded dragon:
Physignathus lesueurii lesueuri (Eastern Waterdragon)

Turns out it is Physignathus lesueurii lesueuri, an Eastern Waterdragon. If I’d paid any attention, I should have noticed the complete absence of beard.

I saw this little fella, and a few more (and a massive goanna, coming up) along Lane Cove River, in the Lane Cove National Park in North Ryde/Macquarie Park.

Thank you Jen 64 for pointing out my error. More on identifying subspecies of waterdragon over at Australian National Botanic Gardens website – note the face stripe goes eye-to-ear in this critter, distinguishing it from the Gippsland sub-species, you can also see some of the red underbelly if you look hard  (plus it was taken in Sydney, not Gippsland)





It’s Alive in Sydney: Mystery Bug

26 04 2009

White Crawly Bug

A crawly bug I spotted on a sign in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.

It was so white, I wasn’t sure if it had been accidentally covered in paint (under the outer plates still looked dark).





It’s Alive in Sydney: Sexy legs, sees

22 04 2009

Bandangi Millipede 001

A millipede on a rock – in Badangi Reserve on the Lower North Shore of Sydney.

Taking this photo with a flash prompted me to ask Alex Wild (currently featured at SciBorg’s Photo Synthesis) if flash photography can harm or distress insects and other invertebrates. His answer – not that he knows*.

This critter did not curl up and die afterwards, at least not that I saw, so my conscience feels fine.

More millipede shots below the fold as I tested my camera out in the field.

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It’s Alive in Sydney: Skink

19 04 2009

I can’t remember if I mentioned my new camera purchase.

A Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD. It was a little more than what I was planning on purchasing, but I got a good deal on a ex-display stock.

Now, I have a flickr account to go along with it. And thanks to my dad, it’s now an unlimited pro account, which is good seeing as though it took 48 hours to fill up the complementary storage.

Here’s the first in a series of critters taken around a Sydney.

Skink_003





Be careful it bites

25 08 2008

I didn’t realise venus flytraps had flowers. It’s quite pretty.

image Venus Flytrap close-Up, by malcolmhair, (CC-SSAAND)





Banners ahoy!

12 08 2008

How cool is my custom banner up above.

Along with half-assedly updating my “about” page, I’ve also provided the appropriate attributions to the kind flickr users who have contributed to my nice banner.

The banner collage combines my own photographs with some Flickr Creative Commons 2.0 photos of creatures I have some fascination with.

Take a little time and try and see if you know what every animal is.

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