Home > Bioengineering, Biographical, Biology, C. Elegans, China, Science > Bike acquisition, Project modification, Movie watchin’

Bike acquisition, Project modification, Movie watchin’

I woke up early and set off with my phrasebook full of useful bike-buying phrases in search of a bike. I walked to Tsinghua’s campus because I’d heard their bike shops were better than those on PKU. I came upon a man near some bikes and I asked him if he was selling bikes “你买自行车?” (ni3 mai4 zi4 xing2 che1).  He said that he didn’t sell bikes, but rented them out.  I said I wanted to buy a bike and asked how much that would be.  I whipped out my book of phrases and showed him my pain-stakingly written out requests which he understood immediately. I tried out one bike that was rickety and incredibly too small for me. I then tried out another, near-new bike that was only quite too small for me. I used more of my phrases to get the seat raised and ask if he’d be willing to buy the bike back when i didn’t need it anymore.  I determined that he would, and pay according to how beat up it was.  In short, I am now the proud owner of an essentially new bike tricked out with a bell, basket, lock, and rack. I paid 320, which is more than others have paid, but since it’s essentially new, and probably will be at the end of the summer, I’ll probably be able to sell it for a couple hundred at that point.  Alternatively I have a nice gift for someone who’ll be staying in China.

At the lab today Tan Yang introduced me to the guy who’s working on the automation process who I later learned is her husband.  He took me up by the lake on campus and we sat down on a bench and talked for a couple of hours about what he’s doing and what he’d want me to do. He has 2 main projects that he wants to move forward with.

Currently Tan Yang is running a large scale lifespan experiment using a scanning system that scans trays of worms and automatically counts how many are alive and dead. This system is very good but it still requires someone to be there day and night to move trays of worms onto and off of the scanner. He is trying to develop a system to automatically move those dishes so the station could be set up and then run for a month without further intervention. Needless to say this would be a huge step up in efficiency and much reduce the required manpower to carry on with this experiment.

Another project he wants to do something with is to develop a worm chip, similar to a DNA microarray or protein chip or other similar technologies (more on those some other day). Essentially it requires worms to be put on a microscope slide, separated by grid lines, and retained within specific regions of the slide (within a grid box). He also said the worms should be oriented the same way (all heads to the left, for example) which maybe makes the image processing go faster but seems incredibly difficult.

The projects seem really fun. I like that there’s a problem and it’s up to you to creatively come up with a solution. One downside is that he “works at night.” On further inquiry I learned that this means that he really goes to lab at about 9 pm and goes home and sleeps  at about 9 am.  I’m meeting with him tonight at 10pm to get autoCAD and LabVIEW, which I’ll be able to use for designing things and programming motors and stuff, respectively. I’m excited and looking forward to really getting started with this.

We got out of lab pretty early so I relaxed for a while and read a novel, which was a nice break.  I also got a pair of pingpong paddles which I put to use later with Taylor, Megan, and Sarah.  I’d been trying to figure out how to go see a movie for a while and finally had success.  Veronica got Susan to write down the names of Robin Hood, Toy story 3, and Shanghai in chinese so we could handle the movie schedule ourselves. We determined when Shanghai was playing and set off to go see it. We realized as we got close that we didn’t really know where the movie theater was (Megabox at Zhongguancun), but we found another theater nearby(Jinyi International Cinema) where we were looking on the lowest floor of a mall and went in and sure enough they were playing Shanghai at a similar time. We were very proud and liked the movie a lot (review possibly pending).

So June 23rd was a good day.

  1. June 24, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    Well done on the bike!

    I came across this short article that you should read if you can, about an american guy in China who got paid to be a fake businessman: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128011084&sc=fb&cc=fp

  2. June 24, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    That’s weird…

  3. Warren Houck
    July 21, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    Was the movie in English? Chinese sub-titles?

    Supposedly North Korea hired a bunch of Chinese people and sent them to the World Cup to act as “fans” for the North Korean team.

    • July 21, 2010 at 11:49 PM

      The movie was in English with Subtitles in Chinese, and English. I forget if the English subtitles were constant or if they only came up when characters were speaking chinese or japanese, both of which happened.

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