Science and Rainbows has been busy…

Insert cliche I’ve-been-busy-sorry-for-not-posting-comment here. It’s true though. However, I need to shamelessly self promote because there is a chance Experium Academy will look at this blog and think I give up on things. Heeeeaaaay Experium!! So instead of lots of posts about everything I’ve done over the past 6 months or so, here is a summary/highlights/excuse-list/shameless-self-promotion in the hopes that Experium contacts me ( ) and finds me interesting enough to collaborate with…

I was on the TV!! Curiosity, the “flagship” Discovery Channel series did a fascinating special on what it means to be evil. Eli Roth from Inglorious Basterds and Hostel hosted and I scanned his brain, did the analysis and chipped in with production. Jim Fallon got to break it down on TV being the famous neuroscientist and all while I was portrayed as a tech, but I WAS ON THE TV!!! And got in the credits which apparently is a big deal if you work in Hollywood. So I always have stardom to fall back on. I had to take a picture of my computer playing it on iTunes since screen capture doesn’t work with iTunes material and I’m not waiting around for a replay to screen cap my TV…

Arguably the biggest project I have been doing though is not science at all. With the help of my family and friends I installed this kitchen in my new house! A major improvement over the old one, no!?

Back to science. After a year of hard work I was able to present my Brown Adipose Tissue imaging results to the community. People were over the moon. For the first time, we as a species, understand where Brown Adipose Tissue is deposited in a healthy, live human infant. For those that don’t know, Brown Adipose Tissue is the bees knees and will be the savior of the obesity epidemic one day.

Finally, my biggest time suck. I’ve tried to avoid blogging about him, but how can I mention my life without doing so!? Here he is, Jude dude! I love him so so much.

Experium, if you are listening. Know that, above all, I am passionate about science, education, family and life. Call me!


Science and Rainbows is on a Diet

I have a guest post on my polymathic friend Mike’s blog, the Information Diet. Full credit to him for correcting a data point or two and formatting the colors to fit his design scheme. The original is below, along with the following excerpt from the journal “Biology and Intelligence”… interesting.

Although it has long been known that women have absolutely smaller brains than men, it is widely thought that relative brain size, that is, brain size corrected for variation in body size, does not differ between the sexes. However, by reanalyzing a large data set on brain mass of black and white men and women, I show that, after correcting for body height or body surface area, men’s brains are about 100 g heavier than female brains in both racial groups. This remarkable result leads to fascinating questions about the relation between brain size and intelligence, and about the evolution of brain size in humans.

RIP Steve Jobs

You have me up later than I have been since Jude was born waiting to order the new iPhone 4S. Of course, the site is still being updated and it’s already 12:37PST. Since I’m sick of clicking refresh (yes, I have been doing it for 45 minutes now) I’ve decided to crontab the job. This is pretty simple, curl the site, compare it to the site I curl’ed one minute ago, if it’s any different Bruce screams “BUY iPHONE”!! Now I can take a nap until something finally changes…

1) Open terminal.
2) Type vi ~/
3) This is the vi editor, type “i” to go into insert mode.
4) copy and paste the following:


/usr/bin/curl “” > ~/tmpApple.txt

/usr/bin/diff ~/tmpApple.txt.old ~/tmpApple.txt > ~/tmpdiffApple.txt

dlines=`/usr/bin/more ~/tmpdiffApple.txt | wc -l`

echo $dlines

/usr/bin/curl “” > ~/tmpApple.txt.old

if [ $dlines -gt 10 ]
then say “buy iphone”
echo $dlines

5) type “:wq” to save the text.
6) You should be back in the terminal now. Type “crontab -e” to go into the editor.
7) On the first line, type
* * * * * /Users/rasmussj/;
And use “:wq” to save and quit.
8) (I put a “)” here and got a sunglass emoticon, ugh)  Wait for Stephen Hawking to tell you “BUY IPHONE”
9) Get excited to see a valid page
10) Go absolutely mental that the #$%@ site can’t successfully take your order after 5 #$%@ing tries!!!!

Mom’s Secret Garden

Karen, myself and Jude are staying at my parents house in New Mexico for the week. My mom had pointed out some weeds she wanted pulled in her “secret garden” and Karen and I almost immediately looked at each other and screamed Yard Crashers!!! So began a long week of yard/house work while Jude literally stared, smiled and talked to the little stuffed zebra that has garnered way more attention from him than either of us ever have…

The first, and probably most difficult of the projects was the entry way trellis. I freestyled off this design, using found wood and matching the silhouette of the frame to the door and window frames inside my parents house.

We then made a continuation of their short brick wall, using found tree trunk sections and cinder blocks that my mom will eventually fill with succulents.

The length of this wall led to an old lattice made of steel wiring. My mom initially wanted to run ivy up through it, but we were inspired by a painting technique we saw on Design Within a Dime a while back. We bought tin flashing, spray paint and acetone. We spray painted the tin flashing in different combinations of deep blue and copper, dripped acetone on it and lit it on fire. The result was this beautiful blue/copper marbling effect.

We finished the space with some succulents, old wine bottles, grass and copper red bark.

Then I found some quality lumber lying around and made a cool modern looking wood adirondack chair. This was originally inspired by repurposing pallets, which I did find lying around but were in no shape for making a chair out of.

This was supposed to be matched by a stone and wood block bench but when I dug up the blocks they were crawling in ants and I no longer wanted anything to do with them.

Finally, and maybe my favorite I hung some simple solar lamps in the tress that I found lying around. The lighting was incredible!!

That and a LOT of weed pulling by Karen and my mom’s secret garden was up to snuff. Hope you like it, love you!!

Rainbows: Cookbook Design

I’ve always wanted to work on an illustrated cookbook. Problem is, I can barely cook and I certainly can not illustrate. What I can do is blatantly rip people’s creativity off, so due credit here: inspired by these lovely nutrition label designs by Renee Walker and my good friend Mike’s recipe visualization (which I expect was also inspired by Renee Walker). I present my take on it. The often requested Jalapeno Pesto recipe (and some photos with another post on my other blog).


Science and Rainbows: HIV and Obesity Life Expectancy

“People can come up with statistics to prove anything, 14% of all people know this.” – Homer Simpson.

About a year ago I was at a party and feeling buzzy and did just that, made up a statistic. I don’t recall the exact statistic I made up, but it went something like this: “One has a shorter life expectancy having been diagnosed with Obesity at the age of 30 than HIV”. Turns out, this is exactly right. As inflammatory (to both groups of diagnosis) as it is, it seems to me to be true. I present the following as an interesting science mashup. The idea and work comes from a number of articles but since this is not peer reviewed I will limit it to the most pertinent. Fontaine et. al. (JAMA 2003) provided the age/BMI dependence of years of life lost (YLL).

I’ve lost the reference for the age dependence of YLL in HIV, though here is the chart.

The decade dependence is from Hogg et. al. (Lancet 2008). These are synthesized in the following chart.

You can see that your life expectancy from the age of 30 is about the same whether you have a BMI of 44 or HIV. I’ve put a BMI of 34 in here as a reference for what we common think of as a “fat” person. It’s also clear to see how far we’ve come with anti-retroviral drugs in the past 10 years. It’s tough to say what this graph will look like 10 years from now, likely HIV will be on par with a BMI of 34, a weight much more common in our current society.

Science And Rainbows: Clinic Charts

Recently I had access to some basic (read as non-identifying, HIPAA) information off of a clinic’s visit information from Diabetes patients. The data was limited to age, sex and number of visits per patient. I didn’t really expect to find anything of interest given the limited amount of information, but I was just excited at the prospect of playing with some EMR information. So here it goes. Straightforward pie chart of sex distribution in visits of all types of Diabetes, though an overwhelming majority were type II.

According to Epocrates 35% of all women and 30% of all men will be diagnosed in their lifetime. This would be a 45:55 ratio. However, I’ve found a number of publications suggesting the opposite, for instance Bruno et. al. (2005 Diabetes Care) suggest a male to female ration of more than 2:1. No matter the reference I found, they were never close to the female to male ratio of 2:1 this chart suggests. The synthesis of this is simple, women are much more likely to see a physician to monitor their care.

Second, is the distribution of how many repeat visits patients were making.

One can see in this chart, the answer is not very many, considering patients are recommended to regularly visit their physician in order to closely monitor the condition. 2 or 3 times pales in comparison to what would constitute the recommended 4 times a year.

Finally, and most interesting to me, was the effect age had on the number of visits a patient made.

There seems to be a peak around 65-70, which incidentally (?) is near life expectancy for a developed country. Despite this, I’m not sure how this would effect this graph. My thinking is that since patients accrue visits over time, the older the patient the more vsits they have accrued. So, the general increase over time is logical, what the invert means, I am not sure. I am going to hypothesize that older folks have more important things to see their physicians about later in life. Thoughts?

These charts may not have a sizzle, but they suggest what a lot of Family Physicians and many other countries already know. We don’t see our doctors enough, for one reason or another. Regular care prevents the more expensive care down the road and looking at patient trends can help us find the demographics that need encouragement to reach the end goal of preventative care for all.