Track Your Kit


The next step of our DNA samples has been completed:

Track Your Kit – The Genographic Project:
The samples are transferred into PCR amplification plates for testing using a robotic liquid handling station. The appropriate chemicals are added to the samples to amplify the targeted regions of the DNA for testing. The samples are heated and cooled in a thermal cycler in order to run the PCR amplification. The PCR amplification products are loaded into the capillary electrophoresis machine and the products are sorted by size and color.
A laboratory staff member uses a computer program to assign scores to the samples. The computer generated scores are then reviewed by two additional laboratory staff members to produce finalized data.

The Great Genographic Project

Venetian Night

Our DNA samples have moved to the next step in the Genographic Project….

Track Your Kit – The Genographic Project:
The cells are broken open by incubation with a protein-cutting enzyme overnight. Chemicals and the samples are transferred into deep well blocks for robotic DNA isolation. The blocks of chemicals and samples are placed on the extraction robot. The robotic DNA isolation uses silica-coated iron beads. In the presence of the appropriate chemicals DNA will bind to silica. The robot then uses magnetic probes to collect the beads (and DNA) and transfer them through several chemical washes and finally into a storage buffer, which allows the beads to release the DNA. At this point the beads are collected and discarded.

Track Your Kit – The Genographic Project

Tall statue aka Our Onion-headed Overlords

Our DNA has made it to Houston, and is currently being isolated.

Track Your Kit – The Genographic Project:
The kits are received at the Houston office of Family Tree DNA and checked in. All of the kits are assigned to a batch and shipped to the Arizona Research Labs at the University of Arizona. The samples are received at the university and the orders are transferred to a computer system. The computer sorts the orders and assigns each sample to a specific location in one of many sample grids As the barcodes on the samples are read the computer directs the researchers where to place each sample (which tray and which coordinates).

National Geographic Genographic Project

We received our swab sample kits for the Genographic Project in the mail. Have to avoid liquids, especially warm liquids, for an hour before collecting the first inner-cheek sample. Eight hours later, same procedure. We will probably collect our DNA in the morning.

The fine print reiterates that everything is anonymously tabulated, then the actual cells are discarded. So, unless some freak accident happens, no clones of us will be created ten years from now. Sounds like a Hollywood B movie plot though, I should do a treatment.

Park Life particle Man

I thought these amusing, from the extensive FAQ:

Are any pharmaceutical or insurance companies involved in the Genographic Project? No. The Genographic Project is supported by private foundations in conjunction with National Geographic and IBM, the project’s lead partner.


Is the Genographic Project bio-prospecting? No. the Genographic Project research centers will release the resulting genetic data (on an anonymous and aggregate basis) into the public domain to promote further research. The genetic data will be treated as discoveries, rather than inventions, and will not be patented.

Is the Genographic Project linked to any medical research? No. The samples collected from the indigenous groups as well as the samples submitted by the general public via the Public Participation Kits will be analyzed for historical and anthropological data.

From the Beeb:

“There are still many questions we haven’t answered. Was there any interbreeding with Neanderthals as modern humans moved into Europe? Did any of the migrations to the Americas come across the Pacific – or even the Atlantic?”

These and other unanswered questions form the research goals of the project. They include:

• Who are the oldest populations in Africa – and therefore the world?

•Did Alexander the Great’s armies leave a genetic trail?

• Who were the first people to colonise India?

• Is it possible to obtain intact DNA from the remains of Homo erectus and other extinct hominids?

• How has colonialism affected genetic patterns in Africa?

• Was there any admixture with Homo erectus as modern humans spread throughout South-East Asia?

• Is there any relationship between Australian Aboriginal genetic patterns and their oral histories?

• What are the origins of differences between human groups?

A total of 10 DNA collection centres located around the world will focus on obtaining samples from indigenous peoples. The genetic markers in the blood of these groups have remained relatively unchanged for generations.


update: results here

Your Genetic Journey – The Genographic Project

The National Geographic has initiated a very unusual genetic project. You send them a cheek swab (via a $107 kit), and they do a detailed workup on your genetic ancestry. I think I’m doing it as a belated birthday present to myself. Just hope it isn’t some Patriot Act related subterfuge….


Your Genetic Journey – The Genographic Project:
Once you have purchased your own Genographic Project Public Participation Kit, you can begin the exploration into your deep ancestry. The first step involves a painless cheek swap to acquire a DNA sample. Once you have completed the cheek swabbing process, you will secure the swabs inside the transport tubes and mail the tubes off to the lab using the supplied envelope. It’s that simple, and guaranteed anonymous.
Your haplogroup’s story may evolve as the Genographic Project collects thousands of DNA samples during the next few years. When it does, tantalizing new chapters will be added to this website and your information will be updated.


The entire online process is completely anonymous so no one, including project scientists, will ever be able to access your results. But, if you choose, you can share them. A printable, hi-resolution certificate of participation, map, and haplogroup overview serve as compelling documentation of your deep ancestry.


link via boing boing

Michael Jordan shaved head look

I’m watching a classic 1988 Bulls vs. Pistons game (first aired on April 3, 1988) on NBA-TV, and I figured out why Jordan shaved his head the following summer. In this game, Jordan still has his normal hair, but is rapidly thinning in front. Somewhere buried on the Bulls bench (and playing a few minutes in 1st Q/2nd Q) is a center Granville Waiters, who had an advanced state of male pattern baldness, as much as Bozo the Clown in fact.

I’m sure a young Jordan, razzing Waiters one day in practice suddenly realized that he might be next, and decided to shave his remaining hair off to avoid the embarrassment. Perfectly logical.

update, rewound the TiVo, and Waiters definitely was the guy that started the trend. See this photo. Nuff said…

Granville Waiters

Granville Waiters as a Rocket

Jordan’s Hair Trigger, as it were. Ahem

Stringer Bell

“The Wire: The Complete Series” (Clark Johnson, Agnieszka Holland, Alex Zakrzewski, Anthony Hemingway, Brad Anderson)

The next to last episode of my favorite television hour, The Wire, rubbed out Stringer Bell…. Whacked! Another HBO Main Player Meets His End:

Fans of HBO’s hit crime series “The Wire” may have been shocked off their couches last night when one of the show’s main characters, the calculating drug dealer Stringer Bell, was gunned down in a gruesome ambush.

But it is unlikely that anyone in the Sunday-night audience was as stunned as Idris Elba, the 32-year-old actor who has brought Stringer to life since “The Wire” began three years ago. “When I first read the script I was like: ‘What? No! This isn’t supposed to happen,’ ” Mr. Elba said over dinner at an Upper West Side restaurant. “I was deeply disappointed. It was a surprise, a complete surprise.”

Mr. Elba, who is far more sensitive than the stoic Stringer, said his last day of work was particularly emotional. Michael K. Williams, who plays Omar Devone Little, the gay, shotgun-toting thug who blasts away Stringer, said: “There were a lot of wet eyes on the set. I just had to keep telling myself that Idris is alive and he has a bright future ahead of him.”

Fans of the show may be surprised to learn that Mr. Elba is not African American. The only child of a mother from Ghana and father from Sierre Leone, Mr. Elba was born and brought up in Hackney, a working-class borough of London. It is a fact he reluctantly shares with fans, preferring instead to use his American accent when talking with those who request autographs. “Wherever I go the real hard-core dudes come up to me and confide in me,” said Mr. Elba, who over the years has been approached by dozens of drug dealers identifying with Stringer. “I almost feel guilty turning around and saying: ‘Hello, mate. My name’s Idris and I’m from London.’ ” Mr. Elba burst into an exaggerated version of his cockney accent. “I don’t want to break the illusion.”

I’d pay to see that particular interaction….

Knock Knock

Yes, I’m a little bit obsessed with playlists. This post triggered a quick browse through my iTunes library. I didn’t bother with all the variants of Knockin’ On Heavens Door by Bob Dylan, there are literally dozens, and not all are worth hearing very often. The original is my favorite: from the Sam Peckinpah western, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Also ignored a few other covers of that song by other artists, but this list as configured isn’t bad. My favorite is probably still the Rolling Stones song, too bad Mick Taylor didn’t last longer with the band: those records are the best albums they ever recorded.

  1. B.B. KingBowlegged Woman, Knock-Kneed Man
    More Treasures From The Vault
  2. Jay-ZCan’t Knock The Hustle
    Jay-Z Unplugged
  3. Rolling StonesCan’t You Hear Me Knocking
    Sticky Fingers
  4. Fats DominoDon’t Come Knockin’
    Fats Domino – Walking to New Orleans (Disc 3)
  5. Mavis StaplesDon’t Knock
    You Are Not Alone
  6. Pickett, WilsonDon’t Knock My Love (Part 1)
    Greatest Hits
  7. Jay-ZHard Knock Life
    Chapter One
  8. Dave EdmundsI Hear You Knocking
  9. Fats DominoI Hear You Knocking
    Fats Domino – Walking to New Orleans (Disc 3)
  10. Smiley LewisI Hear You Knocking
    Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens
  11. Little RichardKeep A Knockin’
    Uncut Not Fade Away: 15 Classics That Fired Up The Rolling Stones
  12. Sonics, TheKeep A Knockin’
    Here Are The Sonics!!!
  13. Louis Jordan & His Tympany FiveKeep A Knockin’ But You Can’t Come In
    Disc A: 1938-1940
  14. Fleetwood MacKeep A Knocking
    The Early Years
  15. Little RichardKeep On Knockin’
    Greatest Gold Hits
  16. DeathKeep On Knocking
    Uncut: May 2010 Search And Destroy
  17. Mississippi John HurtKeep On Knocking
    The Immortal Mississippi John Hurt
  18. Allen, LilyKnock ’em Out
    Uncut August 2006
  19. WeezerKnock Down Drag Out
    Weezer (Green Album)
  20. HivesKnock Knock
    Veni Vidi Vicious
  21. Louis Jordan & His Tympany FiveKnock Me A Kiss
    Disc B: 1941-1944
  22. La’s, TheKnock Me Down
    The La’s
  23. Redding, OtisKnock On Wood (w/ Carla Thomas)
    The Very Best Of Otis Redding, Vol 2
  24. The UpsettersKnock Three Times
    Trojan Upsetter Box Set (Disc 1)
  25. The Humane SocietyKnock, Knock
    Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era, Vol. 3
  26. Kings Of LeonKnocked Up
    Because Of The Times
  27. Armstrong, LouisKnockin’ A Jug
    Hot Fives & Sevens Volume 3
  28. Lil GreenKnockin’ Myself Out
    Reefer Songs
  29. Antony & The JohnsonsKnockin’ On Heaven’s Door
    I’m Not There
  30. Booker T. JonesKnockin’ On Heaven’s Door
    How Many Roads: Black America Sings Bob Dylan
  31. Denny, SandyKnockin’ On Heaven’s Door
    Who Knows Where The Time Goes – Disc 3
  32. Dylan, BobKnockin’ On Heaven’s Door
    Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid
  33. Ferry, BryanKnockin’ On Heaven’s Door
  34. Grateful DeadKnockin’ on Heaven’s Door
    Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
  35. Guns N’ RosesKnockin’ On Heaven’s Door
    Use Your Illusion II
  36. LucianoKnockin’ On Heaven’s Door
    Is It Rolling Bob?
  37. U2Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
    Covering ‘Em
  38. Warren ZevonKnockin’ On Heaven’s Door
    The Wind
  39. The UnknownKnockin’ On Heaven’s Door Dub
    Is It Rolling Bob?
  40. Dylan, BobKnockin’ On Heavens Door
    Live 1975 – The Rolling Thunder Revue (Bootleg Series Vol. 5)
  41. Nick Cave & The Bad SeedsKnockin’ On Joe
    The Firstborn Is Dead
  42. Elmore JamesKnocking At Your Door
    Uncut – April 2008 – When The Levee Breaks
  43. Uncle TupeloKnocking On heavens door
    Colorblind & Rhymeless
  44. Wonder, StevieKnocks Me Off My Feet
    Songs In The Key of Life
  45. Bonnie “Prince” BillyKnockturne
    I See A Darkness
  46. Sharon Jones & The Dap-KingsLet Them Knock
    100 Days, 100 Nights
  47. LL Cool JMama Said Knock You Out (w/ Bob Dylan intro)
    Bob Dylan – Theme Time 2 Mother
  48. Gil Scott-HeronNo Knock
    The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
  49. Social DistortionShe’s A Knockout
    Social Distortion
  50. Plant, Robert and the Strange SensationSomebody Knocking
    Mighty Rearranger
  51. Louis Jordan & His Tympany FiveThat’ll Just ‘Bout Knock Me Out
    Disc B: 1941-1944


Space the final frontier

  1. Jackie Brenston & His Delta CatsRocket 88
    The Roots Of Rock ‘n’ Roll
  2. Jackie Brenston & His Delta CatsRocket 88
    Chess Rhythm & Roll Vol 1 1947-1955
  3. MC5Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa)
    Kick Out The Jams
  4. Young, NeilRunning Dry (Requiem For The Rockets)
    Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  5. Elton JohnRocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)
    Honky Chateau
  6. Sun RaRocket Number Nine
    Space Is The Place
  7. SuicideRocket USA
    First Album
  8. SuicideRocket U.S.A.
    No Thanks! The ‘70s Punk Rebellion
  9. Fabulous ThunderbirdsPocket Rocket
    Girls Go Wild
  10. Jan HammerCrockett’s Theme
    Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Vol. 3: Emotion 98.3
  11. Guns N’ RosesRocket Queen
    Appetite For Destruction
  12. Sonic YouthSilver Rocket
    Daydream Nation
  13. Shonen KnifeRiding On The Rocket
    Pretty Little Baka Guy + Live In Japan
  14. Wedding PresentRocket
    Hit Parade 2
  15. The Fabulous ThunderbirdsPocket Rocket
    The Fabulous Thunderbirds / What’s the Word
  16. Cat PowerRockets
    Myra Lee
  17. McCarty, KathyRocket Ship
    Sorry Entertainer
  18. McCarty, Kathy Rocket Ship
    Sorry Entertainer
  19. Red ElvisesRocket Man
    I Wanna See You Belly Dance
  20. Professor LonghairRocket 88
    Big Chief
  21. Godspeed You! Black EmperorRockets Fall On Rockets Fall
    Yanqui U.X.O.
  22. Bob DylanCats and Crockett
    Theme Time Radio Hour – 31 – Tennessee
  23. Jackie BrenstonRocket 88
    Theme Time Radio Hour – 12 – Cars
  24. DevoHuman Rocket
    Something For Everybody



  1. Booker T. JonesSpace City
    Potato Hole
  2. twi the humble featherMusic for Spaceships & Forests
    Music for Spaceships and Forests
  3. Tangerine DreamOne Night In Space
  4. (movie promo)Plan 9 From Outer Space
    Theme Time Radio Hour 26 – Halloween
  5. Drive-By TruckersSpace City
    A Blessing And A Curse
  6. dj BC and The BeastlesAnna’s MCs (Set Free From The Crawlspace)
    Let It Beast
  7. Sun Kil MoonSpace Travel Is Boring
    Tiny Cities
  8. Mary GauthierEmpty Spaces
    Mercy Now
  9. Beastie BoysCrawlspace
    To The 5 Boroughs
  10. Teenage FanclubEmpty Space
    Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Seconds: A Short Cut To Teenage Fanclub
  11. Bowie, DavidI Took a Trip on a Gemini Spaceship (Legendary Stardust Cowboy )
  12. Bowie, DavidI Took A Trip On A Gemini Spaceship
  13. Sun RaSpace Jazz Reverie
    The Futuristic Sounds Of Sun R
  14. Pink FloydEmpty Spaces
    Is There Anybody Out There – The Wall Live 1980-81 – Disc 1
  15. Bowie, DavidSpace Oddity (BBC Live)
    Live At The BBC
  16. SmogTeenage Spaceship
    Knock Knock
  17. Steve Miller BandSpace Intro
    Greatest Hits
  18. Liz PhairWhitechocolatespaceegg
  19. Jad Fair & Yo La TengoTexas Man Abducted By Aliens For Outer Space Joy Ride
    Strange But True
  20. DestroyerThe Space Race
    City Of Daughters
  21. The VerveSpace And Time
    Urban Hymns
  22. SpiritualizedLadies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
    Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
  23. PavementSpace Ghost Theme II
    Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed. (Disc 2)
  24. Modest MouseSpace Travel Is Boring
    This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About
  25. Butthole SurfersSpace
  26. Bragg, BillyThe Space Race Is Over
    William Bloke
  27. Flying Burrito BrothersMr. Spaceman
    Relix Records Best of Flying Burrito Brothers
  28. Bowie, DavidHallo Spaceboy


  1. Iron & WineHalf Moon
    Kiss Each Other Clean
  2. DeerhoofC’moon
    Deerhoof Vs. Evil
  3. Sonny BurnsFrown On The Moon
    Satan’s A Waitin’
  4. Paul WellerMoonshine
    Wake Up The Nation
  5. Luv You Madly OrchestraMoon Maiden (12″ mix) – Luv You Madly Orchestra
    Jungle Music
  6. Los LobosJupiter Or The Moon
    Tin Can Trust
  7. Jack RoseMoon In The Gutter
    Luck In The Valley
  8. Ludwig Van BeethovenThe 99 Darkest Pieces Of Classical Music
    Piano Sonata No. 14 In C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27:2, ”Moonlight Sonata”: Adagio Sostenuto- Finghin Collins
  9. Elvis CostelloYou Hung The Moon
    National Ransom
  10. Ludwig Van BeethovenThe 99 Darkest Pieces Of Classical Music
    Sonata No. 14 In C-Sharp Minor For Piano, Op. 27:2, ”Moonlight”: III. Presto Agitato- Dubravka Tomsic
  11. Waits, TomI’ll Shoot The Moon [Live]
    Glitter And Doom Live
  12. Sunset RubdownSilver Moons
    Uncut 2010-03: Heart and Soul
  13. Claude DebussyFive Hours of Classical Favorites (Amazon exclusive)
    Suite Bergamasque, L 75: III. Clair de lune (Moonlight)- Peter Frankl
  14. Nelson, WillieFly Me To The Moon
    American Classic
  15. Joel PlaskettIn The Blue Moonlight
  16. The Dukes Of StratosphearBike Ride To The Moon (Demo)
    25 O’Clock
  17. Ludwig van BeethovenThe 99 Most Essential Pieces of Classical Music
    Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27:2, “Moonlight”: I. Adagio sostenuto- Dubravka Tomsic
  18. DeradoorianMoon
    Seeing For Miles (Uncut 2009 10)
  19. Cantonese OperaThe Moon / Two Green Lotus Bitterly Imprisoned
    Sprigs Of Time
  20. Baaba MaalDakar Moon
  21. Akron/FamilyGravelly Mountains of the Moon
    Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free
  22. A.A. BondyOn The Moon
    When The Devil’s Loose
  23. Uncle MonkWishing At The Moon
    SXSW 2008 Showcasing Artists
  24. Emmylou HarrisMoon Song
    All I Intended To Be
  25. Ludwig van BeethovenThe 99 Most Essential Beethoven Masterpieces
    Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27:2 (Moonlight): III. Presto- Elisso Bolkvadze
  26. Ludwig van BeethovenThe 99 Most Essential Beethoven Masterpieces
    Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27:2 “Moonlight”: I. Adagio Sostenuto- Elisso Bolkvadze
  27. Daniel LanoisMoondog
    Here Is What Is
  28. Steppin’ In It with Rachael DavisIt’s Only a Paper Moon
    Shout Sister Shout