Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's a long road to Bruges

Man, I hate the 6 am train to Paris.
The first bus of the day from my neighborhood to the station gets me there two minutes after the train leaves.
So I have to leave the house by 5:15 to get to a different bus, which gets me there with 4 minutes to cross the station. Okay, as long as the bus is on time. I never sleep properly when I have to get up that early. Never mind my alarm could wake the dead. The cats have seen the luggage and the huge bowl of catfood and the installation of the Anticatescape Device, and they are all over me. Thus I start my trip: tired.

The Institut Pasteur is quite a nice place. I've never been over here before, only to the Curie or the Cancer Federation building, or to one of the hospitals. All those other places could use serious renovation.

It's a nice little conference on splicing. At one point it's funny. A modest French lab has been testing a series of genetic variants for splicing effects that can impact health pretty seriously. Alas, this can't be reliably predicted by computer; you have to do two weeks of benchwork for each test. The lab has been testing variants one at a time from a list of those found be the French genes & cancer network.

An American from a big industrial gene testing company asks the French guy why he doesn't just go through the whole gene systematically, and test every possible variant. Simply get the whole answer empirically and forget computer predictions.


There's an idea. Test the 50,000 possibilities, not the 500 known to actually exist. A typically American industrial solution. It would in fact answer this question, but did I mention the lab is of modest size? and modest means?

Freed at 6, I realize I forgot to bring that pile of books to exchange at one of the English language bookstores. Sigh. Next time. Another effect of the 6 am train. I should be grateful I didn't forget anything necessary, like my passport, or the train tickets.


and then, as I'm getting my brain together to put together Friday's Shoot Out post, with fabulous stories of a really ugly building soon to be torn down, I realize that



It's true.

I carefully transferred all the relevant photos off my work computer and onto my memory stick. Plus Tuesday's presentation, and various data files. I'm so good.

But, somehow, that memory stick is not with me now.

It is possibly sitting on the dining room table. It is possibly lying on the ground at random, fallen when I took a hand out of a pocket.

So you'll just have to wait for that.

In the meantime it's a fall evening in Paris, and after dinner with colleagues I hope for a stroll around before bed. Though you know how such dinners can go - lucky to get away before midnight and too much wine.


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