This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



May 2011

Cousin Eugene on Diabetes

My mom forwarded along an article with a number of quotes from my cousin Eugene on the experimental diabetes treatment his company is working on…

San Diego company studies stem cell implant as a Type 1 diabetes treatment
(Amber Dance, LA Times, 2011 May 30)

A pouch full of brand-new cells may one day reduce the need for people with Type 1 diabetes to take daily insulin shots.

ViaCyte Inc. of San Diego has already used its technique to cure diabetes in hundreds of mice, says Eugene Brandon, one of the company’s directors. ViaCyte hopes to begin human trials of its implants, which are made from embryonic stem cells, by 2013, aided by $26 million in grants and loans from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the state’s stem cell funding agency.

The treatment is aimed at people with Type 1 diabetes, who typically fall ill as children or young adults when their bodies attack the insulin-producing beta islet cells in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes affects between 1 million and 3 million Americans.

ViaCyte’s plan is to slip a an envelope filled with pancreatic cells under the skin. These pancreatic cells would turn into beta islet cells.

“We’re essentially creating a replacement pancreas,” Brandon says.

Kindle Ratio as of 2011 May 30

So, as of the review posted for First Meetings

Percent of the last 20 books I’ve posted reviews for available on Kindle is now up to 75%.

And the percentage of the last 20 books I’ve read available on Kindle stays at 65%.

First Meetings

Author: Orson Scott Card
Original Publication: 2003
Started: 2010 Dec 17
Finished : 2010 Dec 22
Format: Paperback
2676 locations / 6 days
446 locations / day

Up to #8 in the Ender Series. This one isn’t a novel though, but a compilation of four short stories. One is about Ender’s father as a child. One is the story of Ender’s parents meeting. Then there is the original Ender’s Game short story that Ender’s Game novel was an expansion of. And finally the story of how Ender first met Jane the sentient computer program/network.

This made it very different than reading any of the actual novels in the series. I enjoyed the two backstory ones about ender’s parents. You understand a little bit better where Ender came from, and it fleshes them out a bit. Similarly, I liked the Jane origin story, although it seemed slightly gimmicky.

The oddest one though was the Ender’s Game short story. Not that it was a bad short story, it was a good one, and of course prompted this whole series. But having it included this way was a bit jarring, since I’m reading the series in sequence, but this essentially retells the first story, but in a bit different way. It was interesting to see the differences between the short story version and the novel length version, but still, a little odd to read this as part of the overall sequence of the series.

I do like the novels better. But this was an interesting addition to the Ender Universe.

The Endless Summer

Released: 1966 Jun 15
Watched: 2010 Dec 20
Queue: Owned
Format: DVD

I think this DVD had been a gift at some point in the past. Maybe from my friend Ron. It seems like the sort of thing he might give. In any case, it had sat unwatched for a few years, but its turn had finally come and we all sat down to watch it.

If there is anyone who hasn’t heard of this, it is basically a documentary following some surfers on a round the world trip to find new and different places to surf. They wander around, they go places, you get a few minutes of glimpsing the locals through the eyes of Americans who really know very little if anything about where they are or the people there. And then they surf for awhile. And then they go somewhere else.

From what I understand, this movie was somewhat significant in surf culture, and many of the places they went where surfing had not been common became places where many people would travel to surf. That’s nice I guess.

From the point of view of someone watching in 2010 though, the whole thing took on a comedic tone, simply because of how absolutely dated everything seemed, both in terms of things like cars and clothes and the like, but also in the attitudes of the narrator and the surfers. I guess 45 years or so really does make a big difference.

It seemed a bit slow by modern standards too. It just sort of rolled along, with no sense of urgency or getting to the point. Which I guess maybe was the point.

Kindle Ratios as of 2011 May 27

OK, in the past I’ve just done the percentage of the last 20 Books I’ve read that are available on Kindle. Of course, I have really done these calculations after I post the reviews of the books, not right after I’ve read them, and right now, I’m way behind. At this point there are 13 books I’ve finished reading that I haven’t yet posted my thoughts on. Oops. Also, this has been all about what percentage of the books were available on Kindle. Now that I actually have one, another relevant stat is how many I’ve actually read on the Kindle. So, two charts…

First, percentage of the last 20 books I have REVIEWED that are currently AVAILABLE on Kindle (so this doesn’t include the 13 books I have read but haven’t yet reviewed) – This is now at 70%.

Next, the percentage of the last 20 books I have READ that I actually READ on the Kindle (this does include the 13 books I have read but have not yet reviewed) – This is now at 65%.

By the way, I think I’ll discontinue posting about these charts when/if each hits 90%.

First Post-Rapture Show

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner… 

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Rapture
  • Tattoos
  • Republican Race
  • Political Affairs
  • IMF Guy
  • Israel and Palestine

Just click to listen now:

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Recorded 22 May 2011″]


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Agile Project Management with Scrum

Author: Ken Schwaber
Original Publication: 2004 Mar 10
Started: 2010 Nov 30
Finished : 2010 Dec 17
Format: Paperback
163 pages / 18 days
9.06 pages / day

So, having been involved with Scrum like project management methods for a few years, I finally read one of the books about it. This one specifically was about how to adapt Scrum to various sorts of situations, generally where Scrum was not used in the past.

I’d expected this would all just be “well duh” sorts of things since I’ve been in such a scrum centric environment for the last few years, but the reality is that what we’ve used where I’ve been, either directly in my group, or in others I’ve dealt with, has generally been highly adapted scrum, with many changes from “pure” scrum. Now, changing things to adapt to local needs is actually part of what Scrum anticipates, but actually reading something that had a more “pure” focus was interesting. I had many “Ah, so THAT is how that should be done” sort of moments. Well, “should” is a strong word. Maybe “could” would be better. The ways I’ve done it or seen it done are not necessarily worse, just different.

Anyway, interesting to actually read a book like this. Probably would have been more useful for me two or three or four years ago, but hey, that’s the way things go.

Video: Bellbrook Ohio Tennis Ball Size Hail


I think the most intense part was right about when this video starts.

The whole thing only lasted two minutes or so.

Hail in Bellbrook Ohio

Video uploading to YouTube now. It was pretty intense for a few minutes.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

I am so way far horribly behind on reporting on books and movies and the like that I have seen or read. (I am also way behind on posting family photos and videos and the like.) For instance, on December 12th of last year, we went to see Harry Potter. So now I actually have a few minutes to do some of these posts.

So… well… I must admit I remember very little about this movie. I vaguely remember seeing it. A few snatches of a few scenes come back to me. But basically it wasn’t too particularly memorable. I’m pretty sure at the time I thought it was fine for a Harry Potter movie, and I’m sure I’ll go out and see the next and final one when it comes out in a few months.

So… typical Harry Potter fare. Fun little trip with magic and stuff. But still your typically disposable summer movie, not something you’ll really be wowed by and remember much of later. Or at least I didn’t. :-)

I’m remembering more bits and pieces now. Like the tent TARDIS. And multiple Potters. And such and like that.

Anyway. All this really proves is that if I’m going to do posts like this at all, I really should do them shortly after watching the movie or reading the book, not many months later.