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Friday, November 1, 2013

Bit of odd...

I think the way people in west look at us could be little odd. I have forgotten all about that forcibly. However, a very recent encounter with a very old professor reminded me all of that and I wanted to muse about it here. There is this poster number 100 something and near that sits a old professor. I will not name him. That place was very empty, so I decided to ask few questions on the poster.

Then while talking the professor asks me where am I from,I said India. Then he says I know that but where exactly in India. Then I said Kolkata. To that he says I travelled to Kolkata once via a train through Howrah.I knew what he was going to tell next - and that is what exactly he said. He fell sick with the contaminated water. The place was very dirty and he felt very sorry for the people who stay there etc. etc. He also made statement that those who come to USA are atleast saved from the bad life people have in India. This got me into thinking why do we make ourselves look like that to the external world? Are we so pitiable. People generally judge from the outward look of everything,be it road, people or dirt. Hope someday we will appear and behave cleaner so that people look at us with respect.

This is not the end of it.He even went on to ask if my name was a brahmin name?I said names are not brahmin, sometimes surnames are! To that he surprised me to say that Tripathy is a brahmin name. That got in to me and I did not want to stand there and talk. Basically he was trying to point out all the evil we have. From dirt, to poverty to anarchy to caste system. So, I feel it is time for us to behave differently portray ourselves differently and change the system. Only  by voting right we can do it.... 

Visiting Cold Spring Harbour for a meeting? Here is what you should know

In my over a decade stay in the USA, I have not visited the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratories. Although there were a lot of very interesting meetings took place there, the registration cost was a big deterrent. I decided to attend the fall Genome Informatics Symposium starting 30th October 2013 this year. Although the whole journey was rather unpleasant I will not discuss that here. I will talk about my experiences of staying in affordable places and travelling to long island from there and the science.
Internal Transportation:
I booked a place in Bronx through the trusted AIRBNB web site. I have had pleasant experiences before using their services. I stayed very close to the Botanical Garden Bronx. Getting to the hosts place from JFK was not an issue, only taxi fare was a bit higher. So, try avoiding taxis and travel light is the first lesson. After I reached there first day I just slept, did not know when I was sleeping and when getting up. Then one of friends picked me up the next day to her house in Brooklyn. The best way to travel is take a metro card for a week (If you are travelling a short term) . This friend was staying in Avenue H and daily it was a train from Avenue H to 34th Herald Square before taking another transit to Long Island Rail Roads.
How to go to Cold Spring Harbor:
From anywhere in the city; the best way to go to cold spring harbor is to take the Long Island Rail Road (LRR) to Syosset (Not cold spring harbor). The final destination for this train is Huntington. This train starts from Penn station, and goes via Jamaica. So whichever place is close to you just take. Suppose I am coming from Brooklyn, then I will either get down at Atlantic or 34th Herald Square. From Herald square I have to walk one block towards 33rd street and 7th avenue (Herald square is at34th and 6th avenue). There is Penn station. Upon exit from Herald square you will find several boards telling which way is the penn station exit. Upon coming out also there will be boards and direction to Penn station (This is opposite to Hotel Pennsylvania). Then for going to cold spring harbor you have to take Long Island Railway services. Your Metro card will not work.
Word of caution for buying weekly LRR weekly pass:
 Here one thing to take care is if you are starting on Saturday then take a pass, otherwise travel as a daily passenger. For instance I took a weekly pass that is around 88 USD on Tuesday, but its validity was between saturday through Friday. So, in other words, I paid for the travel I have not made. This is something you have to be careful about since it is not written anywhere. If you take a train from Penn station, it takes easily one hour to reach Syosset (Remember you are suppose to go to Syosset – don’t go to the cold spring harbor station). Just get down the stairs on the opposite end. This is where the cold spring harbor shuttle stops and ferries people through the station and institute. It stops right at the Grace auditorium where most of the meetings take place. I was attending the EBI workshop that preceded the genome informatics meeting. It was taking place at Blackford hall which is at the right hand side of the grace auditorium and easy to find.
Going for EBI workshop what to expect?
If you are going to attend the EBI/Ensembl workshop, they will ask you to install the virtual machine which is a typical linux box created on any operating system. A word of caution is to bring in an OK sort of laptop. With my small laptop, I had terrible time doing anything. I am going to write on how to create a virtual machine shortly (watch out my blog site). 
The Meeting:
The meeting is itself very tiring. It starts at 9 AM and ends at 9.30 PM. And they have these poster sessions in between. So, it may be better to stay very close by. Even I was told that all other meetings are also arranged that way.
The Science:

This meeting is all about algorithms and software for genomics, so it is very appropriate for people who are in this field. Lots of tools and algorithms are discussed here before they get into publication, so students watch out for this. Met Allpaths assembler creators, ENCODE people and many other familiar faces. Overall pretty good!

By the way I am live tweeting talks #genomeInformatics