24 September 2007

Need help on your family tree?

Coming Soon: The Mother of All Genealogy Databases

From the article:

A team of computer scientists, mathematicians and biologists have come up with a computer algorithm that can trace the ancestry of thousands of people in a few minutes based on a DNA sample, according to the September 2007 edition of the journal PLoS Genetics. The researchers claim that their method is 99% accurate. They plan to build a massive database of people and how they’re related.

A wide range of similar projects are in the works all over the world. For example, the Russian-British project is using DNA analysis to trace the Russian descendants of Britons who migrated to Russia centuries ago.

For the past few years, DNA tests designed to reveal where one’s ancestors came from has become popular among African Americans. The tests, which cost less than $400, work by comparing DNA to samples collected from people living all over the world. For example, if an American like Oprah Winfrey has a lot of DNA that matches the DNA of people currently living in Liberia, then she can be assumed to have descended from Liberians (which is, in fact, the case).

These are just three of the many DNA-based genealogy databases under construction.

Source: Computerworld

Thanks to an enterprising cousin, sister and other family members I know what my DNA string would probably tell me, but wouldn't this be wonderful for someone who was adopted or who had lost touch with their heritage?

21 September 2007

Anyone catch Blue Rodeo on Canada AM this morning?

And just down the street from where I work too!! Too bad I didn't know ahead of time !!

They have released a new album called Small Miracles -- you can take a listen to three songs from the new release here via Blue Rodeo Radio

They have a MySpace playlist too at http://www.myspace.com/bluerodeomusic

So far "Makes Me Wonder" is my favourite ... And I still can't believe they were so close and I had no idea!!! Grrrrrrr

18 September 2007

♫ Times they are a Changin' ♫

The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight Tuesday night.

The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some students and educators.

In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free.

Mickie's note: This news makes me so so happy :) http://nytimes.com/

11 September 2007

Article from Ottawa Sun on Pump Idol

Fabulous weekend - great cause and awesome talent!!

Ottawa Sun- September 9, 2007

It's not unheard of for Elgin St. to be the site of a ragtag choir enthusiastically belting out incoherent songs.

But it's generally something reserved for after last call.

Yet, late yesterday afternoon, as local karaoke specialists Dog and Pony Sound blasted Madonna's Into the Groove into a closed-off block of Elgin, the rising and falling voices heard from inside the empty storefront adjoining Lieutenant's Pump were clearly sober. And rather accomplished, for amateurs. (Mickie's note : Well, ::of course::)

The occasion was the fourth edition of Pump Idol, a competition that brought some 30 hopefuls out Friday night and saw one of 14 finalists crowned last night.

It's all in aid of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. And it's an event that in its previous three years succeeded at raising nearly $40,000. Laura Butterworth, a former Lieutenant's Pump server who first organized the competition three years ago after learning of a friend and customer's cancer diagnosis, said she hoped this year's event would raise $25,000.


"It's been better each year," she said. "It has really brought people together for the cause."

Among those brought out yesterday for the evening of song and a silent auction of items donated by several Centretown businesses were co-host Eva Avila, last year's Canadian Idol champ, and guest performer Chris Labelle, a 2005 Pump Idol finalist who went on to finish in the Canadian Idol Top 18.

Last night's finalists ranged in age from 20 on up, and included at least one veteran of musical theatre as well as karaoke regulars and shower singers. And yes, each performance was properly critiqued by a panel of judges.

But, as one judge, local theatre director Lisa Bishop-Spencer, noted of the panel: "Everybody was really kind. There were no Simon Cowells."

1 September 2007

I bought a massive bag of beets from at the Parkdale market today ... Beet salad, pickled beets, and of course borscht coming up !

Russian Palace's Vegetable Borscht Recipe

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups onion, finely chopped (1 large)
5 medium beets
1/2 cup carrot, chopped (1 small)
5 tsp tomato paste
16 cups chicken stock
2 large potatoes
1 medium cabbage head
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
3 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh dillweed, chopped

Peel and julienne raw beets to yield 4 cups. Peel and cube potatoes to yield 2 1/2 cups. Finely chop cabbege to yield 6 cups.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add beets and carrot. Saute, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large stock pot, bring chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Add potato and cook for 3 minutes. Add cabbage and continue boiling for 5 minutes.

Add reserved beet-tomato paste mixture, green pepper, sugar, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in garlic and dill. Serve hot.

Yield: 12 servings

Recipe from: Chef Roza Gorenuk, Russian Palace Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois