August Upgrade Challenge

My summer has officially ended and we’ll have students in classrooms by tomorrow, August 1. This month was my kitchen month, and while I posted some projects I’ve worked on over the past year, I really need a kick in the pants to reach the “finish line” and call this kitchen “fini.” Then I saw Thrift Diving’s 30-Day August Upgrade Challenge and found the push I wanted. If you need help focusing for one month on a problem-area, you can still join in on the fun until August 3. :)

My Four “Before August” Photos

These “Before August” photos show our kitchen mess first thing in the morning after a night-in celebrating our wedding anniversary. There’s spilled cocoa powder from cookie preparation with our 4-year-old that we left there because we were planning to clean up after dinner, but that didn’t happen. Of course.

I still love our entryway, but after living with our herringbone console table for a year, I’ve found that I often store recyclables on the bottom because it’s close to the door. So, since the space has decided on its function for me, I’m giving in and building bins for recyclables for the console table. I’m also cleaning, at some point. Hah! :)

Eat-In Kitchen Upgrades

I’d like to make some modifications to our Squared2 Dining Table and Squared2 Dining Chairs. Paint might be involved if my husband can persuade me. :) Oh, I also plan to remove my “under the table” workshop stuff going on there. Must Stop Using Kitchen As Pop Up Workshop.

The Kitchen Cabinets & Windows

Need to finish valancing (not a word) the rest of the kitchen windows. Tutorial for that cheapness to come.
Need to finally install the last 3 drawers – I’m getting giddy just thinking of having 3 more drawers to fill use.
Need to finish tiling and grouting – I know…yup.

Need to transfer dishes from sink into dishwasher – “It’s just so far away,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
Need to make drawer organizers and cabinet pull out trays – Ooh, the giddiness returns!

Do you have a space that’s close to finished, and you need some focus to tackle it?
Or are you tired of another space of your home, no matter the size, that you’d like to change now? Or, or… are you joining the August Upgrade wonderfulness too? :) I’d love to hear all about it!

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¡Feliz verano!

Desde Reynaers Aluminium le deseamos un plácido verano y unas felices vacaciones!*

* Les comunicamos que por motivo de las vacaciones estivales, nuestra empresa permanecerá cerrada del 11 al 24 de Agosto. También les informamos que del 1 al 8 y del 25 al 31 de Agosto, nuestro horario será el siguiente: de lunes a viernes de 8 a 15h.

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Sideshow Collectibles COBRA Ninja Assassin 1/6th Storm Shadow 12-inch figure Review II

continued from previous post

You can order this from Sideshow Collectibles

Having covered this Sideshow Collectibles “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” COBRA Ninja Assassin 1/6 scale Storm Shadow box and contents including a stripping down of the layers of clothing he wears in the previous post, here’s a look at Storm Shadow with all his gear and accessories put on. This figure came with quite a lot of accessories and gloved hands for posing which makes him a lot more fun to shoot and take pictures of.

You’ll probably guess by now that this is not the live-action film version of Storm Shadow portrayed by Lee Byung-hun in the 2009 film “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”, and the 2013 sequel “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”. This is the Storm Shadow from the “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” toyline, comic books and cartoon series. He is best known as the Cobra Commander’s ninja bodyguard, and for his history with fellow ninja Snake Eyes. In this version, Storm Shadow is not korean but a Japanese American.

Scroll down to see all the pictures.
Click on them for bigger and better views.

Here’s Sideshow Collectibles “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” COBRA Ninja Assassin 1/6 scale Storm Shadow outfitted in a winter camouflage suit with hood and padded assault vest, Forearm gauntlets, Shin guards, Ninja Tabi boots and Balaclava concealed portrait. His katana is slung over his right shoulder.
Sideshow Collectibles COBRA Ninja Assassin 12-inch Storm Shadow figure with 1/6 scale katana sword unsheathed. The katana comes with engravings on the metal blade which reflects the values of the Arashikage clan. You can check out the awesome details in my post HERE (Be sure to scroll down to the last picture).
I opted to remove the padded assault vest for the all-white winter camouflage look as I feel that Storm Shadow wouldn’t have need for the vest. The vest would have added extra weight for the ninja assassin and restrict his movements somewhat plus being too careful can be a disadvantage as one is less likely to attempt the more risky moves which could mean win or loose in combat. I added the assault pack and climbing rope. The rope is made entirely of wire so it’s stiff and pose-able, not something ropes are meant to do unless you are an Indian snake charmer who can make a rope rise into the air just by playing a musical instrument.
And here’s Sideshow Collectibles COBRA Ninja Assassin 12-inch Storm Shadow figure with his two 1/6 scale Ninja Tonfas. The tonfa (Okinawan: トンファー tonfā), also known as tong fa or tuifa, is an Okinawan weapon. It consists of a stick with a perpendicular handle attached a third of the way down the length of the stick, and is about 15-20 inches long. It was traditionally made from red or white oak and wielded in pairs. The tonfa is believed to have originated in either China or Southeast Asia where it is used in the respective fighting styles.
The Side-handle batons (sometimes referred to as T-batons or Nightsticks) used by law enforcement agencies are derived from the tonfa, an Okinawan kobudō weapon, and are used with a similar technique (although Tonfas are usually used in pairs, whereas side-handle batons are not). Nightsticks are batons with a short side handle at a right angle to the shaft, about six inches from one end. The main shaft is typically 61 centimetres (24 in) in length. 
The Sideshow Collectibles Prometheus body is not the best figure for posing as it can just keel or fall over very easily. It doesn’t hold poses very well but I managed to get Storm Shadow to pose for me.

NEXT: Sideshow Collectibles “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” COBRA Ninja Assassin 12-inch Storm Shadow with his 1/6 scale Compound Bow, ready to take down the enemy from distance.

You can order this from Sideshow Collectibles

Related posts:
April 11, 2008 – Storm Shadow, ninja warrior posted in my toy blog HERE
September 14, 2010 – Modern Ninjas 1+2+3 (pictures HERE)
January 5, 2011 – Arashikage Clan Warriors: Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow posted HERE
February 6, 2012 – Hasbro G.I. Joe Sigma 6 Storm Shadow COBRA Ninja Master Action Figure Review 1
February 7, 2012 – Review II: Hasbro G.I. Joe Sigma 6 Storm Shadow COBRA Ninja Master Action Figure

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Facilitating Genomics Research with Google Cloud Platform

Posted by Paul C. Boutros, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Josh Stuart, UC Santa Cruz, Adam Margolin, Oregon Health & Science University; Nicole Deflaux and Jonathan Bingham, Google Cloud Platform and Google Genomics

The understanding of the origin and progression of cancer remains in its infancy. However, due to rapid advances in the ability to accurately read and identify (i.e. sequence) the DNA of cancerous cells, the knowledge in this field is growing rapidly. Several comprehensive sequencing studies have shown that alterations of single base pairs within the DNA, known as Single Nucleotide Variants (SNVs), or duplications, deletions and rearrangements of larger segments of the genome, known as Structural Variations (SVs), are the primary causes of cancer and can influence what drugs will be effective against an individual tumor.

However, one of the major roadblocks hampering progress is the availability of accurate methods for interpreting genome sequence data. Due to the sheer volume of genomics data (the entire genome of just one person produces more than 100 gigabytes of raw data!), the ability to precisely localize a genomic alteration (SNV or SV) and resolve its association with cancer remains a considerable research challenge. Furthermore, preliminary benchmark studies conducted by the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) have discovered that different mutation calling software run on the same data can result in detection of different sets of mutations. Clearly, optimization and standardization of mutation detection methods is a prerequisite for realizing personalized medicine applications based on a patient’s own genome.

The ICGC and TCGA are working to address this issue through an open community-based collaborative competition, run in conjunction with leading research institutions: the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, University of California Santa Cruz, Sage Bionetworks, IBM-DREAM, and Oregon Health and Sciences University. Together, they are running the DREAM Somatic Mutation Calling Challenge, in which researchers from across the world “compete” to find the most accurate SNV and SV detection algorithms. By creating a living benchmark for mutation detection, the DREAM Challenge aims to improve standard methods for identifying cancer-associated mutations and rearrangements in tumor and normal samples from whole-genome sequencing data.

Given Google’s recent partnership with the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, we are excited to provide cloud computing resources on Google Cloud Platform for competitors in the DREAM Challenge, enabling scientists who do not have ready access to large local computer clusters to participate with open access to contest data as well as credits that can be used for Google Compute Engine virtual machines. By leveraging the power of cloud technologies for genomics computing, contestants have access to powerful computational resources and a platform that allows the sharing of data. We hope to democratize research, foster the open access of data, and spur collaboration.

In addition to the core Google Cloud Platform infrastructure, the Google Genomics team has implemented a simple web-based API to store, process, explore, and share genomic data at scale. We have made the Challenge datasets available through the Google Genomics API. The challenge includes both simulated tumor data for which the correct answers are known and real tumor data for which the correct answers are not known.

Genomics API Browser showing a particular cancer variant position (highlighted) in dataset in silico #1 that was missed by many challenge participants.

Although submissions for the simulated data can be scored immediately, the winners on the real tumor data will not immediately be known when the challenge closes. This is a consequence of the fact that current DNA sequencing technology does not provide 100% accurate data, which adds to the complexity of the problem these algorithms are attempting to tackle. Therefore, to identify the winners, researchers must turn to alternative laboratory technologies to verify if a particular mutation that was found in sequencing data is actually (or likely) to be true. As such, additional data will be collected after the Challenge is complete in order to determine the winner. The organizers will re-sequence DNA from the cells of the real tumor using an independent sequencing technology (Ion Torrent), specifically examining regions overlapping the positions of the cancer mutations submitted by the contest participants.

As an analogy, a “scratched magnifying glass” is used to examine the genome the first time around. The second time around, a “stronger magnifying glass with scratches in different places” is used to look at the specific locations in the genome reported by the challenge participants. By combining the data collected by those two different “magnifying glasses”, and then comparing that against the cancer mutations submitted by the contest participants, the winner will then be determined.

We believe we are at the beginning of a transformation in medicine and basic research, driven by advances in genome sequencing and computing at scale. With the DREAM Challenge, we are all excited to be part of bringing researchers around the world to focus on this particular cancer research problem. To learn more about how to participate in the challenge register here.

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Incoming: DAM TOYS 1/6th scale Gangsters Kingdom (GK#007) Spade 5 "Baron" 12" figure

CHAPTER 4: The war began.
Section 1: Declaration of war.

Baron, the 5 of Spades, is a former SAS sniper. He joined the army with a simple wish: shooting enemies on the battlefield. But the reality seems enjoy going against wishes. Baron finally received an order to eliminate an important member of Al-Qaeda; he had been waiting long enough for this chance, and this mission made him energetic all day long. Finally he placed the target in the middle of his crosshair, while suddenly the target picked up a child and hold in his arms. Baron had a little moment of hesitate. The reality always throws to us single-choice questions, and we only have one chance, but making this choice would sometimes make us lost our mind. Being a devil, you can destroy everything before your eyes; but if you are a saint, you have to live with your choice.

After retirement from the army, Baron could not find a proper job, not even a place to stay. He tried to keep himself drunk every day, so that he could stop from thinking of that picture, the child’s face. Referred by a comrade back in the army, Baron picked up a job to carry out those dirty works for the mob, utilizing his sniping skills. At first he did not want to do this any more, but life did not leave him much choice, especially when poverty was challenged by lucrative payments. Soon as he pulled the trigger again, more jobs kept coming in. He soon got the trust from the Spades family via his precision and cleanness, and eventually he began to work solely for the Spade family. Finally, he earned himself a card in the family, as well as the love of the 6 of Spades, little sister of J.
Scroll down to see all the pictures.
Click on them form bigger and better views.

DAM TOYS 1/6th scale Gangsters Kingdom (GK#007) Spade 5 “Baron” 12-inch figure will come with 1/6 scale Head sculpt, 12-inch Action figure body, Black fur coat, Long sleeve t-shirt, Camouflage trousers, Black long bag, Camouflage raincoat, Black beanie, black belt, SR-25 sniper rifle, G17 pistol, Bluetooth headset, Mobile phone, sunglasses, gloved hands / Palms x 3, Palms x 2 Leather shoes, necklace.
Is that Jude Law or Hugo Weaving? Usually the likeness is pretty spot on but this time, I’m not too sure.
Hidden Spade 5 Version. Dam Toys will make Hidden Spade 5 Version especially for collectors. A little bit different to the normal version with Limited Edition certificate and S/N. Total quantity of Hidden Version is 150 pieces. All of them are random packed.

Related post:
June 16, 2014 – The Gang’s all here! Dam Toys 1/6 Gangsters Kingdom Spade J, 2, 3 and 4 altogether in my toy blog post HERE
March 27, 2013 – DAM Toys Gangsters Kingdom 1/6 Spade J 12-inch stylized Jason Statham figure Reviews HERE, HERE and HERE
September 4, 2013 – DAM Toys Gangsters Kingdom 1/6 scale Spade 2 (Vinnie Jones) figure reviews HERE, HERE and HERE
September 9, 2013 – Pictures of DAM Toys Gangsters Kingdom 1/6 scale Spade J & Spade 2 12-inch figures together
January 2, 2014 – Review of DAM Toys 1/6 scale The Gangsters Kingdom Spade 3 12-inch figure (Wayne Rooney) HERE, HERE and HERE

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