Attack of the Magpies!

It’s been awhile since I posted, so first off I apologize about that. As you’ll soon hear, it’s been a whirlwind couple of days!
So, this week, I started at Sullivan and Nicolaides Pathology!! They are one of the largest pathology companies in Australia, collecting samples from pretty much everywhere in the country. The lab I’m in is actually the biggest lab in the whole state of Queensland (to get an idea of what this means, look at the map below). They process thousands upon thousands of samples per day; the molecular pathology lab al0ne (there are about 6 labs in the place) processes three thousand samples a day. So, needless to say, it’s very fast-paced and very, very nifty if you’re at all into science-y things.

Today, I got a tour of the molecular pathology department. Basically, they use genetics and PCR to analyze pathogens that won’t grow well on culture media. In other words, if the bugs won’t grow on agar plates so they can be identified by looking at them, then the molecular pathologists take over and analyze their genetics. It’s REALLY cool stuff. I won’t go into too much detail about the FANTASTIC equipment they have, but suffice to say that comparing them to a university lab is like comparing Star Trek to the Stone Age.

Oh, yes- Attack Magpies! So, everyone goes on and on about the poisonous creatures that live in Australia; venomous spiders, 3 meter long snakes that, if you’re bitten, you die, and the like. But really, what you have to watch out for is the magpies. During the spring (yes, it’s spring here),  if you happen to ride a bike past where they’ve hidden their nest, they will actually fly after you and dive-bomb you. Repeatedly. With no mercy. It’s quite frightening, really. Picture this: You’re riding along the bike path, admiring the beautiful green foliage, watching little kids play in the park, when all of a sudden, you see this black and white blur out of the corner of your eye. Then BAM! this magpie is actually slamming itself into your bike helmet.

So my life has been quite exciting, seeing as I ride my bike everywhere.

Anyways, I think I’ve blabbered on long enough. Don’t forget to comment, and I will see you all in October!

"Australian map!"

A Map of Australia; 90% of the population lives on the coast.

Magpie attacks

A magpie attacking a biker. See, I wasn't joking!

A close-up of the infamous, ferocious magpie.

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At seven campus centers and online, Genesee Community College offers more than 60 degree and certificate programs in a high-tech, personalized setting.

5 responses to “Attack of the Magpies!”

  1. Dr RAM says :

    Oh Leah, I can see you flying with the magpies soon. Maybe they can take you around. I’m glad you are having a good tyime and learning a lot. We had our first PTK meeting… We missed you.

    Take care.

    Dr RAM

  2. Captain Stubbs says :

    So, is the widespread use of helmets in Oz motivated by fear of cars or magpies?

  3. Captain Stubbs says :

    So, is the conscientious use of helmets in Oz motivated by fear of cars or magpies?

  4. Leah says :

    It would certainly be a wonderful way to travel, instead of having to bike everywhere!
    I miss PTK… tell everyone I say “hi” and best wishes for all the projects this year!

  5. Jamie Ander says :

    Hey Leah, this is my first time on the blog! It sounds really cool from what you’ve said on facebook but this is really cool to see on the blogs for GCC. I miss you and so does Brittany! It sounds like fun, especially the labs!!! How are you?

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