Crease Drain and the Red Tile Wind Farm
I took this photograph yesterday, using the Yashica T2 loaded with Kodak Tmax 400 film. We actually had a little sun on one of my days off work, so I took a day trip with the Yash to Huntingdon. The late sun on the way back looked great for shadows and landscapes, so I pulled up here at Crease Drain, to take a few photos of the Red Tile wind farm between Warboys and Chatteris. I wanted the capture the straight lines and black soils of the Fens here. I'm quite pleased with this one. I don't photograph landscapes too often.
Night shifts can be a bitch. Tiredness, upset metabolism, before you know it, you have a break, and you've bought something that you don't need from the Internet. On a recent night shift, I ordered a 23andMe personal genetic profiling service. I'm now waiting for the DNA sample kit to arrive.
I've been attracted to genetic profiling for some years. Particularly for any ancestral data that such a test might provide. Genealogy was a past interest of mine, and using traditional archiving materials (it was before I had internet access), I had already collated a family tree of over 1300 individuals for my kids - going back on their mother's side to the early 17th Century. That along with my good knowledge of British prehistory, and landscape archaeology, I'd say that I have a pretty good idea of what my heritage is. However, at the same time, I have been very skeptical at some of the claims made by Ancestral DNA companies, that appear to target New World customers, with suggestions that they can pinpoint the European (and other) nationalities, and even ethnicity, of their ancestors. I can't believe such claims, surely in truth, the genetic map of Europe is too blurred from thousands of years of migration and genetic flow, to be used as a tool with such accuracy.
However, what attracted me to 23andMe, is that they don't appear to make such promises with their genetic profiling. Instead of ridiculous claims to show percentage of Celtic, Slavic, Germanic, etc. They at most divide Europe into wider geographical zones such as Irish/British, French/German, Scandinavian, East European. I expect that my 23andMe ancestral profile will be mainly Irish/British, perhaps with a percentage of Scandinavian, and even French/German. I'll see if I'm correct. Even then, I hope for more reliable data such as my haplogroups, my mtDNA, my Y chromosome - where they may have been and when. However, on the Ancestral aspect, what perhaps helped me to plunge into the bank account, was that 23andMe are now producing your percentage of DNA that is believed to have originated in a Neanderthal genome. Not necessary to know, but for the armchair anthropologist in me - very cool. I'm guessing around 2.6%. I'll see again if I was correct.
Another aspect of the 23andMe approach that I quite like though - is that they don't focus just on the ancestral, but instead, offer the service for health information. This aspect has been very controversial. Critics have suggested that this could lead to a World where we select DNA for our offspring, where insurance premiums could be set according to your genetic profile. However, my father's family suffered dreadfully from cancers and Alzheimer. I would rather know if I should be doing more about my lifestyle, in order to adjust for the genetic probability. Genetic profiling isn't just about fun, it could extend my well being.
I'll see if I still feel the same in 12 months. What will I learn, how will I find the 23andMe service, will it change my life at all? Come back in a year's time if I'm still here.
Running with Dogs No.15
I've been quiet on here the past three days. I actually fell a little bit off the saddle, into a man-well perhaps. A large glass of brandy, a whole box of chocolate coated brazil nuts, and a bit of cake just made me feel that I'd let myself down. Then I missed an opportunity for a run. However, I'm back in the saddle now. I will cross that twelve stone barrier any day. Today I ran with the dogs in stormy cold weather (some sleet, 0 C) for 4.5 miles at a pace of 5.9 mph, in 45 minutes. A slight improvement in performance. The hold ups are now less to do with my poor fitness, and more to do with my lurcher's desire to piss up every tree.
Back on track.