so i thought i could fill you up on what i did on my thesis.

i expect you all biology freaks know about MRI. now given an MR image, you identify the different parts of the brain. major tissues are gray matter (GM), white matter (WM) and Cerebro-Spinal Fluid (CSF). MR images are not like xrays where you take a glance and know which part is which. the tissues are very soft that they sort of mix together and its hard to know where the boundaries are. so segmenting the image into these tissues is a problem. its refered to as MRI segmentation.

typically, three scans of the same object are made. the have different characterisitics and they give somewhat different images of the same object. the importance is that one part of the object may not be easily seen in one image but another image may show it clearly. the first row in the image below shows an MRI scan. these are three scans of the same “slice” of brain. the second row shows the three tissues we talked about. its not like one image corresponds to the image just above it. all three images (a)-(c) are used to identify the tissues (d)-(f).

now in my field there are methods which are used to group related things together. in this case, “related things” would be the tissues. so given a pixel (a very small patch of the image), the task is to say which tissue it belongs to. there already cool ways of doing it using computers but i was trying to make an improvement over those. i’ll save you the details 🙂

rows three to five show the results from experiments. by the way, the second row is a “true” segmentation which is being used to evaluate how good the results are. the third row shows results from my initial model. which kind of sucks. so i tried to improve it. i started with some other model which gives results on the fourth row. i improved on that and got the fifth row. which is good (compare with the second row)

not to say i have made a breakthrough 🙂 there are excellent methods for doing this which give results much better than this. plus, this image is simulated image and it has some nice properties which make it easy to deal with. the significance of my approach is that some improvements can be made by doing the stuff i did. and i’m concluding that these things should be done on the arif models currently being used.



23.Beecha……………………………15 days to go



22. Yetizita bilkatoch ………………………24 days to go

One fire down; two to go. Triad season is upon us a.k.a Buhe, Enqutatash and Meskel are here.  I could not help but take the picture of yesterday’s chibo

                         image038.jpg    image031.jpg                                                               

 and the mulmul too.


Normally I take pictures when I am taken by something; hoping to capture my feelings for the moment on two dimensions.  But I have to admit that none of the pictures I have taken or the pictures taken of me thus far does a fair amount of justice to what was intended to be preserved.   Last weekend a friend and I were driving along the Chancho road and the scenery was magical. It had rained all morning and the sun was starting to shine. There was nothing but green to our left and right and we were driving though mist at some points.

I took some pictures but seeing them, I realized that they did not represent what they were meant to. What we agreed was that maybe it is better to enjoy the moment than try to freeze it. And that was what we did. So no pictures of that; instead here are candles. I would like to call this one expecting.

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The two candles are a wife and husband who are expecting a child. The open third spot is the crib of the child that is about to be born. Git it? No? I do not either!   

I think I do not like pictures. Of course I would stare if I was on one and if it was taken on a special occasion. But they often cater to my foolish self love doing nothing either to bring about nostalgia or to ease it.  I am not too fond of looking at other peoples’ photos. And pictures of nature and stuff are futile and maybe criminal attempts at seizing the unseizable.  There is no such thing as seizing the moment – let the moment seize you. 

Diaries of a lousy shot! 

I should tell you that in our living room, there is a picture of my graduation with me donning a gown, cap and a weird kind of smile. I think it is better than those photos on which the guy/girl tries to look serious. Neither the picture in questions nor the other smaller ones taken on that day were able to send me back down memory lane the way a certain smell did. I opened a cupboard that had the smell of the suit I was wearing then; and bam!  It was like I was there again.  

In a few months, instead of the pictures of chibo and mulmul, the mere smell of them will go a long way to remind me of the holiday. When it comes to arousing memory, I got to hand it to smell. And sound comes second followed by sight. Remember the things that flock through your mind when you hear a song that you heard with someone or when you were somewhere? Pictures on the other hand, do not do it for me. 

I read on the sense of smell and found that there is scientific evidence to back me up on my claim.  An excerpt: 

 An important quality of the olfactory system is that information travels both to the limbic system and cortex. The limbic system is the primitive part of the brain that includes areas that control emotions, memory and behavior. In comparison the cortex is the outer part of the brain that has to do with conscious thought. In addition to these two areas, information also travels to the taste sensory cortex to create the sense of flavor. Because olfactory information goes to both the primitive and complex part of the brain it effects our actions in more ways than we think.  

Many wonder how certain smells are able to trigger memories of events taking place several years ago despite the fact that sensory neurons in the epithelium survive for about only 60 days. The answer is that the neurons in the epithelium actually have successors. As the olfactory neurons die, new olfactory neurons generated by the layer of stem cells beneath them, which eventually takes the role of the old neuron as it dies……………… 

Read the whole of the short article here. 

While on the subject, I also found this painting. Ay enat! And that is an unusually muscular ass for a child I must say.


few lot of points before I go: 

* Mulmul is my favorite type of dabo followed by the good old fashioned difo dabo.  The furno one is not my choice. I was about to say I do not like furno but I remembered my mom teaching me not to say “X aliwedim ’’-X`stands for any type of food. And Betty, I am not talking about the kind of furno you have in mind. 

* I saw on National Geographic Channel that stem cells (especially cord blood and adult ones) are being used to treat patients in South Eastern Asia countries.  People from western countries go there because where they are from, clinical trials are lagging behind for various reasons.  China is hoping to use regenerative medicine as a pillar to her future economy. The program was objective: they showed patients who showed improvements after treatment and those who did not.  

 * There is a program on CNN which goes by the name world’s untold stories.  I catch it whenever I get the chance to. This week was about mining of tin ore in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sometimes you have to wonder why African countries put words like democratic in their official names; “ melke tifu besim yidegfu’’?!  Anyway, tin ore is replacing lead in the manufacturing of circuit boards. The miners work in sub-human conditions and what is worse they are not even paid! They have to steal from what they have mined in order to pay for basic necessities. The mine has no administration except for the soldiers who take the whole of the ore and sell it to middle men. To get to the landing strip from where it is taken to the middle men, the ore is carried by porters for tens of miles across the jungle. The porters eat once a day, carry kilos on their back and battle with cholera and other diseases. 

I had previously heard that a mineral called coltan (columbite-tantalite) also used in electric circuits of electronics was heavily involved in the war in the DRC.  Apparently  they have other riches /curses.

* Word is Beyoncé will not be coming after all.   Getting to my “the grapes were  sour” stories, I think Shakira would be a much better choice. And 50 cent’s new album is dropping on September eleven. I do not think he will be spending that day here.  Kanye is releasing his album on the same date. There is a debate going on on who is going to outsell who. I wish a third artist could come and whoop their asses.

 My choices for top Ethiopian albums for the year 1999 are ……drum roll…….  

1. Wuleta ………………Abinet Agonafer   

2. Shemametew……………….Mikaya Behailu

 I was going to put Satamehagn bila ………..Gossaye Tesfaye at the third position.  He has got some good songs in there. But I do not think I can bear  listening  to the entire album.

 * There is a disorder known as synesthesia.  What it does is mix up your senses. For example you may be able to taste names. This one guy was being asked about how the name Einstein tasted like. His answer, yoghurty wafers!                                                       

 What I have been writing about all post long may be human nature and may be there’s nothing new to it. What’s new is what I am about to propose next. 

Memories are not meant to be stored in photographic/ video films or audio tapes. Rather, they are best kept in hitherto unused contraptions. How about if we can literally bottle our feelings, memories and what not? What if we were able to get a dose whenever we smell the preserved smell of that particular situation?  

Smell ya later 


21. Tsom …………………………… 29, scratch that, 30 days to go

For someone  who has been going on and on about the Esira Miet, I do not seem to know much about it. I used to go “what are they talking about?” when people wrote or said “pagume sidist, 1999”. I mean it is Zemene Lukas for crying out loud sake; and pagume adds a sixth day bezemene Yohannes (remember the back of our childhood exercise books) .  As it turns out, it is zemene Lukas that has an additional day. And I could have referred to a calendar much much sooner.  It has finally dawned on me Enqutatash is going to be on a Wednesday. 

This discovery of mine has serious implications. First, my countdown thus far has been flawed.  It is nice to have an extra day be it a gift of my ignorance: I have, for a while now, been watching  every passing day with “sisit”.  Second and more serious, the holiday is going to be on a fasting day.  And there is no loophole like ‘‘gad ’’ or anything of that sort –that is unless there is an extraordinary meeting of the synod. (Please?!)


     the bigger picture                     

 Personally, I do not fast. But I am surrounded by observers; in both senses of the word. Or may be one sense only: because I wouldn’t be bothered by people labeling me as “hodam” should that happen.  I understand that there is more to holidays than food. I sometimes feel that much time is spent on preparing and eating food; serving and washing stuff instead of sitting back and kicking it with family, friends and relatives. 

But still, yetsom migib bebeal? It gives me the hibi jibies! And especially on the beginning of a new period/the end of an old one?  The uncertainty because some take 2000 as the beginning of a new thousand while others regard it as an end to the old one.  

One plus and probably the only one for me is that the eve is going to be on Tuesday. The last Tuesday of each year, there is a kind of “yemisgana ken” at church. I can not think of any place else better to spend this particularly special Tuesday; and that is real talk. Back in the days, what I used to do was watch the last sunset of the year from our rooftop.  

Staying on a religious tip, the coming Friday to Sunday have been declared as “days of prayer ’’ for the followers of Islam and the Orthodox Tewahido, Protestant and Catholic churches. Be sure to get your   prayers on on the specified days. 

Some tips: 

*Divide a year in the Ethiopian calendar by four. If there is no remainder then it is zemene Yohannes; a remainder of three points the way of Zemene Lukas, 2 Markos and 1 Matewos. 

* There is a belief that tiny fractions of time are being accumulated of every year and they, somewhen, are going to add up and give a Pagume with 7 days. It is alleged that that will be when the world will end. 

* Across religions, civilizations and cultures there is a kind of prophecy that doomsday is going to be on 2012(Tilaye, may be it was mentioned on apocalypto). Even a web based “prediction thingie ’’ calculates that some horrible shit shall go down on ….drum roll …….2012.          

             And me, what do I predict for 2012 ?Well, andthree is going to be five years deep. Man, I love this blog! I swear there are times I look into the future just to wonder what interesting posts it would make for. 

* An avatar  is the  human form of a Hindu god . * Zeritu has released  the DVD of her tour  and it ‘s bangin’ . Chick got talent fo sho. 

 * Tilaye, that is shiro tegabino in the picture in case you have not recognized it.  I could not find out what tegabino means. Does anyone know its meaning?  

Pray you sinners; and hard; very hard. 


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