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Top five annoying questions at scientific meetings

5. Question: “You know, our group has been working on this for a long time, and we found that…” Really means: “How come you got invited to talk about this and not I?” 4. Question:  “Have you tried using Y instead of X?” Really means: “We are doing the same thing using Y, since we […]

Skin Flick 2: Statistic Boogaloo

Reports on the first metagenomic survey of skin bacteria (see my previous post) did not go unnoticed by the popular media. Reports appear in US News & world Report, LA Times, Times of India, National Geographic, and Scientific American. All these articles have one thing in common: they are wrong. Yes, even Scientific American. All […]

Short bioinformatics hacks, ch. 2: chunk it.

First, a non-bioinformatic one liner, which is very relevant to most of us working on 3 different machines simultaneously, not including the 80 in our cluster. ssh-ing and giving your password each time is painful, and makes it almost impossible to do scripted file transfers, like backups. A good solution is shared key ssh in […]

Skin flick

Interesting report in Science today about the human skin metagenome. The skin is a fairly large organ, and it is home to an estimated 1012 bacteria. It is the first barrier our body poses against pathogens, toxins, and sarcastic comments.  An adult’s skin area is about 2m2, virtually all of it exposed to the outside […]

Leonardo Da Vinci and the F0-F1 ATPase

Offspring #2 (O2) and I  spent last weekend visiting the Da Vinci Experience exhibit at San Diego’s Air & Space Museum. The exhibit is engineer’s heaven: large wood models based on and inspired by LDV’s drawings. Gears, crankshafts, pulleys. O2 was interested in the military stuff:  catapults, the tank , a mobile bridge. I did […]

Short Bioinformatics Hacks, ch. 1

In any programming gig, and that includes bioinformatics, a lot of repeat scriptology comes cropping up. I decided to share some of that, pro publico bono, and also because I hope to start some sort of ongoing cookbook  for short bioinformatics hacks. If you have any cool short scripts you like to share, please email […]

Light for Cellular Communication?

Don’t you know We’re all light Yeah, I read that someplace –XTC This is interesting: an article in PLoS ONE that claims that Paramecia can communicate using light. The author, Daniel Fels from the Swiss Tropical Institute in Basel, separated two Paramecia populations using quartz or glass vials, grew them in the dark, and checked […]

Total waste of time, ep. 1

Warning: frivolously geeky and technical  post, which can be best defined as “science methodology esoterica”, and from which you can learn absolutely nothing useful.  If you don’t get what’s going on, then it’s probably for the best, because this is a complete waste of time. Specific Aim 1:  find the longest word in English composed […]

Oprah, Jenny McCarthy and Preventable Diseases

Shirley Wu has penned a beautiful open letter to Oprah Winfrey explaining why Oprah should not provide a soapbox to Jenny McCarthy. McCarthy is the unofficial spokesperson for the anti-vaccination movement, a dishonorable position at best.  Given yet another podium, more people will listen and take McCarthy’s bad advice, resulting in more deaths and preventable […]

John Lee Hooker: One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer

Phew. After getting slashdotted on the Wolfram Alpha story, I can use a couple of drinks.

Test driving the Wolfram Alpha

There has been a lot of buzz recently about Wolfram’s new product, the Wolfram Alpha (WA). After attending a webinar on WA, I was given a preview account, and started messing around with it.  In case you were wondering, that is the extent of my involvement with Wolfram Research, LLC, I don’t even have a […]

The Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Heavenly Virtues of Scientific Websites

When I say here “scientific websites”, I am not referring to education sites, science blogs, or scientific journal web sites. I am talking about sites scientists use for their day to day research. Sites like Entrez, EBI, FlyBase, ExPasy, PDB etc. The sites I just mentioned I deem quite virtuous, but there are many sinful […]

I tweet, you twit

Sooo… NIH and NSF started Tweeting. Nice. A good way to keep up with grant programs, funding opportunities, yadda yadda. Here’s my @ tweet : @NIH protein catalytic site evolution health implic: good for drug design. Young scientist, need $0.7M 2010-2013, 2xpostdocs+cluster+travel.  Prev pubs: http://is.gd/vnPN; kthxbi I hope I won’t get killed at the renewal…

Music: The Dub Side of the Moon

One of those dumb ideas that I’m very glad someone went through with: a reggae/dub cover for Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon. It’s incredible! I downloaded the first 10 tracks from eMusic, and once my subscription get refilled I’ll download the remaining four. Then I will check whether The Dub Side also […]

Size matters. Life is Live.

1976: Prologue In July 27, 1976, the American Legion, a US military veterans association, held a large meeting at the Bellevue Stratford Hotel a hotel in Philadelphia PA, celebrating the USA’s bicentennial year. Within 2 days, guests  started falling ill with an atypical pneumonia. By the end of the week, 221 people were ill and […]