Displaying the most recent of 471 posts written by

Iddo

On Joke Papers, Hoaxes, and Pirates

“Our aim here is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence.” SCIgen developers Joke papers have been known to sneak into otherwise serious publications. Notably, in the Sokal Affair, Alan Sokal, a physicist, published a nonsense paper in Social Text, a leading journal in cultural studies.  After it was published, Sokal revealed this paper to be a parody, kicking off […]

Music Monday: Imuhar / Bombino

My favorite track from Bombino’s latest album Nomad. Tuareg blues.

Aphid attacks should be reported through the fungusphone

We like to think of ourselves as the better results of evolution. We humans are particularly proud of our ability to communicate, having invented cell phones, the Internet, and extended forelimb digits as sophisticated means of communication not found anywhere else in nature. Not true. Where there is life, there is communication. Vocal, visual, chemical. […]

Music Friday: Brushy One String / Chicken in the Corn

Brushy One String. Pretty amazing.  

Squeezing DNA

The state of biology today:   Our main problem is turning these DNA data into useful information. Finding genes and other functional genomic element, characterizing them, understanding their function and their impact on Life – all these are challenges that will remain with us for a long time, and which have revolutionized biology into the […]

New Links between Bacteria and Cancer

Microbiology and Cancer Cancer and microbiology have been closely linked for over 100 years. Cancer patients are usually immunosuppressed due to chemotherapy, requiring special treatment and conditions to prevent bacterial infection. Bladder cancer is typically treated with inactivated tuberculosis bacteria to induce an inflammatory response which turns against remaining cancer cells, with remarkably effective results.  Also, viruses are […]

SCOTUS: DNA is information, not a chemical

Should DNA be subject to copyright law, rather than patent law? Section 101 of Title 35 U.S.C. sets out the subject matter that can be patented: Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the […]

The allure of the superficial

A new paper from my lab and Patsy Babbitt’s lab in UCSF has recently been published  in  PLoS Computational Biology. It is something of a cautionary tale for quantitative biologists, especially  bioinformaticians and system biologists. Genomics has ushered biology into the  data rich sciences. Bioinformatics, developing alongside genomics, provided the tools necessary to decipher genomic […]

Bats use blood to reshape tongue for feeding

Great bit of research showing the amazing adaptation of bat tongues to nectar feeding.   Harper, C., Swartz, S., & Brainerd, E. (2013). Specialized bat tongue is a hemodynamic nectar mop Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222726110  

On Lightning Talks

A lightning talk  or a flash talk is a short presentation, typically anywhere between 1 and 5 minutes. They have been around for over 10 years in programmers’ meetings, and are slowly making inroads into scientific meetings. The Good: lightning talks give more speakers a chance to present their material to an engaged audience; they […]

#DNA60

It has not escaped Twitter’s notice that the Watson & Crick paper is 60 years old today . Sorry, too busy to be really creative, so here is a repost from 2009. Think of it as a transposon. Short quiz and a movie for DNA day. 1) We celebrate DNA day because: a) Congress said so […]

Automated Function Prediction: Submit your abstracts by Saturday

You have until Friday Saturday, April 20th to submit your abstracts to the Automated Function Prediction meeting, an ISMB 2013 Special Interest Group and CAFA: Critical Assessment of Function Annotations. Keynote speakers: Patricia Babbitt, University of California, San Francisco. Protein similarity networks: Identification of functional trends from the context of sequence similarity Alex Bateman, European Bioinformatics […]

Terrible advice from a great scientist

I am not inclined to write polemic posts. I generally like to leave that to others, while I take the admittedly easier route of waxing positive over various bits of cool science I find or hear about, and yes, occasionally do myself. But WSJ editorial from E.O. Wilson has irked me so much, I have […]

Wasting time with Google Trends

  It seems like the forces of light have triumphed somewhere around September 2006: …as have their evil counterparts, April 2009:     bacteria are neck-in-neck with humans:     But they beat the largest creatures on Earth:     Of course, you can’t beat cats:      

Stupid Python tricks, #3296: sorting a dictionary by its values

Suppose you have a dictionary mydict, with key:value pairs mydict = {‘a’:5, ‘b’:2, ‘c’:1, ‘d’:6} You want to sort the keys by the values,  maintaining the keys first in a list of tuples, so that the final list will be: [(‘c’,1), (‘b’,2), (‘a’,5), (‘d’,6)] aaaand, the stupid Python trick involves a nested list comprehension: sorted_list […]