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Nobody knows you

With deepest apologies to the memory of Jimmy Cox. EDIT: I got a couple of concerned emails. No, this did not happen to me. Yet. Once I lived the life of a PI so rich, Research was going along without a hitch. Lab manager, four postdocs and grad students eight, My lab took up the […]


I get the weirdest emails sometimes….   Dear  professor  Iddo Friedberg,          First of all, I would like to introduce myself, my name is _____, 30 years old I  occupy a staff position of instructor at the department of pharmaceutical microbiology, faculty of pharmacy, ____ University, _____. I was graduated in 2003 with an overall grade “excellence with honors” & […]

The genomics programming language

Genomics is a new and exciting programming language based on Brainfsck. Here are the commands: g Move pointer to the right. e Move pointer to the left. n Increment the cell at the pointer. o Decrement the cell at the pointer. m Jump forward past the matching i if the cell at the current pointer […]

Brainf**k while waiting for a flight

Warning: NSFW language. Brainfuck is a Turing-complete programming language consisting of eight commands, each of which is represented as a single character. > Increment the pointer. < Decrement the pointer. + Increment the cell at the pointer. – Decrement the cell at the pointer. . Output the ASCII value of the cell at the pointer. […]

Music Monday: Whole Lotta Love

This excellent cover of “Whole Lotta Love” went viral last week. Michael Winslow of Police Academy fame gives his interpretation to the Led Zeppelin classic: And if that gave you a taste for the original, go here.

Funny Science Friday: The IgNobels, Wall Street Journal

The IgNobel prizes were awarded this week. Yes, the Nobel prizes too, but the IgNobels are the really interesting ones. (For an thoughtful piece about why the Nobel Prizes in the sciences do not enhance or may even hurt scientific recognition, read Carl Zimmer’s piece at The Loom) . The IgNobel prizes are awarded annually for […]

Friday fun story: extreme bug hunting on MIRA

MIRA is a really cool sequence assembly software, developed and maintained by Bastien Chevreux. MIRA has a large and active community, led by the funny and gracious Bastien, for whom no problem is too small, or too large. Recently MIRA seemed to have developed a stochastic bug, one of those which are a serious headache […]

John Smith’s genome sequenced

Springville University’s Genome Center in collaboration with Prof. I. M. A. Bigschotte from IvyLeague University have announced that the genome of Mr. John Smith from Centertown, USA has been sequenced and is now available online. Dr. James Williams, director of the Center said: “We were running out of things to sequence, but I still had […]

Life is not a tree, it’s more of a…

  OK, I think the tree of life is obsolete. I have been spending a lot of time looking at horizontal gene transfer, reading about it, looking at it in genomes until my eyes water and my brain dessicates, occasionally blogging about it and soon to be publishing about it. Life is not a tree. […]

You don’t get to 11 million papers without a few dodgy results

“The Science Network”: who stole PubMed? Well, their accents don’t exactly fit the population in the NLM….


The authors and editor knew exactly what they were doing with this one: Thanks to Ed Yong for tweeting this. Chau, R., Hamel, S., & Nellis, W. (2011). Chemical processes in the deep interior of Uranus Nature Communications, 2 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1198

You know your graduate student is frustrated when…

…you find this on the top of the paper pile on his desk:

Bad Project

No apologies to Lady Gaga necessary.

Email Bankruptcy – Brilliant

I received this from a colleague today. The sender’s name and identifying information have been removed to protect the guilty. Under the United States Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 as enacted in Title 11 USC Chapter 7, individuals may declare personal bankruptcy when their debts cannot be satisfied.  You are hereby notified that […]

Are you up to the 2011 PhD Challenge?

The PhD Challenge asks graduate students to do their utmost in their submitted papers. You thought getting a paper accepted is hard? Try getting a paper accepted which contains the sentence “I smoke crack rocks”. That was the PhD challenge for 2010, and Gabriel Parent from Carnegie Mellon University has lived up to it with […]