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More on Arctic Warming

Following the post on methane release in the Arctic due to global climate change, here is an informative image comparing temperature differences between two five year periods: 1999-2003 and 2004-2008. The time window comparison shows a significant warming in the arctic,when compared to the rest of the planet. Created by the people at The Real […]

Blog Action Day: the Methane Pulse

Blog Action Day focuses this year on climate change, which, like everything else on this planet, is also a microbial matter. Howzat? Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas which has heat retention capability 23 times of that of CO2.  Soil methanogens are the chief global producers of methane. There are an estimated 7.5x 109 tons […]

Weekly poll: Replicators First vs. Metabolism First

I am preparing a class on the origins of life for next week. The textbook I am using does not  go into the Replicators First vs. Metabolism First argument, but I probably will, if I have time. Below, a quick refresher for those who know of the competing theories, and an unsatisfying introduction for those […]

The medium-rare biosphere

All the roots hang down Swing from town to town They are marching around Down under your boots All the trucks unload Beyond the gopher holes There’s a world going on Underground — Tom Waits, “Underground” Our picture of the microbial biosphere is heavily skewed towards what we can see, culture, and are interested in. […]

Finally: a Nobel prize for the ribosome structure

This has been a topic of discussion since I was in grad school: when will the Nobel prize for the structure of the ribosome be finally awarded? Well, it finally has. Ada Yonath, Thomas Steitz and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan received the Nobel for work that has spanned three decades and an equal number of continents.   […]

2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

And the winners are…

Weekly poll: which category would you add to the Nobel prize?

Yup, it’s those two weeks again, when that prize is being announced.  Sadly, BsB probably will not get it this year. Might have something to so with there being no category for blogging. Prestige and controversy go hand in hand, mix in science and you have a concoction more explosive than the one Mr. Nobel […]

2009 Ig Nobel Prizes

A bit late in the day, but here are the Ig Nobel prize winners for 2009. Cut and pasted from Wikipedia. The prizes were awarded Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 at Sanders Theater, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 2009 Veterinary medicine: Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, UK, for showing that cows with names give […]

Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins on Colbert Nation

Stephen Colbert had an interesting lineup for the past two nights: Richard Dawkins on Sep 30, and Francis Collins last night. Enjoy the vids: The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c

It ain’t necessarily so

First, a short glossary. Homologous genes are descended from a common ancestral gene. There are two types of homology: Orthology is homology due to a speciation event. So if there is a gene A’ in humans and A” in mice, and they are obviously similar in sequence, we infer that they homologous. We usually also […]

Weekly Poll: will you have your own genome sequenced?

CLARIFICATION: the events described here have not happened. Yet. We are a few years into the future. Whole human genomes can be sequenced relatively cheaply and accurately. Direct to Consumer Genomics companies offer true genomic analyses now, not just marker analyses. They BLAST* your sequence against known genotype & disease databases, looking for known genotypic […]

An Ontology for Biological Similarities

I griped here twice about the abuse of the term homology in biology. And to quote the Bellman in The Hunting of the Snark:  “What I tell you three times is  true”. But while I gripe, someone is actually doing something about the whole terminology muddle. Specifically, Marc Robinson-Rechavi and his group in The University […]

New: weekly poll

I will try to maintain a weekly poll on BsB, for matters biologick, bioinformatick, generally scientifick or otherick. As in any poll, if read too much into its questions or answers, you should seriously chill. That being said, comments are most welcome. The poll is on the sidebar that’a’way.—> (Scroll a bit down if you […]

What they really found in Niger

A big buzz over the discovery of a skeleton of an early Sauropod dinosaur in Niger. The finding looks amazing even to my paleontologically-ignorant eyes. It is beautifully intact and well-ordered, as opposed to the mixed jumble of bone fragments that are usually found. It has that lovely aesthetic quality that would cause anyone to […]

“Micro homology”. Wut?

I ranted in a previous post about the use of homology as a quantitative term, rather than a qualitative term. Ben Blackburne commented on that post introducing me to “micro homology”, a term I did not know existed. I ignored its existence, until I heard it spoken yesterday at a talk, which sort of rubbed […]