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Repost: a very loose and circular association to Pi Day

(Originally published March 14, 2009) Happy Pi (π) Day! Americans write dates in the MM/DD/YYYY format instead of the DD/MM/YYYY format used by the rest of the world.  Usually a rather painful and confusing format if you did not grow up with it, causing checks to bounce and leases to expire for those who recently […]

The Origin of Gender Symbols in Biology

A quick post for International Women’s Day: how did the gender symbols originate in biology? What do ♀ and ♂ actually stand for? The answer starts in antiquity, when planets and gods were almost synonymous. Religious rites (at least in Europe) were also associated with the working of metals. Thus, each heavenly body was associated with a […]

The power of science blogging

  Hats off to Jonathan Eisen for hosting this activity on his blog. (I’ll keep mine on, thank you. It’s raining cats and dogs here right now). A couple of weeks ago I posted a discussion about two papers that challenged the ortholog conjecture. Briefly, both papers stated that orthologs may not be such great […]

CAFA Update

Nearly a year ago, I posted about the Critical Assessment of Function prediction with which I am involved. The original post from July 22, 2010 is in the block quote. After that, an update about the meeting which will be held in exactly 2 weeks. The trouble with genomic sequencing, is that it is too […]

Free science books!

  The National Academies Press are offering all their books in PDF format for free. The announcement yesterday created a serious traffic surge on their site. But the books are still there, and are still free. Got to buy that new 5Tb external disk now….

Thursday Odds and Ends

  A woman in Chesterfield, Ohio robbed a convenience store using her MRSA-infected arm as a weapon.  Warning: graphic picture of MRSA infected arm. Or a zombie limb. You can never know in northwestern Ohio. A US vector biologist got infected with Zika virus which is  a mosquito-borne pathogen causing joint pain and fatigue. He […]

You know your graduate student is frustrated when…

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

Extraordinary claims attract extraordinary blogging

Since its publication, the paper about bacteria using arsenic instead of phosphorous has been criticized from several different angles. First for the media pre-publication stoking, which lead many journalists to speculate about microbes from Titan while the paper was still embargoed (titanic microbes?), when ultimately it was revealed that we are dealing with earthlings, although […]

Money and Science

Writing grants all the time (another deadline coming Monday, yikes) made me think about money and science, but in a rather oblique way: coins and notes commemorating scientists and scientific achievements. While looking for examples, I found that Alex Pasternack from Motherboard.TV has done a really nice and thorough job already. So have a look, […]

Science as Middle-Earth

From Abstruse Goose. I like it that Biology is in Mirkwood, and that Bioinformatics is on the left bank of Anduin while CS is on the right. I would have put Botany in Fangorn (because of the Ents), Microbiology in the Sea of Rhûn for beyond it are “wide uncharted lands, nameless plains, and forests […]

JSUR is accepting submissions

I have written about the Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results before and now this just popped in my inbox from JSUR’s Google group. Apparently JSUR is now open for business. JSUR Call for Participation Submit your short (2-4page) and full length manuscripts to the Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results. Over the past month […]

JSUR? Yes, sir. (Updated 2-FEB-2010)

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’, but ‘That’s funny…’ -Isaac Asimov Thanks to Ruchira Datta for pointing out this one. Science is many things to many people, but any lab-rat will tell you that research is mainly long stretches of frustration, interspersed with flashes […]

BsB in high school science… nice

A  small spike on my blog traffic yesterday led me to look for the source via Google Analytics. (If you are a blogger, you should really use this tool, lots of useful traffic information.) Seems like most of the traffic came from the page of a high school science teacher at Badin High School in […]

Newton’s birthday and crop diversity

Today is the 366th birthday of Sir Isaac Newton. Formulator of the three laws of motion, the theory of gravity, inventor of the first reflecting telescope, theory of color, calculus (with due credit to Gottfried Leibniz), the generalized binomial theorem, and president of the Royal Society. All which ties in directly to retail, and biodiversity. […]

Photosynthesis, phages and structures: there’s treasure everywhere!

Here’s a really cool work, published this September in Nature.. Why did I choose this work?  Well, it’s a major discovery, and it’s all done using bioinformatics, and fairly simple bioinformatics at that. The power of metagenomics and bioinfromatics: in a mass of data you just have to know what you are looking for, and […]