Humor

What happens when a biologist tries to talk with the IT group? Needless to say, they don't speak the same language. Reposted from the archives. Imagine this. You've been sequencing DNA for a few years now, perhaps ESTs, or something else, and storing files on your local network. Your system administrator makes backup files for you and all is well. But one day you learn about interesting results that other people are getting by assembling sequence data themselves and you decide to try it, too. Watch out! You are about to descend into bioinformatics hell. Soon you ... Read more
I want my genome sequenced, too! Apparently, it's become a popular thing to get your genome sequenced. Craig Venter was the first. Jim Watson's genome (of Project Jim) was ceremonially released this morning (courtesy of 454), and now George Chuch, Larry King, cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Google co-founder Larry Page, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and former junk-bond trader Michael Milken want theirs done, too (1). Two articles from different GenomeWeb releases made a strange combination this morning when I turned on my computer. In one release, GW mentioned that NHGRI (the ... Read more
It was a quiet day at the Seattle FolkLife Festival.
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But there were signs that PZ might be lurking about.
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At ... Read more
I received a mysterious file last week, via e-mail from one of my students. According the e-mail, the file contained the answers to an assignment. I downloaded the file and double-clicked it. Nada. I did notice that the file had an unusual extension. Most Word documents have ".doc" at the end. This one had ".docx" I thought that must be a mistake, so I tried other options for opening it with Microsoft WORD, even editing the extension to change it to ".doc" No. That didn't work. Then, I tried TextEdit, all I saw were strange characters. I did a few other things, but all I ... Read more
`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.' -Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
In biology, we often ask our words do a lot of work. In what other field would we write direction like this "Transfer 10 lambda of lambda phage DNA into a cuvette and determine the lambda max."Read more
I read about this in Science and immediately had to check it out. Instant gratification on the internet is such a wonderful thing! The Ed Kravitz lab has made movies of fights and even put them on the web for your viewing pleasure. You can see the following fly fights that might suit your fancy: Fighting flies
i-a0741c1ac86bb6d4f68d8e47fd663feb-koko.jpgMy dog has an interesting (okay, disgusting!) habit of rolling in the smelliest stuff she can find when we go on walks. Everything that I've read about dogs - and this probably includes fiction - explains her behavior as "the dog is hiding her scent." I know it seems odd that my dog rolling in smelly stuff should remind me of a post on Evolgen ( ... Read more
If you're still awake tomorrow after the feast and managing to withstand the sopoforic effects of the tryptophan from the turkey and the carbohydrates from the potatoes and pie, you might want to consider doing a little science at home. Fellow SciBlings Tara Smith (here & here), Mike Dunford ( ... Read more
I wrote earlier about videos of lab protocols and the benefit these could bring to people who are trying to learn new techniques or perhaps troubleshoot their own. Unfortunately, I suspect that the people who would benefit the most from movies of others doing lab procedures correctly are those who are already pretty observant. Nevertheless, I have some ideas for improvements to these kinds of movies, ala acting and editing, that could benefit the ... Read more
I've written before about some of the explainable reasons why lab procedures don't work. I forgot to add that sometimes experiments don't work because of outside forces that have nothing to do with your technique, inability to do algebra, or poor experimental design. Sometimes, the whole thing is just doomed from the start. A friend of mine once spent a summer as an intern at a local, now-defunct, biotech company. During this time, he worked for a very demanding technician ... Read more

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