Blogimmuniqué: 29-March-2012

By Grant Jacobs 30/03/2012 1

A blog communique – brief notes to my readers!

First up: my apologies for the temporary hiatus over the last few days. My time is being split into far too many directions… While I’m getting back on track again, I thought it’d be a good opportunity to updating people on what I’m doing, or introduce newer readers to some of what I hope to happen here.

New topics/series

First I’d like to briefly introduce a couple of several topics I hope to run in irregular fashion. These are unlikely to be a series in the more formal way, more as a thread of articles sharing a theme, perhaps under a running title. (I’m likely to run the series titles as sub-titles so that they don’t mess up the main title or make it longer than it needs to be.[1])

The first topic ‘series’ is Structures in our genomes, which follows one of my key research interests. I’d like to wind my way past different structures that are part of our genomes as one way of introducing non-scientist readers to their genomes. Genomes are often talked about as DNA sequences – I’d like to look at them as structures, which in many ways is what they really are. A proper introduction to this is in draft form at the moment.

In keeping with the ‘as they really are’ theme, I won’t be reducing the elements of our genomes to vague analogies or metaphors, but instead try to show what’s really there.[2] (Without getting too involved – this is for non-scientists.)

Hopefully this will also double up as a ‘lite’ introduction for scientists in other fields. My focus will be on the biology rather than computational work (i.e. my own research work), partly as I’m always a fan of starting with the biology and partly as I think this will have more appeal to those outside of science. In addition to looking at some of the structures involved, I’ll pick up recent research papers related to this that interest me. In a few cases that’ll mean the article is a bit more involved and I’ll give readers a heads-up if that’s what they’re in for.

Another topic I’m mulling over, but have yet to decide if I should cover or not are logic fallacies and tropes.[3] Let me know if you’ve an interest in this (or not) in the comments. Critical thinking is important for everyone!

General articles

I’ll continue the pot pourri of research from other areas of science that catch my eye as quirky or just plain interesting, aimed at general readers.

Blogging gives me an excuse to poke my nose into work that isn’t my specialist thing that looks fun. It’s one of the beauties of doing science – you get to read all the things others are up to! I haven’t done as much of this as I’d like to over the past year, mostly because covering the research literature takes time.[4]

Troll-free zone (for a while, anyway)

I will continue to occasionally write on opposition to vaccination or promotion of ‘alternative’ remedies and so on from time to time. This attracted the attention of one person I’ve finally kicked off this blog.[5] Hopefully now there will be better opportunity for discussions of these topics without needless nagging, sniping, baiting, etc.


1. Reducing them to acronyms isn’t much of an option and might confuse readers. Reducing Structures in our genomes to SG might lead to disappointed and confused Star Gate fans, for example…

2. Given time and choice I prefer to try present the concepts rather than sweep things too far under analogies that they reality isn’t really there anymore. People in science writing argue about that sort of thing.

3. Basically logical fallacies are just statements that when looked at closer don’t make logical sense. I’d aim this to be pretty informal and pragmatic (and hopefully entertaining!)

4. Despite how ‘lite’ these takes on others’ work are, I do check out the stories for accuracy.

5. I’ve been very reluctant to kick someone off, but there is a point where trolling becomes too persistent and unhealthily focused on following and harassing me personally.

One Response to “Blogimmuniqué: 29-March-2012”

  • Somewhere in there I didn’t mention that I will, of course, continue to write on bioinformatics / computational biology from time to time, and the odd local event. Lots of different stuff, in other words!

    Looking back WordPress seems to have tried colouring parts of my text in shades of grey. Sigh. I’ll get to that, sometime.

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