Code for life

Metagenomics-finding organisms from their genomes

Grant Jacobs Oct 20, 2009

Scientists are surveying the genomes found in environments, a modern way to find what micro-organisms live there. There has been an explosions of "-omics" over the last decade. Metagenomics is the moniker given to genomic, or DNA sequence, surveys of environmental samples. Basically metagenomics involves researchers collecting DNA samples from, say, the ocean, beach … Read More

Sidebar scientists

Grant Jacobs Oct 19, 2009

One suggestion I made as the Science Media Centre (SMC) was set up was to encourage media to use experts to complement journalists’ stories with a sidebar of the “bare bones” of the science associated with the story. Everyone will know how this works. Readers who want more than the storyline or who want “just the … Read More

Sales-fest or science?

Grant Jacobs Oct 14, 2009

Like many biologists and medical professionals, I'm disturbed by the plainly wrong and misleading nature of anti-vaccine and natural remedy claims I've seen. An advertised "Natural Health Expo" to be held this weekend in New Zealand has caused me to revisit how an earlier blog article on Crank ’scientific’ conferences suggested one simple test for … Read More

TV psychics: not in the real world, please

Grant Jacobs Oct 11, 2009

Before getting back to science pieces, I'd like to join fellow sciblings Petter Griffith and Mike Kilpatrick in expressing disappointment over TVNZ's encouragement of the services of their "TV psychic" for the family of missing toddler Aisling Symes. Entertainment often plays on fantasies, asking viewers to temporarily accept some clearly fictional plot devices. There's … Read More

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

Grant Jacobs Oct 11, 2009

Internationally there has been much fuss about Barack Obama being awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Before passing your judgement, though, it may help to remember that the award committee aren't dumb and that it might be useful to first read what the Peace Prize is awarded for to try understand their thinking. My reading of … Read More