Code for life

LHC-based Doomsday alternatives, e-book publishing and problems in scientific publishing

Grant Jacobs Apr 01, 2010

I’m resorting to the traditional log of things you might like to read to keep you busy while I’m busy… First up is a geeky take on doomsday alternatives based around the Large Hadron Collider. Three videos,  a goofiness rating for each idea, with an explanation of why they’re unlikely. There’s a slight air of … Read More

Myriad Genetics patent of BRCA (breast cancer) genes denied

Grant Jacobs Mar 30, 2010

Myriad Genetics face a judicial ruling against their patent of the BRAC1 and BRAC2 genes. Solution structure ensemble of BRCA1/BARD1 RING domain heterodimer. Brzovic, Rajagopal, Hoyt, King and Klevit Nat. Struct. Biol. 8:833 (2001) (Source: PDB.) Judge Sweet presented this as to centre around the issue, Are isolated human genes and the comparison of their … Read More

LHC ready to rumble . . .

Grant Jacobs Mar 30, 2010

How many computer screens does one physicist need? (Source: CERN) News from CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) is that the Large Hadron Collider, better known as the LHC, is to take is first attempts at it’s designed highest energy levels, 7 TeV, tomorrow (March 30th). Links to a press release, … Read More

Aww, crap.

Grant Jacobs Mar 28, 2010

D'em shrews have shat in me again. [caption id="attachment_1782" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="(Souce: Clarke et al, 2009 ; image credit: Chien Lee.)"][/caption] Botanist Dr. Charles Clarke (Monash University, based at Monash’s Selangor campus) has published two research papers showing that the pitchers of mature pitcher plant Nepenthes lowii are opportunistic toilets rather than predatory traps. Carnivorous … Read More

Congratulations C.K. Stead!

Grant Jacobs Mar 27, 2010

In writerly (and readerly) news, New Zealander and long-time author C.K. Stead has won the inaugural Sunday Times EPG Private Bank Short Story Prize, worth £25,000 (a little over $NZ50,000). His winning entry was selected from six short-listed entries from a long-list of 20, from 1152 entries. The long-list includes several established writers, among them Rose Tremain. Read More

Bioinformatics S.O.C., Not Exactly Rocket Science moves, pop science book writing

Grant Jacobs Mar 27, 2010

Ed Yong’s popular science blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science, has just moved to a new home at the Discover magazine blogs. Another newcomer there is Razib Khan’s Gene Expression, also formerly of Do I perceive a perceived hierarchy of science blogs? Lone riders, smaller collectives (like sciblogs),, with the Discover … Read More

Friday picture: molecular modelling of the cytoplasm

Grant Jacobs Mar 26, 2010

A very striking image features on the cover of the March 2010 of PLoS Computational Biology (below), showing a molecular simulation of the interior of the cytoplasm of the bacterium Escherichia coli. Source: PLoS Computational Biology; image credits: Elcock, University of Iowa. One of the things that has impressed me as important to understand molecular … Read More

You can change the ideas, but not the data

Grant Jacobs Mar 24, 2010

Not too long ago I attended Lawrence Krauss speaking in Dunedin. Others here have written reviews of Lawrence Krauss’ talks in Dunedin (David Winter at The Atavism) and Auckland (Fabiana Kubke at Building Blogs of Science). After the talk, having not much else to do, I sat for for some time watching Lawrence respond … Read More

Prince or pauper? Tell Nature what you earn

Grant Jacobs Mar 23, 2010

In a recent post about Google search suggestions for questions about scientists, I noted that one question that recurred as you tried different disciplines was how much people in that field earned. Nature are now running the 2010 edition of their international survey on science-related jobs and incomes. Let ’em know if you’re prince … Read More