Labrinth

Confusion and disorder

Vic Arcus Mar 01, 2010

Confusion and disorder go together in many respects. Politically…. Socially…. disorder and confusion are firm friends. But I would like to speak about disorder from a scientific point of view because in this respect as well, there tends to be confusion. And yet, disorder (or entropy) is one of the most important concepts in science. Peter Atkins (Oxford chemistry … Read More

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The numbers game

Vic Arcus Feb 16, 2010

Biology is about big and small. Really big (a whale) and really, really small (a bacterial cell). For a beautiful visual tour of the big to the very small, I can recommend this from the Learn Genetics website (this website was recently awarded the Science prize for online resources in education). This animated web page lets you zoom … Read More

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Bug of the week

Vic Arcus Feb 08, 2010

I love microbiology. Microbes are simpler than plants or animals – just single cells dividing and expanding in number (exponentially!). Microbes invented photosynthesis, they invented antibiotics, they even invented sex. Simple, yet stunningly diverse, they live everywhere – in the soil, in the rocks, in the sea, on your skin, in your stomach. There’s a whole community of bugs living … Read More

The ribo what?

Vic Arcus Nov 17, 2009

In the cellular city, there is one factory which reigns supreme and it is called the ribosome. This is the molecular factory which produces proteins. It is a monolithic molecular complex which literally “translates” the information in genes (encoded by sequences of DNA and RNA) into proteins. It is also very ancient and is found in all forms of life … Read More

Cooperation as a cornerstone of evolution

Vic Arcus Oct 16, 2009

In their book, The Major Transitions in Evolution, John Maynard Smith and Eors Szathmary describe 8 great evolutionary leaps which take us from individual molecules in a primordial soup, to human societies. John Maynard Smith gave an inspirational lecture at The Royal Institute on the Origins of Life shortly before his death, which you can see here. The … Read More

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The city and the cell

Vic Arcus Sep 29, 2009

A city from space resembles a dense mosaic. Roads prescribing the polygons and curves of the myriad city blocks and parks. The city periphery is often constrained by geography: mountains to the east, a river runs through it, the sea to the west. The city plans are, in some cases, the result of the invisible hands of the town … Read More

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