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Category Archives: Uncategorized

iGem 2010

Another interesting iGem event this year, which will be the last super-sized jamboree held at MIT. Starting next year, iGem director Randy Rettberg announced during his introductory remarks, iGem will consist of several regional events, with winners going on to compete in a smaller final event in Cambridge. Charlie Schick and I spoke with Randy […]

The Beauty of a Cancer Cell

HeLa cells resemble fireworks in this image, one of the finalists in Nikon’s 2010 Small World Photomicrography Competition. The cancer cells are descended from an immortal cell “line” grown from a sample originally taken, without consent, from Henrietta Lacks. More amazing micro-images at the Nikon competition site.

Ira Glass on Creative Work

Or, why you have to get through years of doing work you know is kind of crap. Because good taste alone doesn’t make you an artist.

Taking It to the Streets

Congratulations to the Biobus and DIYBio NYC on being awarded the Editor’s Prize for their entry in the recent Maker Faire in New York City. Rather than experimental advances — though those may come — I think that in the near term where DIYBio can and will make a significant impact is through education, both […]

Craig Venter, Businessman? Not So Much

Says Andrew Pollock in the New York Times. Regarding his biofuel efforts, the killer quote, I think comes from Jay Keasling: “I don’t know how many decades his funders have given him.” George Church, as he has repeatedly in the past, questions the wisdom and practicality of engineering organisms from scratch rather than simply re-engineering […]

Scientific Method

Nice slide, reposting from Boing Boing, a nice slide graphically explaining the scientific method, created by David Ng, a geneticist, science educator, part time writer, and faculty at the University of British Columbia.

Falling, Flying

The Boulder Dash roller-coaster swoops through lush summer greenery at Lake Compounce, a small amusement park in Bristol, Connecticut. (Photo from New York Times.)

Who Needs a Fancy Knife?

Left, marks on bone provide evidence of Earth’s first “butchers” — who lived some 3.4 million years ago. In a paper published in the August 12 issue of Nature, a multinational team of researchers argue that microscopic examination of large ungulate bones found in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia reveals markings likely made by stone […]

Magazine Writer All-Stars

Kevin Kelly recently compiled this list of the 100 best magazine articles EVER. Minor quibbles — too much David Foster Wallace, Calvin Trillin; too few women — but there is great, great stuff in here, and some pieces (with links!) that I really must make time for. This would be a perfect job for my […]

Big Hopes for Algae

Andrew Pollack had a long piece in the New York Times yesterday on the race to develop a viable process for making fuel from algae. The article focuses on Sapphire Energy, which has raised $100 million from investors including Bill Gates and is getting another $100 million in federal financing to build a demo project […]