Archives for December, 2010

Fruit Fly Brain Redux: Readers’ Favorites?

My recent posting, The Fruit Fly Brain Atlas Emerges generated quite a bit of interest from readers, perhaps because most of us are visual learners, including myself. One reader’s comment reminded me how fun it was to explore the FlyCircuit database. It’s easy to register; once you’re in, you can not only browse the more…

Evolution: The Story of LIfe on Earth

From time to time, my office receives publisher’s copies of books, uninvited and not upon my request. Today, a copy of Jay Hosler’s “Evolution: The Story of LIfe on Earth” arrived. {The hubris of explaining the “story of life on earth” is unimaginable to me, but that’s another story.} This piques my interest; is a…

Scientists including the news media in the process of discovery is a volatile affair, as we have all witnessed recently. My fellow bloggers on ScienceBlogs, We Beasties, discussed the role of bloggers and scientists in the process of the NASA scientists announcing their discovery of “arsenic-based life forms”. Generally speaking, as a scientist I have…

Adult human breast stem cells (red) are found in ductal regions. Lineage-restricted progenitor cell types (green) reside outside Scientists based at a medical center in Berlin have accomplished something extraordinary: they have used stem cells to prevent viruses to grow in a patient infected with HIV. This patient had been taking antiviral drugs but discontinued…

As an antidote to recent postings about Christmas on Pharyngula, which have nothing to do with science or holiday cheer, I would like to share with you a wonderful innovative example of bridging science and technology with the arts: the Virtual Choir. Composer Eric Whitacre embarked upon an experiment in online social media: he invited…

Photo: Flickr Scott Beale / Laughing Squid This morning, TIME magazine announced their choice for Person of the Year: Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg. I am one amongst more than 500 million users worldwide that have used the power of online social networking to not only connect with others but to use this technology as…

The Fruit Fly Brain Atlas Emerges

As reported in today’s Science Times of The New York Times, a research group in Taiwan led by Dr. Ann-Shyn Chiang has accomplished something that was unimaginable when I was a graduate student in the 1980’s: they have created the first atlas of the brain of a fruit fly at the resolution of a single…

Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, announced the top ten Tweets of 2010 – yes, it’s that annual ritual of lists. Anyone whom might doubt the influence of Twitter might consider that in 2010, so far, more than 25 billion Tweets have been sent. The number one Tweet was written by NBC’s Ann Curry: In the…

NBC photo Contestants on NBC’s “Biggest Loser” In Woody Allen?s Sleeper, Miles awakens after a 200-year sleep, to a world in which healthy food choices have become topsy-turvy: Dr. Melik: (listing items Miles had requested for breakfast): “… wheat germ, organic honey, and… Tiger’s Milk.” Dr. Aragon: “Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that…

The ceremony of Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize was filled with symbolism, as the award was placed in an empty chair as the recipient remained in prison for, as some say, expressing his civil rights. Liu Xiaobo embodies the pursuit of freedom within a communist system that by definition constrains personal freedom and realization of…