Mike the Mad Biologist

Archives for May, 2010

Memorial Day Thoughts by Andy Rooney

When it comes to war, we should spend more time listening to those who have seen it. With that in mind, I bring you this by Andy Rooney, from last year’s Memorial Day:

Every year, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has an annual meeting that covers all topics in microbiology (I’ll talk about some of the science next week). It’s often in pretty good locations–this year, it was held in San Diego. But attendance has been dropping: a few years ago, over 12,000 people attended (it’s a…

Having spent most of Thursday travelling from San Diego to Boston, I had the distinct displeasure of watching cable news. First point: it still sucks. But the constant theme was that Obama is on the defensive about the BP oil rig blowout. Sure, it’s stupid, although I think Obama was too ready to rely on…

…assembly and analysis. From the depths of the Mad Biologist’s Archives comes this post. The Wellcome Trust has a very good (and mostly accurate) article about the ‘next-gen’ sequencing technologies. I’m going to focus on bacterial genomics because humans are boring (seriously, compared to two bacteria in the same species, once you’ve seen one human…

Amanda Marcotte has a must-read post about Rand Paul, and why we shouldn’t just sweep his libertarianism under the rug. I’ll get to Amanda in a bit, but, to explain the title, I want to first provide some context by way of deceased Republican political operative Lee Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying,…

Genome Biology recently published a review, “The Case for Cloud Computing in Genome Informatics.” What is cloud computing? Well: This is a general term for computation-as-a-service. There are various different types of cloud computing, but the one that is closest to the way that computational biologists currently work depends on the concept of a ‘virtual…

(Click to embiggen) Don’t worry, I’m not describing Boston Mayor Menino’s latest harebrained scheme. Esplanade Magazine, which is some great architecture/real estate porn (and it’s free!), describes an effort in 1907, during the heyday of the City Beautiful Movement, to build an island in the Charles River. It didn’t happen due to opposition from Beacon…

Sunday Links

I’m travelling today, so here are some links for you: Has Obama created a Social Security ‘death panel’? Fear Comes of Age Rand Paul Loves Socialized Medicine Infrastructure matters Revolt of the Wonks: Former Obama Advisors Want To Know What’s Happening on His Deficit Commission “An Intelligent Version Of Libertarianism” The lesson of Rand Paul:…

Saturday Links

Some reading to start your weekend. Science: Friendly bacteria could evict MRSA in nasal turf wars Evolution is false, the Bible tells me so Who are the creationists? (by the numbers) Novel human microbiome genomes unveiled NIH Human Microbiome Project Researchers Publish First Genomic Collection of Human Microbes: Diversity of Human Microbes Greater Than Previously…

Unfortunately, Mark Twain’s aphorism, “lies, damn lies, and statistics”, has been used so many times that it’s become trite. But, as I say repeatedly around these parts, you have to understand your data. A key economic statistic is core inflation, which is estimated by the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC). Basically, if the Fed…