the scentific life

Category archives for the scentific life

Roxana Robinson, a fiction writer, recently described her writing process in an interview with the New York Times. Writing a story, she said, is “incredibly exhilarating. . . . It’s like doing a cliff dive, the kind that only works when the wave hits just right. You stand on top, poised and fearful, looking at…

Holiday fun: peer reviewing

Did you not finish all your papers and grants before the holidays? Do you still have papers to review? Dont be discouraged, Twisted Bacteria has posted humorous quotes to cheer you up. Every December, the journal Environmental Microbiology publishes a collection of quotes made by peer reviewers while assessing manuscripts submitted to the journal. Some…

“Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, amongst the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life”. Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, 1962 “We live in a world which is penetrated through and through by science and which is both whole and real. We cannot turn it into a…

The last common ancestor of plants and animals may have lived 1 billion years ago. Plants and animals have occasionally exchanged genes, but for the most part, have countered selective pressures independently. Microbes (bacteria, eukaryotes, and viruses) were omnipresent threats, influencing the direction of multi-cellular evolution. Receptors that detect molecular signatures of infectious organisms mediate…

Check out this video to see what life is like in Davis, California. If you missed it, dont fret, the Tour de Cluck will be an annual event. Here is a preview for next year’s event: our hens, Oreo and Snickerdoodle.

Spring in California

I try not to travel in the spring. Instead of the stale air of the airplane, I try to get out to the mountains, the beach, the garden or to the nearby foothills. Last weekend my daughter and I (who is 8 years old today), went for a walk. I thought she was strong enough…

Pie is a constant in my life

For the 2010 Pi day bakeoff, I baked a Swiss chard-Gruyere pie. Shown here is the backdrop to our garden:a mural on the side of our barn, painted with California poppies, rice plants, sunflowers and (look closely) a red double helix. Artist: Jim McCall, Elastic Media. Here is the recipe:

2009 Visualization Challenge

Science Magazine this week published the winners of this year’s International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. Self-Fertilization: Heiti Paves and Birger Ilau, Tallinn University of Technology Within its tiny white flowers, thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) does what most plants avoid: It fertilizes itself. Heiti Paves of Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia took this photograph…

John Broder writes today in the New York Times that the uproar over the unauthorized release of hundreds of emails and recent revelations about a mistake in the IPCC report threatens to undermine decades of work and has badly damaged public trust in the scientific enterprise. Broder’s interviews with scientists reveal two thoughtful but seemingly…

The word is spreading- we can feed the world without damaging it, if we can entertain some new ideas. Check out Paul Voosen’s article in the NYT and let me know what you think.