Ants, impostorism and a few more updates

It’s been a while since my last update, although this time I have a better reason than usual for being so busy-my wife and I were blessed with a lovely baby girl a few months ago! Between frantically trying to finish up assignments before she was born, and then being busy/sleep-deprived taking care of a […]

An online feature about deep life for Smithsonian

I just got done with a Smithsonian feature on microbes that live in extremely inhospitable environments deep beneath the Earth’s surface, and the researchers who venture 2 kms or more underground in South African gold mines to study them. It’s hard work, but they’ve found a surprising diversity of life living in these deep environments, […]

Keeping busy, writing about molecular biology for BioTechniques

I’ve been meaning to update this website for a while, unfortunately I’ve been too busy writing articles to do so. Among other things, I’ve been writing regular articles for the journal BioTechniques. It’s been a nice way for me to keep in touch with the latest in molecular biology, a field that I haven’t extensively […]

Extinct porpoise had a pronounced underbite

I got to write about a fossilized porpoise that had a pronounced underbite, a feature that’s seemingly unique among mammals. Based on their study the researchers think the extinct California porpoise may have used its extended lower jaw to probe for prey on the ocean floor. The fossil itself has been with the San Diego […]

How crazy ants live up to their name

Crazy ants (named for their strange, jerky walk) are displacing fire ants from the Southern US. Fire ants are notorious for their toxic venom, so researchers wondered how the crazy ants were able to overcome them. It turns out they’ve developed a neat behavioral trick, smearing their own formic acid venom all over their bodies […]

XKCD on physicists…

Cartoon from xkcd Several years ago, I had an Indian physicist tell me that “physicists don’t consider biology a real science,” so I couldn’t help but laugh at this cartoon. Of course, I know plenty of physicists who are perfectly willing to acknowledge the scientific value of biology, and some of them work on biophysics, […]

Regulating genetic testing, understanding probabilities, and knowing the future

Should we regulate people’s access to their own genome data?. More on the issue of regulating personal genetic testing, by Ars Technica‘s John Timmer. The headline is a bit misleading, since the issue is more about whether the “Direct-to-Consumer” (DTC) genetic testing industry should be regulated like any other medical tests or not. Definitely worth […]

Science is hard, boring, and filled with failure

Or so say these links… Now that I’m working with people in the publishing industry, which everyone seems to think is dying, I’ve met more people who assume that academic careers are more straightforward. I think only scientists appreciate how hard science can be…the results can be great, and very satisfying, but getting them can […]

1950s Video of Immune System in Action

[youtube][/youtube] Great video of a Neutrophil cell, a type of immune cell, relentlessly chasing down a bacterium while pushing aside red blood cells. I found it fascinating to see our immune system in action. The video was apparently taken from a 16-mm movie made in the 1950s by the late David Rogers at Vanderbilt University.