Evening Festivities or being snarky about pac bio’s movie.

Possibly the most exciting thing that’s happened in the past hour is the fact I’ve won a million pounds in a lottery that I don’t remember entering…. although really, I don’t think I’m going to send my personal information to the lottery corporation – after all, the lottery was sponsored by the British tobaco promo.

More to the point, I was underwhelmed by “The New Biology” film shown by Pac Bio. That’s not to say it was bad, but that they’d picked the wrong audience. Really, it might have been good if you were, say, a complete newbie in the field of next-gen sequencing, or if you like snazzy graphics that don’t tell you much. (Yes, I’m being snarky… but I’ve been good all day, so here it goes.)

Personally, I found myself trying to read the lines of perl code that would scroll by periodically in batches of random numbers. I did catch the line:

while (1) {

which has me worrying about the origin of the code and where it came from. (This is one of those things that good coders just don’t do.) I got a copy of the video so I’ll try to figure this out later. My guess is it wasn’t pac bio’s code. I think much more highly of them than that, and this movie was really not designed for an audience of bioinformaticians. I hope the biologists in the audience got more out of it.

I’m also a little wary of the “new biology” paradigm, which was alternately defined as personalized medicine, drug screening, network biology and next generation sequencing. They can’t ALL be new biology… can they? Or did I miss the memo that everything in the future is new biology… hrm.

I suppose It also didn’t help that there were a lot of facebook analogies in the introduction… I’m rather anti-facebook because of it’s policies, and really, I think my database of a billion rows of search-able variations across 2000 samples faces entirely different challenges than the mechanisms used when my nephew tells all of his friends about how much he hates math class… Don’t get me wrong – I love social networking in the abstract, but facebook isn’t my device of choice….and then there was the Monsanto thing, but lets not get into that.

Anyhow, I guess I can say the movie wasn’t to my taste, unfortunately. I can see it doing well as a one hour TV special on the national geographic channel – or even uploaded to youtube, where I’m sure it would quickly accrue several million hits, but my further viewing pleasure will all be with an eye to figuring out where the code came from… or possibly as a drinking game. (A shot every time someone says “new biology” might work well.) Bottoms up!

Ah, Pac Bio, I was hoping for more snazzy technology this year, rather than a disney-esque version of the future. But that’s ok, you’re still my favorite technology… Long live single molecule sequencing!

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