>Dancing your research.

>I heard a new expression the other day, apparently credited to Steve Martin,

“Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.”

I laughed for a few minutes, and then realized it wasn’t so silly, after all. Dance is a pretty powerful form of communication, even if I personally couldn’t communicate anything other than a broken toe through that medium.

Still, not only can you dance about architecture, you can also dance about science. I received an email advertising the second year of the AAAS Science Dance Contest competition, which has just closed. I’ll admit I read all about the last year’s competition, but I didn’t personally watch the tapes. This year, with youtube playing an important role, we’ll all be able to judge for ourselves just how effectively dance can be used to describe the universe.

It’s just too bad that my research isn’t on Honey Bees, or other odd bee shaped things. How do you express a SNP through dance?

>Math as art

>I came across an article on the BBC website about the art of maths, which is well worth the two minutes or so it takes to play. The images are stunning (I particularly like the four dimensional picture in two dimensions), and the narration is quite interesting. As a photographer, I especially enjoyed the comparison of math as art to photography as an art. My own take is that both math and photography share the common artistic element of forcing the artist to determine how to best express what it is they’re seeing. Two people can see the same thing, and still get very different photos, which is also a component of expressing math in an artistic manner.

That got me thinking about genomics as art as well. I’m aware of people who’ve made music out of DNA sequences, but not visual art. Oh, sure, you can mount a karyotype or electrophoresis image on your wall, and it’s pretty, but I don’t think genomics has realized the potential for expressing DNA form and function in a non-linear manner yet.

Still, it’s obviously on it’s way. Every time I go to a presentation, I see a few more “pretty” graphs. Or maybe I’ve just gone to too many seminars when a graph of the clustering of gene arrays starts to look like a Mondrian picture. Who knows… maybe ChIP-Seq will start looking like that too? (=

>RFC 1925

>I just came across a wonderful RFC, dating back to 1996, that is well worth the read. In light of the problems I’m facing getting my MAQ .map file reader to work, I figured this is a great comment on my frustration with undocumented file formats.

Although written as The Twelve Networking Truths, I think it applies to writing code in general, and likely far more broadly as well.

>Thought for the day

>A while back, someone mentioned to me that human beings left Africa roughly 40,000 years or so, marking that start of Homo sapiens as a species. That works out to about 2000 generations. In evolutionary terms, that’s pretty much nothing. If you apply the same thing to E. coli, the scientists workhorse bacteria, which doubles every 20 minutes or so, you’d get about 27 days of recorded history. That is to say, if E. coli suddenly developed intelligence today, by sometime in mid July, they’d have 2000 generations. Recorded history is roughly a quarter of that, meaning that some time next week, they’d have kept records over as many generations as we have.

If it takes bacteria a few years just to develop resistance to an antibiotic (tens of thousands of generations), how long will it take humans to change in any noticeable way?