It happened today. Out running along the lake in a cold drizzle, I felt it. The low pit of winter is past. We’re on the upslope to spring. There was a huge gaggle of cormorants (is gaggle the right term for cormorants?) on the fake island in Preverenges. They must be on their way to Scandinavia. They must be feeling it, too. (I took this picture the day before.)
I know it officially happened on December 21, when the balance of dark versus light hit bottom and the slow climb back into the sun began once again. But January is usually still too dark and cold and, well, winter for it to register. Today, however, despite the clouds and the rain, I finally feel like I’m climbing out of the hole. Continue reading
Gydle has been silent the entire month of November. No excuses, I just didn’t have anything to say. Then I woke up this morning and my brain was teeming with ideas. Was it something I ate?
First, I have a great gift idea.
I got an e-mail the other day from “American Gut.” Imagine my excitement! The Human Food Project is live on IndieGoGo. For only $99 and a stool sample, you can get a list of the microbes colonizing your gut. Upscaling is a bargain – it’s $180 for two samples, $260 for three and a mere $320 for a family of four! Continue reading
Greetings from hibernation nation. I did say I’d come out if something really big happened. Guess what? One of my current scientific obsessions was Big News today! No, don’t go away – it’s not the microbiome. It’s my other obsession: junk DNA. I’ve written about it before, here and here and here.
In a stunning “no doh?” development, a vast international array of researchers has discovered that the 99% of the human genome that was considered “useless junk” isn’t junk after all. Continue reading
It’s almost mid-month. I’m at about 19,000 words, about 3,000 words behind my carefully calculated NaNoWriMo goal. (I’ve made an excel spreadsheet). I took my blood pressure yesterday and realized that stressing about keeping up with my self-imposed word count is not helping anything. In fact, my scientific approach to this endeavor – just 2,000 words a day, gives me 5 days off – is totally ludicrous. Creativity doesn’t work like that. I should know better.
Take yesterday. The central theme of my plot involves people researching induced pluripotent stem cells. Informing myself on this seemed the sensible thing to do, so I started reading. Now, I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the topic of stem cells has been around forever. But did you know that human embryonic stem cells were only discovered in 1998? We’ve only known about these suckers for a dozen years? Continue reading
Guest post by Gydle’s resident geek, my brother Dave.
I’m not all that thrilled that my first post here is a techie one. I was kind of hoping I could write about flowers or something. But Mary was so impressed by my decoding skills that she prevailed upon me to write this. So blame her. Here is a picture of flowers anyway. Continue reading
Just a quickie update on THREE things today:
FIRST, as I anticipated, my brother Dave cracked the Venter code. Actually, within minutes of reading my post, at 12:34 am his time, he was trying to explain it to me in a gmail chat. Continue reading
Who says scientists and writers can’t play God? My sister recently alerted me to a story in which science and literature intersect in a very bizarre way. It’s weird enough that I thought I’d pass it on.
A little less than a year ago, maverick geneticist (and yacht owner) Craig Venter rocked the world (again) by announcing that he had created synthetic life. His team had developed a bacterial-like genome from DNA made in the laboratory. Continue reading