Friday, September 30, 2011


Building Entrepreneurs in Software and Technology

The $1.1 million Building Entrepreneurs in Software and Technology (BEST) fund was created by a group of 10 individual investors, with an additional $100,000 from IU’s Research and Technology Corporation.

The fund will support $250,000 in prize money each year for qualified students who submit the best plans for a student-led Internet, software, or technology business. The prize is the largest in the world offered by a university solely to its students in a business plan competition. See details @ Building Entrepreneurs in Software and Technology


The role of diversity in the evolution of cooperation

"Understanding the evolutionary mechanisms that promote and maintain cooperative behavior is recognized as a major theoretical problem where the intricacy increases with the complexity of the participating individuals. [...] Here we discuss how social diversity, in several of its flavors, catalyzes cooperative behavior." Full article @ Journal of Theoretical Biology


10 Unsolved Mysteries

Many of the most profound scientific questions—and some of humanity's most urgent problems—pertain to the science of atoms and molecules. Full article @ Scientific American

Monday, September 26, 2011


The Ant Mathematician

Corina Tarnita shrugged off her undergraduate mentor’s advice to take a year off before starting grad school in 2006. She instead raced through her program in just three years, even after making a midcourse switch from high-dimensional geometry to mathematical biology—a transition she describes as going from math that’s impossible to visualize to math that gives an account of the real world. Full story @ The Scientist



High-Resolution Mandelbrot in Obfuscated Python

The Mandelbrot set is a traditional favorite among authors of obfuscated code. You can find obfuscated code in C, Perl, Haskell, Python and many other languages. Nearly all examples render the Mandelbrot set as ASCII art. High-Resolution Mandelbrot in Obfuscated Python


Thursday, September 22, 2011


Seeds of a new cultural revolution?

Is synthetic biology catalyzing a new synthesis between the Arts and the Sciences? An Essay by Steen Rasmussen - Seeds of a new cultural revolution?

Cellularity from James King on Vimeo.

How do we Measure Life? by James King

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Analytical Engine to be simulated

A project to construct one of the earliest mechanical computers based on sketches by its designer, Charles Babbage, has received a major boost. Full news report @ BBC News: Babbage designs to be digitised

Monday, September 19, 2011


Lucretius, Man Of Modern Mystery

"... moving randomly through space, like dust motes in a sunbeam, colliding, hooking together, forming complex structures, breaking apart again, in a ceaseless process of creation and destruction. There is no escape from this process. ... There is no master plan, no divine architect, no intelligent design.

All things, including the species to which you belong, have evolved over vast stretches of time. The evolution is random, though in the case of living organisms, it involves a principle of natural selection. That is, species that are suited to survive and to reproduce successfully, endure, at least for a time; those that are not so well suited, die off quickly. But nothing — from our own species, to the planet on which we live, to the sun that lights our day — lasts forever. Only the atoms are immortal ..."
Words written more than 2000 years ago by Lucretius, Man Of Modern Mystery @ NPR. And he also had a beautiful way to describe free will as derived from uncertainty...


Ribosomes in Control

"Basically what it suggests is that the ribosome itself is helping to select the messages that it translates,” said Jonathan Warner, professor of cell biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “This is the first time they’ve shown this". See full news article @ The Scientist

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Network Analysis in Systems Biology

Three separate lectures introducing applications of graph theory and network analysis in systems biology -- Science Signaling

Tuesday, September 13, 2011



"In the digital universe, there are two kinds of bits: bits that represent structure (differences in space) and bits that represent sequence (differences in time). Digital computers — as formalized by Alan Turing, and delivered by John von Neumann — are devices that translate between these two species of bits according to definite rules." Full piece @ Edge

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BBC News - 'Artificial life' breakthrough announced by scientists

"Scientists in the US have succeeded in developing the first synthetic living cell. The researchers constructed a bacterium's "genetic software" and transplanted it into a host cell. The resulting microbe then looked and behaved like the species "dictated" by the synthetic DNA." Full news piece @ BBC News

Full paper: Daniel G. Gibson, John I. Glass, Carole Lartigue, Vladimir N. Noskov, Ray-Yuan Chuang, Mikkel A. Algire, Gwynedd A. Benders, Michael G. Montague, Li Ma, Monzia M. Moodie, Chuck Merryman, Sanjay Vashee, Radha Krishnakumar, Nacyra Assad-Garcia, Cynthia Andrews-Pfannkoch, Evgeniya A. Denisova, Lei Young, Zhi-Qing Qi, Thomas H. Segall-Shapiro, Christopher H. Calvey, Prashanth P. Parmar, Clyde A. Hutchison, III, Hamilton O. Smith, and J. Craig Venter [2010]. "Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome"
Science [DOI: 10.1126/science.1190719]

Friday, September 09, 2011


Disabled Patients Mind-Meld With Robots - ScienceNOW

They're not quite psychic yet, but machines are getting better at reading your mind. Researchers have invented a new, noninvasive method for recording patterns of brain activity and using them to steer a robot. Scientists hope the technology will give "locked in" patients—those too disabled to communicate with the outside world—the ability to interact with others and even give the illusion of being physically present, or "telepresent," with friends and family. Full news @ ScienceNOW

Thursday, September 08, 2011


'Game-changer' in evolution from S. African bones

An analysis of 2 million-year-old bones found in South Africa offers the most powerful case so far in identifying the transitional figure that came before modern humans - findings some are calling a potential game-changer in understanding evolution. See news piece @ AP News . See special collection and papers @ Science

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Protein Interaction Network for Intracellular Signal Transduction

" Cellular signal transduction is a complex process involving protein-protein interactions (PPIs) that transmit information. For example, signals from the plasma membrane may be transduced to transcription factors to regulate gene expression. To obtain a global view of cellular signaling and to predict potential signal modulators, we searched for protein interaction partners of more than 450 signaling-related proteins..." Full article @ Science Signaling

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Your Cells Are My Cells

Many, perhaps all, people harbor a small number of cells from genetically different individuals--from their mothers and, for women who have been pregnant, from their children. What in the world do these foreigners do in the body?

Very interesting summary of maternal and fetal microchimerism. Full article at Scientific American.

A deeper article in Nature about a chimeric condition in children.

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The Genetic Landscape of a Cell

"A genome-scale genetic interaction map was constructed by examining 5.4 million gene-gene pairs for synthetic genetic interactions, generating quantitative genetic interaction profiles for ~75% of all genes in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A network based on genetic interaction profiles reveals a functional map of the cell in which genes of similar biological processes cluster together in coherent subsets, and highly correlated profiles delineate specific pathways to define gene function. The global network identifies functional cross-connections between all bioprocesses, mapping a cellular wiring diagram of pleiotropy." Full Article @ Science.


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Friday, September 02, 2011


Cyborg beetles

"Beetles packing cybernetic implants that control their brains make a cheaper and more useful micro-air-vehicle than a fully robotic one -- but due to the weight of the battery packs required, development has been slow. Now a DARPA-funded team at the University of Michigan thinks it's eliminated that problem. By attaching piezoelectric generators to each wing, the researchers can harvest the energy generated in flight and use it to juice the mind-control circuits. " Full article @

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Out of Tibet

"Ice Age megafauna have long been known to be associated with global cooling during the Pleistocene, and their adaptations to cold environments, such as large body size, long hair, and snow-sweeping structures, are best exemplified by the woolly mammoths and woolly rhinos. These traits were assumed to have evolved as a response to the ice sheet expansion. [...] new Tibetan fossils suggest that some megaherbivores first evolved in Tibet before the beginning of the Ice Age. The cold winters in high Tibet served as a habituation ground for the megaherbivores, which became preadapted for the Ice Age, successfully expanding to the Eurasian mammoth steppe." Full article @ Out of Tibet: Pliocene Woolly Rhino Suggests High-Plateau Origin of Ice Age Megaherbivores. Science 2 September 2011: Vol. 333 no. 6047 pp. 1285-1288



Logic Circuit for Identification of Cancer Cells

"Engineered biological systems that integrate multi-input sensing, sophisticated information processing, and precisely regulated actuation in living cells could be useful in a variety of applications." Full article @ Multi-Input RNAi-Based Logic Circuit for Identification of Specific Cancer Cells. Science 2 September 2011: Vol. 333 no. 6047 pp. 1307-1311

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