Saturday, October 11, 2008

The DNA Network

The DNA Network

Fundamentals [business|bytes|genes|molecules]

Posted: 11 Oct 2008 07:21 PM CDT

Headed_to_schoolImage by mndoci via FlickrWanted to touch upon a couple of topics that sort of play together in my head. I have always considered education a fundamental right, and considered a quality, well-rounded education, both formal and informal, among the most important things we can provide children. Alas, that seems to be under attack. While that above statement applies to schooling, I also value higher education, but I’ve discovered that many, even techie types, seem to think that higher education is not worth much, that learning the fundamentals is somehow not important. I agree that applied education is important, but we can also agree that when you are in your late teens, early 20’s you’re usually too young to figure out what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. A sound grounding in the fundamentals of science, to pick a broad field, makes you more capable of evolving within and outside your field of interest

Fundamentals is the key word here. There is always a debate between funding fundamental science and applied science. We are at a stage where our funding of science that seeks to understands the fundamentals of how the world around us exists and works (or inside us for that matter) is falling behind, with an emphasis on applied science. Where would we be without the fundamentals of physics and chemistry that have driven so much science and engineering over the last 50-60 years. Biology is there today. We need to understand the fundamentals. Lets not short sell the importance of doing that in our hurry to develop the next anti-obesity drug or genetic test.

In a world where curiosity and knowledge are second citizens, it becomes even more important that we really re-establish the value of good learning, and of understanding and figuring out the basics

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arXiv reaches 500,000 papers ... [The Tree of Life]

Posted: 11 Oct 2008 06:31 PM CDT

Pretty cool that there are 500,000 papers in arXiv (see Slashdot | Free Online Scientific Repository Hits Milestone). Hat tip to Jeremy Peterson for pointing this out. See also Peter Suber on this (Milestone for arXiv)

Success!!! [business|bytes|genes|molecules]

Posted: 11 Oct 2008 12:17 PM CDT

From Seth Godin

Success is now the domain of people who lead. That doesn't mean they're in charge, it doesn't mean they are the CEO, it merely means that for a group, even a small group, they show the way, they spread ideas, they make change. Those people are the only successful people we've got.

’nuff said. Social Network in Science [ScienceRoll]

Posted: 11 Oct 2008 10:49 AM CDT

I try to keep you up-to-date about the newest useful community sites that are dedicated to physicians and/or scientists.  Now let me share with you, a social network with a nice concept:

It displays academics around the world in a tree format, according to what university/department they are affiliated with.

It enables an academic to have an easy-to-maintain academic webpage. A sample page on is here: RichardPrice

Researchers don’t have enough time to construct web pages for themselves (where to host it, how to design it) so helps them how to do that. Good idea, great implementation.


Twitter Directory: Find Professionals Easily [ScienceRoll]

Posted: 11 Oct 2008 10:30 AM CDT

I’ve recently come across a useful Twitter Directory, Just Tweet It, on the Open Thinking & Digital Pedagogy blog. A few categories that you may find interesting:

Twitter is a microblogging tool where you can post SMS-like messages (only 140 characters). It’s a great channel to interact people from the same field of interest; get answers fast or to make new contacts.


Medicine 2.0 Blog Carnival #32 [ScienceRoll]

Posted: 11 Oct 2008 10:19 AM CDT

The 32nd edition is up at the Digital Pathology Blog! Check out all the posts and news about the world of medicine 2.0 and health 2.0. Thank you, Keith J Kaplan, for hosting Medicine 2.0!

Medicine 2.0 is a blog carnival about the impact of web 2.0 on medicine and healthcare.


Open Science Pioneer Award: Douglas Prasher and the Sharing of the GFP Gene [The Tree of Life]

Posted: 11 Oct 2008 09:49 AM CDT

There is a touching and fascinating story in the Cape Cod Times about Douglas Prasher who used to work at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. In the 1960s he did some of the pioneering work on GFP (the discovery of which was why Osamu Shimomura, Roger Tsein and Martin Chalfie were given the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year). Prasher had cloned the gene for GFP but his research funds ran out and he stopped working on GFP (he is currently living in Huntsville Alabama and working as a shuttle driver for a car dealership).

His pioneering work was critical to the later work on GFP and one of the nobel winner Martin Chalfie says
"Prasher's work was critical and essential for the work we did in our lab," Chalfie said. "They could've easily given the prize to Douglas and the other two and left me out."
What Prasher did that was so critical was that he gave the cloned gene away to Tsein and Chalfie and others. He was under no obligation per se to give away the gene. But he bears no sour grapes. And he says something fundamentally true about this:
"When you're using public funds, I personally believe you have an obligation to share," Prasher said. "I put my heart and soul into it, but if I kept that stuff, it wasn't gonna go anyplace."
Sharing of resources is common in science but not universal. And many do it, well, just because it is common practice. But I think we forget sometimes that we have an obligation to share beyond what is common practice. We have an obligation because the advancement of science is why the government (and the public) gives us money to do our work. So, for not harboring sour grapes about missing out on a Nobel Prize, and for emphasizing the "public good" part of sharing scientific resources, I am giving Douglas Prasher an "Open Science Pioneer Award"

See also

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