This doesn’t look right

December 25, 2010

A short time ago, a study describing the discovery of a bacterium that could apparently utilize arsenate in place of phosphate was published in Science.  This report has since generated a lot of discussion and debate in the blog-o-sphere, most of it rather uncomplementary.  I count myself among those who are skeptical of the more daring of the authors’ claims.

Something I found curious was the gel in Fig. 2A, an analysis of nucleic acids isolated from bacteria grown in arsenate-rich (middle lane) or phosphate-rich (right lane) media: Read the rest of this entry »

So I’m ready for a power outage

December 25, 2010

… thanks to my kids and their thoughtfulness this Christmas.

One of those Daddy’s stories things.  I forget the details, but it had something to do with the history of computation – before the iPhone calculator was the TI83 and trusty HP calculators, preceded by the ca. $200 four-function calculators, preceded by the slide rule, preceded by the abacus, etc., etc.  (Lots of gaps to fill in, I’m sure. But that’s not the point.) Well, the concept of the slide rule caught someone’s fancy, which led to this gift.

So bring on the ice storms.  I’m prepared.