Monthly Archives: August 2012

A Different Sort Of Sharing

Transformation is the process by which competent bacteria take up foreign plasmid DNA from their surroundings and incorporate it into their own genome. If, sometime in the near future, it were possible to alter the human genomic structure or develop vectors to allow such a process to occur, the implications would be enormous. Not only […] Continue reading

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A Different Sort Of Sharing

Transformation is the process by which competent bacteria take up foreign plasmid DNA from their surroundings and incorporate it into their own genome. If, sometime in the near future, it were possible to alter the human genomic structure or develop vectors to allow such a process to occur, the implications would be enormous. Not only […] Continue reading

Posted in Biology, folly, genetics, transformation | Comments Off on A Different Sort Of Sharing

Rosie, I’m Letting You Go

I saw an opinion piece a few days ago in The New York Times about robots. The column by Thomas L. Friedman predicts that advances in robotics will launch an economic boom in the near future. Friedman posits that the field of robotics will effect this boom by increasing productivity and creating jobs. He likens […] Continue reading

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A Different Rulebook for Life.

What if life plays by other rules elsewhere in the universe? In December, 2010, biologist Dr. Felisa Wolfe-Simon published a widely publicized paper claiming that she had discovered a type of bacterium in Mono Lake, California that was capable of thriving in high-arsenic, low-phosphorus environments by replacing phosphorus with arsenic in the building blocks of […] Continue reading

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The Bionic Eye

A team of researchers called Bionic Vision Australia have successfully implanted the first prototype of a bionic eye into a blind woman. In this prototype, a device is implanted behind the retina and 24 electrodes are connected to a small wire which leads to an external source. The woman then sees images through flashes of […] Continue reading

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Asimov is Not Just a Dog

I’m rather embarrassed to say that I first learned who Isaac Asimov was when a writer friend of mine told me about her dog. “His name is Asimov,” she said with the air of someone sharing a joke or revealing an amusing sort of secret. The name “Asimov” was familiar, certainly, but I really had […] Continue reading

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Science Fiction and The Face Off Over Full Face Transplant Sugery

Richard Norris, before and after his face transplant surgery. Photograph from Reuters. Die Another Day, the 2002 installment in the James Bond franchise, is not especially renowned for its emphasis on scientific accuracy. The climax of the film is the revelation that the villain underwent gene therapy to give himself an entirely new face in […] Continue reading

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Frequency Analysis Utilized by Amateurs

When Al-Kindi first developed cryptanalysis it was groundbreaking and highly advanced for his society. Today, our society is highly intellectual and focuses on stimulating problem solving abilities in young children. With the knowledge of frequency analysis, many amateur cryptanalysts can … Continue reading Continue reading

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Aristotle’s tip of the day for beginning SF writers

“Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.”
Aristotle’s Poetics
Filed under: Writer’s craft Continue reading

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Writing the Software of Life

In May 2010, the J. Craig Venter Institute developed the first self-replicating cell controlled by synthetic DNA. In short, man-made DNA was injected into a bacterial cell, allowing the scientists to control the function of the newly-created cell. This reproducing cell provides a powerful set of tools for scientists: it could shorten the process of […] Continue reading

Posted in Arthur C. Clarke, Biology, genetics, J. Craig Venter Institute, man-made DNA, self-replicating cell, synthetic DNA | Comments Off on Writing the Software of Life