the home stretch

Well, I should be back to a more normal schedule. I’ve put the personal blather part of today’s update at the end, if anyone’s curious as to what I’ve been doing.

I was very excited by this CNN story, until I realized they were talking about ice from very near Lake Vostok, not samples from within the lake. Still, it’s an encouraging sign. (If you don’t remember what Lake Vostok is, or why you should be excited about it, the story covers that too – trust me, it’s pretty cool.)

SEPFH: search engine page from Hell.

For those of you who just can’t get enough Emacs: the Emacs Shell. Combined with Perlmacs, this could start to get really, really scary…

The Seattle Times has a WTO in Seattle photo gallery up. I found this shot and this other one the most compelling. This probably means I’m a sucker for ironic juxtaposition.

For those of you who missed it (it was on several other 'blogs), Mother Jones has an article on what the WTO is.

Late last week, a judge ruled that the Taq polymerase patent was invalid. Taq is one of a class of enzymes that are important for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which is the procedure commonly referred to as the ‘DNA test’. It’s good to see a bit of rationality in the IP realm, however small. (Also note the ‘PRC’ typo in the story – at least they were consistent…)

As a complete aside, at a holiday party this weekend I had two distinct conversations about IP issues as they relate to software and biotech; this was odd because the other people both brought the topic up independently, and they’re weren’t involved in either field. People might be getting Clued in that there’s an issue here…

One of the people from the party (above) was Nimbus, of Tucson’s Nimbus Brewing Company. I’ve enjoyed his beer, and was glad to meet him. Might have to check out the actual brew pub one of these days.

Well, as I said, I had a job interview last week. It was at the NCBI, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in Bethesda, MD, which is right outside Washington, DC. I’ve accepted a position there, and I’m quite excited about getting to work. It’s arguably the best place in the country for bioinformatics research, with lots of smart people and lots and lots of nice kit. Now I just have to finish up that pesky thesis…

I spent most of the weekend getting caught up on 'blogs and mail, and I also started coding up the first bit of my forthcoming bookmark tool/mail archive/address book/'blog tool thing. Currently, it can store URLs (with keywords to describe them), search on URL, name, and/or keyword(s), and open based on the same set of criteria. It’s just command-line options given to a Perl script that talks to a MySQL backend at the moment, but I think the next step is going to be a web-based interface, so that I can have a slimed down version of on my local box. Given a bit of JavaShite, that should make the addition part much less grotty. After that, the PerlTk interface, and then the other functions. If anybody wants to have a look at what I’ve got so far, drop me a line. Warning: It’s functional, for the small set of functions it has, but it ain’t pretty. Experienced Perl/MySQL/coder types only, for the moment.