So, today was the big day! Human genome done, blah blah blah. I’ll get to, eventually, but I’ve got some other stuff to work though first…
CMS meta: I went ahead and started the Sourceforge project. I’ll point to it when there’s something there. If you’d like mail when that happens, let me know. I think that by the end of next weekend I should have everything set up, and have a preliminary release that handles publishing of static content with page templates. If I don’t, please smack me around, and ask what the hold-up is.
When genehack.org went off the air this weekend, I was also having trouble getting other places on the net, and I found andover.net’s Internet Traffic Report somewhat useful.
LinuxOrbit reviewed GnomeHack the other day. It’s curious, I’m a die-hard XEmacs user, but I don’t care for NetHack, which is the emacsen of ASCII dungeon crawlers. I’m an Angband fan, which would be vi in this very superficial analogy. If you find this interesting, please, seek help.
This review makes Bold Science sound like it might be worth a read. I’m currently reading Flu, which details the study of the 1918 pandemic, and it’s been pretty interesting so far.
based on names. I find myself doing this too, to some extent. My
most recent was seeing a commercial featuring a man named Darcy,
described as a “construction worker”. No way, say I, is somebody named
Darcy a construction worker. Then I see this story and go,
How much mail am I going to get from my large construction worker audience over this, I wonder?
Research suggests that a transposon called mariner has jumped species at least seven times, in recent evolutionary time. Troublesome, because other groups are using mariner as a gene delivery vehicle for making transgenics – opening the possibility of the ‘escape’ of the modifying gene into other organisms. Based on some recent talks I’ve been to, horizontal gene transfer is going to turn out to be a major evolutionary force.
Semi-interesting Alan Cox interview.
As a follow-up to last week’s science fiction blog thing (still no time to look for one), Steven Kitt passed along Peanut Press, which has PalmOS versions of Analog and Asimov’s, among other e-text offerings.
The RIAA continues trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. This would be amusing, but for the fact that the longer they dick around without providing a decent, usable way to provide music, the worse the damage to smaller artists is going to be.
Somebody want to do a Linux version of this? It’s a telnet client that displays text like the opening part of Star Wars.
<sigh> The recent “Python Fscks” talk at YAPC won’t be available in transcript form. Lots of other interesting things there, however.
Okay, onto the genome stuff. First, link blitz:
- The White House press release - okay
- Nando Times, pre-announcement - nice overview
- Nando Times, post announcement - hype fest
- Wired News - more realistic, with quotes from several genomics players throwing a bit of cold water on the whole thing
- BBC #1 - hype-ish, but some nice background info
- BBC #2 - human interest backgrounder on the history of the HGP/Celera conflict
- BBC #3 - covers the UK version of the press conference, Sanger Center contributions
My take on the whole thing? I’m basically with the genomics people quoted in the Wired article – this is a big accomplishment, a necessary first step, but it doesn’t actually solve any medical problems. There’s still a lot of work to be done, to re-iterate a common meme present in all the articles. Nevertheless, this is still a huge result. Regardless of how you feel about Craig Venter, (Anonymous HGP scientist in a recent New Yorker article: “Craig Venter is an asshole.”) much of the credit for the speed of the sequencing has to lie with his belief that shotgun sequencing of the human genome was possible. Without Celera’s pace-setting work, the HGP would still be plodding along with the original plan, and would still be years from completing the first draft sequence.
So, that’s my take – Drop me a line and let me know yours.