Friday, 25 April 2008

Plant genomes made easy

Science has a new multimedia feature on plant genomes "From evolutionary insights to crop development" which does a pretty good job demystifying plant genomics in reasonably* plain language.

*If you've had a basic biology class and know the meaning of such words as "chromosome", "gene" and "DNA replication" you should be able to follow along.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

When people do good

Whether inspired by a religious mandate to love others or a humanist motivation to engage in acts of kindness towards one's fellow man, I am always heartened to hear stories about my fellow humans who do good.

Most of these stories don't make the headline news and so go largely unnoticed until they happen within our circles of acquaintance. Case in point: my friend Lacy Claeys, a dentist from Helena, Montana and her young dental assistant, Helena High School senior Luke Dutton, rode a bus for 22 hours south of their comfort zones to perform heroic acts of kindhearted dentistry on young orphans in Juarez, Mexico.

Some of their stories are so unfathomably heartbreaking--like the 12-year old prostitute with a herpes infection in the back of her throat--that it's no wonder Lacy and Luke are having trouble reintegrating back in Helena. To say I wish them well would be an understatement.

So here's to all the unsung heroes out there like Lacy and Luke, may they find the strength to do more good, and may we all--regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof--be inspired by their acts of human kindness and willingness to expose themselves to soul-wrenching poverty despite the psychological consequences.

Read more about Lacy and Luke and their great big hearts at

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Radio Ga Ga

I'm on the radio! Listen again (mp3) and/or visit Atheists Talk. It's a full hour of Peter McGrath and me stumping for The Beagle Project, so you might want to use the loo and get some popcorn before you click.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Squiddy tour for science bloggers and UK Pharyngulites

Following on from the successful first meeting of the UK Pharyngulites in early March, I am pleased to announce another opportunity for sciencey bonding in Blighty ...this time over squid!

I'm organising it over at The Beagle Project Blog. Hope to see you there!

Photo by Peter McGrath, co-founder of The HMS Beagle Project.