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  • Disposability: Reproduction vs. regeneration 04 May 2019

    Disposable goods cause environmental damage on both the production side and the waste side, yet they remain pervasive because of their convenience. They don’t need to be designed as robustly as durable goods because they will be used for a single purpose and then discarded. Ironically, though, we aren’t the originators of disposability. It is the norm for life on Earth – even we are disposable.

  • The butterfly effect of protein mutations 14 Apr 2019

    DNA gets mutated in every cell of every organism. Some mutations cause a substitution in the string of amino acids that fold into a protein. This could make no difference, or it coud be deadly.

    A diagram of a protein mutation affecting a cell and then
tissue.

  • Princenser: 3D-printed incense sticks 22 Mar 2019

    Burning incense is a nice way to freshen the air and enjoy different scents in your home. If you’ve only experienced the skinny corndog type that smells like a detergent bomb went off, try the smaller solid stick type, and you’ll be born anew.

  • Understanding small things 27 Feb 2019

    Tools have two main purposes: to help us sense and to help us do. In science, we use tools to help us sense. Science advances in two ways: building directly on the knowledge of previous scientific findings, and using tools to extend our senses further.

  • The algoraphics library 01 Feb 2019

    In the last six years I’ve written numerous Python scripts to generate graphics. By using algorithms that incorporate both repetition and randomness, I can produce images that would be infeasible or at least time-consuming to draw by hand.

  • A biologist's work 06 Jan 2019

    When I would tell people I do computational biology, they would nearly always remark on the ‘computational’ part, saying either that it sounds way beyond their comprehension or asking what on Earth it means. I would inwardly groan, because isn’t it obvious what it means? More recently I realized why ‘computational biology’ was so confusing to people, including both non-scientists and scientists in other areas: because it isn’t a real field.