May 1999 Archives

.plan No real update today. It’s a holiday, after all. I’ll be doing some long-delayed yard work, catching up on email, doing net searches for high school classmate addresses (10 year reunion this summer), re-building the software on a Mac at the (hopefully deserted) lab, and making a final decision on the Linux box purchase. For all the people who wrote with suggestions on the purchase, thanks. I’ll be replying individually, hopefully today. (My inbox has 94 mails as I write this…)

Site-wise, I’m mostly done with my additions to the Links section; now I just need to update the Site section and tweak the Archives pages to get them into the CSS style I’m using. Maybe then I’ll be able to take a crack at re-working my wife’s web site. Of course, if I get the Propaganda volunteer position, all bets are off! I’m quite anxious to hear if I made the cut; hopefully that will happen this week.

frustration Well, the Linux box for work didn’t get ordered, because the system specs on the Penguin Computing site describe a setup that they don’t sell anymore. It took them almost 4 business days to get this information to back to us. When I called them to check on the specs of available systems, I asked the person who answered the phone for the Sales department. The response: “He’s out right now, I don’t know when he’ll be back.” The combination of these two events cost them my business.

Now, one week after I thought the whole purchase mess had been settled, I’m back at square one. Anyone with any advice or recommendation on purchasing a sub-$2000 system+monitor to run Linux on, please mail me. I’m particularly interested in opinions on purchasing systems with Linux pre-installed versus purchasing a Windows system and doing the install myself.

I had other stuff I was going to post about, but I’m still too pissed. Have a nice 3 day weekend, those of you who get them.

the dime drops I was thinking more about ‘Edit this Page’ some more today. The link to Marc Andreessen’s latest talk (seen on Scripting News) helped quite a bit. I get it now; the product doesn’t make sense to me because I’m outside the target demographic. I’ve moved into the realm of the cantankerous geek, who doesn’t understand why people can’t use computers! I feel so much better now; I’m not stupid, just smug and elitist. I feel an almost unbearable urge to LART somebody…

Speaking of LARTs, here’s a bit of a mini-rant: Sometime between when I first read that DaveNet and when I linked to it, Dave changed some of the content. Specifically, he added the PS about linking the functionality to vi, Emacs, and BBEdit. Fairly harmless, but it undermines my point about evolving tools rather than asking people to use new ones, and it makes it look as if I didn’t read carefully. (I did!) Jakob Nielsen warns against linkrot, and advocates permanent URLs for all content. Hand-in-hand with that: if you’ve got something that looks like permanent content and you revise it, you need a version log!, or some other method of indicating what changes were made, and when (and maybe why). The web is ephemeral enough; don’t make it worse. (If Dave’s new tool catches on, this problem is only going to get worse.)

ary-scay Psst! Hey you! chelon-Eay is-ay eal-ray. Art-st using-ay rong-stay cryption-enay… (seen on lashdot-say.)

elaboration While browsing all the good Homicide-related content at Windowseat , I found a link to Rebecca’s Pocket , another cool looking web log. Rebecca has some nice resource link lists, which I’ll be raiding as my links section gets more developed. I did get a popup of daily links up and running, using code I filched from cam . I plan to do the same for my HTML, Perl, and general science links, which should make researching stuff easier.

mac emacs Yesterday, Bare Bones rev’d BBEdit, adding a lot of Perl functionality. I haven’t made the lab upgrade to BBEdit 5 yet, because I’m the only one who uses it and 4 suits me fine. The new features do look pretty cool, so maybe it’s time.

survival I made it through the dental visit. Phew! My teeth are fine, but I apparently need to start paying attention to my gums. In the waiting room, I came up with a nifty idea to add to glossGenpage: a modification to check the time stamps on include files as well as content files. I’m always having to touch .content files because I changed includes; if I get the patch to work, I won’t have to do that anymore.

disconnection Several people (cam and brig , to name two) are pointing to the latest DaveNet. I’m not sure I get Dave’s vision. He riffs on user interface design, and how it’s hard. I can’t argue with that. He then talks about making the user interface for web site writing easier. That’s where my disconnect comes in; ‘Easier for who?’, I wonder. I can imagine two distinct situations: sites with one or two people doing everything, and sites with a team (or teams) of people handling separate tasks: text, images, layout, serving. The tool he describes might help the small site some, but the time savings isn’t going to be all that large, and if you can get a site off the ground by yourself, and then keep it up, figuring out how to FTP files is just not an issue. This isn’t bad interface design; FTP uploads and keeping a site sync’d with a local copy aren’t hard to figure out, just boring.

Maybe the product is targeted at large team-produced web sites. A tool to help get non-technical writers into the web world. I can’t see this either. In my experience, as soon as a team gets formed to do something, the PHBs want to check the text before it goes live. The situation Dave describes, of seeing a problem, fixing it, and re-publishing the page won’t happen with a team-driven site, because the text is going to be extensively rev’ed before it hits the server. Once there, it’s not changing, and the PHBs aren’t going to like the idea of writers being able to arbitrarily tweak the text. So, the writer is going to write a draft, circulate it, make changes, and mail it to a server person. The server person checks it over, maybe grooms it with some Perl she wrote (because she’s the real geek in the bunch), and then puts it on the server. The geeks aren’t going to want the writers anywhere near the server either, because (1) the geeks see the writers as clueless luser bumblers who break things and (2) if the writers can do all the posting themselves, the geeks are out of a job.

It seems like this is a tool that small site owners might appreciate, but don’t really need, and one that large site teams might need, but won’t appreciate. That’s a tough row to hoe for anyone. Dave’s got the personality to be a good salesman, but the ‘you need to discard your existing tools’ approach isn’t going to win him any points. (Remember, only Microsoft can get away with acting with Microsoft.) People get emotional about tools, and they aren’t too thrilled with change. Instead of gutting the File menu and replacing it, why not add a Page menu, or a Web menu? Give me new options, but not by taking old ones away.

P.S. Hate hate hate the InterCapped.Com style of domain names.

lying down with dogs Nice little article on p1990524.html”

the effects of industry sponsorship on academic research. Remember, boys and girls, the point of being an academic scientist is to ask questions and get answers, to figure out how stuff works. Prestige, fame, and money can be found more easily in other places. Signing non-disclosure agreements or secrecy pacts to get research funds is a Bad Idea.

dread Short update today. Had to go to bed early last night, because I have to go to the dentist this morning. Growing up, I had the Dentist from Hell. Consequently, I’ve got an absolutely unreasoning fear of dental checkups. Thinking about it, my heart speeds up, my palms begin to sweat, and I start to look for the exit. Not good. This also means the continuing slow-as-a-Mac-SE content update isn’t continuing, at least for today. Still haven’t heard from the genpage author, either.

terrorism A Washington Post article from early May describes attacks on research animal facilities around the United States. As a working scientist, this makes me grind my teeth. Animal research is fundamental to development of safe treatments for all kinds of afflictions. People who feel this strongly that use of research animals is wrong shouldn’t be breaking into labs, but rather volunteering as subjects. Be sure to read to the end of the article to find out about the loving care the ‘rescued’ research animals were given.

self-medication I’ve been taking B-6 and B-12 mega-doses to help my wrist ache; reportedly doses far exceeding the RDA can have a beneficial effect on connective tissues. This experiment has lead me into more un-charted waters; I picked up some ginkgo biloba extract pills at the supermarket this weekend. They’re supposed to improve memory and concentration; a 278/no16/oc71278a.htm”

study reported in JAMA found that they were moderately helpful in the treatment of dementia. Effects are supposed to kick in after a few weeks; I’ll mention any effects I notice. (I am remembering to take the pills, which I suppose is a good start.)

hackage As Graham of virulent memes reminded me, I forgot to mention the status of the glossyGenpage hack. It’s done, it’s functional, and it’s being used to build GeneHack. I’ve been in contact with the author of genpage; he’s considering the changes. If they aren’t incorporated, I’ll release glossyGenpage separately; I’ve also got some ideas for additional primitives. If you’d like a copy of the modified code, please mail me. I’m not posting it for general download until I hear back from joev.

navel gaze Jon Katz’s piece on weblogs hit I responded to the piece, and to the comments of others. I fear I was too late with my comments, and don’t expect to see much followup from the slashdot ‘community’.

miscellaneous euphoria My project is creaking forward, and I found out that my work Linux box got ordered today. It should be here later this week; I’m very excited to be able to get all my work stuff off my home box. Plus, Internet Alchemy called GeneHack a ‘nice read’, bringing in some hits and pushing me to my second highest day. And I made the first cut (see for volunteers to work on HTML coding for PROPAGANDA. Today was a good day.

welcome Over the weekend, Cam added GeneHack to the web log list on CamWorld. I expect that many new visitors will come through today; welcome to GeneHack. I try to focus on biology items, as well as Linux/Open Source software issues, electronic media, and the more typical web log fare. Poke around, see what you like, and if you have any suggestions, mail me

monarch-icide? Environmental News Network reports on a Nature article demonstrating that gengineered Bt corn can kill monarch butterfly larva, when the larva consume the pollen of the altered plants. One question that isn’t addressed in the ENN article: what if normal corn plants were dusted with Bt? That is, are the larva dying just due to the Bt, or because the pollen is expressing the Bt. I’ll try to grab a look at Nature when I’m at work and see if the research article addresses this question. Meanwhile, Fox News is reporting that a European group is calling for Bt-corn ban in response to the new findings.

about what? Feed Magazine, which I’m going to add to my information radar, has an article on the death of metaphor on the web. Somewhat interesting stuff; I saw a television commercial for this weekend and hadn’t realized that it was the same entity as MiningCo.

placebo for thought The Washington Post (also going on the radar) reports on a

depression-treatment study where the control group (the people getting the dummy sugar pills) were actually helped. The interesting thing is that the brain chemistry changes seen in the improved section of the control group were opposite of those seen in the improved section of the experimental group (who were receiving Prozac). Seems like a textbook example of Sangamon’s Principle to me; to paraphrase ‘your brain is really just a big complicated molecule’.

fighting the tide I’ve been intending to comment on Jon Katz’s recent two part series, but I need to read the first piece a few more times. Every time I tried to get to slashdot this weekend, it was down. I should get this done today; check back tomorrow. My early take: he’s pushing the metaphor further than it wants to go

homicide On Friday, the series finale of the incredible Homicide: Life on the Streets was aired. I’ve only been watching Homicide for the last two years or so, but it’s been my favorite television show. Windowseat has been running commentary on the series all weekend; unfortunately I can’t seem to get to anything older than today.

changes I rev’ed the CSS file and the template again. I also updated content all over the site, and began tackling the bookmark problem — see the Links section. I also built a longer start page, which I’ve been promising myself for a long time. One morning’s worth of use is telling me that it needs to be changed quite a bit to fit my style; I might have to look into scripting some popup windows. I’m digging this look; I think I’ll stick with it for awhile. Now to just get the content where I think it should be…

blah I’ve got quite a case of the blahs this morning. I’ve got sequence analysis code running, so my computer feels real sluggish, and I’m picking up on that. I think I’m going to kick back, watch my code run, read some statistics, and maybe hack a little on some of the GeneHack legacy content and the glossyGenpage code. Everybody have a good weekend…

shiny happy code I got a working version of glossGenpage going yesterday. I’ve still got to comment the code, add a few more bells-and-whistles, and update the documentation. I suppose I should contact the author of genpage and find out if he wants to fold my changes into his code base. If anybody wants a pre-release look at what I’ve done, mail me. A reasonably final version should be ready to go by Monday.

on the qt You’ve probably heard about Hushmail, which is a new web-based email service offering 1024-bit encryption. If you feel the need to send me something and fear that They are watching, mail it to, ok?

follow-up Jorn Barger of Robot Wisdom dropped a line to let me know that Dave Winer’s stated purpose in registering those domain names (see below) was about what I described (directory-cum-search-engine). I poked around Scripting News and associated sites a bit this morning and found some discussion group threads on the subject. All the weblog domains point to

NewsSearch.UserLand.Com, which only indexes three sites. It might be more appropriate to point them at, but that’s just a portal, as far as I know. No indexing for searching goes on.

interesting… One little nugget for the evening — more in the morning. I was brain-farting around ideas about weblogs and some social stratification issues; which weblogs are more popular and why, etc., etc. I was wondering about setting up some kind of meta-directory-cum-search-engine for weblog sites, which would index daily weblog entries, on the theory that the links are more likely to be ‘good’, whatever that means. So, just on a lark, I did some whois searches on domains. Check out who’s got,, and snapped up. is registered to a Korean company, but doesn’t appear to be serving web pages. Given the rather ideosyncratic naming conventions of the weblog crowd, we’d need to come up with a more original name, me thinks.

freebie Free online access to the Trends Journals ends on June 1st, so get reading.

skeletons in the incubator From the Washington Post, an article

alleging that Genentech researchers used bacteria stolen from UCSF to generate their first ‘killer’ product: recombinant human growth hormone (HGH).

project I’m working on adding a new primitive to genpage. The only thing that I really miss from Frontier is the glossary, so I decided to add one. glossyGenpage should be ready for beta-test in a few days, unless something un-expected comes up (see below).

obligation I have

jury duty today. I’m quite interested to see if I get picked; from talking to other people in the department, scientists are considered to be ‘bad’ jurors. The long hair and beard probably aren’t going to help either, and the Darwin fish on the car is the coup de grace. (In Tucson, attorneys are allowed to ask about your bumper stickers during voir dire. Is this the case in other parts of the country?)

slackitude Last night’s dinner with a friend who’s leaving town cut into my surfing time, so GeneHack won’t be updated today. Since everybody’s either in line or recovering from being up late, probably not a big deal…

that’s our niche, and we’re stickin’ to it While looking for <META> tag information on the web, I ran across a Christian guide to using <META> tags to bring visitors to your evangelical web site.. The site raises the interesting question of exactly how small a topic niche can be found on the web. For example, is there a web page describing the special left-handed Yavapi lesbian way to scale fish? Prehaps more importantly, is there a portal targeted at left-handed Yavapi lesbians that will cross-market special fish scaling tools?
(The Yavapi are a tribe of Native Americans that live in the southwest portion of the United States; they were the first ethnic group that sprang to mind; no offense intended.)

meme grokking Over on Flutterby, Dan’s got a rant up on May/17Brandsaslifestyles.html”

brands as lifestyles, about the coming merger (convergence?) of marketing and individual point-of-view. The web log phenomomon may or may not be a harbinger of this. I don’t quite grok the ‘brand’ meme; maybe I’m not operating at an abstract enough level. After a little more thought, I think I see where Dan’s headed with the brand as lifestyle argument. However, it seems that the web-log-style of hitting a bunch of individual viewpoints to assemble your own brand is going to be too much work for the trendoids who buy into the ‘brand’ thing — opportunity for specialized portals and tie-ins, I guess.

one person’s junk is another person’s chimp New Scientist has a nice article about the genetic differences between humans and other primates, which touches on issues such as xenotransplantation, the nature of the genetic differences between chimps and humans, and efforts to understand what that means in terms of evolution and speciation. According to the article (and elsewhere), curent estimates put human and chimp DNA at 98.5% identical. ‘Identical’ in this context is a slippery concept, but it appears as if most of the differences are concentrated in non-protein-coding parts of the genome. Concentrating on those non-coding-parts will be crucial to answering the questions raised by the article. Of course, propagating the ‘junk DNA’ meme (which the article does) doesn’t help at all…

it’s an editor! it’s an OS! it’s XEmacs! I re-compiled XEmacs a few more times today. Fortunately, Jörg Rambau posted to the LinuxPPC user list noting how to fix the problem. Compiled normally, the application builds and installs, but trying to switch or kill buffers from the keyboard (C-x b or C-x k) doesn’t work. Compiling at a lower optimization level (-O2 or lower) fixes the problem.

fnord I added a little ‘please turn on CSS’ blurb to the header of the GeneHack template. If you’re using CSS, you shouldn’t be able to see it. If you’ve got CSS turned on and the blurb is visible, please mail me. If you’ve got CSS turned off, or you’re a Lynx user, and the text bothers you, let me know.

gilding the lily Work on moving content over to the new CSS format continues. I’ve modified my genpage tempate to include a more informative <META> description tag, so hopefully people hitting GeneHack via a search engine will be a bit better informed as to what they’ll see. Big thanks go out to Brigitte Eaton of eatonweb for taking some screenshots of GeneHack in Windows platform browsers. I’m relieved to see that the CSS works fairly well cross-platform, and I’m glad the font size issue isn’t a big problem. (No pun intended.)

All my old content has been moved over to the new format, albeit not completely. I found some old weblog archives, dating back to September of 1998, so I posted those also. I hadn’t realized I’ve been doing this for quite that long…

Here’s what still needs to be done, as far as converting the old content over (more for my information than because I think any of you care):

  • Archives:

    • move content to CSS format
  • Links:

    • make up links meta information side box
    • move content to CSS format
    • organize links into sections
    • make pop ups (ala CamWorld for various sections that warrent it.
  • Personal:

    • make up personal meta information side box
    • move content to CSS format
    • organize content
    • expand content
    • link-ify various items
  • Overall:
    • verify content with W3C HTML validator
    • verify content with W3C CSS validator
    • verify content with Bobby
    • tweak more!
    • re-submit to various search engines and directories

The quantity of daily updates may be a bit slack this week, as I get the above things accomplished.

masochism My Linux re-installation went about as well as can be expected. The system feels a little bit more responsive, too, which is good. I just wish I hadn’t had to re-compile XEmacs 5 times… I passed the time reading the Unix Hater’s Handbook

readin’ material There’s a new HMS Beagle up.

everybody loves perl Perlmonth is a new webzine devoted to all things Perl-ish. The first month includes a nice article from Vicki Brown on MacPerl.c

gratitude In the past couple of days, GeneHack got mentioned on The Bradlands and

Vacuum, which brought in some hits, and hopefully some new regulars. Tip of the orthopedic wrist braces to both sites.

real life bites weblog; film at eleven I’m giving lab meeting today (joy!) and then my wife is getting hooded for her Master’s degree. I’ve still got to finish up a few overheads tomorrow morning in the lab, which means early bedtime, which means this short update. I’m planning on overhauling my Mac partitions when I update to 8.6 this weekend, and if I get real ambitious, I might try to re-install my Linux setup. It’s been a little wonky, and I keep finding little bits of software cruft between the seat cushions. So, don’t be surprised if there’s no update tomorrow…

starving corneas In this article, the relationship between rapid eye movement (REM) and dreaming comes under fire. There’s a theory that REM doesn’t have anything to do with dreaming; instead, it’s a mechanism to agitate the vitreous humour (the gunk inside your eyeballs) so the cornea continues to get oxygen while the eyelid is closed. It sounds like there’s a big fight going on between different camps of dream researchers, so we should see some cool stuff in a few years…

roll your own When I started graduate school, one of the things I was really interested in was computational simulation of cells, in order to understand the complex interactions between the different pathways and processes that scientists normally study in isolation. People in my department thought I was nuts, and I didn’t get anywhere with my idea. Now, there are at least two projects working on basically this same goal: the E-Cell Project and the National Resource for Cell Analysis and Modeling. Science also recently had an

article which discusses the different approaches and goals of the two projects.

all in the name Browsing off recently, I found Glenn Fleishman’s personal web site. I really dig the title: Unsolicted Pundit.

converge, dammit! The Mac-on-Linux project released source code recently. I haven’t had a chance to try it out, but when this software comes together, my life is going to get a lot easier…

tweak tweak tweak I spent yet more time last night messing with the CSS file for the site, and the overall template. I’ve had a chance to view the site in some different browsers over the last couple of days, and while I’m mostly happy, there are still a few problems. For you Windows users: Are there a lot of sites that have huge text in Netscape? Do you mind, or notice, or just tweak your Netscape settings to accomodate? I don’t use Windows enough to have a feel for this. Also, if anybody running Explorer 5.0 is feeling altruistic, drop me a note and let me know how the site looks, eh? (Any other comments, praise, or thrown rocks over the re-design are also welcome at

More re-design fun: I added some Perl to my genpage template to dynamically generate that current page pointer header (that ugly yellow bar up there). It’s so cool to be able to do stuff like that again! Of course, all that playing around means that I didn’t get any more of the old content converted, and I didn’t get the Ursula Goodenough seminar notes written. Too much stuff; not enough time!

Unix creator plugs bio careers In this interview, Ken Thompson says that:

Computer science is coming into its middle age. It’s turning into a commodity.

He goes on to relate advice he gave to his son:
…my advice to him-to the next generation-was to get into biology.
Of course, in the future it’s not going to be possible to do most interesting types of biology without some serious computational power (and computational chops for the biologists…)

Whoops! I just found a pointer to genpage on’s more like this weblog. I’ve got to start reading more web logs, more regularly..

As you can probably tell, I spent the weekend doing a site redesign. It’s not quite done yet; the Personal section is still in the old format, for example, and some of the marginalia aren’t complete. Overall, however, I’m quite happy with the new look. Everything is specified with CSS, so changing the look will be much easier in the future.

The redesign was made possible by a wonderful tool called genpage. This 11K Perl script replicates much of the functionality of Frontier (the parts I used, anyway). If you’ve been missing Frontier because you switched to Linux, give genpage a look.

Some other re-design shout-outs: Thanks to Camworld and Slashdot for the idea of making marginalia look like GUI windows, and thanks to Eatonweb for a great example of a working CSS site.

All the typing over the weekend really trashed my wrists. I actually went out and picked up some wrist wraps, which seem to be helping.

The Ursula Goodenough seminar notes aren’t up; the re-design interfered with that. Soon…

Dana Plato dead at 34: I heard part of her Friday Howard Stern Show appearance, which makes this all the more wierd.

I haven’t got a lot of links ready to go, so why not read the most recent RISKS digest instead? (That issue came out Friday.)

Or, you could join the throngs that are sure to be pounding Apple’s FTP servers when the new MacOS 8.6 update comes out today…

Well, now you’ve done it! You’ve wandered into the middle of a site redesign. Please ignore any inconsistency and incompleteness for the next little bit…

A new Linux Gazette came out last week.

Some biotech job sites:
CAHILL & ASSOCIATES Biotechnology Job Openings

The Second Georgia Tech International Conference on Bioinformatics

7th Conference on Small Genomes

There’s a new telnet client for the Mac. Unfortunately, it crashes on my machine.

I was overjoyed to find another web log that posts a bunch of biology stuff: Honeyguide

The BBC reports on a

Marburg outbreak in Africa

On Scripting News, I found Bobby, which checks sites for handicapped complicance. GeneHack passes Level 1, which I guess is a good thing.

There’s a lot about bioinformatics on Bioplanet. I haven’t waded through all the info, but it looks interesting.

I’ve got several more web log links to add to the Daily Dose, but that’s going to have to wait for the weekend.

This is a good Friday link —

A bird species with two penises (penii?). And you thought you had to work hard to get a date…

Late night, early moring, no real update. Sorry.

There’s another Ursula Goodenough seminar at 10 am today on the UA campus, called “Science and a Sense of the Sacred”. Based on yesterday’s, it’s probably worth checking out. 10 am, in FCR202. I’ll have notes on this seminar and yesterday’s up tomrrow or Monday. (Oh, and it’s pronounced “Good enough”, just like it looks.)

I added some more web logs to the Daily Dose page. I really need to get on the stick and re-design that page as more of a portal-style effort, with some search engine links and other nifty stuff. Maybe this weekend, while my latest draft is undergoing the tender mercies of my boss…

Eatonweb contains one of the web logs I added, but the front page also has a very pleasing design. Nice use of Javascript, and it’s nice to see black backgrounds done well.

Some meta-critique on the dangers of irony: Maybe we should make irony a controlled substance. Much like R-rated movies; people would have to display proof of irony-comprehension before viewing ironic content…

Some S. cerevisiae snoRNA database resources:

Small Nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) from the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae
snoRNAdb from the Eddy lab

For you non-molecular-biology/RNA geeks, small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are a class of small RNA molecules. Unlike the more common and better known messenger RNAs (mRNAs), snoRNAs aren’t translated into protein — they function as RNAs. The meme of small functional RNAs is still pretty young; look for the next five to ten years to be interesting, as complete eukaryotic genomes reveal more and more of these types of molecules.

Bioethics in the modern age

Gapped BLAST and PSI-BLAST: a new generation of protein database search programs: This is the paper describing the hot new search algorithms in sequence analysis. Kudos to Nucleic Acids Research for putting up a free version of this very important paper.

University of Arizona Fourth Annual Learning and Technology Showcase: Happening tomorrow, here in Tucson. Free registration, including a free lunch.

Also happening on the UA campus, today, is the Ursula Goodenough seminar on ‘The Molecular Evolution of Sex’ (scroll all the way to the bottom for room and place info). I should have comments tomorrow or Friday…

I really burnt myself out last week, reading a lot of information theory and biological sequence analysis stuff. Over the weekend, I recuperated by paging through some of my comic strip book collection. Damn, I’d forgotten just how good Bloom County and Outland were. Does anybody know what Berke Breathed is up to these days?

Welcome to the Cam-Lista’s, Stuffed Dogs, and

Nibelung-ers. Any comments or suggestions? Mail

Declaration: I’ve decided: GeneHack is now a web log, as opposed to the mess o’ links that I previously thought of it as. Of course, those two may be one and the same… Those of you who arrived by one of the above links are probably already conversant with web logs, for the rest of you, check out Cam’s well-reasoned take on the web log phenomenon, or this un-reasoned piece.

A nice overview of how the Internet is changing publication of biological data. The online peer review capability mentioned in the article sounds pretty sweet; I’d like to see that become more wide spread.


TechnoSphere is a 3D model world inhabited by artificial lifeforms created by WWW users. There are thousands of creatures in the world all competing to survive. They eat, fight, mate and create offspring which evolve and adapt to their environment. When you make a creature it will email you to let you know what it has been getting up to in its world. Using the creature tools you can find out how your creature is surviving, what it is doing at any time, and where it is in the terrain.

Anybody brain-dead enough to mail a 25 MB file should be sent to computer-use re-training class.

The Virus Wars:
(1) Nice phage graphic!
(2) Ignore the ‘next great anti-virus solution’ hype; focus on the interesting biological:cybernetic similarities discussion.

Save smallpox!: If you think it’s wrong to erradicate, say, whales, how can you advocate destroying smallpox?

Tiny Worm Parasite May Cause Frog Deformation: Note that this doesn’t mean we get to quit worrying about the environment; why are there suddenly so many worm parasites?

Liberty Bell 7 recovered: I just read The Right Stuff last month. If you’ve only seen the movie, I recommend the book.

Misc. Site Cruft: I re-organized my Daily Dose page. If you think there’s something I should be looking at regularly that isn’t on the list, drop me a line.

Personal musing: Oy! Gotta love that airport experience. Dave was coming in from a weekend vacation in San Diego. After his shuttle flight from Phoenix blew an engine and delayed him for 2+ hours, we calculated that it would have been just as quick for him to have driven…