Sorry about the lack of updates over the past couple of days; social engagements kept me away from the keyboard during prime update hours. I was still collecting links during the day, however, so you’re getting two or three days worth dumped on you — hopefully it’ll make up for my slackness.

Need a book about Perl? Check out this list. Fairly short at the moment, but it looks like it’s under active development.

I’m a bit late with this one, but mark me down in the disgusted column over the flap. Hopefully the decision is over-turned on appeal. In other animal-rights news, Sluggy Freelance’s PETA Castaways/Survivor parody has been pretty on target.

Here’s a nice BBC article that uses a recent paper to springboard into a recap of what we know about nanobacteria. Jury appears to still be out on this one, but if I had to bet, it would be on the ‘they exist’ side. Evolution is powerful, and life is pretty malleable.

Maybe I should pick up a copy of The Geek Handbook for Lor, as an anniversary gift. The Salon review made it sound pretty interesting.

The most interesting thing about a new tethered gene expression system is not the ability to test sequential regulatory interactions — although that’s cool too. I’m much more excited about the ability to generate protein microarrays — those would enable all kinds of fun things.

Geek nostalgia alert: C64 emulator for Wintel. If you used a C64 at all, you should have a look, just to see the animated GIF on the site.

For my biotech brothers and sisters — getting paid enough? Have a look at a recent salary survey of personnel in core biotechnology facilities. One interesting piece of data:

Differences in salary based on gender. A total of 125 males and 110 females responded to the survey (two individuals did not declare their gender). There was no significant difference in gender ratios in the ABRF vs. non-ABRF respondents. An analysis of salaries based on gender and degree is summarized as box plots in Figure 2A.

The overall trends reported in Figure 1 of higher median salaries for industry versus academics and government, and higher salary for more advanced degrees, were evident for both men and women. However, there are no significant differences between salaries for men and women at the same degree levels whether the labs were academic, industry, or government. This is in contrast to national trends that still show a persistent wage gap between men and women at all educational levels and in all job sectors9. A closer look at these subsets revealed no obvious discrepancy that might explain the surprising similarities. For example, both men and women were closely matched by age and by the number of years they had been in their current position in each of the subdivisions.

Bookmarked because I’ll want it at some point: Vannevar Bush’s “As We May Think” essay from The Atlantic, July 1945. It would be interesting to see a point-by-point comparison with the recent Microsoft.Net fantasy fest.

I hate to pick on Wired News, but it seems every time I read a biology related story there lately, I spot some flaw. For example, in a recent story about sequencing pufferfish to determine the number of human genes, it’s stated that “Pufferfish and humans have about the same number of genes” — the core point of the whole article rests on this statement, and there’s zero supporting detail! It is to weep…

Another one for the permenant bookmarks: Dinkum C Library Reference covers all the standard C library functions, breaking them down by header file.

A couple bibliography related links, jake, a database of journal names and abbreviations, and dblp, a bibliography database resource. Both culled from recent discussions on the Pybliographer mailing list. may be an alternative to a community college course if you’re looking to pick up some new skills. The downside would be a lack of formal accreditation.

It was bound to happen. Watch this space for the forthcoming Genehack Linux distribution…

I’ve been thinking about documentation a little bit as I code things at work; especially as I think I’m going to be taking some stuff I’ve written for personal use and basing web applications on it. So, this page explaining why POD is not literate programming was interesting reading. Similarly, this intro to DocBook may prove useful.

A little birdie tells me the announcements mentioned in this Discovery News brief will be happening at 12:30 EST Monday. The White House thing apparently didn’t come together; it’s going to be in a DC area Hilton. Celera and the HGP are going to play nice and make a joint announcement — expect Celera to be trading heavy all next week, but in what direction?

Salon talks about how Consumer Reports online subscription model is under attack by services like Epinions and On one hand, it’s unfortunate to see an ad-free, presumably un-influenced source doing poorly. On the other hand, most every time I’ve looked at a Consumer Reports article about a type of product that I was expert on, they were wrong (based on my experience, of course).

Boy, I’m beginning to wish I was going to ISMB 2000. In addition to the Bioinformatics Open Source Conference before ISMB, there is also the Bio-Ontologies Meeting after ISMB. Maybe next year…

(You sensitive, non-negative blogging types might want to just stop reading here. I’m not gonna get all virulent or anything, but I don’t want to offend any more than neccessary.)

Yesterday, I noticed a new ‘blog in my referrer logs. When I checked it out, I found it was a meta-‘blog — aiming for that snarky tone pioneered (and mastered) by Sally Tenpenny of Bloat! fame. Unfortunately, “Steven Sturgeon” misses the target badly. The site doesn’t have the lovely Algonquin Round Table-esqe wit of Bloat!, and many of the comments display a shallow knowledge (at best) of the ‘blog world. For example, back in the day, when Jorn was updating the bottom part of Robot Wisdom, he talked about personal stuff with some regularity.

And, most importantly (at least to me), he’s totally missed the point of this site. It’s never been about telling people “what’s up in the world of genetics”. The point is to tell people who are interested what I’m looking at on the web, and what I think about that, or about anything else I care to mention. If you want to bitch about how I write, or how wrong my opinions are, fine — drop me a mail, or put up a web page — more power to you. If you don’t like what I’m writing about, read something else! Except for Steven — you should curl up in a corner, fuck off, and die, ‘kay? Ankle-biter.

Those of you still with me — have a good weekend, and I’ll hopefully see you back here on Monday. Oh, and Graham? The link thing was a joke, really — don’t hurt me — put that down…astehsat*NO CARRIER

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