News: Bio::Blogs, Gutsy, James Watson, Alzheimer’s Blood Test…

There's been some interesting news around recently, and I thought it would be nice to highlight some of it.

Tooting One's Own Horn

Firstly, the folks over at Bio::Blogs mentioned this site in their latest edition, #15, in the context of my posts on the Integrative Bioinformatics Conference in Belgium this past September. Thanks, guys! It's nice when you can post your notes as the talks happen, and I hope some people found something of interest in them. As Pedro Beltrao said, if you're interested, "Read all about it in chronological order from parts 1 to 10 (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10)." Pedro's theme for this edition of Bio::Blogs is the both the increasing number of bioinformatics bloggers and the increasing prevalence for people to blog about their research as it's being done. I like to see this idea of openness pushing the boundaries of bioinformatics and into biology.

Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon

Just like the geek I am slowly discovering that I am (and I say that with pride), I installed the pre-release version of the latest Ubuntu, Gutsy Gibbon (7.10), over the past week. I'm not as early as some in the department, who installed it weeks ago, but It was fun to install it before it was officially released: perhaps a little bit of a thrill, wondering if it will break my computers? So, one desktop and one laptop upgrade, plus a further desktop clean install later, and everything's working fine! The final release comes out tomorrow, so get ready to upgrade. I do 95% of all of my research using Ubuntu: the *only* thing I find I still have to switch to Windows for with regularity is the manipulation of word documents. Open Office still can't handle comments and tracked changes exactly the way I'd like, so when I'm collaboratively writing paper submissions I find I have to reboot into Windows. I'm trying to phase out the word document aspect of my writing, and phase in more Latex work, so hopefully even that aspect will be gone soon. Then, I'll just use Windows for lazy browsing at the weekend, and the odd windows-only app that I sometimes want to use.

James Watson

I was at swim practice last night, and people were saying what they were planning for the weekend. When I said I was going to see James Watson speak at the Centre for Life in Newcastle, only one person knew who he was. Sigh. But anyway, I'm really looking forward to it, even if it means an hour's train ride each way on a sunday, which in the UK is a big risk! Hopefully I'll be able to take some notes and post them here on Monday.

Alzheimer's Blood Test in the Works

I was interested to read an article on the BBC this week about the development of a blood test that, with 90% accuracy and from up to 6 years before symptoms become apparent, can determine if a person has Alzheimer's. The full article is available from Nature Medicine. It's great news, and an interesting paper.

FuGE paper in Nature Biotechnology

A paper has just appeared at Nature Biotechnology on "The Functional Genomics Experiment model (FuGE): an extensible framework for standards in functional genomics". I had seen the paper earlier when it was under community consultation, but it is nice to see that it's now officially published. Standardized experimental metadata is the way to go!

First Asian Genome Sequenced

Catch up with this announcement over at naturenews.

IgNobel Prizes and News

Finally, though I am now sadly behind the times in mentioning that the 2007 IgNobels are out, I would still like to point out a few things. Firstly, I would like to say look out for the video of this year's ceremony – it should be posted shortly! Also, the IgNobel website isnt just useful to discover who won. Check out these news items from the past few days: "Military: Letter from Leffler" and "The medicinal value of alcohol".

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