Researchers May Be Able to Sequence Genomes of Any Microbes


Until now, researchers could only sequence the genomes of microbes in two ways. They could sequence it directly, which requires growing the organism in a culture to a manageable level, which isn’t always possible, or they could use metagenomics and try and pick out the DNA that belongs to the microbe from the vast amount of genetic material present in an environmental sample. This method only works if the organism is the dominant member of a community. Now, researchers have discovered that with the right computational tools, they can extract individual genomes from the slurry of genetic material in samples, even if the organism hasn’t been grown in a culture.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

Danah Boyd on Kiki Kannibal

Kiki Hannibal

Danah Boyd has got some good comments on the whole Kiki Hannibal phenomenon and the recent Rolling Stone article. Just like any type of thing, there need to be limits to what teens can do on the Internet. Social media and networking are still new, and it will take time for children to learn how to interact with it. Oversharing is prevalent on Twitter and Facebook.

Quebec, the Elections, and Hockety @n+1

Interesting essay by Bherer over at n+1. While I consider myself Quebecois, I’ve never been a fan of hockey. This essay delves deep into the province’s love of hockey and the result of the most recent federal election, when the Bloc Québecois lost a lot of seats.

Scooter Culture

There’s one thing that you quickly learn while living in Asia, it’s a scooter-based culture. After a while, you see that car drivers, lorry drivers, and taxi drivers all drive like scooters. It’s one of the most absurd things that I noticed. While I’m sure that there are plenty of good drivers in Taiwan, I’m just impressed at how badly some of them drive. It’s just obscene.

In the last two weeks alone, I’ve seen about 5 scooter-based accidents. It’s quite horrific to see. My last accident was last summer and I ended up somersaulting over the hood of a Mercedez-Benz, whose driver had cut me off, from oncoming traffice: he was a kid coming from the opposite side and crossed the double line, meaning that I had nowhere else to go but over his hood. Luckily, I had my motorcycle jacket, helmet, and thick gloves on. I quickly learned that being sweaty is the price to pay for being safe.

I have never sustained an injury while driving my scooter in the last 4 years. I have been in one accident and a few scrapes and falls, but since I wear a reinforced motorcycle jacket, it just rolls off. I also wear thick jeans and hiking boots.

While I do admit that I drive fast, as fast as possible sometimes, I am quite safe. I stay away from the taxi drivers, buses, and slower scooter drivers by staying ahead. There’s always some drivers who are faster than I am and I never try to keep up with them. I always stay at my speed and weave my way through traffic.

Since I drive as fast as I can, it’s probably good that I only have a 125cc scooter. Ideally, I’d upgrade to a PGO 200cc or a Kymco Ego 250cc, or even a real 500-600cc motorcycle, but since I’ll only be staying 1 or 2 more years here, it’s a waste of money.

There’s an art at staying safe while driving fast. The trick is not to drive too fast, especially in heavy traffic.

East And West Cultural Differences

Some more differences between Easterners and Westerners.