Monthly Archives: February 2008

Best wishes to Jonathan Eisen

Just wanted to add my voice to the many congratulating Jonathan Eisen: biologist, blogger, Open Access advocate and all-round top bloke on his appointment to PLoS Biology Academic Editor in Chief. You can read his editorial to learn more about his motivation and plans for the journal.

Jonathan, you realise that you’re now the figurehead for the revolution, don’t you ;)

Web snippets of interest

FeedJournal: silly but fun

Via LifeHacker:

Web application FeedJournal turns your RSS feed(s) of choice into a newspaper-formatted PDF.

A little clunky and buggy when I tried it out, but I eventually generated this PDF from a few of my Google shared items. I’m not keen on the way articles are headed “by neilfws” – I didn’t write any of them!

What use is it? Not much – perhaps a nice way to generate a PDF for the next edition of Bio::Blogs.


This post from the OpenWetWare blog (discovered via Pedro’s shared items) has inspired me to sign up to OWW – should have done so much earlier. Here’s my user page and the beginnings of a wiki for our lab. Read the OWW mission statement if you’re not familiar with their goals.

I think the OWW site provides an excellent space for collaborative projects. Note to self: aim to set up at least one in the next couple of months or so.

Post-vacation random picks

RSS feeds are very much “here and now” sources of information, aren’t they? Monitoring them as they come in is no problem at all but if you’re away for a week or two, they lose their immediacy, leading to much “marking as read”.

Anyway – a few that caught my eye on this first day back at work:

It’s taken me a while, but I finally figured out the difference between starring (mark as important for later) and sharing (mark as important for others) in Google Reader! Both one-click operations too. I’m quite dense sometimes. Anyway, here are my shared items – also available as a right-sidebar widget at this blog.

That’s several thousand feed items and 150 emails dealt with – back to work I guess. New Zealand, by the way, is impossibly scenic, spectacular and beautiful. Do go there if you can.

But just before I go…

…I have to mention Carl Zimmer’s post on the quest to find English words in human protein sequences.

This game has been around as long as sequence databases have existed. I have a vague memory of a letter from the early 1990s (possibly in Trends in Biochemical Sciences Nature) in which the authors reported the results of comparing SwissProt with the Oxford English Dictionary. As I recall, the longest word that they found was ENSILISTS – meaning people who practice the art of making silage.

Anyway – here’s a quick and easy way to tackle the problem using EMBOSS and some Linux command line trickery.
Read the rest…