Automated bioinformatics discovery through social networking?

Bear with me – this is going to become a bioinformatics post in a few paragraphs.

I’m a slow adopter when it comes to social networking sites. There an an awful lot of them and not enough hours in the day. I don’t go near a site unless someone that I know and trust tells me it’s a good thing. Once there, I only stay if I find it useful and/or enjoyable. So what makes a useful social networking site?
Read the rest. . .

Back to the grind

Back at the keyboard. Difficult to see the monitor for images of rainforest-covered islands and red desert landscapes floating before my eyes. I highly recommend both Fraser Island and the Red Centre as travel destinations.

There’s only one thing that you can do with 2 weeks of feed reader items – hit the “mark as read” button. However, these things caught my eye before I did:

Apologies to anyone else who posted interesting content this last week or two.


amarok.pngThere’s a perception that compared with Mac OSX or Windows, Linux multimedia desktop applications tend to be less “slick”. If you think so, you use Linux and you enjoy music, Amarok will make you think again.

It looks great, is easy to use and has a wide range of useful and fun features. A few of my favourites: fetch lyrics for current track from Lyrc, grab band information from Wikipedia, connect to a heap of streams (Shoutcast, podcasts,, integrated K3B CD burn, plus all the usual tools for compiling playlists and organising your local files.


Suburban rainbow Non-science random thoughts this weekend:

  • On this last day of March – 16.8 mm of rain for the month. March average = 139.5 mm. See some Brisbane climate stats.
  • First weekend of the AFL season! Deep sadness as I realise that the first Swans game won’t be on TV here as it clashes with the Lions. Surely the great Grand Final rematch should be free to air in all states.
  • Wonder how the Pixies sound after all these years? Looking forward to reports from the V Festival.

You don’t see enough of this

Way back when people used to clone single genes and analyse their sequence (about 10 years ago), Wassif, Cheek and Belas described an extracellular metalloprotease from the swarming bacterium, Proteus mirabilis. It turns out that this protein is one of many virulence factors involved with urinary tract infection.
I mention this because in the acknowledgements of their paper (PDF, 352 KB) the authors, who hail from Baltimore, thank “the late Frank Zappa for inspiration and assistance with genetic nomenclature”. Yes, the protease is named ZapA. I hope there’s still room for these fun moments in publications – although it doesn’t really move us towards the goal of standard gene nomenclature.