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Artist, Heather Oliver             

Two More Borders Crossed

My article on junk DNA and the recent huge PR noise associated with it just appeared in Scientific American as a guest post.  I will reprint it here toward the end of the week, to give SciAm its time lead.

This has also occasioned the opening of (groan) a Twitter account that will be essentially an adjunct to the blog, as are my FB and LJ accounts.  The handles are Helivoy (LJ) and AthenaHelivoy (TW) — but if you’re tracking the blog, all else is redundant.

Cool Cat by Ali Spagnola

10 Responses to “Two More Borders Crossed”

  1. caliban says:

    Congratuations on the Sci Am guest post–I look forward to reading it here.

    And, er, con….dolences on the twitter account. Forgive me if I take this as another sign of the decline of civilization…. :)

  2. Athena says:

    Yes, SciAm wants its contributors to have one… sigh.

  3. caliban says:

    Ah. Well, I dropped my SciAm subscription when they decided to go for the “Discover Magazine” niche.

  4. Athena says:

    My article is on their blog — but I agree that all the lay science magazines have shifted downward. SciAm used to be a must-read for me once as well. Oddly, their blog entries are closer to what the main magazine articles used to be.

  5. Asakiyume says:

    Accuracy does not equal dullness and eloquence does not equal hype.

    That’s a lovely line!

    I’m not surprised to learn that individual genomes vary greatly, and I like your analogy of things found in the attic (also the notion of a book that could be read in Russian, Mandarin, Quechua, Maori, and Swahili. Makes me want to learn all those languages–which is incongruous, since it’s only a simile, but there you go).

  6. Athena says:

    Glad you enjoyed it, Francesca. The attic analogy is actually pretty close (or a warehouse, except that warehouses tend to have items within narrower categories). Languages… I’d like to know those as well, plus a bunch more!

  7. Christopher Phoenix says:

    Congratulations on your SciAm guest post!! I rather enjoyed reading it. It is rather sad that so-called “science news” stories distort actual results with hype and PR campaigns so often nowadays. Condolences on the twitter account- it would give me a headache.

    Our genomes are far more complex and interlinked than even my science books said- sure, some segments code for proteins, but where would we be without the regulatory elements that determine when to express a certain gene, to replicate, to splice, to recombine, etc.? It seems that only discussing the segments of the genome that code for proteins would be like trying to run a library without paying any attention to the Dewy Decimal system, the librarians, and the people who check the books out.

  8. Athena says:

    Thanks, Christopher! I’m with you on the Twitter account… I think it will be used very little. Also, I like your library analogy.

  9. Walden2 says:

    Athena, you can’t give up your Twitter account! Don’t you want to know what Justin Beiber and the Kardashians are doing every second?!

    Ducking under my desk….

    I do not have a Twitter account and do not plan to get one. I think my multiple sources of information are more than sufficient, especially when I think back to when I used to get my news from television, the newspaper, and the occasional periodical.

    Congratulations on the SciAm post! It reminds me of the hype over the warp drive paper at the 100 Year Starship symposium. God forbid the media might want to focus on propulsion methods more practical and possible.

    They keep skipping over the fact that this “reduced” warp drive still requires “exotic” matter, which is never quite explained but is probably dark matter or its like. Might as well have the ship run on fairy dust for all the good that will do us any time soon.

  10. Athena says:

    I know, Larry! TW is more annoying than FB, if that’s possible.

    I was planning to just post the article on the blog as usual, but Peter said “this is SciAm material”. I sent a note to Bora Zivkovic, who is their blog editor (he used to blog at Science Blogs before they went down the drain). I got a reply back ten minutes later, literally.

    I read about the warp drive on Space.com. Yes, the “exotic matter” angle is the big elephant in the room. Plus all the other items: radiation; they might not be able to communicate outside the “safe bubble”; they would probably have to stop outside a planetary system… ad infinitum.