humor


Five Reasons Why Scientists Should Not March . . . And Five Reasons Why They Might Just Should

Gene and Tonic

1.  There’s no good and elegant way for a scientist to march.  For one thing, there are no slide projectors.  In fact, there are really no tools for marching, except the bull horn.  And that takes someone who wants to talk loudly.   Duh!  Scientists don’t actually do things.  They get tools to do them.  

2.  Scientists marching in America would look too French.  Guillotines are for frogs and mice, not people.  

Summer Genomics Festival, the Other Sports Genes, and Brain Surgery for Fruit Flies

Gene and Tonic for June 5, 2015

What does genomics have to do with a hippie rock music event?  A few things.  Find out in today’s humorous preview of the Festival of Genomics, happening later this month in Boston.  

Yes, there are the sports genes everyone knows about.  But what about those less studied that might affect your career in sports?  Do you know what is written on the sports page of your genome?

And what has Ben Carson considering brain surgery?  Tune in to this week’s wrap of genomics news - it’s another Gene and Tonic from Mendelspod.

 

Gene and Tonic: Competition for 23andMe, Four Tips for Attending AACR 2015, and "Swab Stories"

An Old New DTC Co. on the Move

Let’s start with a bit of trivia.  What company has resorted to selling genetic ancestry testing online direct to consumers?  Hint:  the company is located in the San Francisco Bay area, has banked more than 800,000 samples from customers all over the world, and is slowly transforming itself into major biomedical player.

That’s right.  You got it.  It’s Ancestry.com.   

This week, an article over at Fusion revealed a company on the move.  The CEO of Ancestry.com, Tim Sullivan, says the company is “exploring ways that we could participate in health and provide our users with health insights."  Ancestry.com--which was founded by a couple Brigham Young University Grads--has been gathering customers’ family history data for decades.  Now they realize the gold mine they’ve been sitting on is much bigger than scoring free passes to the Mormon temple.

Watch out 23andMe.  You’ve got competition.

Four Tips for Attending AACR in Philadelphia

Now, if you work in life science, no doubt you are either headed to or know someone that is headed to the biggest cancer research show of the year,  AACR 2015.  In about a week, 18,500 scientists, doctors, patients, business folks will  descend on Philadelphia to figure out how to get patients to survive cancer long enough to get Alzheimer’s.

For conference goers, we thought we’d offer some helpful hints for your stay in Philly.

First of all , if you’re from California, enjoy using all the water you want.  Go for it.   Stay in the shower for an hour.   Revel in the fact that you don’t have to order water at the restaurant table.

Second--and this tip comes from city leaders.  They ask, what scientist has time to go to a museum?  Here’s a hands on suggestion for duplicating an experiment by one of  America’s first great scientists.      You don’t even have to leave the conference building or your hotel.  Get hold of  a metal key--your room card won’t work--and plug it into any electrical socket.   City leaders are quoted as saying, “This is an easy way to feel what Benjamin Franklin felt as he discovered the conductive properties of electricity.  No driving through crowded city streets.  And any electrical outlet in the city will do.”

Third, if you do have time for a museum, we’ve found just the one for you: the Mutter Museum, a medical museum located in the city center.  

Here you will find:

-a malignant tumor removed from President Grover Cleveland’s hard palate

-a piece of tissue removed from the thorax of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth

-slides of Albert Einstein’s brain

-and our favorite,  a giant nine foot long human colon that contained over 40 pounds of fecal matter

Our suggestion for lunch:  the equally enticing Philly Cheesesteak.

Fourth, we suggest you skip the Liberty Bell.  It’s just not all it’s cracked up to be.

Swab Stories

Finally, last week we came up with 10 reasons to  have your genome sequenced.  To find out that you married your first cousin, we joked, or to have that sperm donation from college come back and haunt you in the form of  your own kid.  Well, it turns out these aren’t jokes.

Have you heard of the DNA truck?  This is a lab on wheels that has been going around New York City for five years now swabbing people’s cheeks to answer their most private genetic dilemmas.  Well, it was announced this week that the DNA truck will be the subject of a new reality TV series on VH1.  That’s right.  We can now watch as a woman finds out that last night’s date was with her brother.   The title of the show:  Swab Stories.  I’m not kidding.  The entrepreneur and soon to be star of the show, Jared Rosenthal, says, “DNA is a human need.  I hope people see that this is a lot more universal than they realized.”

Which leaves us with the question:  Who’s your daddy?

 

Do Scientists have a Sense of Humor? With Brian Malow

This podcast was originally aired on March 1st, 2012

Sponsored by: BioConference Live

Guest:

Brian Malow, Science Comdian Bio and Contact Info

Listen (3:53) Who is your audience?

Listen (6:28) Do scientists have a sense of humor?

Listen (4:41) Your worst audience ever

Listen (3:41) How do you do your research?

Listen (5:44) Similarity between science and comedy

Listen (1:50) Two bacteria walk into a bar...

Listen (3:53) Those dry scientific presentations

Listen (6:12) Communicating science to the public

Listen (3:36) Thoughts on the God particle

Listen (2:52) Have you had your genome sequenced?

Listen (1:10) Mating habits of scientists

Our guest today is Brian Malow, one of a rare species of science comedians. He has performed for NASA, JPL, AAAS, ACS, and many other acronyms, he says. Brian makes science videos for Time Magazine Online and is a contributor to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s radio show. He also gives workshops to train scientists to become better speakers. We’re excited to have him to mendelspod.

Human Theome, Project Dick, and Other 2011 Stories You Missed with Nathaniel Comfort

Podcast Sponsor: We thank all our sponsors who have made mendelspod possible this year.

Affymetrix, Biotix, Epitomics, IDT, Ingenuity, Lab Roots, Laboratory Products Sales, Mo Bio, Science Exchange, Singulex, Traitwise

Guests:

Nathaniel Comfort, Science Historian Bio and Contact Info

Listen (6:29) On being a science historian

Listen (1:41) Art, history, and science

Listen (2:05) Thalassophia

Listen (4:27) Human Theome Project

Listen (2:53) Project Dick

Listen (3:28) Nature writes like a middle-schooler

Listen (7:16) Barbara McClintock-Is there feminine science?

Listen (4:39) Horace Judson, science historian

Listen (1:45) Writing style and purpose

Listen (7:22) Science changes notion of self

Listen (7:09) Commercialization of personal genetics

Listen (3:23) Science tattoos

We have a special, at times light-hearted, show to wrap up the year.  Joining us is science historian, Nathaniel Comfort.  Dr. Comfort is an associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of medicine and author of The Tangled Field, a book about nobel laureate Barbara McClintock.  Nathaniel also blogs regularly but not always earnestly.  His blogs this year have gone from a eulogy written for his mentor, a renowned science historian, to some satiric pieces on the absurd  and too often believed notion that there's a gene for everything.   These blogs will provide the material for much of our interview and you can be the judge of whether Nathaniel's humorous gene is expressing.

NOTE: It’s important to acknowledge that mendelspod has been made possible through the generous support of our sponsors throughout the year. We thank all of them for their partnership. We wish them and all of you a very happy holiday.

Human Theome Project sets sights on 2012

Joe and Mary Juke are models of piety. They attend services twice a week, are active in faith-based charity organizations, and their house brims tastefully with Christian iconography and literature. They describe themselves as “fundamentalists,” although Joe is quick to emphasize, “We’re moderate fundamentalists—we don’t bomb clinics or anything.” They are planning to have a family, and they are making sure to create a pious environment for their children. They know that the setting in which a child is raised helps determine the kind of adult he or she becomes.

End Times (The Telos of Telomeres)

For Aristotle, both ethics and politics flowed from the telos, the end or purpose of all things. In what may be record time for translating Nobel Prize benchwork to biotech snake oil, telomeres are the latest rage in high-tech diagnostics. Several startups are now pitching them as a way to tell your “biological age,” a new health metric that is as baffling as it is troubling.[1]

Eventful Days of April

April Fools Day

There were some big discoveries in the life sciences on April Fools Day (did you hear about a 24th chromosome being found?). So many, in fact, that we were busy all day doing research. After coming across the following announcement of "The Theome Project" around mid-afternoon, we just decided to head out for a drink and call it a day. We so enjoyed this post over at Genotopia, we’ve invited blogger Nathaniel Comfort to join us here at mendelspod.com:



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