NATIONAL DNA DAY
Friday, April 25th is National DNA Day, which commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA's double helix. The National Human Genome Institute (NHGI) has all kinds of ways to celebrate and participate on their website.
One of the highlights is the American Society of Human Genetics Essay Contest. The 2014 winner is Rachel Gleyzer, a 10th grader from Hackensack, NJ, who wrote about the role genetics and the environment play in absolute pitch, "a person's ability to accurately and instantly identify a musical tone's pitch." As a recovering musical theater major who struggled through music theory classes, I'd love to finally have something besides my bad ear to blame for my difficulty with sightreading.
I love that her biology teacher, Carol Zepatos, emphasized the fact that "It's very important that good scientists are good communicators." Along with my fellow Scirens, I'm participating in the LIVE CosmoQuest Hangoutathon this Saturday at 12pm PDT to raise money for the virtual research center whose goal is to provide anyone with an interest in space the opportunity to partner with scientists using NASA data to explore the Solar System. One of the things we'll be talking about are communication skills and ways that scientists can better use the media for both education and outreach to the general public.
Of course, my favorite hero of DNA Day is Rosalind Franklin, whose research was crucial to the discovery of the helical structure of DNA. Sadly, she did not win the Nobel Prize in 1962 along with James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, as she passed away at the young age of 37 in 1958. The Nobel Prize can only be awarded to the living; had she been alive at the time, one can only hope her work would have been recognized. For more on Franklin, check out the following books and plays:
-Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox
-Rosalind Franklin and DNA by Anne Sayre
-Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler
COMMODORE AMIGA'S 15 MINUTES OF FAME
Back in the mid-1980s, Andy Warhol created a series of images, doodles and photos on the Commodore Amiga home computer. Until now, the only record of these were was an image of Blondie's Debby Harry that's part of a collection at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
But then YouTube came to the rescue!
New media artist Cory Arcangel saw a clip of Warhol from 1985. In the video, Warhol is at the Commodore Amiga's promotional launch event where he's working on the image of Harry.
As described in the press release from the Andy Warhol Museum:
During Arcangel’s November 2011 visit to Pittsburgh for his exhibition Masters, at Carnegie Museum of Art, he followed up on this topic with curator Tina Kukielski. Kukielski, who was also a co-curator of the 2013 Carnegie International, subsequently joined the Hillman Photography Initiative at CMOA. Kukielski and Arcangel reached out to CMU’s Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, run by Golan Levin, who connected them both to the CMU Computer Club, which is a student organization known for their comprehensive collection of obsolete computer hardware, as well as their prize-winning retro-
computing software development.
In 2011, Matt Wrbican, chief archivist at The Warhol, was approached by Arcangel and Kukielski to discuss the possibility of searching for files on the disks which he first saw in Warhol’s former New York City studio in 1991. Having himself been an Amiga user, he shared their enthusiasm for the hunt for images.
In a statement, the Warhol’s Director Eric Shiner said, “Warhol saw no limits to his art practice. These computer generated images underscore his spirit of experimentation and his willingness to embrace new media – qualities which, in many ways, defined his practice from the early 1960s onwards.”
[Initial Source: The Verge]
NET NEUTRALITY UPDATE
I hope you like reading my posts. Wouldn't it suck if it took forever for my page to load in your browser, or if the videos that I shared with you took too long to play? Well, that could be the new harsh reality because of this week's decision by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to allow companies to essentially purchase a pass to the fast lane on the Internet.
Basically, it means that if a company has the money, they can pay for their content to get to consumers faster. Which pretty much puts an end to a free, open and democratic internet. Because we're all busy and impatient, which means that if something takes too long to load, we click away from it. There's no way the little guys can compete against huge corporations that have the dough to purchase their fast pass. It also means that the costs for those fast passes may make their way to the consumer.
Or, as explained in this piece in The Guardian:
Consider: an ISP like, say, Time Warner Cable, tells, say, Google that its YouTube videos won't reach us at the, say, "gold package" speed we've already paid for ... unless Google, too, pays a gold-standard fee. That is nothing short of a protection racket, run by a company that has little or no competition. In an actually competitive market, an ISP couldn't conceivably get away with such a thing.
Not everything about the proposed rules, as leaked, is awful. Forcing ISPs to be much more transparent about the level of service they actually provide, for example, is highly useful. Getting them to comply honestly, given their record, is another story.
As an independent content creator, this is an issue that is extremely important to me. I'll continue posting thoughts and information about it. And if you need some background or want to take action, a good place to start is the article quoted above, which breaks down the situation and recommends several things to do in response.