John Tyler Bonner announcement from Princeton

John Tyler Bonner

John Tyler Bonner
Photo by Denise Applewhite, Princeton University Office of Communications.

Close on the heels David Kirk, another of my scientific heroes, John Tyler Bonner, died two weeks ago. Now Princeton University has published an announcement that gives some background on Bonner’s life and career:

A three-time chair of the Department of Biology, Bonner served on the Princeton faculty for 42 years and remained active teaching and researching for more than two decades after transferring to emeritus status in 1990.

Primary among Bonner’s accomplishments were his discoveries about the behavior of slime molds, which are found in soils throughout the world. He led the way in making Dictyostelium discoideum a model organism central to examining some of the major questions in experimental biology.

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If you really want me to not trust you (a rant)

Tell me you want to discuss something contentious on the phone, then go dark when I tell you I’d rather communicate by email. This has happened to me twice lately, once with a business I’ve criticized here on the blog, and once with a member of the staff here at Georgia Tech. What is it that’s so important that you want to schedule a phone call across five time zones, but suddenly a lot less important when I ask you to put it in writing?

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How did I miss this?

Volvox Group Limited

Volvox Group Limited:

Volvox Group Limited manufactures and distributes automotive lighting and electrical products in the United Kingdom. It distributes its products to transport industries, workshops, leisure, and the industrial consumables market. Volvox Group Limited also involves in delivering mains power in vehicles from the 12v battery to developing eco-friendly wind-up torches, as well as offers automotive bulbs and industrial tools. Volvox Group Limited was incorporated in 2005 and is based in Leeds, United Kingdom. The company is a former subsidiary of Ring Lamp Company Ltd.

Incorporated in 2005 means there’s no chance I ever had a Volvox light bulb in my ’77 MGB.

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Big Biology Podcast

Big Biology logoI listened to the first couple of episodes of the Big Biology podcast this weekend, and it’s quite good. Marty Martin from the University of South Florida and Art Woods from the University of Montana interview scientists about cool topics. In the first two episodes, they talk to Robert Dudley about why primates like alcohol and Denis Noble about the role(s) of stochasticity in biology.

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ZX81

I can usually one-up most anybody when it comes to my first computer (anybody except my mom, that is…more on that later). Around 1981 or 1982, I got a Sinclair ZX81, probably for Christmas or my 11th or 12th birthday. My dad says that ‘we’ assembled it from a kit, which undoubtedly means he assembled it from a kit and I watched as long as my 11-year-old attention span allowed.

The ZX81 rocked a Zilog Z80 8-bit CPU at 3.25 MHz. For those of you who grew up in the 90’s and never saw an ‘M’ in front of the ‘Hz’, that’s three and a quarter megahertz, just about 11000 the speed of today’s PCs (if a cycle got the same amount of work done, which it certainly didn’t). The operating system was BASIC, and programming was accomplished using the pressure-sensitive membrane keyboard (sort of like the pin pad of an ATM or gas pump). The keyboard was only about six inches wide, so typing was strictly a hunt-and-peck affair; even my 11-year-old fingers wouldn’t fit on ASDF JKL;.

Sinclair ZX81 with 16 kb RAM pack and thermal printer. By Carlos Pérez RuizFlickr: ZX81 + rampack + ZX Printer, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

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Research Features: seems sketchy to me

I see that it’s been nearly three weeks since I posted, maybe the longest gap since I started this. It wasn’t a conscious decision, just a combination of deadlines and life in general.

Research Features

Back in April, I got an email out of the blue from a ‘Project Manager’ at Research Features, a digital magazine “…born from a passion to break down barriers that exist in the dissemination life cycle from researcher to the mass audience.”

Dear Dr. Herron

I would like to speak with you concerning your work with the Collaborative Research: De Novo Evolution of Multicellularity in a Unicellular Volvocine Alga study.

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