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Those who can, do – and teach

By Glen Martin
September 15, 2014

Synthetic biology is poised to change everything from energy development to food production to medicine — but there’s a bottleneck looming. How fast things develop depends on the number of people developing things. Let’s face it: there aren’t that many biocoders. …

Those who can, do – and teach

By Glen Martin
September 9, 2014

Synthetic biology is poised to change everything from energy development to food production to medicine — but there’s a bottleneck looming. How fast things develop depends on the number of people developing things. Let’s face it: there aren’t that many biocoders. …

Synthetic biology on the cusp

By Glen Martin
September 4, 2014

Whither thou goest, synthetic biology? First, let’s put aside the dystopian scenarios of nasty modified viruses escaping from the fermentor Junior has jury-rigged in his bedroom lab. Designing virulent microbes is well beyond the expertise and budgets of homegrown biocoders. …

Synthetic biology on the cusp

By Glen Martin
September 4, 2014

Whither thou goest, synthetic biology? First, let’s put aside the dystopian scenarios of nasty modified viruses escaping from the fermentor Junior has jury-rigged in his bedroom lab. Designing virulent microbes is well beyond the expertise and budgets of homegrown biocoders. …

Synthetic biology on the cusp

By Glen Martin
September 4, 2014

Whither thou goest, synthetic biology? First, let’s put aside the dystopian scenarios of nasty modified viruses escaping from the fermentor Junior has jury-rigged in his bedroom lab. Designing virulent microbes is well beyond the expertise and budgets of homegrown biocoders. …

Designing real vegan cheese

By Mike Loukides
July 17, 2014

I don’t think I will ever get tired of quoting Drew Endy’s “keep synthetic biology weird.” One of my favorite articles in the new issue of Biocoder is on the Real Vegan Cheese project. If you’ve ever tried any of …

Designing real vegan cheese

By Mike Loukides
July 17, 2014

I don’t think I will ever get tired of quoting Drew Endy’s “keep synthetic biology weird.” One of my favorite articles in the new issue of Biocoder is on the Real Vegan Cheese project. If you’ve ever tried any of …

Designing real vegan cheese

By Mike Loukides
July 17, 2014

I don’t think I will ever get tired of quoting Drew Endy’s “keep synthetic biology weird.” One of my favorite articles in the new issue of Biocoder is on the Real Vegan Cheese project. If you’ve ever tried any of …

Open source biology

By Mike Loukides
July 15, 2014

At O’Reilly, we’ve long been supporters of the open source movement — perhaps not with the religious fervor of some, but with a deep appreciation for how open source has transformed the computing industry over the last three decades. We …

Open source biology

By Mike Loukides
July 15, 2014

At O’Reilly, we’ve long been supporters of the open source movement — perhaps not with the religious fervor of some, but with a deep appreciation for how open source has transformed the computing industry over the last three decades. We …

Open source biology

By Mike Loukides
July 15, 2014

At O’Reilly, we’ve long been supporters of the open source movement — perhaps not with the religious fervor of some, but with a deep appreciation for how open source has transformed the computing industry over the last three decades. We …

Where the Boys (and Girls) Are

By Edie Freedman
July 6, 2014

Solving the mystery of the “lost years” Ever tried to track a baby sea turtle? It’s not easy. They hatch on the beach and immediately head out to sea to go—where? For years, scientists have put forth various theories about where the baby …

The post Where the Boys (and Girls) Are appeared first on Animals.

Biology as I/O

By Jon Bruner
April 24, 2014

Tim O’Reilly subjected himself to an engaging Ask Me Anything session on Reddit earlier this week. The focus of the exchange was the Internet of Things, in anticipation of our Solid conference taking place next month. We’re always listening for faint signals from …

Robots in the lab

By Mike Loukides
April 23, 2014

In the new issue of BioCoder, Peter Sand writes about Hacking Lab Equipment. It’s well worth a read: it gives a number of hints about how standard equipment can be modified so that it can be controlled by a program. This …

Announcing BioCoder issue 3

By Mike Loukides
April 15, 2014

We’re excited about the third issue of BioCoder, O’Reilly’s newsletter about the revolution in biology and biotechnology. In the first article of our new issue, Ryan Bethencourt asks the question “What does Biotechnology Want?” Playing with Kevin Kelly’s ideas about how technological development drives …

Distributed science

By Mike Loukides
April 11, 2014

In my post on biohacking and bioterrorism, I briefly mentioned the possibility of vaccines and other treatments developed outside of institutional research. That may be far-fetched, and I certainly hope we’re never in a situation where DIY treatments are the only …

Biohacking and the problem of bioterrorism

By Mike Loukides
April 8, 2014

You don’t get very far discussing synthetic biology and biohacking before someone asks about bioterrorism. So, let’s meet the monster head-on. I won’t downplay the possibility of a bioterror attack. It’s already happened. The Anthrax-contaminated letters that were sent to political figures …

Academic biology and its discontents

By Mike Loukides
February 6, 2014

When we started BioCoder, we assumed that we were addressing the DIYbio community: interested amateur hobbyists and experimenters without much formal background in biology, who were learning and working in independent hackerspaces. A couple of conversations have made me question that …

Cheese, art, and synthetic biology

By Mike Loukides
January 29, 2014

We’ve published the second issue of BioCoder! In this interview excerpt from the new edition, Christina Agapakis talks with Katherine Liu about the intersection of art and science, and the changes in how we think about biotechnology. It’s one of …

The first two weeks of BioCoder

By Mike Loukides
October 25, 2013

We’ve been having a great time — more than 6,000 downloads, almost 13,000 visits to the landing page, and we don’t know how many people have shared it. Ryan Bethencourt observed that our readers are the largest group of DIY …

The biocoding revolution

By Ryan Bethencourt
October 21, 2013

What is biocoding? For those of you who have been following the biotechnology industry, you’ll have heard of the rapid advances in genome sequencing. Our ability to read the language of life has advanced dramatically, but only recently have we …

Announcing BioCoder

By Mike Loukides
October 16, 2013

We’re pleased to announce BioCoder, a newsletter on the rapidly expanding field of biology. We’re focusing on DIY bio and synthetic biology, but we’re open to anything that’s interesting. Why biology? Why now? Biology is currently going through a revolution as …

Four short links: 11 October 2013

By Nat Torkington
October 11, 2013

Programming Synthetic DNA (Science Daily) — eventually enabling the reification of bugs. Schwartz — a shell for Quartz 2D with Python. The Slow Winter — best writing about the failure of Moore’s Law and the misery of being in hardware. …

Podcast: expanding our experience of interfaces and interaction

By Jenn Webb
October 7, 2013

At our Sci Foo Camp this past summer, Jon Bruner, Jim Stogdill, Roger Magoulas, and I were joined by guests Amanda Parkes, a professor in the Department of Architecture at Columbia University, and CTO at algae biofuels company Bodega Algae …

Essential things you probably don’t know much about

By Edie Freedman
September 24, 2013

We’re talking plankton. Yep, plankton. Bet most of you don’t know much about plankton, but you probably should, since they contribute substantially to the oxygen you breathe, among other essential planet-supporting activities. Now there’s a fun, mind-expanding way to learn …

The post Essential things you probably don’t know much about appeared first on Animals.

Genetically modified foods: asking the right questions

By Mike Loukides
September 10, 2013

A while ago, I read an article in Mother Jones: GM Crops Are Killing Monarch Butterflies, After All. Given the current concerns about genetically modified foods, it was predictable — and wrong, in a way that’s important. If you read …

Podcast: emerging technology and the coming disruption in design

By Jenn Webb
August 30, 2013

On a recent trip to our company offices in Cambridge, MA, I was fortunate enough to sit down with Jonathan Follett, a principal at Involution Studios and an O’Reilly author, and Mary Treseler, editorial strategist at O’Reilly. Follett currently is …

Podcast: what makes a scientist?

By Jon Bruner
June 26, 2013

At Sci Foo Camp last weekend we enjoyed sitting down with several thoughtful scientists and thinkers-about-science to record a few podcast episodes. Here we speak with Tom Daniel, a professor of biology, computer science, and neurobiology at the University of …

Glowing Plants

By Mike Loukides
April 26, 2013

I just invested in BioCurious’ Glowing Plants project on Kickstarter. I don’t watch Kickstarter closely, but this is about as fast as I’ve ever seen a project get funded. It went live on Wednesday; in the afternoon, I was backer …

Data science in the natural sciences

By Chris Wiggins
November 12, 2012

I find myself having conversations recently with people from increasingly diverse fields, both at Columbia and in local startups, about how their work is becoming “data-informed” or “data-driven,” and about the challenges posed by applied computational statistics or big data. …

George Church and the potential of synthetic biology

By Mike Loukides
November 9, 2012

A few weeks ago, I explained why I thought biohacking was one of the most important new trends in technology. If I didn’t convince you, Derek Jacoby’s review (below) of George Church’s new book, Regenesis, will. Church is no stranger …

Biohacking: The next great wave of innovation

By Mike Loukides
October 3, 2012

I’ve been following synthetic biology for the past year or so, and we’re about to see some big changes. Synthetic bio seems to be now where the computer industry was in the late 1970s: still nascent, but about to explode. …

Four short links: 19 March 2012

By Nat Torkington
March 19, 2012

Examining His Own Body (Science Now) -- Stanford prof. has sequenced his DNA and is now getting massively Quantified Self on his metabolism, infections, etc. This caught my eye: George Church, who has pioneered DNA sequencing technology and runs the Personal Genome Project* at Harvard Medical School in Boston that enrolls people willing to share genomic and medical information...

Four short links: 8 November 2011

By Nat Torkington
November 8, 2011

Attempts to Make a Cell Operating System (Science Daily) -- finally we will be able to have the guaranteed quality of software and the safety of biological organisms. Why Kids Can't Search (Clive Thompson) -- kids need to be taught critical thinking skills about what they find on the web. Librarians are our national leaders in this fight; they’re...

Four short links: 8 November 2011

By Nat Torkington
November 8, 2011

Attempts to Make a Cell Operating System (Science Daily) -- finally we will be able to have the guaranteed quality of software and the safety of biological organisms. Why Kids Can't Search (Clive Thompson) -- kids need to be taught critical thinking skills about what they find on the web. Librarians are our national leaders in this fight; they’re...

Four short links: 22 July 2011

By Nat Torkington
July 22, 2011

Competitive Advantage Through Data -- the applications and business models for erecting barriers around proprietary data assets. Sees data businesses in these four categories: contributory data sourcing, offering cleaner data, data generated from service you offer, and viz/ux. The author does not yet appear to be considering when open or communal data is better than proprietary data, and how...

OSCON Preview: Interview with Eri Gentry on a biologist's coffeehouse

By Andy Oram
July 21, 2011

BioCurious is a Silicon Valley gathering place for biologists and other people such as artists who are fascinated by biology. It serves for learning, sharing, and an incubator for products and ideas.

OSCON Preview: Interview with Eri Gentry on a biologist's coffeehouse

By Andy Oram
July 21, 2011

BioCurious is a Silicon Valley gathering place for biologists and other people such as artists who are fascinated by biology. It serves for learning, sharing, and an incubator for products and ideas.

Four short links: 24 May 2010

By Nat Torkington
May 24, 2010

Google Documents API -- permissions, revisions, search, export, upload, and file. Somehow I had missed that this existed. Profile of Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange (Sydney Morning Herald) -- he draws no salary, is constantly on the move, lived for a while in a compound in Nairobi with other NGOs, and cowrote the rubberhose filesystem which offers deniable encryption. OpenPCR...

Four short links: 27 January 2010

By Nat Torkington
January 27, 2010

Why I Am Disappointed with Nature Communications (Cameron Neylon) -- fascinating to learn what you can't do with "non-commercial"-licensed science research: using a paper for commercially funded research even within a university, using the content of paper to support a grant application, using the paper to judge a patent application, using a paper to assess the viability of a...

Four short links: 23 September 2009

By Nat Torkington
September 22, 2009

Projections (YouTube) -- the incredible video projection onto an old English manor house by Kiwi Foo Camp alums The Dark Room. Where Will Synthetic Biology Lead Us? (NYTimes) -- a thoughtful article about the possibilities and cautions of synthetic biology. . “A house pet is a domesticated parasite,” he noted. “ It is evolved to have an interaction with...

Four short links: 5 August 2009

By Nat Torkington
August 4, 2009

Reboot Britain Video Archive -- video from the talks at Reboot Britain are online. The event also produced a essay set (PDF), CC-licensed. (via Paul Reynolds) Revealing Errors -- Benjamin Mako Hill blog using computer errors as starting points for understanding how computers control the world around us. (via Dan Meyer) New Microbe Strain Makes More Electricity, Faster --...

Four short links: 28 July 2009

By Nat Torkington
July 27, 2009

CNMAT Resource Library -- The CNMAT Resource Library is our fast growing collection of materials, sensors, gestural controllers, interface devices, tools, demos, prototypes and products - all organized and annotated to support the design of physical interaction systems, "new lutherie" and art installations. (via egoodman on Delicious) PyGoWave Server -- first third-party Google Wave server, based on Django. Mobile...

Four short links: 27 July 2009

By Nat Torkington
July 27, 2009

Ignite OSCON -- 56m of video from Ignite OSCON. They're all great, but Dan Meyer remains the highlight for me. gheat -- a maptile server in Python, delivering heatmaps to be superimposed on Google Maps. Handy for visualization fiends. CaDNAno -- open source software for design of 3-dimensional DNA origami. One of George Church's projects. I love the combination...

Four short links: 15 July 2009

By Nat Torkington
July 14, 2009

Endogenous steroids and financial risk taking on a London trading floor (PNAS) -- We found that a trader's morning testosterone level predicts his day's profitability. We also found that a trader's cortisol rises with both the variance of his trading results and the volatility of the market. Our results suggest that higher testosterone may contribute to economic return, whereas...

Four short links: 9 June 2009

By Nat Torkington
June 9, 2009

Drawing Inspiration From Nature To Build A Better Radio -- based on the design of the cochlear, this MIT-built RF chip is faster than others out there, and consumes 1/100th the power. Biomimicry and UWB radio are on our radar. Why the Smart Grid Won’t Have the Innovations of the Internet Any Time Soon -- While it’s significant that...

Four short links: 12 May 2009

By Nat Torkington
May 12, 2009

Lacie 10TB Storage -- for what used to be the price of a good computer, you can now buy 10TB of storage. Storage on sale goes for less than $100 a terabyte. This obviously promotes collecting, hoarding, packratting, and the search technology necessary to find what you've stashed away. Analogies to be drawn between McMansions full of Chinese-made crap...

Four short links: 5 May 2009

By Nat Torkington
May 4, 2009

Supermap -- The CIA's venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel, is paying an undisclosed sum to California-based Geosemble Technologies to develop an intelligence version of the "geospatial data integration and layering technology" that the company developed for use by urban planners, real estate investors and market analysts. The technology combines overhead imagery, maps and heavy-duty data mining to create a map-based...

Four short links: 4 May 2009

By Nat Torkington
May 4, 2009

Old Japanese Maps on Google Earth Unveil Secrets -- Google criticised for putting up map layers showing the towns where a discriminated-against class came from, because that class is still discriminated against and Google didn't put any "cultural context" around it. Google and their maps didn't make the underclass, Japanese society did. Because they're sensitive about having the problem,...

Personal Genome Project Expanding the Personal Gene Pool from 10 to 100,000

By Timothy M. O'Brien
April 26, 2009

The Personal Gemone Project is evolving from a small pilot of ten to a massive collection of 100,000 public medical histories and DNA sequences. Find out how you can register to participate in an experiment that will lay the necessary foundation for a complete understanding of how one's genetic sequence affects health and disease.


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