Planned downtime over the weekend


Goran and our systems wizards will be upgrading Janelia’s network and some of our filesystems over the holiday weekend. We expect web services hosted by our lab will be unavailable at least sporadically from Friday evening ~8pm through Sunday ~4pm. This includes and HMMER RESTful computing services, access to software and publications at our lab home page, and the Janelia mirrors of Rfam and Pfam, etc. You won’t notice, it’s a holiday weekend, you shouldn’t be working anyway, right? We should be back to normal by Sunday evening.

A computational biologist walks into a museum

Field Museum logo

I’ve written parts of HMMER’s code in the shadow of a massive Tyrannosaurus, and this week I’ll get to do it again. I’m on an advisory committee for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, surely one of the few places you can sit in a cafe amongst dinosaurs. We’re meeting this Thursday and Friday at the museum. Getting a backstage pass to one of the great museums of the world is an awesome perk, but we’ve also got a serious job to do. In an age of iPads and ubiquitous information and entertainment, what should the future of a great natural history museum be?
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A man for our season

Peter Lawrence and Michael Locke wrote an essay that made an enormous impression on me (“A Man for Our Season”, Nature, 1997). For a long time a copy hung on the wall of the lab. I was reminded of it last week when I read a recent interview with Lawrence (“The Heart of Research is Sick”, Lab Times, 2011).

When it’s hard to reach me because I’m busy with my own research work; when I have to decline to travel to give seminars; when postdocs in my lab publish their own independent work without my name on their papers; when our papers go to open-access journals that do a good job of delivering substantive content regardless of that journal’s supposed “impact”; when I spend time on the details of a constructive peer review; when I help HHMI recruit and mentor younger scientists — and indeed when I moved to Janelia Farm, to be part of the idealistic culture that we want to build here — it’s principles much like Peter Lawrence’s that I’m aspiring to.

Real lives and white lies in the funding of scientific research

PLoS Biology, 2009

Retiring retirement
Nature, 2008

The mismeasurement of science
Current Biology, 2007

Men, women, and ghosts in science
PLoS Biology, 2006

The politics of publication
Nature, 2003

Rank injustice
Nature, 2002

Science or alchemy?
Nature Reviews Genetics, 2001

A man for our season
Nature, 1997