Whims of Poesie

“Real are the dreams of readers that did pass their pearls,
to the cunning musings of philosophers pinning their hopes,
of finding Sophia’s chalk outlines inside the madhouse of summer,
evading the swift calculus of a polecat’s hate or a serpent’s feast.”

I Just Saw this Picture and I’m So Disturbed. Because it’s Me.

Powerfully and viscerally written piece on racism.


13653430_1070638483027630_2650636656912865440_o-1 This morning The Love Life of an Asian Guy posted this picture on facebook with the following commentary:

This is one of the most powerful images I’ve seen in years.

You’re peeking directly into the laboratory of white supremacy. A system that will send TWO men in full riot gear to arrest ONE Black woman for one purpose: give her a criminal record.

If she is charged (most Black protestors are) for participating in a peaceful protest, she’ll be forced to disclose her new criminal record on ALL job applications and applications for rent.

That one small change can limit where she works, how much she can get paid, and where she can rent.

The implications are LIFE CHANGING. This act of arresting peaceful Black protestors is SYSTEMATIC RACISM AT WORK, BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES.

“You’re a Harvard Law graduate? 7 years of experience? Nice! Ooh, it looks like…

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The Best and Worst of 2015 – Genetic Genealogy Year in Review

Lots of good Genealogy and DNA testing info on this blog.

DNAeXplained - Genetic Genealogy

2015 Best and Worst

For the past three years I’ve written a year-in-review article. You can see just how much the landscape has changed in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 versions.

This year, I’ve added a few specific “award” categories for people or firms that I feel need to be specially recognized as outstanding in one direction or the other.

In past years, some news items, announcements and innovations turned out to be very important like the Genographic Project and GedMatch, and others, well, not so much. Who among us has tested their full genome today, for example, or even their exome?  And would you do with that information if you did?

And then there are the deaths, like the Sorenson database and Ancestry’s own Y and mitochondrial data base. I still shudder to think how much we’ve lost at the corporate hands of Ancestry.

In past years, there have often been big new…

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The First Scientist

History and Science. Two of my favorite topics combined telling a tale of William Gilbert of Colchester the master of magnetism using a revolutionary new way of discovering truth: the scientific method.


I was prompted to post this partly in response to the posting yesterday by Thecuriousastronomer about Galileo.


William Gilbert of Colchester deserves pride of place in any account of the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, because he was the first person to set out clearly in print the essence of the scientific method – the testing of hypotheses by rigorous experiments – and to put that method into action.  He did so to such effect that his discoveries in the field of magnetism were unsurpassed for two centuries; and by a happy calendrical coincidence, his great book on magnetism was published at the dawn of the new century, in 1600.
     To put Gilbert’s life and work in an historical perspective, in 1600 Elizabeth I was nearing the end of her long reign.  The Spanish Armada had been defeated just twelve years earlier, and although the first attempt…

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GBacteria from Lean Humans Can Slim Obese Mice

Interesting. Between this end using blood from young children the old and wealthy will have many opportunities for greater health.


Graduate student Vanessa Ridaura and colleagues at the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, University of Washington School of Medicine reported in the September 6 issue of Science that mice lacking bacterial colonies of their own that received gut bacteria from obese humans put on more weight and accumulated more fat than mice that were given bacteria from the guts of lean humans.

To directly test the influence of the human gut microbiome on obesity, the investigators sampled microbes living in the guts of human fraternal and identical twins, one of whom was lean while the other, obese. They introduced these microbes into germ-free mice fed low-fat mouse chow, as well as diets representing different levels of saturated fat and fruit and vegetable consumption typical of the U.S. diet. Increased total body and fat mass, as well as obesity-associated metabolic phenotypes, were transmissible with uncultured fecal communities and with…

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