Saturday, September 26, 2015

banned books week

Tomorrow is the start of this year's Banned Books Week, and the 55th anniversary of the Lady Chatterley trial is coming up in October, more than enough reason to dig up the old book and read it at last:

The edition on the left is from 1960, just after the famous trial that ended its censorship, first reprinting of the first unabridged edition. The one on the right is from the 1970s. It also includes a preface by Richard Hoggart (an academic who wrote about popular culture and class issues in the UK and an expert witness at the trial), which is really insightful.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

artificial cells

The origin of life remains one of the great mysteries that science still faces. One of the approaches to address it is to try building living cells from scratch, an endeavour that has recently seen a boost due to new ways of creating small cell-like membrane bubbles, or vesicles. Additional benefits from this kind of research may materialise in medical applications like drug delivery and imaging.

Read all about it in my feature:

Artificial cells
Chemistry & Industry Volume 79, Issue 9, pages 22–25, Sept. 2015 DOI: 10.1002/cind.799_6.x

abstract and first page (Wiley)

access for SCI members

In the same issue, on page 49, there's also my review of the book: Junk DNA: a journey through the dark matter of the genome, by Nessa Carey.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

embracing the octopus

On the occasion of the first genome sequence of a cephalopod species I've had a closer look at the biology of the 8-legged animals and learned many amazing things about their evolution, intelligence, and how they make sure their arms don't bump into each other.

All this is in my latest feature:

Intelligent life without bones
Current Biology Volume 25, Issue 18, pR775–R777, 21 September 2015
Open access

The photo shows the octopus Wunderpus photogenicus, found in shallow waters from Indonesia to the Philippines. (Photo: Roy L. Caldwell.)