Tag Archives: science

What To Do On Your Forced Day Off


Photo: Reeve Jolliffe (Flickr).

Do you remember the NYC blackout of 2003? The subways were crippled and people set off on hours-long walks to get home over bridges and on any buses they could get a grip of. Yeah, well I was there for it. Right in the shit. And if that weren’t enough, I was just as crippled as those subway lines; my feet bandaged from recent toe surgery. It wasn’t for the weak-minded. And can you believe I stuck around and did it all over again when Hurricane Sandy descended on the city and blew out the power grid in lower Manhattan like so many birthday candles?

But never mind the darkness in the streets. It’s the blackness that creeps over your mind when the 4C centrifuge you’re spinning that precious DNA in seizes up like your AK 47 in the middle of an offensive charge that will induce real panic. So what really happens when the lights go out in the midst of mind-blowing scientific discovery, forcing you to abandon your work? Find out here in my article published at Scizzle Blog.

I Discuss Science Art in a Science Discussion


Art has been a large part of science for hundreds of years; before imaging technologies, any scientific observations had to be drawn by hand in order to preserve the information for future research. This necessity spurned some of the most intricate and beautiful collections of naturalist art we have.

The tradition of Scientific Art (SciArt) persists today, however, with the advent of modern digital imaging techniques, it’s now more the work of artists interested in science than the other way around. This is interesting given the fact that it usually brings a level of interpretation with it, as most artists don’t have a PhD-level understanding of scientific principals and they are usually using science as part of a larger idea.

An exhibit called ‘Common Descent’, on display at Central Booking in NYC looks at the interpretation of science by artists; specifically evolution. In a recent panel discussion about the exhibit, I got the chance to sit down with another evolutionary biologist, Giacomo Mancini, as well as two artists featured in the exhibit, C Bangs and Lynn Sures. We discussed our work and the intersection of science and art and took questions from the audience concerning evolution in the modern age.

The panel moderator, Yasmin Tayag and myself wrote an article chronicling the event for the Scientific American guest blog. By all means, head over and check it out, and check out the exhibit if you get a chance; it’s on until June 8th.

BioBust your knowledge in the BioBus…or just visit them in May

logo24 copy

‘Maybe I should be watching the road, but this BIO..is..so..addictive..’

Do you ever think about volunteering? I don’t. The pay’s for shit. So I suppose we can all be happy that not everyone aspires to my whims and convictions. But if you are looking for a way to get over good with college admissions, your parole officer or God, why not teach some science while you’re at it.

The BioBus is a not-for-profit educational lab on wheels that brings science to the public. They pitch themselves such:

The BioBus is a high-tech science lab on wheels! With the research-grade equipment aboard the bus, students explore the world around them and make their own discoveries with the guidance of professional scientists.

Let’s be honest, I’m sure students are coaxed towards the discovery the ‘professional’ scientist is working to get across, but no doubt it’s a great idea and a program that deserves to be expanded. Please check it out and try to get involved, unless you’re not a scientific professional, or don’t care for volunteering. What’s more, the BioBus is rolling into the NYC area for two different events in May: The first for Earth Day in the Rockaways, the second for the Super Saturday STEM Expo at the Harlem Armory.

And now that I’ve pitched the BioBus, permit me a few lines to express my grievances with said Bus. Checking a map of BioBus activity shows a trend you might associate with layabouts and safe-players. The vast majority of their goodwill is concentrated in New England…


The BioBus crew may need a lesson in why buses were invented. Is Bret Michaels available?

Generally well-educated and wealthy New Englanders are the last people that need resume fluff or extra help getting excited about school – those attributes are worn well into their backs by their parents. No! (*stomps foot. clenches fists*) Gas that bitch up and get south. I’m sure there’s a clutch of children in Mississippi that believe thunder is the sound of God throwing an 11 pin strike (that’s how he rolls) and that the difference between a genetically modified and regular tomato is the introduction of DNA.

So, please, if you’re from the south, or hell, if you’re from anywhere in need of real education, contact the BioBus and request a visit. And if you’re from New England, stop being so damn selfish and lie – request a visit to somewhere worthwhile. Let’s spread the wealth a bit. All of this, of course, is not to say the BioBus doesn’t have good reason to stay out of Florida for reasons discussed previously.

The Benefits of Being Fundable

Yesterday I received a letter from Prudential life insurance. ‘Dear Mr. Wells’, it read, ‘We have recently been notified that you are no longer eligible for your group term life insurance coverage.’ This came only hours after receiving an email from the NYU benefits office stating that ‘[due to a change in employment code] there are no further benefits [beyond medical and dental] to which you are entitled, including participation in the NYU Retirement Plan.’ This email, though it failed to mention it, also formerly strips me of vision care and benefits allowing NYU employees to receive tuition remission for audited classes.

Believe it or not, this is my reward for securing my own postdoctoral funding through a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant (thereby relieving my boss from his previous duty to pay me).
Read More