EssentialstheDiagonal is a personal blog by Mike Gerra, skeptic, technologist, psychologist, artist, humanist, collector of grand, eclectic ideas.theDiagonal blog connects the dots across multiple disciplines for inquisitive, objective and critical thinkers, exploring the vertices of big science, disruptive innovation, global sustainability, illuminating literature and leftfield art. It is on this diagonal that creativity thrives, big ideas take flight and reason triumphs.
Monthly Archives: May 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
By Robert Pinsky for Slate:
The quality of wit, like the Hindu god Shiva, both creates and destroys—sometimes, both at once: The flash of understanding negates a trite or complacent way of thinking, and that stroke of obliteration at the same time creates a new form of insight and a laugh of recognition.
Also like Shiva, wit dances. Leaping gracefully, balancing speed and poise, it can re-embody and refresh old material. Negation itself, for example—verbal play with words like nothing and nobody: In one of the oldest jokes in literature, when the menacing Polyphemus asks Odysseus for his name, Odysseus tricks the monster by giving his name as the Greek equivalent of Nobody....read more
Thursday, May 20, 2010
From the New Scientist:
For the first time, scientists have created life from scratch – well, sort of. Craig Venter‘s team at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, and San Diego, California, has made a bacterial genome from smaller DNA subunits and then transplanted the whole thing into another cell. So what exactly is the science behind the first synthetic cell, and what is its broader significance?
What did Venter’s team do?
The cell was created by stitching together the genome of a goat pathogen called Mycoplasma mycoides from smaller stretches of DNA synthesised in the lab, and inserting the genome into the empty cytoplasm of a related bacterium. The transplanted genome booted up in its host cell, and then divided over and over to make billions of M. mycoides cells....read more