Genome Sequence Paper Title Generator

So, you and several dozen totally essential collaborators have been hard at work sequencing the genome of a super important species, and you’re ready to write up your results. Between doing the same analyses as every other genome sequencing study and overselling the novelty and significance of your results, you probably don’t have time to […]

Moore’s Law, the origin of life, and dropping turkeys off a building.

I’ve already mentioned the nonsensical paper “published” in (surprise, surprise) arXiv in which the authors claim that the origin of life occurred long before the origin of the Earth based on the application of Moore’s Law to DNA. I won’t go into all the reasons that this is silly — for that, you can […]

My new favourite student complaint.

An actual complaint from one of the students in my evolution course:

“He insists on using big, scientific words which are just annoying.”

Not all internet comments are stupid, but…

I didn’t like Prometheus.

I didn’t like the movie Prometheus. It thought it was incredibly lazy writing and didn’t even try to construct a coherent plot or introduce worthwhile characters. This was a real disappointment, because Alien and Aliens are great movies (Alien 3 sucked, and I couldn’t even bring myself to watch Alien: Resurrection). It seems that […]

The ENCODE view of genome size diversity: simple and silly.

Below is what I imagine the notes look like at ENCODE meetings, based on Ewan Birney’s comments on Twitter.

“We are the most complex things we know about. It’s not surprising that the manual is huge,” says Birney.

Click for larger […]

Baba Brinkman rocks Evolution 2012.

It hasn’t been all science talks during the Evolution 2012 conference in Ottawa. Last night, Oxford University Press and Trends in Ecology and Evolution treated attendees to the highly entertaining lyrical stylings of Baba Brinkman and his Rap Guide to Evolution. For those of you who missed it (note that this was mandatory for […]

Deepak Chopra vs. Random Quote Generator.

Here’s a fun game. Try to guess which of these were posted to Twitter by Deepak Chopra, and which were generated randomly by the algorithm at

Five are real, five are randomly generated:

A) “Impermanence keeps life fresh.”

B) “Your movement is rooted in the expression of possibilities.”

C) “Our consciousness is as […]

Scary emails.

Haven’t been blogging much recently due to being busy and other excuses. But here’s a quick post that highlights something I did learn early on as a faculty member: students will often read a fair bit into your emails. For example, I discovered that “Please come to my office.” is a terrifying email.


Should evolution be taught in school? Should math?

The first clip is a series of responses to the question “Should evolution be taught in school?” by the 2011 Miss USA contestants. If you can’t get through the whole thing (I couldn’t), don’t worry — you’ll get the gist of it quickly enough. The second clip is a spoof of the first. Enjoy! […]