The Coin Toss and the Love Triangle, by Simon DeDEo

"here are two flavors of uncertainty in our lives. Math helps with both." Full article @ Nautilus



Why Is Academic Writing So Academic?

"Academic prose is, ideally, impersonal, written by one disinterested mind for other equally disinterested minds. But, because it’s intended for a very small audience of hyper-knowledgable, mutually acquainted specialists, it’s actually among the most personal writing there is. If journalists sound friendly, that’s because they’re writing for strangers. With academics, it’s the reverse." Full article @ The New Yorker



Reach Out and Touch Someone

"How do cells in the body communicate over long distances? Neurons do so through long cellular extensions—axons and dendrites—that establish direct contacts (synapses) with target cells. Other cells are thought to receive information through secreted signaling molecules that diffuse through a tissue. [...] Roy et al. provide evidence that signal-receiving cells do not passively wait, but reach out and grab the signal by making direct contact with signal-sending cells (see the figure)." Full comentary @ Science


The Robustness and Evolvability of Transcription Factor Binding Sites

"Robustness, the maintenance of a character in the presence of genetic change, can help preserve adaptive traits but also may hinder evolvability, the ability to bring forth novel adaptations. We used genotype networks to analyze the binding site repertoires of 193 transcription factors from mice and yeast, providing empirical evidence that robustness and evolvability need not be conflicting properties. Network vertices represent binding sites where two sites are connected if they differ in a single nucleotide. We show that the binding sites of larger genotype networks are not only more robust, but the sequences adjacent to such networks can also bind more transcription factors, thus demonstrating that robustness can facilitate evolvability." Full paper @ science



The Case for Blunders

"Brilliant Blunders, by Mario Livio, is a lively account of five wrong theories proposed by five great scientists during the last two centuries. These examples give for nonexpert readers a good picture of the way science works. The inventor of a brilliant idea cannot tell whether it is right or wrong." Full review @ The Case for Blunders by Freeman Dyson | The New York Review of Books

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