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A place of mostly science, art, writing and occasionally Chewbacca, all lovingly archived by Dave Ng. For recent highlights just scroll down, but also note the handy tag system (for finding that piece of media for your next science talk) just below. Enjoy!

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anatomy, astronomy, biochemistry, biodiversity, biology, botany, cell biology, chemistry, chewbacca, climate change, data, dinosaurs, energy, entomology, environment, evolution, food, fossil fuels, genetics, geography, geology, graphs, laboratory, marine life, math, medicine, microbiology, molecular biology, neuroscience, ornithology, paleontology, physics, planetary science, quantum physics, science careers, science history, science literacy, scientific method, scientist, solar system, space, strange paper, sustainability, technology, zoology

“Science is awesome, that is all”.

Jupiter in high resolution equals “Death Star.”

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From reddit user quadcem, Boing Boing.

This paper cut bacterium (an e.coli and salmonella hybrid) is pretty amazing.

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By Rogan Brown, via Colossal

The (incredibly fast) evolution of your desk.

Via YouTube.

Beautiful biodiversity pictures made from fern leaves. #whoa

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By Helen Ahpornsiri/, via Colossal.

Registration open for next molecular biology workshop. June 15th to 19th, 2015

Via my lab’s website (bioteach.ubc.ca). Note that all revenue from this workshop goes towards our outreach programming.

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MOLECULAR BIOLOGY TECHNIQUES WORKSHOPS (SUMMER 2015 PROGRAM):

Registration is open

To inquire about registration, please contact Dr. David Ng at db@mail.ubc.ca

(1) ONE WEEK VERSION
Dates: June 15th to 19th, 2015 (5 days: Monday to Friday)
Price: CAN$1400 (does not include room or board)


Reviews and testimonies from our last workshop

“Excellent workshop!! Great balance between lecture and lab, and I was very impressed on the volume of content squeezed into the five days. Dave’s delivery was very good, nice amount of light hearted humour mixed in. Highly recommended!”
David Dunn, Head, Chemistry Services Laboratory, Pacific Forestry Centre, NRC

“Great bootcamp format! I enjoyed the vast range of topics and the balance of lecture and practical hands-on techniques”
Robert Kowbel, Scientific Support Technician, Pacific Forestry Centre, NRC

More can be found here.


INSTRUCTOR: Dr. David Ng

DESCRIPTION: This intense 5 day workshop will focus on a myriad of different techniques used in the molecular manipulation of DNA (general cloning, transformation, silica kits, pI kits, PCR, qPCR), RNA (isolation, reverse transcription) and protein (SDS-PAGE, 2D gels), as well as lectures that will describe some high throughput technologies such as SNP analysis, and next generation sequencing. Primarily aimed at researchers who are new to the area, familiar but require a quick updating, or theoretically familiar but lacking in practical bench training.

PHILOSOPHY: Whilst molecular techniques have evolved at a blindingly fast rate over the last few decades, the underlying biochemical principles behind the vast majority of them have actually changed little. This workshop therefore combines opportunities to perform the latest, as well as commonly used older techniques, with particular attention to the chemical nuts and bolts behind them. In all, this allows the researcher to not only gain needed practical hands-on familiarity with the techniques, but also achieve a comfortable theoretical level to allow for both (1) that all important skill of troubleshooting, and (2) the often undervalued skill of judging the utility of “tricks” that aim to speed up, or lower costs of a given methodology.

NOTE: You can also see our Feb 2015 editions of our lecture notes, and lab manual for a frame of reference.

LOCATION:
Located in the heart of the UBC campus, the Michael Smith Laboratories is a testament to the vision of its founding Director, Dr. Michael Smith. Under his leadership, a gifted team of young scientists were recruited. These scientists have gone on to develop internationally renowned programs of research and training. The second and third floors of the new building are dedicated to the research facilities of the former Biotechnology Laboratory. The Stewart and Marilyn Blusson Education Forum is located on the ground floor and is open to the public. The molecular techniques workshops are held in the teaching lab, room 105 of this forum.
(click here for detailed directions)

REGISTRATION DETAILS:
Registration is essentially through first: an email inquiry for space (contact Dr. David Ng at db@mail.ubc.ca), second: a verbal/email commitment and then third via an invoiced payment. Your place is essentially secured with payment, which more or less equates to a first come first serve mechanism. This payment would be a CAN$1400 cheque (or equivalent) payable to “The University of British Columbia” and sent to

Dr. David Ng
Michael Smith Laboratories
301-2185 East Mall,
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, CANADA V6T 1Z3

Note that we can accommodate a maximum of 16 clients, but on occasion up to half of these spaces are already reserved for predetermined group clients. Therefore, it’s best to put your name down as soon as possible if you are interested in the workshop.

REFUND POLICY
Your spot in the workshop is secured when we receive your payment. The deadline for receipt of payments is 30 days after the invoice date unless otherwise arranged. Note that refunds are made available until 2 weeks prior to the workshop start date – we are unable to issue any refunds after this deadline has passed.

DAY TO DAY SCHEDULING DETAILS:
Workshop will begin each day at 9am sharp and usually end between 4:30pm and 5:30pm. A detailed final schedule and syllabus will be released to clients as the date draws nearer.

MATERIALS:
All paper materials will be provided on the first day of the workshop. Downloadable versions will be available about 3 weeks before the workshop begins. Whilst we do not require the clients to “study” these documents, we do ask that clients take a moment to peruse the first day practical materials. All safety gear (including lab coats) is provided at the workshop.

ACCOMMODATIONS:
Here are some accommodation options that are basically on campus. Costs involved would vary (I think the most budget option would be the Vancouver Youth Hostel which is about a 15minute bus ride away). The closest would be those of Gage through UBC conferences. The others (except for point grey house) are all a relatively short walk away.

International Youth Hostel at Jericho Beach
UBC accomodations (on campus – note there are only 47 available)
St. John’s College (on campus)
Green College (on campus)
St. Andrew’s Hall (summer only)
Point Grey House (off campus, but only 10 minute bus ride away)

Alternatively, Downtown Vancouver offers a variety of accommodation options, but would entail about a 30-40minute bus ride each way. Depends on your preference since the Campus is pretty quiet at night time, whereas other areas would be more interesting. Go to www.expedia.ca, and select:

hotel > near an attraction/vancouver > type in “University of British Columbia”

Usually the out of town clients make use of a little extra time after or before the workshop in visiting some of the sights Vancouver has to offer. I often strongly recommend this since the city and surrounding locale are really quite spectacular. In particular Whistler-Blackcomb is a world famous ski/outdoor resort, and is only a 2 hour drive away. Ski season usually opens in mid November (click here for more info)

Also known as “Phylogenetic Analysis of Magical Creatures.” A Harry Potter themed phylogenomics paper.

Attention to detail is pretty cool. One of my favourite parts (apart from the phylogenetic tree itself) is the post note that says: “Genetic sequences for all genes will be provided upon request. Due to magical laws, we are unable to publish them on GenBank.”

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Holy crap! It’s a photo of a weasel riding on the back of a woodpecker!

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Photo by Martin Le-May (see here for more details) via io9.

Art collaboration between artist and a swarm of bees results in a hive sculpture

“As creative director of the process, the Rotterbam-based artist collaborated with Dutch beekeepers to guide the meticulous insects into filling the metal frame with perfect hexagons of beeswax.”

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By Tomas Libertiny (plus 60,000 bees), via/text My Modern Met.

Dinosaur (and pterosaur) ORIGAMI #beautiful

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By Adam Tram, via Colossal

“We are dead stars looking back up in the sky.” Lovely video on human existence and the pathway of our atoms

From the Atlantic, h/t @experrinment

Yes, there is a dinosaur in my microscope slide. #seriously

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Via (by?) @aukeappelman

This looks awesome! I just backed “Jill Trent, Science Sleuth #1″ by @superdames.

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The above panels from “The Sinister Smokescreen,” script by Jacqueline Ching, art by Michael R. Hall, colors by Frank Barbara, letters by Declan Fitz.

And here is the comic:

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By superdames.org. Go get a copy at kickstarter.

In a way, this is the scientific method distilled wonderfully in 6 panels.

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By David Malki (Wondermark), hat tip to Matthew Francis.

Where the borders of selected US states literally look like an elf making chicken.

I feel like this needs to be an official scientific thing – you know in terms of climatology trends or a specific biodiversity habitat.

mimal

Via Futility Closet.

Just because: Birds in Elizabethan and Georgian attire by Katrina Rhodes

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By Katrina Rhodes, via Sweet Station

Rachel Ignotofsky’s awesome Women in Science drawings.

Rachel* has really outdone herself this time. This is just all kinds of brilliant.

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janegoodall

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* Rachel was also involved in the lab’s “Voyage of the Beagle” deck.

Four mellow songs for your mix tape. #song4mixtape

Even though the year has just begun, these already seem like shoo ins for the Year in Review 2015 mix. In any event, sit back, relax, close your eyes, and listen to these four great songs.

1. Every Age – José González*

2. It’s Never Too Late – Ben Gibbard

3. In The Long Run – The Staves

4. Obvious Bicycle – Vampire Weekend

* Note: used this song for our Year in Review family video too!

I love this. Botanical specimens arranged to look like fireworks.

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By Sarah Illenberger, via Colossal.

Super fast and epic summary of the Earth’s evolutionary history.

This is really nicely done*

Crash Course Big History episode with John Green, Hank Green, and Emily Graslie (link).

* I caught one small error during the lifting weights bit.

Lego birds, designed by Thomas Poulsom, now on sale.

These, apparently, are going very quickly. Click here to purchase.

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Via Colossal. More on Thomas’ work here.

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