From Our Own Borealis Blog

Blue Light: The New Environmental Pollution?

By Lené Gary, General Sciences Co-Editor With each flick of a switch or push of a button, we’re turning up the […]

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A new kind of problem

The PhD student and I are analyzing the data from his mapping of H. influenzae's uptake of genomic DNA.  The data was generated by Illumina sequencing of genomic DNA samples before and after they had been taken up by competent cells.  Using a rec2 mutant as the competent cells lets us recover the DNA intact after uptake.He has done quite a bit of analysis of the resulting uptake ratios (ratio of 'recovered' coverage to 'input'…

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Toronto Harbour sampling: winter edition

Last summer, Waterkeeper collected 166 samples from the Toronto Harbour. We learned quite a bit about our harbour, including where some of the more polluted spots are and just how high the bacteria levels can get. You can see the full results of those samples here.The main thing we learned was the need to continue sampling. The summer program showed that we don’t have enough information to truly grasp the sewage situation in the harbour.…

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More precise SEG-Y?

The impending SEG-Y Revision 2 release allows the use of double-precision floating point numbers. This news might leave some people thinking: "What?".Integers and floatsIn most computing environments, there are various kinds of number. The main two are integers and floating point numbers. Let's take a quick look at integers, or ints, first.Integers can only represent round numbers: 0, 1, 2, 3, etc. They can have two main flavours: signed and unsigned, and various bit-depths, e.g.…

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Mimicking the architecture of materials like wood and bone

A March 3, 2017 news item on Nanowerk features a new 3D manufacturing technique for creating biolike materials, (Note: A link has been removed) Washington State University nanotechnology researchers have developed a unique, 3-D manufacturing method that for the first time rapidly creates and precisely controls a material’s architecture from the nanoscale to centimeters. The […]

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Interview with Dr. Lee Dugatkin about How to Tame a Fox

Dr. Lee Dugatkin talks about the Russian fox experiment and his new book, How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog).Photo:Irena Pivovarova, The Institute of Cytology and Genetics, NovosibirskThe Russian fox experiment to breed tame foxes has fascinated people for decades. I was very excited to speak to Dr. Lee Alan Dugatkin about his new book with co-author Lydumila Trut, How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian…

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March 2017 CommNatural Newsletter: Making connections between art & other disciplines

Happy spring, dear readers! The spring equinox was just a few days ago, and my tulips noticed. While they’re not in full bloom yet, they are several inches tall! Although it’s hard to believe it today, as snow falls and the wind rattles the trees outside. My thesis is due at the end of this … Continue reading March 2017 CommNatural Newsletter: Making connections between art & other disciplines

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A step towards genetically tailored medicine for autism spectrum disorder

Dr. Karun Singh, an investigator at the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster University, hopes to lead the way towards a new treatment for Autism Spectrum DisorderBuilding a puzzle without the reference image on the box cover is no easy task. You might find a few pieces that go together by matching colours or connecting fragments of an image, or string together a stretch of the puzzle’s edge, but in either case you won’t…

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Standing desks will not help you (or your kids) lose weight

I like standing desks.*  I have a real one in my office, and am using a homemade one as we speak.  The research on standing desks is still in its infancy, but I think it is quite plausible that they will lead to some health benefits (we’re doing a couple projects on this in my lab at the moment).  The most likely health benefits of a standing desk are improved blood sugar, although research is just…

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