“transforming a plant is still an art” even with CRISPR

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (the more things change, the more things stay the same), is an old French expression that came to mind when I stumbled across two stories about genetic manipulation of food-producing plants. The first story involves CRISPR (clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats) gene editing and the second involves more ancient ways to manipulate plant genetics. Getting ‘CRISPR’d’ plant cells to grow into plants Plants often don’t grow…

Continue reading


A fully implantable wireless medical device for patients with severe paralysis

There have been only two people who have tested the device from Australia but the research raises hope, from an Oct, 28, 2020 news item on ScienceDaily, A tiny device the size of a small paperclip has been shown to help patients with upper limb paralysis to text, email and even shop online in the first human trial.The device, Stentrode, has been implanted successfully in two patients, who both suffer from severe paralysis due to…

Continue reading


Alloy nanoparticles make better catalysts

A Jan. 4, 2021 news item on Nanowerk describes new insights into nanoscale catalysts derived from work at the US Argonne National Laboratory, Catalysts are integral to countless aspects of modern society. By speeding up important chemical reactions, catalysts support industrial manufacturing and reduce harmful emissions. They also increase efficiency in chemical processes for applications ranging from batteries and transportation to beer and laundry detergent.As significant as catalysts are, the way they work is often…

Continue reading


Longer lasting N95 masks thanks to a synchrotron in Saskatchewan (Canada)

A Nov. 3, 2020 Canadian Light Sources (CLS; also known as a synchrotron) news release by Erin Matthews (also on the University of Saskatchewan website), received via email, announces a technique that may make N95 masks last longer, Through a collaboration between the Canadian Light Source (CLS) and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac)—both national research facilities at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) —scientists hope to understand the structural changes happening inside…

Continue reading


Adding nanofiber membranes results in cloth masks’ with 99% efficacy

An Oct. 22, 2020 news item on Nanowerk heralds a simple, inexpensive method for making your mask more protective, The cloth masks many are sporting these days offer some protection against COVID-19. However, they typically provide much less than the professional N95 masks used by healthcare workers.That may soon change. Recently, students from BYU’s [Brigham Young University; Utah, US] College of Engineering teamed up with Nanos Foundation [emphasis mine] to develop a nanofiber membrane that…

Continue reading


Academic Bullet Journaling

Near the end of last summer I was beginning to feel that I was losing a battle with organization. There were too many projects to manage, constant updates to the courses I needed to teach, and increasing anxieties due to the state of our world. And then a friend introduced me to Bullet Journals. WhileContinue reading "Academic Bullet Journaling"

Continue reading


A look back at 2020 on this blog and a welcome to 2021

Things past A year later i still don’t know what came over me but I got the idea that I could write a 10-year (2010 – 2019) review of science culture in Canada during the last few days of 2019. Somehow two and half months later, I managed to publish my 25,000+ multi-part series. Part 1 covers science communication, science media (mainstream and others such as blogging) and arts as exemplified by music and dance:…

Continue reading


Avo Media, Science Telephone, and a Canadian COVID-19 billionaire scientist

I’ll start off with the COVID-19 billionaire since I imagine that excites the most interest. AbCellera billionaire No less an authority than the business magazine Forbes has produced a list of COVID-19 billionaires in its December 23, 2020 article (Meet The 50 Doctors, Scientists And Healthcare Entrepreneurs Who Became Pandemic Billionaires In 2020) by Giacomo Tognini (Note: Links have been removed), Nearly a year after the first case of Covid-19 was reported in the Chinese…

Continue reading


Reclaiming My Time: New Rules For A New Year

In August I sat down and created a list of rules that I hoped would help me better manage my life-work balance and improve my practice of self-care. Given how I felt at the end of the semester, it’s safe to say that I have a lot of work to do in this area. TheseContinue reading "Reclaiming My Time: New Rules For A New Year"

Continue reading