(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘double helix

“Geographers never get lost. They just do accidental field work.”*…

 

A Facebook friend recently noted that Turkey was “a remarkably rectangular country.” I wondered how it compared to other countries, and this post shows my answers (Turkey is 15th; Egypt is the most rectangular; full table below). I defined the rectangularness of a country as its maximum percentage overlap with a rectangle of the same area, working in the equirectangular projection (i.e., x = longitude, y = latitude). Ideally each country would get its own projection, but equirectangular rectangles feel at least linguistically thematic and are easier to code…

David Barry‘s ranking of “The rectangularness of countries.”

* Nicholas Chrisman, Professor of Geomatic Sciences, Université Laval

###

As we get square, we might send paradigm-shaping birthday greetings to a woman who enabled mapping of an altogether different– and world-changing– sort: Rosalind Franklin; she was born on this date in 1920. A biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer, Franklin captured the X-ray diffraction images of DNA that were, in the words of Francis Crick, “the data we actually used” when he and James Watson developed their “double helix” hypothesis for the structure of DNA. Indeed, it was Franklin who argued to Crick and Watson that the backbones of the molecule had to be on the outside (something that neither they nor their competitor in the race to understand DNA, Linus Pauling, had understood).  Franklin never received the recognition she deserved for her independent work– her paper was published in Nature after Crick and Watson’s, which barely mentioned her– and she died of cancer four years before Crick, Watson, and their lab director Maurice Wilkins won the Nobel Prize for the discovery.

 source

Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 25, 2016 at 1:01 am

Connections…

 

Everyone knows the old saw that “no technology exists in a vacuum.”  Less clear to our linear-narrative-obsessed culture is the fact that no technology was invented in one, either.  The strands that connect the dots of a technology’s path from invention to deployment to adoption criss and cross much more than we give them credit for, even in TED Talks.  History Mesh is an interactive timeline tracing the interconnected history of four technology megatrends over the past four millennia, using the London Tube Map as graphic inspiration.  Think the history of computation started in the 1950s and has nothing to do with “water puppet theater” in the third century B.C.E.?  Think again…

Read the whole story here, then explore History Mesh.

###

As we appreciate the shoulders of those on whom we stand, we might send paradigm-shaping birthday greetings to Rosalind Franklin; she was born on this date in 1920.  A biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer, Franklin captured the X-ray diffraction images of DNA that were, in the words of Francis Crick, “the data we actually used” when he and James Watson developed their “double helix” hypothesis for the structure of DNA. Indeed, it was Franklin who argued to Crick and Watson that the backbones of the molecule had to be on the outside (something that neither they nor their competitor in the race to understand DNA, Linus Pauling, had understood).  Franklin never received the recognition she deserved for her independent work– her paper was published in Nature after Crick and Watson’s, which barely mentioned her– and she died of cancer four years before Crick, Watson, and their lab director Maurice Wilkins won the Nobel Prize for the discovery.

 source

Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 25, 2013 at 1:01 am

“Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry”*…

Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.
—Benoit Mandelbrot, The Fractal Geometry of Nature

Benoit Mandelbrot, Sterling Professor of Mathematics at Yale and the father of fractal geometry, died last Thursday at age 85.  As Heinz-Otto Peitgen, professor of mathematics and biomedical sciences at the University of Bremen, observed, “if we talk about impact inside mathematics, and applications in the sciences, he is one of the most important figures of the last 50 years.”

“I decided to go into fields where mathematicians would never go because the problems were badly stated,” Dr. Mandelbrot once said. “I have played a strange role…”  Indeed, one hopes that Mandelbrot had the consolation of his own fascination as he contemplated the diffusion pattern of the pancreatic cancer that killed him.

At TED2010, mathematics legend Benoit Mandelbrot develops a theme he first discussed at TED in 1984 — the extreme complexity of roughness, and the way that fractal math can find order within patterns that seem unknowably complicated.

* Richard Feynman

In other sad news, Barbara Billingsley, the avatar of American motherhood in her role as Mrs. Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver, passed away on Saturday.

source

 

 

As we marvel at patterns nested within themselves, we might recall that it was on this date in in 1962 that In 1962, Dr. James D. Watson, Dr. Francis Crick, and Dr. Maurice Wilkins won the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for their work in determining the double-helix molecular structure of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).

source

Who you callin’ “Cupcake”?…

Cupcakes are, of course, all the vogue.  And as their popularity has exploded, they’ve begun to speciate…

There are Periodic Table Cupcakes…

source

Elmo cupcakes…

source

Watchmen Cupcakes…

source

And oh so many others (for a nifty selection, starting with the ones above, poke around at Laughing Squid and at Friday Foodie)…

But cupcakes, in their mainstream “chocolate or vanilla” manifestations, or in these more elaborate guises, have remained…  well, dainty.

No longer!  Now the formidable folks at Butch Bakery (“Where butch meets buttercream”) offer cupcakes in 12 flavors and six “styles”:  Woodland Camo, Wood Grain, Houndstooth, Plaid, Checkerboard or Marble.

Got beer?

As we bench press a baker’s dozen, we might recall that it was on this date in 1953 that James D. Watson and Francis Crick announced to friends that they had determined the chemical structure of DNA; the formal announcement took place on April 25  following publication in the April issue of Nature (published April 2).  The not-yet-Nobel-laureates walked into the Eagle pub in Cambridge and announced, “We have found the secret of Life.”

The Double Helix

%d bloggers like this: