It’s spreading!

I’ve got two more genetic engineering blogs to add to my blogroll. The first is called GMO Food for Thought, and is run by C.S. Prakash, AgBioWorld founder. He maintains a declaration in support of Agricultural Biotechnology at his site, and there are over 3,400 signers of this list. (Although I can’t seem to navigate past the first page of signers.)

The second is Malaysia4Biotech, another blog popping up overseas, which has already started churning out the posts. Author Mahaletchumy Arujanan opens with the big Why for blogging about biotech:

The 21st century is hailed as the century of biological sciences, particularly biotechnology which is revolutionizing all aspects of our lifestyles from food to agriculture, environment, industry, and healthcare and medicine. Biotechnology is changing the terrains and landscapes of these fields to enhance the quality of life and environment. Countries are racing to embrace this powerful tool to create wealth though innovation. Malaysia is not spared as the government has pledged it strong commitments to develop this sector. Continue reading It’s spreading!

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Hey that’s my gene!

Ariela and I were picking up a weird tomato plant at the nursery the other day, and I wanted to see if I could find some pole bean seeds. While I was searching the seed racks (unsuccessfully), Ariela noticed a seed package with a bright red ear of corn on it. I remember reading about a new variety of red sweet corn several years ago, it looks like they’ve finally made seeds available for it! I bought them and sprouted them right away – they’re ready to go in the ground tonight for some late-season sweet corn. But that’s not the best part. It’s got my gene. Continue reading Hey that’s my gene!

Pollination Methods – Corn

As I have mentioned on this blog before, in addition to my research on locating a gene in sweet corn, I’m making some educational videos on plant breeding. Well, now I’m proud to be able to show you the first in a whole series of them that I’m putting together. With help from my adviser, two film dudes at the Instructional Media Development Center at UW-Madison, and big bags of doubloons from the USDA. Over the past week, I’ve been updating the Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics Program website, and now it has full video functionality. So armed with the plant breeding website powered by a wordpress platform, I give you the how-to on making controlled pollinations with Zea mays – How to breed corn.

You could actually do this in your own backyard using this system, or if you’re running a breeding company or academic lab and need to train employees on how to do this in the field – here’s what you need to succeed with your breeds.

Video below the fold. Continue reading Pollination Methods – Corn

The other side of Prospecting

Friday night I attended a dinner with two prospective graduate students for the PBPG program here at UW-Madison. It’s so interesting, being on the other side of the prospecting process. (It will be even more interesting if I become a professor/PI.)

The prospective students were split up into three parties, one that came the Friday before last, another last Monday, and two the Friday that just passed. I didn’t meet any of the other students (been too busy), but I did get a couple of data points, and saw a bit of how I looked one year ago this month. Continue reading The other side of Prospecting

Sang like a bird!

I just had my voice recorded today for one of the video projects I’m working on with my adviser, and it went off without a hitch. Apparently I’m the first [client] to have used the new sound studio closet in the Teacher Education building. In a few weeks, we should have a complete video, to show all the curious people out there how to pollinate corn. No, really. 🙂 Continue reading Sang like a bird!

Wisconsin Dells Woo-seum

(Hat tip to Pharyngula) According to this news story, there’s a guy opening a creationist museum in Wisconsin Dells. For those who are not familiar, that is like, one hour north of where I live in Madison, Wisconsin. A home for water parks and other touristy things like that, Wisconsin Dells is visted by 3 million people a year. Perfect for a flight of fancy. Continue reading Wisconsin Dells Woo-seum

Mr Wizard dies

In the 1960s and 70s, half of the students applying to Rockefeller University credited one person when it came to their interest in science. It was Don Herbert, known everywhere as Mr. Wizard. At the age of 89, he died yesterday.

He was one of my influences when I was young, but I didn’t get to see as much of him as I would have liked. I would credit James Burke and Connections more than Mr. Wizard. (Newton’s Apple was also cool) However, this man did a fantastic job teaching and popularizing science to the general public. To get people genuinely interested in science for science’s sake, and to amaze children with even the simplest of phenomena – that is a real feat. The world doesn’t need slight-of-hand magicians, the world needs more magicians of reality like Mr. Wizard. The first of his kind.
Should he rest in peace? Hell no! If you’ve got some time today, let Mr. Wizard show you something cool!

OR if you’re so inclined, check out the discussion at Slashdot and relate your favorite Mr. Wizard memories!