Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The future of this blog [genetics 000]

It has come to my attention that...
I know I've been a bit slack lately...
There is so much richness in this world that there's never enough time to explore it all, let alone diarise it...

Ideally, I'd write a thought a day; heaven knows there is an abundance of fresh insights to be gleaned from the experiences of each and every day.  On the other hand, there's a putative obligation to pursue the insight to the full extent of its value, else why even start?

So, the world is still turning, new experiences are daily deposited in the bank of life's richness.  Where is the reward in not sharing it?

Time, that is the villain.  It seems to accelerate, leaving me guilty and struggling in its wake.

Not that I've been idle.  But as it stands, the less time I spend commuting, the less I have to devote to absorbing and recording.  (In any case, my commuting time had been taken up with podcasted lectures.)

To date, evolution constitutes the majority of my [tagged] posts.  Not surprising; it's been a fascinating journey - unexpected, and very rewarding.  But I've taken an equally fascinating, equally unexpected turn: to molecular biology and genetics.

Although the confluences could be mapped, this path certainly wasn't planned.  And I'm not a gadfly, turning to a new subject at whim.  In fact, before dipping into evolution, I'd not plunged so deeply into an area of study outside a formal university course.  And I had hitherto treated biology as the distant, neglected cousin of all the sciences, steeped as I had been in mathematics and physics.

A starting point could be: "what is a gene?"  Actually, I have attempted this in the past, with understandably mixed results.  So I felt I should not start the recording process until I'd got that under wraps.  Yet by the time I felt sufficiently confident, I'd come out the other end, and in fact discovered where within this wide area my true temperament and interest lies.

I will not start with the above question - the answer is not sufficiently straightforward.  I will start at the natural starting point: the basics of molecular biology.

It's not dry and uninteresting.  It's a fascinating universe writ small, and it touches on many of my core concerns, including information science, analysis, evolution, mathematics, and pure intrinsic beauty.

I will be trying to construct an engaging, coherent narrative.  Yet I will still take minor excursions into some of my traditional interests: music, film, current events, and science (first up will be a film called The Swimmer).

I even know exactly where this journey is taking me: genomics, wherein lies a universe of challenges - and which is one of the most current, most relevant worlds left to be explored.  For a hint of this, there's a truly inspiring lecture by Eric Lander of MIT, called Genomics (it's available for free on iTunes).  Although its clarity is worthy of the best of the visionary TED lectures, the full richness of its meaning will be far better appreciated with sufficient context.  That's what I'm aiming to provide.

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