Science: Not as Smooth as Its Seams

I was recently introduced to the term “seamful design” which, in contrast to “seamless design,” refers to a way of making things that doesn’t cover up all the messy inner workings — doesn’t remove all signs of the makers and their processes. A seamful design is one that may be more transparent, perhaps making the Read More…

Infophile, Infofull, Infofool

Infophile Infophilia: love of information. I think we’re all involved in that romance a bit these days, given the abundance and 24/7 availability of information. Anything we want to know is just one Google search away, and we need only to reach for our smartphones to complete that search. It is seductive, this draw to Read More…

The Myth of “Raw” Data

Previously I wrote about the allure of big data. Now I turn to the question of “raw” data. Is there such a thing or is it a myth, an oxymoron — like “jumbo shrimp” or “just one episode on Netflix”? Why do we cling to this notion of raw data if it doesn’t exist? I recently read “Raw Read More…

Through the DNA Looking Glass

There is an allure to making the invisible visible, especially when it is about us. We carry many things around with us every day, beneath the surface: stories, histories, thoughts, and beliefs. Our bodies also carry around a total of several trillion copies of our genome, two per cell  and these, too, remain invisible to Read More…

Interdisciplinarity: Mixing it up

I introduced myself earlier as a graduate student in Public Health Genetics, an interdisciplinary program. But what exactly is “interdisciplinary?” It’s a nice-sounding word that gets thrown around a lot, but can be tough to define — sort of like “zumba.” (Ethnic dance style fusion? Funky line dancing?) So I’m going to take this post Read More…

Over-the-Counter Genetics

Genetic testing has been around for decades. Early examples include state-run newborn screening programs, the first of which was for the metabolic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU).  Whether you know it or not, in the first few hours of your life a little heel prick of blood was taken from you and tested for probably a dozen Read More…

Big Data, Big Deal (?)

Quick free association exercise: I say “big data” and you think…maybe, Google? NSA? The bane of my existence? The promise of tomorrow? I have a little bit of all of the above. But firstly I think of big genetic data, which is all the rage in biomedical research. Big data in genetics has come about Read More…