Excited by sharing

Reading the Xfam (Pfam & Rfam) update about Rfam and I have to say, it is a great to have the Xfam, Ensembl, and other databases blogging about what they are doing, have done, and will do. This is an important feedback mechanism for these sites and can allow users and developers to interact. It also gives users and data consumers more information. I realize there is an overhead in information sharing and most science-places prefer to have a dramatic announcement at a conference – but I mean we already know that Svante Pääbo’s group will announce the neanderthal genome project progress before the meeting. We’ve had some debates in the lab about the future of scientific meetings (or at least the number we attend) as scientists attempt to reduce costs and our carbon footprints so perhaps there will be some shift in how and when information about project progress is shared.

I’m looking forward to seeing more Blogs and information sharing about project progresses from genome centers and database providers. I’m happy that the Broad does provide a page with the current status of fungal sequencing projects for those of us who care, and the JGI has all of the project tracking available. When these things move to the realm of being RSS follow-able (or twittered!) it will be really useful.  In the same way one can track pubmed @NCBI with email updates and RSS feeds for papers from your searches  it would be nice to see more of this information from different centers beyond having to scrape the trace archive logs to see what was uploaded recently.

So more concretely I’m interested in short and simple data feeds about project progresses, not full blown press releases.  I’m also interested in the developers sharing where the projects are going and have gone.  Something the Xfam folks seem to be giving a nice try.


US Federal Funds Earmarked For Creation ‘Science’ Education

From Reed Cartwright in a message sent to Evoldir.

For those of you in the US or with ties to the US:

Sen. David Vitter, R-La, has earmarked $100,000 in federal money to go
to a religious group, the Louisiana Family Forum, “to develop a plan to
promote better science education.” This is the same group that
successfully lobbied the Ouachita (La) School Board to adopt an
anti-evolution education policy.

According to the Times-Picayune: “The group’s stated mission is to
‘persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence on
issues affecting the family through research, communication and
networking.’ Until recently, its Web site contained a ‘battle plan to
combat evolution,’ which called the theory a ‘dangerous’ concept that
‘has no place in the classroom.’ The document was removed after a
reporter’s inquiry.”

It looks like the Louisiana Family Forum knows that getting tax-payer
money to promote religion in public schools and corrupt science
education is unconstitutional and illegal. They are trying to cover
their tracks.

The earmark is on page 238 of the report of the “Departments of Labor,
Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
Appropriation Bill, 2008”

The bill hasn’t been acted on yet, and there is time to remove the
earmark. Please contact your senators asking them to remove the earmark
and/or redirect the money to an organization in Louisiana that could
actually improve science education in the state.

Thank you.

Links to more information: