The Best of 2021

Now that we are on the very last day of 2021, it is not too late to review the positives of the year. I picked four categories (humor, science, society, technology) and shortlisted a tiny subset from many deserving candidates.

Devastating Impact of Climate Change Around the World

Climate Change is taking a devastating toll on the lives of people around the world. This week, two students from Anderson High School died in their sleep. The school district canceled the final exams to help the grieving community. Separately, in Europe, three soccer players left game this week because of heart conditions. Also, 33-year old Argentine striker Sergio Aguero playing for Barcelona announced retirement from soccer due to heart condition. In Silicon valley, 43 year old Tyson Clark from Google Ventures and 44 year old Ryan Popple also died in their sleep.

A Disturbing Rise in Heart Attacks Explained

All over the world, people are noticing disturbing rises in heart-related problems among the young and healthy. This year, seventy five prominent athletes died suddenly of heart attack, and many others were sent to hospitals often in the middle of the matches. The problem has become so noticeable that this compiled video of athletes falling on the ground with heart problem went viral. In Australia, a top player with the Adelaide Crows was diagosed with pericarditis. In India, 29 year old former Indian U-19 cricket team captain died after suffering a cardiac arrest and so did 66 year old former cricket player Yashpal Sharma.

NIH Director Francis Collins Plans to Change Name to Avoid Scandal

A newly leaked classified document revealed that scandal-ridden Francis Collins plans to change his name to continue running the NIH. He got the idea by observing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is rebranding himself to be a reptilian.

Oxford Nanopore IPO Takes Place on the Same Day UK Runs out of Petrol

Biologists Want Any Criticism of Them Legally Labeled as "Hate Crime"

Things are not going well with our friends in biology. In a new paper published in PLoS Biology, a bigshot from Baylor College of Medicine called for all criticisms of biologists be legally labeled as “hate crimes”. He appears to be upset that people found out about the sponsorship of Wuhan lab by Fauci and Daszak to make new and deadly coronaviruses.

BMJ Criticizes "Sir" Jeremy Farrar in Scathing Articles

Lately “Sir” Jeremy Farrar, the disgraced director of Wellcome Trust, is not having a good time. In a pair of scathing articles (here and here), British medical journal BMJ criticized his efforts of covering up the origin of the covid virus. If similar articles were posted merely two months back by “fringe” bioinformatics sites like ours, they would be discredited as “conspiracy theories” and blocked by the Silicon valley giants. Given that UK’s oldest medical journal wrote on this topic in its editorial, the wind must be blowing in a different direction.

Biorxiv Fails Spectacularly as a Preprint Server

In the early days of Biorxiv, I was a strong supporter of the fledgling preprint server (see here and here. After using the physics preprint server (Arxiv) in my past life, I thought Biorxiv would become something similar and encourage the biologists to collaborate openly. Although I had lingering doubts about the biologists switching from their secretive mode of worrying about getting scooped to sharing openly, never did I expect the preprint server itself to turn into a gated community.

Tryst between Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein

You may have heard part of this story, where Marilyn Monroe told Einstein - “Would it not be wonderful if we had a child with your brains and my beauty?” Einstein replied promptly: “Yes, but imagine a child with my beauty and your brains!”

Trouble in the Software Crowdsourcing Paradise

The world of software crowdsourcing is experiencing a new threat that is far more serious than the existing nuisances (e.g. dependency hell, heartbleed bug). In it, a malicious programmer included code in a popular and widely deployed Javascript library to steal cryptocurrency wallets. To explain the significance, let me quickly review the history of this model for software development.

When Will Citing Blog Posts be a Norm in Bioinformatics Publishing?

For many years, bioinformaticians were defining the publishing trend in biology. This started with the influx of physicists around the completion of human genome project. I remember from early 2000s, when my papers with physicists went straight to preprint servers before publication, whereas the papers with biologists had to go through military-level secrecy. Biologists were not ready to share their papers even with close friends due to the fear of “getting scooped”.

Will Companies Like Oxford Nanopore be at the Epicenter of the Next Financial Crisis?

A couple of warnings before we begin - (i) this article is for entertainment purpose only and no part of it should be considered an investment advice, (ii) we have no financial position in the mentioned companies.

A Decision Point Arrives for Oxford Nanopore

A couple of warnings before we begin - (i) this article is for entertainment purpose only and no part of it should be considered an investment advice, (ii) we have no financial position in the mentioned companies.

A Generation Lost in the Bazaar

Often I download newly published bioinformatics programs or libraries from the github into my Windows laptop and try to compile them within its Cygwin UNIX environment. Over the years, I noticed that those C/C++ codes tend to fall into two distinct categories -

Is '23 and Me' Misleading its Jewish Customers on Ancestry?

‘Fake news’ - step aside. Now we got allegations of ‘fake ancestry’.

Time to Shrink the National Institute of Health (NIH)?

In his recent budget, President Trump proposed to reduce taxes wasted in the NIH Money Pit sinkhole by twenty percent. Such a big cut will most likely not be approved by the Congress, because the political stars are aligning against it. The economic stars, on the other hand, are aligned in favor of drastic reduction of NIH funding in the coming years. We explained why in a post written four years ago. Shutting down parts of NIH, or even the entire agency, will not be an unmitigated disaster for science, and if at all, will be beneficial. We made an appeal to close NHGRI in “Let’s Discuss - Is it Time to Shut Down NHGRI?” and also wrote - “How Much Will the Americans Suffer, If NIH Shuts Down?”.

Is Google Tweaking Search Results to Block Our Posts Critical of NIH Director?

Every once in a while, we use Google search to find links to old posts in our blog. The method seemed to have worked without failure until today. Today we were looking for an earlier post critical of a paper by Francis Collins and Google never gave us the link, no matter how hard we searched for it. It is noteworthy that even after typing the entire title and adding ‘’ on the search box, we do not find the relevant post anywhere in the first several pages of the Google results. Is some organization paying Google to block our posts critical of NIH? We present the evidence from four search engines (google, duckduckgo, bing, yahoo). You explain what is going on.

Gullible's Troubles

Apologies to the readers for not being able to make this week’s scheduled posts. Instead I am posting an entertaining essay on the birth of molecular biology. It is from a autobiographical book published in 1976. Any guessing the author will earn 99.99 points :).

Upgrade to the blog

We are back after making extensive changes to the blog software being used here. Most important among the changes, we got rid of Wordpress and made a commitment to never use Wordpress again. Wordpress is easy to install, but nightmare to maintain with its entire panoply of buggy plugins. Moreover, it sucks up time by failing at the most unfortunate times.

Suicide Epidemic: Since NIH-funded Clowns Do Not Want to Discuss It, We Will

A large number of NIH-funded parasites waste taxpayers’ money with the excuse that they are working toward improving the health of Americans. Francis Collins, the head of NIH, uses every opportunity to tell everyone how research funded by NIH helps in improving the life expectancy of Americans (a flat out lie). Yet, when research by Deaton and Case uncovered that the life expectancy of Americans of prime age (45-54) was falling, primarily due to rising suicides, Collins and his minions went completely silent.

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