Monthly Archives: February 2007

How not to apply for a job in bioinformatics 101

This is merely typical of what I get in my inbox on a regular basis from students. Names and URL’s removed to protect the guilty:

“Respected Sir,

I have no words to express my motivation to do something in the
frontiers of science. All the time I think and search for new ideas.
Science is my body, my mind & my soul. Science is my religion. I
can’t survive without it. Always I feel the thrill to dedicate myself
to scientific research. After years of attempt I’ve cultivated new
ideas on multiple sequence alignment algorithm, protein compression,
homology searching for protein structure prediction or protein folding
pattern prediction.

To carry out my research I immensely need some FUNDING.
Although my knowledge is very limited, I can assure you that I’ll
make die heart attempt to prove myself worthy of your research grant.
By individual effort I’ve published a paper and have many ideas budding
from my mind. In order to implement them I badly need financial aid.
You can see my Resume at

I’m eagerly waiting for the day when I’ll be able to work under your
supervision. Please remember my life is in your hands. Please visit my
website for further details on my publication and research.”


It’s a sad day when

You start finding statistics jokes unbearably funny:

“Three statisticians went out hunting, and came across a large deer. The first statistician fired, but missed, by a meter to the left. The second statistician fired, but also missed, by a meter to the right. The third statistician didn’t fire, but shouted in triumph, “On average we got it!””

Lots more here

The kind of news Friday’s were made for

No I don’t mean the death of a half human/half silicone hybrid either.

“York Psychic Museum has shut due to unforeseen circumstances, the York Press reports.

Astrologer Jonathan Cainer, who opened the museum in 2003, admitted that he’d been welcoming just 100 people a week through the doors, and had accordingly decided to temporarily hang up his crystal ball.

Cainer reckons he’ll be back in business by 2008, but cautioned: “If you are asking me for predictions when exactly it will open up again, then it is hard to say. Although I’m in the prediction business, I don’t believe you can make predictions about things you are close to.”

If there had been any coffee in my mouth at the time, it would have been piped via the nose all over the keyboard…

found of course on “El Reg”

This circular life

Quite frequently when Googling for a solution to a problem (often related to GeneSpring I admit), I end up hitting a page I either put online, wrote or contributed to. This does amuse me occasionally, especially if it answers my question.

This morning a new set of circular information arrived on the scene.

I’ve been using Connotea recently to keep track of citations – it’s basically a communal, web-based Endnote (a product I have nothing but contempt for). I’ve been using it for a few weeks – it’s nice, and it’s a great store for references, but it’s rather hampered by the tagging system – that most essential of “Web X.whatever” features, that still doesn’t sit well in practice because the implementations of tagging systems are universally lousy. Anyway I digress, I really do like Connotea and I suggest people take a look at it.

I get weekly ‘Google Alerts‘ for specific search terms – one of these is ‘bioinformatics‘, which sends me information about new blog posts, new press releases etc. from my field. I find it useful for keeping up with industry news, and a lot more pleasant than getting direct mailed by every *informatics company under the sun.

Today in my Google Alert for bioinformatics I get this little gem:

“Automated Querying of Genome Databases
By dswan
Peter Schattner. PLoS Computational Biology 3 (1), 1 (01 Jan 2007). doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030001. Posted by dswan and 2 others to query Automated PLoS genome education Bioinformatics database on Mon Jan 29 2007 at 11:39 UTC | info.
Connotea: Bookmarks –”

yes, I am that ‘dswan’ and my Connotea bookmarks are now getting sent back to me via Google Alerts. I did wonder how long it would take for Google Alerts to send something of mine back to me. And now I know.

You can see what else I have bookmarked on Connotea here