Communicating the Genome

Excerpt from my post on



23 pairs of chromosones

Tuesday morning I went to a SXSW panel on “Personalized Health.” The featured speaker was Dr. Linda Avey, a geneticist and entrepreneur who founded Much of the talk centered around her work at 23andme and their continued progress since her departure. I was quite impressed with the capabilities of 23andme and their project making personal genotyping publicly available. However, I had some concerns, and they have a lot more to do with communication than with medicine. In that area, if I may be so bold as to correct a successful geneticist, Dr Avey’s plan needs some improvement.

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Getting My Geek Back at Emerald City Comicon: Part 2

Excerpt from my second ECC article at


Halo Spartan cosplayer with Gravity Hammer

Halo Spartan cosplayer at ECC with a gravity hammer.

Think with me for a moment about the last time you were looking for something,—and I mean frantically looking for something—and the suddenly realized it was right in front of you the whole time. If you’re at all like me, that was disturbingly recent.  And if you were me, it happened last weekend at Emerald City Comican on a very deep level.

If you recall from last week’s post, I went to Emerald City Comicon questing to reclaim my inner geek.  Well, I found it, but in all honesty I discovered that I hadn’t actually lost it, just lost track of it.

Turns out being a geek isn’t about having played the latest Halo game (I still squee over grav hammers, which I guess is kind of unusual?), nor is it about knowing all the backstories of every comic book hero (I correctly ID’d roughly 80% of the superheroes I encountered.  I can accept a solid B.), and you don’t have to recognize all the artists in the exhibition hall — or, you know, any of them.  As Rachel Edidin said in the panel Looking Past Your Target Audience, “Geek is a self-selecting group.  It is not a test.”

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Getting My Geek Back at Emerald City Comicon

Excerpt from my ECC article at


ECCIf you’ve known me for five minutes you probably know that I am a geek. Not only that, I am proud of it.  I am practically an apostle of all things geek culture: books, movies, games, series, you name it.  I grew up watching Jean-Luc Picard explore the galaxy and learning to write inTengwar.  In my undergrad I won two Hogwarts House Cups for Slytherin (yes, that’s right, Slytherins rule.  Literally.  Deal with it.), went to midnight showings for ROTK (Return of the King) in costume, was a gold badge Red vs Blue fan, learned a lot of Japanese via anime, and became a more than decent Halo player. Continue reading

Breaking the DRM Spell

Guess what topic I”m tackling for my final presentation for this summer’s law class?  That’s right, DRM and e-books!  I also have writer’s group tonight and wanted to bring some new material.  So, here’s an allegory/parody of how DRM works sociologically as demonstrated by DRM principles applied to a physical book through magic.

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Other side of the whirlwind

Phew!  That was a crazy ride and no mistake!

After five amazing days of intensive class and video production, here are my key take-aways.

  • Taking this class was the right decision!  It was a ton of fun and I learned something totally new that I probably never would have done otherwise.
  • Making videos is a lot more fun than I anticipated, and while it is still a lot of work, the work isn’t tedious and so doesn’t really feel like work.
  • Also, I now know how to use Premiere, which I’ve had on my computer for three years and never had the guts to figure out.
  • YouTube is a lot more fun and straight forward than I had given it credit for.
  • Being a grad student has definite perks, like the ability to check out amazing high quality video, sound, and light equipment.
  • Said equipment is also HEAVY.
  • I hate traffic.  Period.  I would rather drive farther, or wait longer and go at non-peak times, than drive anywhere during rush hour. Ugh!
  • Sometimes, it’s worth it to cough up the dough for a hotel close to the destination.  See above.

and last but not least…

  • I have caught the film gadget lust bug!  Having gotten the chance to play with the whole process, I want to keep going!  I went through Best Buy yesterday for ONE thing, which I found very quickly, and then spent fifteen minutes drooling over the digital camera section arguing with myself over whether I could justify it as a school expense.

Resource call, if you have any experience with digital cameras, what do you use and how have you liked it?