What Was I Thinking?

The LTEE has run for over 10,000 days and almost 67,000 generations. It’s time to shut it down, as of today. It’s been a hell of a lot of work, and we have almost nothing to show for it. As some astute commentators have noted around the web, the creatures in the flasks are still …

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Gumbo

Way back in the Jurassic Era we started these blogs about food songs because Doug Anderson had complained about not being able to think up enough of them. Here in the Anthropocene Doug has lots of help because I think if he just types ‘food’ and ‘song lyrics’ into the Google, he will turn up …

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Another Year for Food Songs

Long time readers of the blog know that September and January are thematic months. Ever since 2011, we’ve dedicated Januarys to “food ethics icons” and we’ve done something special with September, too. Last year we took off from a theme that we had followed for the preceding three years to celebrate a series of “food …

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A Birthday Sonnet

This past weekend, I celebrated my 60th birthday with friends and family from all over. One of the roasters was Ben “The Bard” Kerr, a professor at the University of Washington and colleague in the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. Borrowing from another bard, Ben waxed poetic about one of the …

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Another Birthday Haiku

As I said in my last post, I just celebrated my 60th birthday with lots of friends and family. Several folks produced new artistic works, including two lovely haikus that celebrate the E. coli long-term evolution experiment. Here’s one from Mike Wiser, who did his doctoral research on the long-term lines. A highlight of his …

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Birthday Haiku

This past weekend I had my 60th birthday. I was delighted to celebrate it with wonderful colleagues, students, friends, and family. At a dinner roast and toast, everyone sang When We’re Sixty Four (Thousand), a tribute from the E. coli in the LTEE to the People of the Lab. And several friends came up with …

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Beans for Breakfast

After racking my brain for several hours trying to think of something funny having to do with cucumber beetles, I finally gave up. Bing tells me that there are two kinds of cucumber beetle, one with stripes and one with polka dots. There is apparently nothing funny about either of them because once they have …

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Heart-Shaped Blog

Although we find frequent occasions to complain about robots here in the Thornapple Blog, I do have to acknowledge that The Google is a regular blogger’s friend and savior. I sat down with a few half-baked ideas this morning (they will probably be back soon, but hopefully more fully baked). Then I noticed it was …

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Bacterial Niche Finally Defined

The following scholarly contribution comes from my wife Madeleine Lenski after conversing with her “sister” (my former postdoc) Valeria Souza. For those with an itch for criteria, Scratch this: What’s a niche for bacteria? Don’t take me to task If I answer “a flask” – It’s a bitch from warm broth to Siberia. Tweet

Erdös with a non-kosher side of Bacon

Paul Erdös was a prolific and important mathematician. He also had hundreds of collaborators from around the world who coauthored papers with him. Years ago, Casper Goffman explained an idea, called the Erdös number, that describes the “collaborative distance” between Erdös and someone else, where that distance is defined by the smallest number of steps based …

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Badges Redux

It’s 5:37 as I write this. Getting late in the day for a blog this Sunday in May. And I’m tired. … Tired of playing the game… Ain’t it a shame? I’m soo tired….Dammit I’m exhausted! Those are about the only lyrics I feel good about quoting from Madeline Kahn’s send-up of Marlene Dietrich. I’ve …

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Passionate Knishes

Taking a break from all that “serious” food blogging for a shout out to Lucinda Williams for giving us this: Is it too much to ask? I want a warm bed that won’t hurt my back. Food to fill me up, Warm clothes, and all that stuff. “Shouldn’t I have all this?” she goes on …

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The Worst Blog of the Year

So this week haul out that old Andy Williams Christmas record and hum the following to the tune of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”   It’s the least creative blog of the year With the stereo blaring And everyone telling you “Christmas is here!” It’s the least creative blog of the year …

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Wandering physicists

This is funny, and does capture the tendency of physicists (not just old ones) to wander into other fields. But the cartoon avoids the hard question (perhaps best addressed by historians of science) as to the actual value brought to other fields by physicists. See, for example, Physicists can do stuff, Prometheus in the basement, …

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Hokey Smoke, Bullwinkle!

Both of my regular readers probably know that our word “wiener” is derived from the German word for a sausage that comes from Vienna, and that a frankfurter is straightforwardly a sausage from Frankfort. We did this once before in the blog, if you missed it. But what about a few more food-related fun facts? …

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Ordinary Good vs. Crazy Good

I was down at the Fleetwood Diner eating their turkey dinner this week. It’s not that I’m stuck in off-season mode (like when I was writing about Halloween candy two weeks back). I eat turkey dinner at the Fleetwood every other month or so. I was really enjoying the dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce when …

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Anagnorisis

I have a robot on my phone that buzzes me once a day to deliver a word. I don’t mean that the robot offers an update on happenings around or some message of prospects & aspirations such as one might get from a human being in response to the question “What’s the word?” I do …

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Fun Size

This week we take up another food riddle for the ages. I’m sure both of my regular readers have had the occasion to snack on one of those miniature brand-name candy bars once in a while. You know what I’m talking about. I think that they introduced these things back in the 60s especially for …

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Elite Food

I got on an airplane last week for the first time in several months. For the first year of the blog I would routinely reflect upon my peripatetic ways, almost always from a different locale every week. 2010 was particularly dense with travel for me, and included an unplanned and enforced 3-day vacation in Rome …

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Reality

I’m checking in this week from the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference in Traverse City. The theme of this year’s conference is “Small Farms Are Real Farms.” I’m a bit put off that they didn’t ask me to speak at the conference because after all who would be better equipped to speak on the subject …

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Meta-spam

WTF?! A spam email advertisement for spam! Here’s an unsolicited email I’ve just received offering bulk email solutions. I hope this is a sign that the business is floundering, though I have my doubts. The Best way of busi​ness promotion : Bul​k Email​ From: Naveen Rajput To: Bjørn Østman Received: Feb 1, 2014, 02:26 PM …

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What’s Wrong with a Gerontocracy?

The digital version of the June 24, 2013 issue of Time magazine contains a viewpoint column by Grace Wyler titled “Washington is a Gerontocracy“. The subtitle adequately conveys her central point: A 20-something can be the CEO of a billion-dollar company but can’t run for the Senate. That doesn’t make sense. Given some of her …

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