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THE CELL-ECTION: ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

It’s election time! Whether discussed in casual conversations or featured in heated arguments, the campaign trail is one that many have followed. The highly anticipated day when voters take to the polls will ultimately lead to huge changes on a number of fronts. The major parties have advertised their platforms on many occasions and statistics suggest leaders remain in a close race. With polls revealing no indication of a sure winner, the leaders are undoubtedly seeking to appeal to undecided voters. We now begin live coverage of tonight’s final debate in this year’s Cell-ection. – – – Moderator: The leaders…

HIPPOPOTAMUS

Many years ago, a hippopotamus decided to learn typing. As you may imagine, the task was difficult and discouraging. The hippopotamus however was unusually persistent. First she learned the parts of the typewriter, then she studied all available typing manuals, (even one for an antique which had neither name nor function in any western language; It could best be likened to a linotype machine which set type for haiku poetry in Japanese.) and finally she enrolled in a good secretarial school. In spite of her diligence, there were some practical difficulties; in fact so many that the best of her…

Oils on 80 x 100 cm stretched canvas. Vera Wilde, 2016

SURVEILLANCE SONNET #73

Light comes in many colors: ROYGBIV, above, below, between. Cables bring light across borders, so we’re closer than we’ve ever been. Optical fiber cables carry light with digital information. That info contains the phone, Net, and TV of a nation. That time of history thou mayst indeed behold In which kings and soldiers take back…

TRUE FACTS ABOUT THE GIANT SEQUOIA: OR WHAT KIND OF NAME IS SEQUOIADENDRON GIGANTEUM

Imagine a large tree. Now imagine a much larger tree. That is how the giant sequoia do. No, let’s try this again. Imagine a large tree. Now imagine this tree as a branch, not a tree, attached to another much larger tree. Now imagine that much larger tree. That is how the giant sequoia do. Three decades ago, a branch fell off one of the largest giant sequoia. It was 43m long. Last try: imagine a boy. He grew up in the desert, is 4 years old, has never seen a tree, but was once told how a tree looks…

BIODRIVE LEAK

A biodrive hides under a tattoo on my thigh, with enough memory to store data from neuroscience experiments I transport, airgapped. Covert pharmaceutical labs develop nootropics for troops and VIPs, cognitive enhancements and novel treatments for neurodiversities. Post-doc double agents steal data for competing labs, and rendezvous with me to transfer it to my wetware. Sometimes I toy with them. Today’s transfer is at a hackerspace. I try not to attract attention to the biodrive. They’d all want to gawk at the latest tech. The neuroscientist is late, I have to pretend to care about a demo, and when she…

DISPATCH FROM THE E.R.

I sat down on the folding chair in front of the emergency room admitting nurse and explained what had happened: “I’ve had an accident in my laboratory.” I was expecting a dramatic reaction. Instead I got barely a raised eyebrow. It must take a lot to surprise an emergency room nurse but still, hadn’t she heard about all the superheroes that have emerged from lab experimentation gone awry (Did she not know about Spiderman, who was bitten by a radioactive spider, or The Incredible Hulk, who was irradiated by gamma rays?) Was she not curious as to what superhuman feats…

CELL BIOLOGY VIA SEVENTEEN-SYLLABLES: LESSONS THROUGH HAIKUS

Introduction Since I have a fierce love for cell biology (I did complete my BSc. in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, after all), what follows is a brief overview of cell biology that someone in grade 12 could understand. We start with animal and plant cells, and the various organelles in each before we marvel at cell signaling for a moment, and then take a quick look at how cells use the processes of transcription and translation to produce proteins from a gene. Each section begins with a descriptive paragraph and helpful visuals, and is concluded by a series of…