Bioinformatics

These important bioinformatics sites are often overlooked by practitioners of the field. Ignore them at your own risk.

Update: sadly many of these turn out to be examples of the volatility of the web, where important stuff is lost with time... Paper is so much better!

RFC 1149: CPIP

RCF 1149 specifies a protocol for IP over avian carriers, called CPIP: Carrier Pigeon Internet Protocol. History was made April 28, 2001, when a ping session using CPIP successfully transferred four packets (an additional five were lost). See RFC 1149 on Linux for details and pictures.

A brute force approach tried in Israel in 2004 achieved a datarate of 2.27 Mb/s by sending 3 pigeons each carrying about 20 memory chips of 64Mb each. This is better than a T1 line! The news story is in Hebrew.

And just in case you think this is all theory, it turns out that pigeons (albeit not using IP) can have high-tech uses.

RFC 2795: IMPS

Many people expect that, given an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters, the complete works of Shakespeare will emerge (isn't it easier to go to any bookstore?). Be that as it may, work has finally started on testing this hypothesis, with the proposal of the Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite.

A less refined experiment has tested this by placing several monkeys in a cage with a computer. Shakespeare it was not... The alternative is to use simulation.

Rodent Performance Evaluation

The use of mice is said to be beneficial in the context of Graphical User Interfaces, and leads to improved performance. But other rodents also have their place. For example, squirrel fishing has been practiced at Harvard University.

Frog Levitation

While not strictly related to bioinformatics, other scientific fields have also had their unique interactions with biology. Thus work on magnetic levitation culminated in early 1997 with some dutch physicists levitating a live frog. This seminal work received much more recognition than the others featured here; even Dave Barry reported about it.