Daily Roundup: aliens already have sequencers in space; Thermo to launch Ion Torrent into stratosphere; Scientists predict space bugs

TheScienceWeb daily round-up

Aliens have responded to the news that Oxford Nanopore and NASA are to send USB sequencers into space by saying that they’ve had sequencers in space for thousands of years and are amused by the efforts of tiny humans.

“I think it is wonderful that finally humanity is catching up” said Zarg, Chief Scientist of the Zargonian fleet.  “They are only a few thousand years late.  The tiny MinION USB sequencer may be light-years ahead of anything else on Earth, but it is still a long way from matching our Zargonian technology.  We’ve been sequencing space for 1000s of years, there’s nothing up here except Bradyrhizobium” (s)he finished (Ed: it was impossible to tell)

In related news, Thermo Fisher have decided to launch Ion Torrent into the stratosphere.  A representative had this to say: “After ONT’s decision to launch a MinION into space, we had an idea – why don’t we launch Ion Torrent into space too?  I don’t mean one sequencer – I mean the entire f*cking company.  Let’s just get rid of it, turn it into space junk and pretend this whole sorry mess never happened”

Finally, a group from the Institute of Psychic Microbiology have predicted the entire list of bacteria that ONT and NASA are likely to find in space.  Table 1 in this paper, published even before the ONT/NASA collaboration was announced, predicts all of the genera likely to be found in space.  “I see the future” said Spikey Mox, one of the leaders of the study from King’s University Imperial College of London.  “I see the future” he repeated, “and it’s yellow” he finished, mysteriously.


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Sequencing company about to sh*t all over your plans once again

LONDON, UK.  Your favourite sequencing company is about to sh*t all over your plans  once again, by releasing an update that breaks all of your bioinformatics pipelines, and requires you to buy expensive new hardware, it has been revealed.

“It doesn’t really matter which one it is” said Dr Loose Matt from the University of Nottingham “they all do it.  I was once sold an upgrade only to be told within 30 seconds that the machine had been upgraded again and I needed to buy that one too” he finished.

Whether it’s changing the format, increasing throughput or just coming out with completely new data and algorithms, ever since the great sequencing wars of 2007-2010 companies have been f*cking with everyone’s business plan and sleeping patterns.

It is now recommended that when purchasing any new sequencing instrument, scientists should buy a computer bigger than Mars and hire a 50-strong team of bioinformaticians to cope with the fallout as upgrades to the machine happen every 30 seconds and file formats change in real time.


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We’re all completely ****ed and everything is pointless, study finds

UK.  In one of the largest personality surveys ever carried out, it has been found that no-one gives a shit about anyone else and people largely only care about their own selfish, crappy lives and bigoted opinions.

The study, called “The UK General Election 2015″, proposed that a series of joke idiots be voted in as Prime Minister.  They were all matched for stupidity and unlikability, yet differed in their key personality traits, such as whether they like other people or whether they would care for the poor.

Overwhelmingly, the UK public voted for the idiot that most matched their own selfish needs and unsupported bigotry, confirming once and for all that we are all completely ****ed and that everything is pointless.

“We put one idiot in there who was so unlikable, we thought it was the control group.  His views were that he would dismantle a free healthcare system and take all the money from poor people and give it to the rich” a source told The Science Web “You know what?  He only went and bloody won!  The most unlikable twat with the most hateful opinions and most punchable face won!  If we needed any more confirmation that the vast majority of the human species are selfish numptys, this is it” they continued.

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Funders to insist that all scientific groups contain at least two men

BREAKING.  In an unprecedented move, a consortium of the world’s leading funders has come together to insist that all scientific groups must contain at least two men, and preferably many more.

“It doesn’t matter what the group is for”, said a spokesman, “It could be authors on a paper, a collaborative group, a committee or just a bunch of people getting together over coffee.  We don’t care – it just has to contain at least two men and preferably many more” he finished.

“What we want to do”, said a second spokesman, “Is to make sure that there is enough manliness in all scientific groups.  More testosterone.  More ‘sausage’, if you know what I mean.  We can’t be allowing groups to contain too many women, that’d be weird”, he finished.

However, the wind was taken out their sails when The ScienceWeb revealed that in fact it is already the case that all scientific groups contain at least two men, and no additional legislation is needed to increase the “sausage-quotient” in science.

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What if…. a poem by Warwick Kipling

Ed: you probably won’t understand this post unless you have read this and this, which I strongly encourage you to do.

UK.  We received this beautiful poem yesterday from Warwick Kipling, Rudyard’s little-known son.  He’s not in the top 50 poets, but he really wants to be.


– by Warwick Kipling

What if you can keep your funding when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on committee
What if you can be sure that the editor is an idiot
When they don’t send your paper out to review
What if you can wait for months and months and months
And months and months and months, only to be told “no thanks”
Or be scooped by that group, the one you think was a reviewer
And remember their name and extract vengeance years later

What if you teach for 30 hours a week, make time for grants
supervise students and edit their crappy writing
What if you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And pretend those were the results you were expecting
What if you can bear to listen to the feedback
From the committee that rejected your grant (fools)
And watch the thing you gave your life to, broken
Dismantled by the finance team

What if you can bring in indirects three times your salary
Yet know that it’s not enough
What if you can watch the compliance team treble in size
And not get angry that you had to sack your post-doc
You know the one, the one that did all of the work
The one you built your entire career on
And now you’re f*cked because they took all of their
Skills and knowledge with them, oh sh*t

What if you can go to conferences and pretend all is OK
And not cry into your coffee whilst rocking in the corner
What if you can look at your Inbox and be amazed
You didn’t know Outlook could store that many unread messages
What if you can force your heart and brain and instinct
To ignore those outliers and that batch effect
So that you can get the p-value you’ve always wanted
The one that will definitely get you into Nature

What if you can hype your results, and hype and hype
And hype and hype until the news outlets take notice
What if you can pretend your tiny, miniscule effect
Will cure cancer, HIV, diabetes and old age
What if you have neither friends nor foes, nor loving ally
Only people who’d kill for more funding
Then yours is the University and everything in it
And which is more, you’ll be an academic, my son!

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Dan Graur hate-bot shows no sign of slowing down

Houston.  The viral-AI-hate-bot, @DanGraur, shows absolutely no sign of slowing down, and President Barack Obama is chairing a special meeting of the anti-troll committee in an attempt to curb the dangerous levels of hate being produced.

The terrifying AI has produced a new “blog post” almost every day in the month of April, suggesting the evil minds behind the bot are increasing their bizarre anti-science activities.  The bot picks scientific articles at random and attempts to tear them apart using 15th century olde english language.  Many scientists then accidentally spread the hate on social media, mistaking the AI-generated hate-filled-pseudo-babble as coherent argument.

In related news, the frighteningly intelligent sentient math proof, Lior “the lion” Patcher, has stepped up its online campaign to destroy all scientists called “Manolis”.  In recent times, both Manolis Kellis and Manolis Dermitzakis have suffered at the hands of Lior.  Many other scientists called Manolis (plural: Manoli) have been placed under armed guard.

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Scientists suggest natural solution to anti-vaxxers

Virginia.  After yet another study was published demonstrating exactly zero link between vaccines and the onset of autism, even amongst high-risk groups, scientists have come up with an innovative solution to end the anti-vaccine movement once and for all.

“We have a new treatment, especially designed for anti-vaxxers” our source said, wishing to remain anonymous for some reason.  “It’s perfect – completely organic, it’s a plant extract actually.  It guarantees that anyone who takes it will never contract another disease from the moment they take it to the end of their lives” they finished, smiling wistfully.

“What we want to do is target the parents first” said another source, also wishing to remain anonymous. “It’s not the kids making the choice to avoid vaccines, so we’ll try this out on the parents first.  We’ve had enough of the arguing and bickering now, we just want this all to end”

“I honestly think this is the perfect solution” our first source continued. “This product is completely natural, extracted from a particular type of bean.  It’s got no mercury, no formaldehyde, no aluminium.  Just a perfectly natural, organic compound.  They just need to take it once and they’ll never have another anti-vax thought” they finished.

The new programme, called “The Natural Solution”, will start in California next week, and hopes to reach all anti-vaxx parents within a few days.

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