Visitors can climb to the top of this pavilion in the Jardin des Tuileries, which is made up of a complex lattice of identical timber beams.

Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates for Galerie Phillipe Gravier, the structure is based on small nomadic shelters, and has been assembled using techniques typical of traditional Japanese carpentry.

“The pavilion consists of identical wooden pieces that have been stacked, twisted and assembled to create a poetic dynamic volume,” said Kuma. “It offers an organic geometry by a geometric composition of wood.”

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At last, scientists have identified the stylist that gives hornbeam and elderberry salon-worthy hair.

In the winter of 1916-17, Alfred Wegener was serving in the German army’s weather service. Sometime that winter, perhaps in the course of his duties, he noticed something strange sprouting from the fallen logs and branches of France’s Vosges Mountains, near the border with Germany. It appeared to be luxuriant, silky hair made of ice.


Hair ice is made of ultra-fine filaments just .02mm wide but up to 20 cm long. It’s found on barkless dead wood or on wood where the bark has begun to peel away. It’s usually found on moist, rotting logs and branches lying on the ground, but sometimes found on dead parts of still-standing trees. The hair is smooth and lustrous, and may have waves, curls, or even parts, just like human hair.

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By 2050, the world’s population is projected to approach nine billion. With more people will come more developed land—a lot more.

Urbanization, agriculture, energy, and mining put 20 percent of the world’s remaining forests, grasslands, and other natural ecosystems at risk of conversion by 2050.

With that kind of expansion, there are sure to be harms—namely clean water, clean air, and biodiversity. 

To mitigate some of those risks, scientists and geographers at the Nature Conservancy have taken a crucial step by mapping the potential impact that human growth will have on natural lands.

It’s the most comprehensive look to date at how major forms of development will take over fragile ecosystems, if left unchecked…

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Metagenomic profiling, also called metagenomic shotgun sequencing (MSS) represents a powerful application made possible by the digital nature of next-generation sequencing technologies. In it, one basically sequences a sample isolate obtained from somewhere — a shovelful of dirt, a scoop of plankton, or anything else that contains living organisms. MSS has proven particularly useful to studies of the human microbiome, or in layman’s terms, all of the bacteria/viruses/fungi that live in our bodies.


Many such microbiota are beneficial or simply commensal (not doing harm) with us. Others, like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), can cause severe disease. Most efforts to chart the human microbiome have focused on bacteria, whose relatively stable genomes make them amenable to assay development. Viruses, in contrast, are somewhat under-studied. Part of that is due to the small size and highly variable nature of viral genomes.


A new study in Genome Research showcases a capture-based enrichment strategy to improve virome sequencing. The ViroCap panel was developed by Todd and Kristine Wylie, who happen to be colleagues of mine at the McDonnell Genome Institute. The panel enriches for nucleic acids from 34 families of DNA or RNA viruses that infect vertebrate hosts, beautifully illustrated in a figure from the paper (see above).


At the time of the ViroCap design, NCBI GenBank contained the sequenced genomes of around 440 viral species, for a total of about 1 Gbp (billion base pairs) of sequence. After considerable bioinformatics efforts, the authors produced a ~200 Mbp sequence target and worked with Nimblegen to have it designed.


References
Wylie TN, Wylie KM, Herter BN, & Storch GA (2015). Enhanced virome sequencing through solution-based capture enrichment. Genome research PMID: 26395152


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