Rich writes about fascinating creatures and biological issues that affect our everyday lives. Subscribe and get your free ebook at www.biology4everyone.com.
Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Krista Mangulsone on Unsplash

How quickly do you trust someone? Is it a spur of the moment- this feels right- kind of thing for you or do you take your time? Or a mix of both?

A couple of weeks ago, I attended an online panelist discussion. One of the presenters, Dr. Dana Hubler, a Northern BC family physician, talked about treating Indigenous people and other folks who have experienced a long history of racist discrimination in Canada’s healthcare system. …


What a lovely batch of quotes and insights. There are so many wonderful writers out there and it's totally true, you have to write about the things you know about and love! That's what keeps me going!


Image for post
Image for post
A Proterocladus antiquus fossil dating back 1bn years. The image was captured using a microscope as the fossil itself is 2mm long. Photograph: Virginia Tech/PA and was taken from an article in The Guardian.

Did you know that there is a branch of scientific study called taphonomy? I sure didn’t.

It’s pretty amazing to realize that there’s just so much out there we don’t know! And never will. But I have to admit, when I do find something new and unusual that I’m interested in or think I should know something about, I’m both humbled and excited.

And taphonomy* just became one of those areas for me.

From Wikipedia: “It’s the study of how organisms decay and become fossilized or preserved in the archaeological record… The term taphonomy was introduced to paleontology in 1940…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by J E W E L M I T CH E L L on Unsplash

“I just, feel that they, they forget that this is where the people live.”

“They don’t take the time. They don’t see who I am. I’m invisible.”

“It feels like, they just left you in a room, room to die.”

These are some of the feelings that patients communicated in a recently published study from a Fraser Health research team that also included two Patient Partners as members of the research team.

Umm… did you say Patient Partners? I’ve never heard of any patient called a partner, before.

Frankly, I’m not surprised. Welcome to patient-oriented research.

What?! You never heard…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Have you ever wondered what all the big fuss was about genes and sequencing? Or, for that matter, what the heck does it mean when someone says they had their DNA sequenced? Or maybe you got your DNA sequenced for one of the genealogy sites to find relatives and they tell you that you probably came from such and such a place and these people might be related to you, 3rd cousin three times removed?!

If this sounds like you or you’d just like to increase your knowledge about DNA and genome sequencing, this article will give you enough of…


Image for post
Image for post
Image by Aaron J. Bell, Science Source

You’re an alien on another planet and you walk into the local joint hoping that maybe you’ll meet someone to partner with. And you see 7 different genders and the only one you can’t successfully mate with is one that’s the same as you!

Nice! Lots of choices!

Next scenario.

You’re not an alien and you’re not walking into a bar. You’re a single-celled creature cavorting around in some pond water on planet Earth. And there’s 7 different genders and the only one you can’t successfully mate with is one that’s the same as you!

Nice! Lots of choices!

But…


Image for post
Image for post
Medical tricorder image is taken from this site.

Of course, they’re not called tricorders but if you’ve ever seen a Star Trek episode, as soon as you see one of these, you’ll know that it’s just the first version and the real “one” is not far off.

And if he was stranded someplace in the Gamma quadrant with an alien life form without his tricorder, Dr. Julian Bashir would be happy to have one of these!

So what is all the hullabaloo about?

It’s a new open-source application called iGenomics that currently only runs on iPhones and unless you have a portable device that can sequence DNA, it…


Image for post
Image for post
Big Tracks, Little Tracks. Photo by Rich Sobel

Image for post
Image for post
This image was taken from the Wikipedia article about plastids and was photographed by Kristian Peters

What do you really know about how evolution produced creatures like the giant California Redwoods, or whales, elephants and humans?

What if I told you it all came about in no small part due to some tiny microscopic structures that are found inside one particular kind of cell?

And that these tiny structures are organelles called plastids.

All right, I can already hear you saying, why would I ever want to know about plastids?!

Simple. Without plastids, you probably wouldn’t be here to read this today.

Seriously. They’re. That. Important!

In this article, we’ll delve into how they came to…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store