🔖 Information Theory in Biology by Henry Quastler (editor) | University of Illinois Press (1953)

Bookmarked Information Theory in Biology (University of Illinois Press (1953))
I’d love to have a copy of this book that I don’t think I’d heard of before. I’ve got his later Symposium of Information Theory In Biology (1958) already. That volume gives credit to this prior book as inspiration for the symposium.

I suspect based on the Wikipedia article for Quastler that this may also be the same book as the slightly differently titled Essays on the Use of Information Theory in Biology. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1953). There’s also a 1955 review of the text with this name available as well.

Google uses the first title with 273 pages and the Symposium text specifically cites Information Theory in Biology as the correct title several times.

The tough part seems to be that there are very few copies available online and the ones that are are certainly used, in poor condition, and priced at $100+. Ugh…

📖 Read pages 54-60 of 251 of The Demon in the Machine by Paul Davies

📖 Read pages 54-60 of 251 of The Demon in the Machine: How Hidden Webs of Information Are Finally Solving the Mystery of Life by Paul Davies

I’ve seen a few places in the text where he references “group(s) of Japanese scientists” in a collective way where as when the scientists are from the West he tends to name at least a principle investigator if not multiple members of a team. Is this implicit bias? I hope it’s not, but it feels very conspicuous and regular to me and I wish it weren’t there.

Photo of the book The Demon in the Machine by Paul Davies sitting on a wooden table. The cover is primarily the title in a large font superimposed on a wireframe of a bird in which the wireframe is meant to look like nodes in a newtowrk

📺 Kinesin protein walking on microtubule | YouTube

Watched Kinesin protein walking on microtubule from YouTube

Extracted from The Inner Life of a Cell by Cellular Visions and Harvard (http://www.studiodaily.com/2006/07/cellular-visions-the-inner-life-of-a-cell/)

hat tip to reference in note 21 on page 221 of The Demon in the Machine by Paul Davies.

I’m pretty certain that I’ve seen this or something very similar to it in another setting. (Television perhaps?)

📖 Read pages 27-54 of 251 of The Demon in the Machine by Paul Davies

📖 Read pages 27-54 of 251 of The Demon in the Machine: How Hidden Webs of Information Are Finally Solving the Mystery of Life by Paul Davies

Photo of the book The Demon in the Machine by Paul Davies sitting on a wooden table. The cover is primarily the title in a large font superimposed on a wireframe of a bird in which the wireframe is meant to look like nodes in a newtowrk

📖 Read pages 1-26 of 251 of The Demon in the Machine by Paul Davies

📖 Read pages 1-26 of 251 of The Demon in the Machine: How Hidden Webs of Information Are Finally Solving the Mystery of Life by Paul Davies

He seems to have a reasonable opening history here. He references several researchers I’m familiar with and trust at least.

Photo of the book The Demon in the Machine by Paul Davies sitting on a wooden table. The cover is primarily the title in a large font superimposed on a wireframe of a bird in which the wireframe is meant to look like nodes in a newtowrk

Acquired The Demon in the Machine: How Hidden Webs of Information Are Finally Solving the Mystery of Life by Paul Davies

Acquired The Demon in the Machine: How Hidden Webs of Information Are Finally Solving the Mystery of Life by Paul DaviesPaul Davies (Allen Lane)

How does life create order from chaos? And just what is life, anyway? Leading physicist Paul Davies argues that to find the answers, we must first answer a deeper question: 'What is information?' To understand the origins and nature of life, Davies proposes a radical vision of biology which sees the underpinnings of life as similar to circuits and electronics, arguing that life as we know it should really be considered a phenomenon of information storage. In an extraordinary deep dive into the real mechanics of what we take for granted, Davies reveals how biological processes, from photosynthesis to birds' navigation abilities, rely on quantum mechanics, and explores whether quantum physics could prove to be the secret key of all life on Earth. Lively and accessible, Demons in the Machine boils down intricate interdisciplinary developments to take readers on an eye-opening journey towards the ultimate goal of science: unifying all theories of the living and the non-living, so that humanity can at last understand its place in the universe.

book cover The Demon in the Machine

Ordered from Amazon on February 4th and had it shipped from the UK because I wasn’t sure when the book was going to finally be released in the US.

👓 Falling asleep in your genes: biology | Economist Espresso

Read Falling asleep in your genes: biology (Economist Espresso)

Humans spend around a third of their lives asleep. But the molecular and genetic mechanisms that control sleepiness are mysteries. Now researchers have shown that a gene called nemuri could be one of the main drivers. In a study on fruit flies, neuroscientists at the University of Pennsylvania found that when they suppressed the activity of this gene, the flies woke up easily and had difficulty sleeping. Conversely, when they ramped up nemuri’s activity, the flies effortlessly entered the land of nod. Intriguingly nemuri, which encodes a small protein secreted by brain cells, was also shown to help the flies fight off bacterial infections. It seems as though sleep is a crucial part of the body’s immune response to infection or illness. Anyone sceptical of the recuperative powers of a good night’s rest now has evidence their doctors and mothers were right—sleep really does help. The results were published this week in Science.

This looks like some interesting sleep research to delve into further.

🔖 The Demon in the Machine by Paul Davies | Allen Lane (2018)

Bookmarked The Demon in the Machine by Paul Davies (Allen Lane)

How does life create order from chaos? And just what is life, anyway? Leading physicist Paul Davies argues that to find the answers, we must first answer a deeper question: 'What is information?' To understand the origins and nature of life, Davies proposes a radical vision of biology which sees the underpinnings of life as similar to circuits and electronics, arguing that life as we know it should really be considered a phenomenon of information storage. In an extraordinary deep dive into the real mechanics of what we take for granted, Davies reveals how biological processes, from photosynthesis to birds' navigation abilities, rely on quantum mechanics, and explores whether quantum physics could prove to be the secret key of all life on Earth. Lively and accessible, Demons in the Machine boils down intricate interdisciplinary developments to take readers on an eye-opening journey towards the ultimate goal of science: unifying all theories of the living and the non-living, so that humanity can at last understand its place in the universe.

book cover of The Demon in the Machine by Paul Davies

Found via review.

👓 ‘I predict a great revolution’: inside the struggle to define life | the Guardian

Read 'I predict a great revolution': inside the struggle to define life by Ian Sample (the Guardian)
Paul Davies thinks combining physics and biology will reveal a pattern of information management
hat tip: Philip Ball

👓 Twins get some 'mystifying' results when they put 5 DNA ancestry kits to the test | CBC

Read Twins get some 'mystifying' results when they put 5 DNA ancestry kits to the test (CBC)
Last spring, Marketplace host Charlsie Agro and her identical twin sister, Carly, bought DNA ancestry kits from five of the most popular companies in the industry. Find out why some of the results they received left a team of computational biologists at Yale University baffled.
I would expect some reasonable variation between companies, but far, far less within a particular company. In all though, the article does a good job of explaining some of the basics of what is going on here.

🎧 “The Daily”: The Ethics of Genetically Editing Babies | New York Times

Listened to "The Daily": The Ethics of Genetically Editing Babies from New York Times

A scientist in China claimed to have created the world’s first gene-edited human beings. How should the U.S. respond?

🎧 Episode 097 Applied Mathematics & the Evolution of Music: An Interview With Natalia Komarova | HumanCurrent

Listened to Episode 097 Applied Mathematics & the Evolution of Music: An Interview With Natalia Komarova by Haley Campbell-GrossHaley Campbell-Gross from HumanCurrent

In this episode, Haley interviews Natalia Komarova, Chancellor's Professor of the School of Physical Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Komarova talks with Haley at the Ninth International Conference on Complex Systems about her presentation, which explored using applied mathematics to study the spread of mutants, as well as the evolution of popular music.

There’s some interesting sounding research being described here. Be sure to circle back around to some of her papers.

👓 The year ahead: genetics | Economist Espresso

Read The year ahead: genetics (Economist Espresso)
Soon two American biotechnology firms hope to offer couples undertaking in vitro fertilisation the chance to screen embryos before they are implanted. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is already widely used to test for chromosomal abnormalities or specific genetic disorders. But MyOme and Genomic Prediction plan to reconstruct the whole sequence of an embryo’s genome using just a few cells from a biopsy and genetic sequences of both parents. They can then, in theory, calculate the risk the embryo will develop a wide range of different diseases in later life—including ailments that are extraordinarily complicated, involving thousands of genetic variants. By selecting between different embryos, those undergoing IVF can optimise the health of their progeny in a way that those who conceive naturally cannot. That raises ethical concerns. Although both firms will screen embryos for disease risk only, there is no reason why traits such as height or intelligence might not be selected in the same way.

Reply to Andy Gonzalez about NIMBIOS Workshop

Replied to a tweet by Andy GonzalezAndy Gonzalez (Twitter)
Andrew Eckford et al. hosted a related conference a few months prior at BIRS which also has some great videos:

Biological and Bio-Inspired Information Theory(14w5170)

Perhaps it’s time for a follow up conference?