Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - contact me Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca on Twitter Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Lumondo Photography Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Pi Art Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Hilbertonians - Creatures on the Hilbert CurveMartin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Pi Day 2020 - Piku
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Scientific graphical abstracts — design guidelines


data visualization + celebration

Genome Sciences Center 20th Anniversary Clothing, Music, Drinks and Art

On 15 November 2019, the Genome Sciences Center held its 20th anniversary celebration.

Here you can read about the design of the evening's clothing, music, drinks and other art.

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
— Aldous Huxley

Music

We commissioned Segue to create a unique ambient music landscape for the celebration.

Segue is the name used by Jordan Sauer, an electronic music producer from Vancouver, BC. He creates ambient electronic music with layers of field recordings, acoustic and electronic sounds, creating sonic soundscapes that conjure images of nature and emotions of peace and introspection. He has release numerous solo albums and collaborations with artists from around the world, and recently released a solo album “The Island” on the Silent Season record label in summer 2019. Jordan is thrilled to partner with the GSC in the production of “Gene Machines”.

BC Cancer Genome Sciences Center 20th Anniversary Celebration / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Ambient music performance by Segue (Jordan Sauer). (zoom)
BC Cancer Genome Sciences Center 20th Anniversary Celebration / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Ambient music performance by Segue (Jordan Sauer). (zoom)

gene machines

Gene machines will be available as a digital download soon. We are also planning to have a vinyl release.

BC Cancer Genome Sciences Center 20th Anniversary Celebration / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Gene Machines by Segue (Jordan Sauer). (zoom)

An assembly of shifting soundscapes, textures and rhythmic loops produced by the laboratory machines.

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, Segue was comissioned to create an original composition based on audio recordings from the GSC’s laboratory equipment, robots and computers—to make “music” from the noise they produce.

Machine noise is a challenging palette of musical ingredients—sharp, abrasive and whirring sounds are typically unpleasant. For one night, these machines are repurposed as acoustical performers.

In the process of creating “Gene Machines”, recordings were analyzed for their specific frequency profiles and then used to generate melodic or percussive sounds. Together with bass from a Moog synthesizer, the sounds were then stretched, manipulated and sequenced into a series of compositions. Each composition is based on the recording from one specific laboratory machine, emphasizing its tone and timbre quality.

BC Cancer Genome Sciences Center 20th Anniversary Celebration / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Early version of the liner notes for Gene Machines by Segue. (zoom)
BC Cancer Genome Sciences Center 20th Anniversary Celebration / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Early version of the liner notes for Gene Machines by Segue. (zoom)

BC Cancer Genome Sciences Center 20th Anniversary Celebration / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Early version of the liner notes for Gene Machines by Segue. (zoom)
BC Cancer Genome Sciences Center 20th Anniversary Celebration / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Early version of the liner notes for Gene Machines by Segue. (zoom)

BC Cancer Genome Sciences Center 20th Anniversary Celebration / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Early version of the liner notes for Gene Machines by Segue. (zoom)
BC Cancer Genome Sciences Center 20th Anniversary Celebration / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Early version of the liner notes for Gene Machines by Segue. (zoom)

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news + thoughts

Music for the Moon: Flunk's 'Down Here / Moon Above'

Sat 29-05-2021

The Sanctuary Project is a Lunar vault of science and art. It includes two fully sequenced human genomes, sequenced and assembled by us at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre.

The first disc includes a song composed by Flunk for the (eventual) trip to the Moon.

But how do you send sound to space? I describe the inspiration, process and art behind the work.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The song 'Down Here / Moon Above' from Flunk's new album History of Everything Ever is our song for space. It appears on the Sanctuary genome discs, which aim to send two fully sequenced human genomes to the Moon. (more)

Browse the genome discs.

Happy 2021 `\pi` Day—
A forest of digits

Sun 14-03-2021

Celebrate `\pi` Day (March 14th) and finally see the digits through the forest.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The 26th tree in the digit forest of `\pi`. Why is there a flower on the ground?. (details)

This year is full of botanical whimsy. A Lindenmayer system forest – deterministic but always changing. Feel free to stop and pick the flowers from the ground.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The first 46 digits of `\pi` in 8 trees. There are so many more. (details)

And things can get crazy in the forest.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A forest of the digits of '\pi`, by ecosystem. (details)

Check out art from previous years: 2013 `\pi` Day and 2014 `\pi` Day, 2015 `\pi` Day, 2016 `\pi` Day, 2017 `\pi` Day, 2018 `\pi` Day and 2019 `\pi` Day.

Testing for rare conditions

Sun 30-05-2021

All that glitters is not gold. —W. Shakespeare

The sensitivity and specificity of a test do not necessarily correspond to its error rate. This becomes critically important when testing for a rare condition — a test with 99% sensitivity and specificity has an even chance of being wrong when the condition prevalence is 1%.

We discuss the positive predictive value (PPV) and how practices such as screen can increase it.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Testing for rare conditions. (read)

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2021) Points of significance: Testing for rare conditions. Nature Methods 18:224–225.

Standardization fallacy

Tue 09-02-2021

We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty! —D. Adams

A popular notion about experiments is that it's good to keep variability in subjects low to limit the influence of confounding factors. This is called standardization.

Unfortunately, although standardization increases power, it can induce unrealistically low variability and lead to results that do not generalize to the population of interest. And, in fact, may be irreproducible.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Standardization fallacy. (read)

Not paying attention to these details and thinking (or hoping) that standardization is always good is the "standardization fallacy". In this column, we look at how standardization can be balanced with heterogenization to avoid this thorny issue.

Voelkl, B., Würbel, H., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2021) Points of significance: Standardization fallacy. Nature Methods 18:5–6.

Graphical Abstract Design Guidelines

Fri 13-11-2020

Clear, concise, legible and compelling.

Making a scientific graphical abstract? Refer to my practical design guidelines and redesign examples to improve organization, design and clarity of your graphical abstracts.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Graphical Abstract Design Guidelines — Clear, concise, legible and compelling.

"This data might give you a migrane"

Tue 06-10-2020

An in-depth look at my process of reacting to a bad figure — how I design a poster and tell data stories.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A poster of high BMI and obesity prevalence for 185 countries.