Twenty — minutes — maybe — more.choose four wordsmore quotes

sky: beautiful

In Silico Flurries: Computing a world of snow. Scientific American. 23 December 2017

visualization + design

The 2018 Pi Day art celebrates the 30th anniversary of $\pi$ day and connects friends stitching road maps from around the world. Pack a sandwich and let's go!

$\pi$ Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants

2018 $\pi$ day shrinks the world and celebrates road trips by stitching streets from around the world together. In this version, we look at the boonies, burbs and boutique of $\pi$ by drawing progressively denser patches of streets. Let's go places.
2017 $\pi$ day
2016 $\pi$ approximation day
2016 $\pi$ day
2015 $\pi$ day
2014 $\pi$ approx day
2014 $\pi$ day
2013 $\pi$ day
Circular $\pi$ art

On March 14th celebrate $\pi$ Day. Hug $\pi$—find a way to do it.

For those who favour $\tau=2\pi$ will have to postpone celebrations until July 26th. That's what you get for thinking that $\pi$ is wrong.

If you're not into details, you may opt to party on July 22nd, which is $\pi$ approximation day ($\pi$ ≈ 22/7). It's 20% more accurate that the official $\pi$ day!

Finally, if you believe that $\pi = 3$, you should read why $\pi$ is not equal to 3.

All art posters are available for purchase.
I take custom requests.

Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.
—Horace

This year: creatures that don't exist, but once did, in the skies.

And a poem Of Black Body.

This year's $\pi$ day song is Exploration by Karminsky Experience Inc. Why? Because "you never know what you'll find on an exploration".

If you like space, you'll love my the 12,000 billion light-year map of clusters, superclusters and voids. Find the biggest nothings in Boötes and Eridanus.

create myths and contribute!

Want to contribute to the mythology behind the constellations in the $\pi$ in the sky? Many already have a story, but others still need one. Please submit your stories!

Here I make available all the files you need to reconstruct the chart. All files are plain text and designed to be easily parsable.

Star chart of the first 12,000,000 digits of $\pi$. The 80 constellations honor extinct animals and plants. Azimuthal equidistant projection. (BUY ARTWORK)

For the simplest chart, you'll need the star catalogue which already provides the longitude and latitude coordinates for each star. It'll be up to you to choose and calculate a projection.

You can then layer constellations, which are defined by a list of edges. If you like, you can draw boundaries around each constellation, which are also provided.

Star-to-constellation mapping is also given, which allows you to create labels for the stars within each constellation based on relative brightness.

Finally, you can get the species details for each constellation, including the Latin name of the species, Wikipedia URL and (for many) the mythology of the constellation.

star catalogue

The star catalog generated from the first 12 million digits of $\pi$.

$DOWNLOAD # idx digits name x y z long lat dist mabs mapp 0 314159265358 a -1859 926 35 145.339 38.384 2077.157 3.00 14.59 1 979323846264 b 4793 -2616 126 -38.404 -39.555 5461.884 -1.00 12.69 2 338327950288 c -1617 -2205 -472 -110.162 32.164 2774.797 3.00 15.22 3 419716939937 d -803 -3307 493 -105.489 3.655 3438.620 2.00 14.68 ... 999996 601538500580 cexhk 1015 -1150 -442 -48.144 -14.704 1596.273 -5.00 6.02 999997 420478142596 cexhl -796 2814 -241 97.939 14.471 2934.330 1.00 13.34 999998 278256213419 cexhm -2218 621 -159 156.900 46.719 2308.776 4.00 15.82 999999 453839371943 cexhn -462 -1063 -306 -95.924 26.937 1198.770 -2.00 8.39$

constellation definitions

Constellations were manually defined. Each constellation has a name and abbreviation (first 3 characters unless longer is required to uniquely specify it). Shown next is the number of stars used to define the constellation and their names, as appear in the star catalogue file above. Next is the number of edges and the star pairs that define the edges of the constellation. The edges are not in any particular order and have no direction. Any spaces in names are encoded with _.

$DOWNLOAD # idx n_stars n_edges name abbrev stars edges ... 2 3 3 alaotra ala blts,btosf,cbkbw btosf-cbkbw,blts-btosf,blts-cbkbw 3 4 4 alloperla all ghyr,pwkn,ssrx,ugwt pwkn-ssrx,pwkn-ghyr,ugwt-pwkn,ssrx-ghyr 4 2 1 aplonis apl cbocd,rllm rllm-cbocd ...$

You can use this file to quickly search for certain shapes. For example, triangular constellations are those that have 3 stars and 3 edges.

$> grep " 3 3" constellations.def.txt 2 3 3 alaotra ala blts,btosf,cbkbw btosf-cbkbw,blts-btosf,blts-cbkbw 16 3 3 camptor camp benxf,bqvh,bwqed bqvh-benxf,bwqed-bqvh,bwqed-benxf 26 3 3 desmodus des bfnqu,mork,zwzy bfnqu-mork,zwzy-bfnqu,zwzy-mork 27 3 3 ectopistes ect bopmt,cbquf,wmnw cbquf-bopmt,wmnw-cbquf,wmnw-bopmt 30 3 3 hoopoe hoo bpsop,bvmjh,tryh tryh-bvmjh,bpsop-tryh,bpsop-bvmjh 31 3 3 huia hui ccteo,xbvq,yqet xbvq-yqet,ccteo-xbvq,ccteo-yqet 39 3 3 malpaisomys mal bucqd,likq,nqn nqn-bucqd,likq-nqn,likq-bucqd 41 3 3 mariana mar gmps,jydb,pcjx pcjx-gmps,jydb-pcjx,jydb-gmps 49 3 3 palaeoaldrovanda pal bedae,oife,saz bedae-saz,oife-bedae,oife-saz 63 3 3 rhynia rhy bpviv,cenuk,hivz bpviv-hivz,cenuk-bpviv,cenuk-hivz 65 3 3 silphium sil bjesg,bmquw,bpxia bmquw-bpxia,bjesg-bmquw,bjesg-bpxia 69 3 3 tadorna tad bukqe,cbtrx,epdx cbtrx-epdx,bukqe-cbtrx,bukqe-epdx 72 3 3 traversia tra fcnw,fywb,puib fywb-fcnw,puib-fywb,puib-fcnw 80 3 3 yersinia yer colq,ibls,zgvy ibls-zgvy,colq-ibls,colq-zgvy$

constellation boundaries

The boundaries were manually defined. Shown here, for each constellation, is the constellation's area, perimeter center and boundary $(x,y)$ pairs, delimited by : and represent a closed polygon that encloses the constellation's stars.

All values are longitude and latitude. The three constellations listed below are ones with smallest area.

$DOWNLOAD # abbrev area perimeter centroid_xy boundary_xy_pairs ... com 74.83 34.96 -102.50,26.25 -100.00,30.00:-102.50,30.00:-105.00,30.00:-107.50,30.00:-107.50,27.50: -107.50,25.00:-107.50,22.51:-105.00,22.51:-102.50,22.51:-100.00,22.51: -97.51,22.51:-97.51,25.00:-97.51,27.50:-97.51,30.00:-100.00,30.00 pal 50.02 30.00 3.43,-40.93 5.00,-37.49:2.50,-37.49:0.00,-37.49:0.00,-40.00:0.00,-42.50:0.00,-45.00: 2.50,-45.00:5.00,-45.00:5.00,-42.50:7.49,-42.50:7.49,-40.00:7.49,-37.49:5.00,-37.49 sil 37.57 25.02 115.00,-51.25 115.00,-47.50:112.49,-47.50:112.49,-50.00:112.49,-52.49:112.49,-55.00: 115.00,-55.00:117.50,-55.00:117.50,-52.49:117.50,-50.00:117.50,-47.50:115.00,-47.50$

The boundary polygons abut but do not overlap and they cover the entire sky. There is one polygon per consetllation. The total area of all constellations is $360 × 180 = 36800$.

constellation star membership

This is a list of all the stars on the chart and their constellation membership. A star is considered to be in a constellation if it falls within the constellation boundary.

The $i$ and $j$ indexes give the relative brightness of the star on the map and in the constellation, respectively. If a star is used to define the constellation edges it gets a + otherwise -.

$DOWNLOAD # abbreviation star i j mapp on_edge? aep bkawv 35 0 1.34 + aep gql 65 1 1.63 + aep cavix 72 2 1.71 + aep bqxvm 137 3 2.25 + aep tjow 158 4 2.31 + aep beelq 176 5 2.39 + ... yer jjlj 39365 412 7.24 - yer bgswm 39464 413 7.24 - yer ittu 39546 414 7.24 - yer wakp 39556 415 7.24 - yer bedks 39667 416 7.25 - yer gxzo 39817 417 7.25 -$

To lookup the 10 brightest stars, sort on the i index. Here we see that megal (Megalodon) has the brightest star in the sky, jkxo with apparent magnitude $-2.05$. The next two brighest stars are in mam (Mammuthus) and ara (Araucaria).

$> cat constellations.stars.txt | sort -n +2 -3 | head -10 megal jkxo 0 0 -2.05 + mam btsqy 1 0 -0.73 + ara ccijs 2 0 -0.38 + rap btaum 3 0 0.26 + urs bxlss 4 0 0.26 + tec bgrdk 5 0 0.43 + cop itwr 6 0 0.45 + ara mrvq 7 1 0.54 + phe loju 8 0 0.54 + mam bhlbw 9 1 0.55 +$

To get a list of the brightest star in each constellation, just search for " 0 ". Below I show this list sorted by brightness.

$> cat constellations.stars.txt | grep " 0 "| sort -n +4 -5 megal jkxo 0 0 -2.05 + mam btsqy 1 0 -0.73 + ara ccijs 2 0 -0.38 + rap btaum 3 0 0.26 + urs bxlss 4 0 0.26 + tec bgrdk 5 0 0.43 + cop itwr 6 0 0.45 + phe loju 8 0 0.54 + kel bnhwx 11 0 0.59 + spe rtep 13 0 0.71 + ... nes vxou 299 0 2.80 - aur bmjvf 307 0 2.81 + tra puib 318 0 2.83 + pip cecq 358 0 2.91 + pal oife 389 0 2.97 + swa gvr 463 0 3.12 + hui ccteo 485 0 3.17 + ple bzqur 506 0 3.20 + com ygrn 875 0 3.64 + car yjkn 933 0 3.68 +$

For example, tec (Tecopa) has bgrdk as its brightest star, which is 6th brightest in the sky with an apparent magnitude of 0.43.

The constellation whose brightest star is dimmest of all first brightest stars is car (Caracara). Its brightest star is yjkn which is 934th brightest in the sky with an apparent magnitude of 3.68.

To get the number of stars in each constellation, just add the number of times the constellation abbreviation appears. Bron has the most stars of any constellation, more than twice as many as the next one, archaeo (Archaeopteryx). Both car (Caracara) and por (Porzana) have only 7 stars each, the fewest of all constellations.

$5230 bro 2287 archaeo 2205 thy 2155 kim 1838 archaea 1789 came 1768 ard ... 20 megal 19 swa 17 mar 12 rhy 8 sil 7 por 7 car$

constellation names, stories and links

The constellations are in no particular order in this file.

$DOWNLOAD # constellation name # hemisphere (n north, s south, b both) # common name # Latin name # extinction date # URL # optional story aplonis n mysterious bird of Ulieta Aplonis ulietensis 1774-1850 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raiatea_starling desmodus n Giant Vampire Bat Desmodus draculae Pleistocene or early Holocene https://www.thoughtco.com/recently-extinct-shrews-bats-and-rodents-1092147 It is thought that each night Desmodus flies up against the dome of the sky, looking for a way to escape. ...$
VIEW ALL

Oryza longistaminata genome cake

Mon 24-09-2018

Data visualization should be informative and, where possible, tasty.

Stefan Reuscher from Bioscience and Biotechnology Center at Nagoya University celebrates a publication with a Circos cake.

The cake shows an overview of a de-novo assembled genome of a wild rice species Oryza longistaminata.

Circos cake celebrating Reuscher et al. 2018 publication of the Oryza longistaminata genome.

Optimal experimental design

Tue 31-07-2018
Customize the experiment for the setting instead of adjusting the setting to fit a classical design.

The presence of constraints in experiments, such as sample size restrictions, awkward blocking or disallowed treatment combinations may make using classical designs very difficult or impossible.

Optimal design is a powerful, general purpose alternative for high quality, statistically grounded designs under nonstandard conditions.

Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Optimal experimental design. (read)

We discuss two types of optimal designs (D-optimal and I-optimal) and show how it can be applied to a scenario with sample size and blocking constraints.

Smucker, B., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2018) Points of significance: Optimal experimental design Nature Methods 15:599–600.

Krzywinski, M., Altman, N. (2014) Points of significance: Two factor designs. Nature Methods 11:1187–1188.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of significance: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and blocking. Nature Methods 11:699–700.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of significance: Designing comparative experiments. Nature Methods 11:597–598.

The Whole Earth Cataloguer

Mon 30-07-2018
All the living things.

An illustration of the Tree of Life, showing some of the key branches.

The tree is drawn as a DNA double helix, with bases colored to encode ribosomal RNA genes from various organisms on the tree.

The circle of life. (read, zoom)

All living things on earth descended from a single organism called LUCA (last universal common ancestor) and inherited LUCA’s genetic code for basic biological functions, such as translating DNA and creating proteins. Constant genetic mutations shuffled and altered this inheritance and added new genetic material—a process that created the diversity of life we see today. The “tree of life” organizes all organisms based on the extent of shuffling and alteration between them. The full tree has millions of branches and every living organism has its own place at one of the leaves in the tree. The simplified tree shown here depicts all three kingdoms of life: bacteria, archaebacteria and eukaryota. For some organisms a grey bar shows when they first appeared in the tree in millions of years (Ma). The double helix winding around the tree encodes highly conserved ribosomal RNA genes from various organisms.

Johnson, H.L. (2018) The Whole Earth Cataloguer, Sactown, Jun/Jul, p. 89

Why we can't give up this odd way of typing

Mon 30-07-2018
All fingers report to home row.

An article about keyboard layouts and the history and persistence of QWERTY.

My Carpalx keyboard optimization software is mentioned along with my World's Most Difficult Layout: TNWMLC. True typing hell.

TNWMLC requires seriously flexible digits. It’s 87% more difficult than using a standard Qwerty keyboard, according to Martin Krzywinski, who created it (Credit: Ben Nelms). (read)

McDonald, T. (2018) Why we can't give up this odd way of typing, BBC, 25 May 2018.

Molecular Case Studies Cover

Fri 06-07-2018

The theme of the April issue of Molecular Case Studies is precision oncogenomics. We have three papers in the issue based on work done in our Personalized Oncogenomics Program (POG).

The covers of Molecular Case Studies typically show microscopy images, with some shown in a more abstract fashion. There's also the occasional Circos plot.

I've previously taken a more fine-art approach to cover design, such for those of Nature, Genome Research and Trends in Genetics. I've used microscopy images to create a cover for PNAS—the one that made biology look like astrophysics—and thought that this is kind of material I'd start with for the MCS cover.

Cover design for Apr 2018 issue of Molecular Case Studies. (details)

Happy 2018 $\tau$ Day—Art for everyone

Wed 27-06-2018
You know what day it is. (details)