listen; there's a hell of a good universe next door: let's go.go theremore quotes

# a rat: exciting

EMBO Practical Course: Bioinformatics and Genome Analysis, 5–17 June 2017.

# Alex — Internet's Most Popular Rat

## Poster Rat for Rat Genome Sequencing

The rat genome sequencing project at the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Centre is complete. The genome has been analyzed and published.

I'd like to introduce you one of the faces of the project: Alex, the genomics rat idol.

Arguably, Alex is the most popular rat on the internet. For the justification of this strong statement, read on.

Alex, the rat. Rattus norvegicus on an ABI 3700 genome sequencer. (zoom)
Alex, the rat. Rattus norvegicus on an ABI 3700 genome sequencer. (zoom)

## Alex's Biography

Alex was born in May 2000. It's well known that a rat's cuteness reaches maximum at about 3-4 weeks. After this critical time, a pet store rat is less likely to be purchased and may be asked to act as snake food. In Alex's case, she was perilously close to her deadline. Luckily for her, we paid a ransom of \$6.99 to the Noah's Ark pet shop in Vancouver. She was on her last cute leg.

Portrait of Alex, the genome rat (Rattus norvegicus). Here, she is seen in a forced portrait position (zoom)

From May 2000 Alex spent most of her time hoarding food pellets and riding on shoulders.

Portrait of Alex, the genome rat (Rattus norvegicus). Riding on shoulder.

Alex liked to bite. And rats only bite hard — they don't nibble. Her contention for this unattractive behaviour was the uncanny similarity between a finger and a pellet of food.

Other than unpredictable bouts of biting (by far the most exciting aspect of her personality), Alex lacked other distinguishing characteristics.

Alex died of a seizure in late 2002. She was buried outside of the Museum of Anthropology. A ratty pair of underwear served as a burial shroud.

And I hope you got that last pun.

Photos are for public use. Use, modification and distribution of these photos is unrestricted.

## Alex's Popularity

Despite my best efforts at meaningful work, this web page continues to be the most popular of all my online offerings, making for a somewhat embarrassing achievement.

Alex's images consistently show up first in Google's web search for 'rat', 'rat image' and image search for 'rat'.

Alex image is the first for Google's 'rat' search query (retrieved 16 Mar 2013). (rat Google search)
Alex image is the first for Google's 'rat image' search query (retrieved 16 Mar 2013). (rat Google search)

Finally, Alex appears as the first entry in Google images for 'rat'.

Alex image is the first for Google's 'rat image' search query (retrieved 16 Mar 2013). (rat Google search)

## Alex's Public Appearances

Alex is neither without modesty nor public fame. Her first cover-ratgirl appearance was on the April 2004 issue of Genome Research.

Alex the rat appeared on the cover of Genome Research (April 2004). (zoom)

More recently, she's appeared on the cover of Ethnologie Francaise (Jan-Mar 2009 issue).

Alex the rat appeared on the cover of Ethnologie Francaise (1/2009). (zoom)

The topic of the issue was the relationship between animals and humans. It is fitting therefore to recount here the relationship I shared with Alex during her sojourn with us.

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# $k$ index: a weightlighting and Crossfit performance measure

Wed 07-06-2017

Similar to the $h$ index in publishing, the $k$ index is a measure of fitness performance.

To achieve a $k$ index for a movement you must perform $k$ unbroken reps at $k$% 1RM.

The expected value for the $k$ index is probably somewhere in the range of $k = 26$ to $k=35$, with higher values progressively more difficult to achieve.

In my $k$ index introduction article I provide detailed explanation, rep scheme table and WOD example.

# Dark Matter of the English Language—the unwords

Wed 07-06-2017

I've applied the char-rnn recurrent neural network to generate new words, names of drugs and countries.

The effect is intriguing and facetious—yes, those are real words.

But these are not: necronology, abobionalism, gabdologist, and nonerify.

These places only exist in the mind: Conchar and Pobacia, Hzuuland, New Kain, Rabibus and Megee Islands, Sentip and Sitina, Sinistan and Urzenia.

And these are the imaginary afflictions of the imagination: ictophobia, myconomascophobia, and talmatomania.

And these, of the body: ophalosis, icabulosis, mediatopathy and bellotalgia.

Want to name your baby? Or someone else's baby? Try Ginavietta Xilly Anganelel or Ferandulde Hommanloco Kictortick.

When taking new therapeutics, never mix salivac and labromine. And don't forget that abadarone is best taken on an empty stomach.

And nothing increases the chance of getting that grant funded than proposing the study of a new –ome! We really need someone to looking into the femome and manome.

# Dark Matter of the Genome—the nullomers

Wed 31-05-2017

An exploration of things that are missing in the human genome. The nullomers.

Julia Herold, Stefan Kurtz and Robert Giegerich. Efficient computation of absent words in genomic sequences. BMC Bioinformatics (2008) 9:167