Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - contact me Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca on Twitter Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Lumondo Photography Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Pi Art Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Hilbertonians - Creatures on the Hilbert Curve
Tango is a sad thought that is danced.Enrique Santos Discépolothink & dancemore quotes


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


art + design

Math geek? If you like the clean geometric design of the type posters, you may enjoy something even more mathematical. Design that transcends repetition: Art of Pi, Phi and e posters.

Visions of Type

typography and bird songs

Consider the fact that, if you live in a city, birds are essentially the only wildlife that you meet during your day.

Depending on where you live, you might come several species without even trying. In Vancouver, on my short 10 minute walk to work, I have a good chance to see rock doves, crows, mallars, wigeons, hooded mergansers (if I'm lucky), house sparrows, song sparrows, red-winged black birds, white-crowned sparrows, bushtits, black-capped chickadees, northern flickers, and the mother-of-all-honkers: Canada geese.

Birds and letters are everywhere—art of nature and man.

Letter forms, on the other hand, are the art that is also everywhere. Every typeface is an artistic expression.

Regardless where you live, sadly, you are likely to come across mutants like Comic Sans, Arial and Times New Roman. Hideous creatures from the shallows. Try to find Gotham, Gill Sans, Frutiger, or Garamond.

learning bird songs

Mnemonics of bird songs help you remember the call and recognize the bird. It's so much easier to think "Quick, three beers!" — the call of the Olive-sided flycatcher — rather than "Chirp, chirp, chirp."

The mnemonic captures the cadence and repetition scheme of the song.

For example, if you listen to the white-throated sparrow you can't help but think that this little guy is trying to tell us something.

the mnemonics

French Zonotrichia albicollis: Baisse ta jupe, Philomène, Philomène, Philomène. How differently we hear!
—Madelaine Lemieux (via Twitter)

Dear sweet Canada Canada Canada.
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

Potato chip!
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

Here here. Come right here, dear.
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

Who cooks for you?
Barred Owl (Strix varia)

Fire fire. Where where? Here here! See it, see it.
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

Clear. Wick, wick, wick.
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Quick, three beers!
Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi)

Where are you? Here I am.
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)

Chubby chubby cheeks. Chubby cheeks.
Ruby-crowned kinglet (Regulus calendula)

Here sweetie.
Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

See me, pretty, pretty me.
White-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

the posters

If you love birds and typography, these posters are for you.

The mnemonic for the bird's song is presented on a background that proportionally presents the bird's plumage colors.

If you explore the posters, you just might find the bird too.


Typographical posters of bird song
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Dear sweet Canada Canada Canada. — song of the White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis). (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird song
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Potato chip! — song of the American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis). (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird song
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Here here. Come right here, dear. — song of the Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula). (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird song
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Who cooks for you? — song of the Barred Owl (Strix varia). (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird song
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Fire fire. Where where? Here here! See it, see it. — song of the Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea). (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird song
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Clear. Wick, wick, wick. — song of the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus). (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird song
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Quick, three beers! — song of the Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi). (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird song
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Where are you? Here I am. — song of the Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus). (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird song
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Chubby chubby cheeks. Chubby cheeks. — song of the Ruby-crowned kinglet (Regulus calendula). (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird song
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Here sweetie. — song of the Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird song
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
See me, pretty, pretty me. — song of the White-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys). (BUY ARTWORK)
VIEW ALL

news + thoughts

Tabular Data

Tue 11-04-2017
Tabulating the number of objects in categories of interest dates back to the earliest records of commerce and population censuses.

After 30 columns, this is our first one without a single figure. Sometimes a table is all you need.

In this column, we discuss nominal categorical data, in which data points are assigned to categories in which there is no implied order. We introduce one-way and two-way tables and the `\chi^2` and Fisher's exact tests.

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2017) Points of Significance: Tabular data. Nature Methods 14:329–330.

...more about the Points of Significance column

Happy 2017 `\pi` Day—Star Charts, Creatures Once Living and a Poem

Tue 14-03-2017


on a brim of echo,

capsized chamber
drawn into our constellation, and cooling.
—Paolo Marcazzan

Celebrate `\pi` Day (March 14th) with star chart of the digits. The charts draw 40,000 stars generated from the first 12 million digits.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
12,000,000 digits of `\pi` interpreted as a star catalogue. (details)

The 80 constellations are extinct animals and plants. Here you'll find old friends and new stories. Read about how Desmodus is always trying to escape or how Megalodon terrorizes the poor Tecopa! Most constellations have a story.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Find friends and stories among the 80 constellations of extinct animals and plants. Oh look, a Dodo guardings his eggs! (details)

This year I collaborate with Paolo Marcazzan, a Canadian poet, who contributes a poem, Of Black Body, about space and things we might find and lose there.

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

Data in New Dimensions: convergence of art, genomics and bioinformatics

Tue 07-03-2017

Art is science in love.
— E.F. Weisslitz

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of our stereoscopic images which were at display at the AGBT 2017 Conference in February. The art is a creative collaboration with Becton Dickinson and The Linus Group.

Its creation began with the concept of differences and my writeup of the creative and design process focuses on storytelling and how concept of differences is incorporated into the art.

Oh, and this might be a good time to pick up some red-blue 3D glasses.

BD Genomics 3D art exhibit - AGBT 2017 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A stereoscopic image and its interpretive panel of single-cell transcriptomes of blood cells: diseased versus healthy control.

Interpreting P values

Thu 02-03-2017
A P value measures a sample’s compatibility with a hypothesis, not the truth of the hypothesis.

This month we continue our discussion about `P` values and focus on the fact that `P` value is a probability statement about the observed sample in the context of a hypothesis, not about the hypothesis being tested.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Interpreting P values. (read)

Given that we are always interested in making inferences about hypotheses, we discuss how `P` values can be used to do this by way of the Benjamin-Berger bound, `\bar{B}` on the Bayes factor, `B`.

Heuristics such as these are valuable in helping to interpret `P` values, though we stress that `P` values vary from sample to sample and hence many sources of evidence need to be examined before drawing scientific conclusions.

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2017) Points of Significance: Interpreting P values. Nature Methods 14:213–214.

Background reading

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2017) Points of significance: P values and the search for significance. Nature Methods 14:3–4.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2013) Points of significance: Significance, P values and t–tests. Nature Methods 10:1041–1042.

...more about the Points of Significance column

Snellen Charts—Typography to Really Look at

Sat 18-02-2017

Another collection of typographical posters. These ones really ask you to look.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Snellen charts designed using physical constants, Braille and elemental abundances in the universe and human body.

The charts show a variety of interesting symbols and operators found in science and math. The design is in the style of a Snellen chart and typset with the Rockwell font.