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The evolutionary research blog has started

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Read new entries about evolution in general and evolution@home in particular, including new results, old gems, practical applications and tools for the research behind the scenes. Events related to evolution will also be announced.

So much interesting research goes on in evolutionary biology! If only I would find the time to keep up with this relentless stream of new information.

Quite a bit of evolution@home research results have been accumulating as well, but so little of it is visible! If only I would find an appropriate way to report advances.

Evolutionary biology has many practical applications, but hardly anybody knows about this! If only there was a place, where such applications could be explained in simple terms.

Welcome to: The evolutionary research blog!

Pondering these questions, I have decided to try help address the three problems above by regularly writing for the evolutionary research blog. It will carry a mix of the following topics:

  • Explanations. I will (re)visit various topics in evolution in an attempt to make them accessible for the general public.
  • Action. Research on evolution can sometimes challenge us to go practical steps, that is if we are interested to live as responsible citizens in a civilized society. I will cover such applications.
  • Current research. News from the cutting edge of research are always exciting. Since nobody can cover everything I will include recent results as well, as my time and energy allows.
  • Classical results. Some older papers have become well known classics and deserve to be revisited from time to time. I also hope to uncover an old gem every now and then.
  • Evolution@home. Obviously I will cover all interesting evolution@home developments.
  • Tools. Evolutionary research is often incredibly diverse and involved. Very sophisticated tools and techniques are frequently used and I will cover some of them as the opportunity arises. This includes many aspects of computing and programming, bioinformatics software and databases, as well as out-door equipment for field trips.
  • Events. Anything from research conferences to events for the upcoming Darwin Year 2009 will be included in this events list.

As much as I would like, I will not be able to cover these topics perfectly, so all I can offer to you will be a random sample. I hope you will like it. Randomness plays a huge role in evolution.

To help you find again what you read here, I have designed a system of stable URLs that will enable you to long-term link to the corresponding stories:

I have decided to incorporate this blog in the existing evolution@home site, because I view explaining the ideas behind the global computing projects as an integral part of the whole enterprise. You may wonder why I didn't include the possibility for comments on this blog. Well, this is not a matter of principle, it is rather that any responsible administration of open discussions on the web requires a lot of effort these days and I don't have the resources to do this at the moment. At the end of the day you'll probably not want to read about Viagra here. As the need arises and resources become available, comments will be implemented later.

The next steps ...

... will be to present all the existing results from evolution@home and I have to confess that I was not particularly good at updating the website in this respect. In other words there is quite a bit to write about in this area that I should probably have done a long time ago.

Why didn't I do it? Well, a strange mix of technical issues with the website, a stressful time at work and the desire to "get it right" kept me back. Why do I do it now? Well I made a very lucky choice with the Plone content management system that runs this site. Yes it can be quite a beast to tame, but once that is done, it is sitting there and invites you with a big smile to write more, just because it is so easy. I have also decided (once again) that there is nothing that is perfect in this world and that I will never ever do something, if I wait for it to be perfect. A very simple lesson from understanding the mechanisms of evolution: systems do evolve if there is enough turnover.

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