Friday, October 26, 2007

"When do I change my clock?" Daylight saving time

So, when exactly do we reset our clocks? And is it forward or backward one hour?

Daylight Saving Time can be very confusing. Read below to help end your confusion! [The chart on the left plots the times of sunrise and sunset (with DST adjustment as separate lines) in Greenwich, GB for 2007. -from WikiMedia Commons]

Short answer
: On November 4th, 2007 at 2:00am, you should set your clock back one hour to 1:00am. (Remember "spring forward, fall back...").

Easy answer: Most people who go to bed earlier than the wee hours of the morning simply set their clocks back one hour before they go to bed on November 3rd.

Detailed answer: Go HERE.

For more information...
Daylight Saving Time from WebExhibits

National Geographic on DST

US Naval Observatory on DST

Figure out what time it is in the United States at

Thursday, October 25, 2007


What is bioinformatics? Closely related with computational biology and systems biology, the NIH Biomedical Information Science defines bioinformatics (PDF) as "research, development, or application of computational tools and approaches for expanding the use of biological, medical, behavioral or health data, including those to acquire, store, organize, archive, or visualize such data."

That's a mouthful but, in a nutshell, it means anything that involves more accurate or more usable communication or modeling of life sciences research falls under bioinformatics. For instance, the Human Genome Project could not have happened without the use of bioinformatics of several kinds. Scientists used computers, various laboratory instruments, models, and methodologies to accomplish this project.

>>To learn more about bioinformatics, join the BSU Genetics Club and Department of Biology on November 16 & 17, for a free two-day bioinformatics web-based workshop from the National Institutes of Health/National Center for Biotechnology Information (NIH/NCBI).<<
BSU Resources

Ball State University Department of Biology
Biotechnology program

University Library Resources
Introduction to bioinformatics algorithms
QH324.2 .J66 2004

Current protocols in bioinformatics
QH441.2 .C86

Bioinformatics and functional genomics
QH441.2 .P48 2003

Fundamental concepts of bioinformatics
QH324.2 .K72 2003

Statistical methods in bioinformatics: an introduction
R858 .E986 2001

Bioinformatics: a practical guide to the analysis of genes and proteins
QH324.2 .B565 2001

Bioinformatics methods and protocols
(online book)

Bioinformatics: databases and systems
(online book)

Bioinformatics: machine learning approach
(online book)

EURASIP Journal on bioinformatics and systems biology

Evolutionary bioinformatics online

IEEE/ACM transactions on computational biology and bioinformatics

Journal of bioinformatics and computational biology

Briefings in bioinformatics

Online Resources & Organizations

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Autumn colors

With autumn comes color changes in the trees, harvest moons, colder weather, and shorter days. It's mostly due to those shorter days that trees begin their annual process of conserving energy by shutting down sugar production in the leaf factories. As these processes stop, the leaves "die," green chlorophyll breaks down, and the other chemicals are revealed.

>>UPDATE, 30oct07: "Sunscreen for trees" new study reveals that there is more to the color change than previously thought<<

You can experience these changes up close and learn more about them during October. The Ball State Department of Biology is hosting Fall Tree Walks at Christy Woods and invites "you to enjoy fall colors and environmental education as part of the Field Station & Environmental Education Center’s quarterly programming."

These walks take place each Saturday at 1pm throughout October. The walks begin outside the Wheeler Orchid Collection Greenhouse with FSEEC Land Manager John Taylor leading the guided tour of approximately 45 minutes. The walks are free and open to the public. Parking is available in lot G13, south of the Wheeler Orchid Collection Greenhouse (OGH) (See MAP)."

Further Reading
-- websites
The Chemistry of Autumn Colors

North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Chemistry of Autumn Leaf Color

-- books & other library materials
Find books in the University Libraries by doing a keyword/words or phrase CardCat search using keywords "chlorophyll," "dendrology," "botany," "vascular plants," or "trees."

Or you can click HERE for a list of selected titles.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sputnik 50th anniversary

50 years ago to today, October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched a small, beachball-sized sphere into orbit named Sputnik I.

This event inaugurated not only the "space age" but the "communications and information age" as well because Sputnik did more than just placidly orbit the Earth- it sent back information (listen to a .wav file of the telemetry) about its journey.

Sputnik I stayed in orbit for three months until January 4, 1958 when its orbit decayed and it burned up upon re-entry.

It's impact cannot go unnoticed in today's world of cell phones, satellite television, the internet, et al. Take a moment to learn more about it and the world it helped create.

News & Overviews


Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Further reading at BSU Libraries-
a selection of books about Sputnik and its effects
(click on the title to view the CardCat record)
Astronomy from space : Sputnik to space telescope
QB136 .A79 1983

Blazing the trail : the early history of spacecraft and rocketry
TL781 .G78 2004

Countdown : a history of space flight
TL789.8.U5 H49 1997

History of the Internet : a chronology, 1843 to the present
TK5105.875.I57 H58 1999

The origins of satellite communications, 1945-1965
TK5104 .W48 2002

Spaceflight revolution : NASA Langley Research Center from Sputnik to Apollo
Available online:
NAS 1.21:4308

We interrupt this broadcast : relive the events that stopped our lives-- from the Hindenburg to the death of Princess Diana
PN4784.T4 G36 1998