on the way to UConn

I am on the way to University of Connecticut for invited seminar. I am going to talk about chromodomains in plant retrotransposons and how we can use these tiny sequences in out attempts to figure out evolutionary history of plant genomes.

Plant chromodomains

I was working in this area for a few years now and have published  four papers :} Two pet-projects are on there way, but now I am very slow since my primary projects have nothing to do with neither plants or retrotransposons. Oh, well… I will come back to you guys [waiving to the mosses and ferns] one day! I will…

Workshop: the DNA Reactions and DNA/Chromosome Dynamics

I am going to go to the DNA Reactions and DNA/Chromosome Dynamics Workshop tomorrow (Woods Hole, MA). Whole Labor Day weekend was spent for poster preparation. I am more or less satisfied by the result. However, on Tuesday I have had two variants: (i) in color; (ii) in red-black-grey colors. Whole group voted for colorful variant, but my heart (brain, liver and kidney) with the second one.

I think red-black-grey variant was aesthetically superior.

Anyway, colorful poster is printed and folded. Ready to go!

(i) colorful variant

(ii) red-black-grey variant


Books: “The Jungle Book” and “The Second Jungle Book”

Well, because of some changing in my life situation right now I have to sell some of the books from my collection which is breaking my hart, sniiiffff… I decided to keep everything concerning botany, history of science (oh, well, more or less everything), and majority of botanical prints, but all other books should go.

I think the first one will be: the bundle of “The Jungle Book” and “The Second Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling, early edition, published in London by Macmillan & Co, 1898 & 1899. Each volume is an identical reprint from a first UK edition, (1854 & 1855). I LOVE these books: tiny engravings and full-page pictures with superb details. Blue boards with gold embossed vignette on front and spine and gold page edging. As of old books survived so long, spine ends show some wear and corners bumped. Some foxing on the inner pages (especially extensive in The Jungle Book); The Second Jungle Book is signed and have ex-libris. Inner hinges just starting in both books but holding firmly.

My favorite story is from The Jungle Book, and, I think, it is the most famous of the other stories – “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”, the story of a heroic mongoose.

“The Jungle Book” and “The Second Jungle Book”

More photos below.

BTW, a few words about mongoose. There over 30 known species in the family. Length of the body can be 7 to 25 inches (18 to 64 cm). Imagine 7 inches long mongoose! Tail – 6 to 21 inches (15 to 53 cm), weight 340 gm to 5 kg (12 oz to 11 lb). They live up to 20 years (just like dogs!). They are obligate carnivorous meaning they are eating a LOT of meat. Their diet includes insects, crabs, earthworms, lizards, snakes, chickens and even rodents. Usually mongooses are terrestrial, but there are some species semi-aquatic (most or at least half of the time spend in the water) or even arboreal (most of the time spend on the trees) ones. Though mongooses live in burrows, they seldom dig holes for themselves. Rather, they just move into the burrows left by other animals. A mongoose is fast enough to save itself from the strikes of a snake very easily plus a mongoose has a great tolerance towards the poison of a snake. Mongooses are social and use an alarm call to warn others of any bigger carnivores. As soon as the other mongooses hear the call, they rush to the nearest hole.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi from The Book of Jungle (1898).

The hand colored lithograph of the mongoose. It is from an exceedingly rare set published by The Zoological Society of London in 1848-1849.


I plan to dedicate this blog to my [major] passions: botany and entomology, infographics, history of science, and many other things if I find them interesting. I also will keep the track of my life in science and what it takes to be a scientist in the modern [cruel] world. I have tons of [pet] project which cry loudly for my attention.

Even though it might sound like oxymoron, I hope this blog will help me to stay focused.

One more thing – As a true hoarder I collect interesting [artifacts] things and dump the links and staff in one place. I think this will be THE place…