My Saturday afternoon was spent doing some hardware hacking, rebuilding a couple of carbon brushes for a drilling machine, and at the same time listening to Jonathan Eisen on YouTube (check out his blog at That way, I learned that Jonathan's Lab is hosting something called "BioTorrents", a website that uses BitTorrent peer-to-peer technology to distribute scientific data. For more details about the underlying technology, and a more thorough presentation of the project have a look at, and this paper in PLoS One, by Morgan Langille and Jonathan Eisen that describes the project.


My experiment with using an open laboratory notebook is steadily moving along, and I plan to talk more about that in future blog posts. The form for the notebook is not setled yet, and I have tried different ways of recording the progress of various projects. This is a less appealing example of what it can look like, that I used when I was just starting out. A more recent setup is found here, and describes an investigation of the evolution of the Toc75 gene family. IMHO, the latter example (although cluttered and misspelled in places) is easier to follow. The goal of my notebook experiment was initially just a way for me to keep track of the progress notes of all the various projects going on. Along the way I also noted that keeping an open laboratory notebook, is a good way of communicating results and ideas to others, as well as receiving help and support. One example of this is the beagle_optimiser project, where my call for BEAST xml files have been heard by others. Although the actual number of files that have been uploaded is not that great, I have received files from absolute strangers. That's encouraging!

The next step in this experiment is to find a channel for sharing data and results. I will give the BioTorrents method a try, and will report back on how things are going.