One of the most experimental, community driven initiatives of the year, DIYBio was the brainchild of Denisa K, a NUS professor of arts and social science. I met her and was also glad to know her ideas were similar to mine. Even some of her observations of the scientific community in Singapore were spot on to that of my own.
Denisa began with an introduction of the concept of DIYBio. She showed some examples of what other bio-communities were doing in the US, especially in Boston. She elaborated on the activities of the night and I am sure the participants were already interested at this point.
Meng was certainly a science geek even to his food and he shared that passion with a description of the cooking methods involving an understanding of the cooking temperature of eggs and meats. He shared a few interesting topics on going all natural with personal hygiene and paleo-diets. The changes in our lifestyle and diet has contributed to the rise of modern diseases (like diabetes, metabolic syndrome) and social issues. We aptly took a short break as we sampled some of his wonderfully cooked eggs, lamb shoulder and beef.
Unfortunately, there was no “live” show as the flies didn’t culture properly or in time. However, Yuchen shared footage and an abstract demonstration of fly sex to the audience. After the enthusiastic talk, we were treated to porn made on the fly by Isabelle from Brazil. She made the video in about 30minutes from the footage shown to us earlier. But now, timed to music and slow motioning, we were treated to an all out fly porn, which the audience named, “Sex. Flies & Videotape”.
Another NUS professor, Catelijne shared how data visualization brings new insights to the massive amounts of data which we are exposed to in research and everyday life. She shared some useful websites and programs to help any amateur to take their first step into the world of beautiful data. Even a short debate began with wondering how do scientist approach their data? Blindly or with a hypothesis?
Biosecurity & Policy
Brian Rappert from the University of Exeter gave an interactive discussion on the implications of potentially dangerous science knowledge and the ethics of publishing it or withholding it back. He named his talk, Biopolis as Necropolis in light of the local context. The ensuing discussion was lively and very tricky as the scientist raged with the non-scientist/ficition fans.
Things wrapped up at about 10pm and we all left with a deeper sense of science beyond the laboratory and commercial influence.