Here are the things I discovered this week that fascinates me.

Computational biology

Drug discovery

Disease biology


This week I spent quite some time writing an essay (which will be posted here in due time). It was both pain and fun. I definitely learned a lot. I confirm that writing helps clearing and organising thoughts.

There are many good tutorials about writing essays. A recent one is from Paul Graham, How to write usefully. I read most of his other essays on his website, and are impressed by a lot of them. Books like On Writing Well by William Zinsser are also very helpful, too. I read a small booklet, How to write an essay by Richard Aczel, accidentally last year, and found the tips also very useful, too. Here are a few points that I enjoyed most:

  • Keep the points relevant, and address the question immediately, explicitly, and exclusively.
  • Always plan ahead.
  • Don’t just state, argue.
  • Write in paragraphs, with topic sentence, development, illustration, and links between paragraphs.
  • Keep the introduction and conclusion short.
  • Keep the style simple, but formal. Don’t generalize, exaggerate, moralize. Don’t express opinions! (people don’t care what you THINK, they care what you ARGUE). Don’t repeat.
  • Clarify fuzzy ideas and expressions.
  • Practice by coming up with ideas, rewriting, reading aloud.

What surprised me: the book was read last year. I thought that I must have forgotten it completely. It took me by surprise when I realised that I actually try to follow quite a few points (which do not mean that I succeeded), as I discovered my book notes after I finished the essay.

Software projects

  • amperser/proselint: A linter is a machine for removing the short fibres from cotton seeds after ginning. This is a linter for prose.
  • NextFlow: I tried Snakemake and was very excited. Now I hear friends recommend NextFlow (nf), which I want to give it a try.


I spent a few minutes reading a few stories of the Doraemon comics every evening. It is my favourite and almost the only comic book that I have ever read. I ask how much my view of technologies is influenced by it.

And thanks to the spring clean-up of a kind neighbour, I got a free copy of Fühlen, Denken, Handeln (German) by Gerhard Roth. I was attracted by the introduction and am reading it.

Other gems

Happy weekend!