Monday, March 31, 2014

Artificial DNA

What madness creates artificial DNA?
The one that ignores what nature may say
Think Mr Science of what could befall
If what you do now rebounds on us all
You may think Earth secrets are a prize to take
But it's really a demon you shouldn't awake
And though noble intent should not be denied
What will it matter who is saved if all life dies?
You think you are clever, but really you're dumb
Nature after all, has seen so many species succumb
All that we may create originates of the Earth
And only she may determine its eventual worth
So go ahead and meddle in the codices of being
But if it all unravels its extinction we'll be seeing

From the BBC

Scientists have created the first synthetic chromosome for yeast in a landmark for biological engineering. Previously synthetic DNA has been designed and made for simpler organisms such as bacteria. As a form of life whose cells contain a nucleus, yeast is related to plants and animals and shares 2,000 genes with us. So the creation of the first of yeast's 16 chromosomes has been hailed as "a massive deal" in the emerging science of synthetic biology.

The genes in the original chromosome were replaced with synthetic versions and the finished manmade chromosome was then successfully integrated into a yeast cell. The new cell was then observed to reproduce, passing a key test of viability. Yeast is a favoured target for this research because of its well-established use in key industries such as brewing and baking and its potential for future industrial applications.

One company in California has already used synthetic biology to create a strain of yeast that can produce artemisinin, an ingredient for an anti-malarial drug. The synthesis of chromosome III in yeast was undertaken by an international team and the findings are published in the journal Science (yeast chromosomes are normally designated by Roman numerals).

Thursday, March 27, 2014


A butterfly sleeps
But nothing may slumber now
The vernal equinox has passed
Balance is restored
This sphere
That turns upon gravitous orbit
Now tilts down toward the sun
Light arrives from higher plane
Warmth touches skin
The kiss of lightest oil
Spring is here and winter is done

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


In this misty sunset
See the colours fade
Into the greyest calm
As life stills about you
Let it all shrink away
Leave you behind
Alone; but content
Serene in the moment
So you may remember
The wonder you have known

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Hush take no hurt
Do not trouble for others
Not yet ready for calm
We have just read faster
The great book of life
And we have understood
Its last chapters are blank

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Daylights Grace

Only the night is real
But do not doubt
The intention of...
Daylights grace
It springs from hope
Wear these days like rain
Falling into a desert
So precious and rare
And growth will begin
For night always ends

Friday, March 14, 2014


Of twenty horses and a setting sun
A chariot of fire
And a world undone

He comes in mighty trumpets blaze
Then all is silent
Beneath his gaze

What doth he then to earth descend?
When all is lost
The honour of man he must defend

Thursday, March 13, 2014




Snowdrops and Crocus

I glimpsed summer today
Sunlight poured through cloudy cracks
Nodding Snowdrops and Crocus bright
Throw off the cold and race to light
Yellow tails wag on branches high
To kiss the light and reach for sky
Mossy carpets thicken and unfold
Renew the cycle that is so, so old
Blue tits wander on thorny bush
Doves do glory in undulating push
They rise and fall; angels of Earth
All is ecstatic on spring’s rebirth

Monday, March 10, 2014


Beside this passageway to spring
Tomorrow sees humility undone
At the last kiss of consciousness
One white feather falls
Comes to rest on a sandy shore
To be swept out into the sea
Where a mermaid finds it
And takes it down into the deep

Saturday, March 08, 2014


To grown and unfurl in joy
Under a summer sun
Tremorous and uncertain
In life’s breeze
And then to fall
As autumn leaves
Drifting out the mother tree
The circle is complete
To Earth from Earth
I no longer wonder why?
Because it does not matter
Everyone I knew has left
All that remains is air
To shake me down
Onto fertile ground
So I may begin again

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


You were my friend and comrade
Now we must battle our kinship
For a failure of the wise to agree
When talk fails in a black night
A deal has to be brokered in blood
But such, this precious liquid of life
It flows without end once sprung
Leaching away the best of humanity
Into long, cold, years of conflict
These days rise like spectres of chance
Ghosts shadowing mirrored visions
Empty of all reflected opportunity
Silvered, silent water, at wasteful dawn
No discord is worth an unclaimed life
Where peace hides in dread of its sibling
We should find it and let it seize the day

Monday, March 03, 2014


I saw the Oscars last night
A glittering pile of sycophantic trite
I watched as much as I dare
But really; does anyone care?
It wearied me to enhanced distress
To see so many an aged actress
The bearded men and designer clothes
What's it about – who the hell knows?
The ‘Gravity’ of ‘12 years a Slave’
Or ‘Blue Jasmine’ and ‘Philomena’ brave
A ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ and a ‘Frozen’ glare
How many wished they hadn’t come there?
A real ‘American Hustle’ in all but name
Hollywood plays out its idolatrous game
The only high point was Ellen’s compere
A funny lady who is so honest and fair
They took a selfie, or was it really a bung
The phone after all sponsored by Samsung
So am I any wiser than I was last night
Has life been cast in a revelatory spotlight?
I’m sorry to say that nothing has changed
The four hours lost cannot now be exchanged

Sunday, March 02, 2014


GCHQ is very aware
People so like to bare
To you its innocent chat
With a bit of nudity; no harm in that
If consenting adults its fine
Nobody has crossed the line
But they’ll keep the pics around
Case it’s you they need to hound
So don’t use a laptop in bed
You’ll put your privates on the web
They’re not collecting all this for fun
They got dirt on just about everyone
We reached the final evolution
Of this technological revolution
The days of freedom are lost
Governments want control at all cost
So the citizens must always comply
With the old and very ancient lie
That freedom is really a bad deal
Cos they always find someone to squeal

Spencer Ackerman and James Ball - The Guardian, Thursday 27 February 2014 16.16 GMT

Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal. GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.

In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.