Last week began with a reception and networking dinner at the Tate Modern, hosted by Unilever, whose CEO Paul Polman gave an excellent speech on their sustainability agenda. Sustainability is at the heart of biology, and will continue to be a core value for both BBSRC and the bioeconomy.

I then travelled to IBERS at Aberystwyth University for the latest in our series of meetings with the Directors, and their Deputy Directors for Operations, of the Institutes that enjoy strategic support from BBSRC. As usual, the first day involved some excellent science talks from the host Institution, while the second day was more about catching up on progress since the last meeting. While there, I also managed to pop in to see old colleagues at Aber Instruments.

We shall shortly be announcing details of a series of roadshows that we shall be doing in the autumn, but as an early preview, folk might care to note the following locations and (afternoon) dates in their diaries: Cambridge (Thursday 4 October), Bristol (Friday 12 October), Manchester (Tuesday 30 October), Glasgow (Tuesday 20 November) and London (Wednesday 28 November).

I enjoyed a wonderful visualization of interactions between the world’s great thinkers, a beautifully written blog about how knowledge drives ignorance, another on distributed e-science, an interesting paper on the unexpectedly complex evolution of humans, another on biochemical modularity, one on the crowd-sourced evolution of music, one on the ecological benefits of Bt-containing plants, and one exploiting the availability of open data to perform a meta-analysis and thereby discover a gene target of apparently high importance in type 2 diabetes.

For those with more interest in architecture than in competitive sport, here is a link to some nice pictures of the London 2012 Olympic venues. For a little bit of science and engineering behind Olympics sports, try this link. And the Opening Ceremony was simply inspired, tweeted online by the man that made that possible. No mad scientist, he.

It is not news that biology is complex, and that unexpected effects often occur. However, one I noted in the entertaining Wellcome Trust Little Book of Fast Facts was the finding that aspirin protects men against heart attack but not stroke, yet it protects women against stroke but not heart attack. Pre-eclampsia is another disorder associated with hypertension, and a new paper in a series came out looking at predictive metabolomic markers for it.

Finally, this will probably be the last blog for a while, since apart from a high-level meeting in the middle of August the blog and I are having a summer vacation.

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