Your DNA is as elastic as nylon

In a paper published last year, scientists measured DNA’s elasticity and found it to be 83 newtons per meter, or about like nylon. Although DNA is not pulling a suburban like Travis Ortmayer in the above video (a hemp rope would have been much less elastic, see video), it does need to unzip and coil extensively. So if you plan on using string or rope to teach about DNA replication or histones, use nylon!

Export R plot to Illustrator or Inkscape

Have you ever exported an R plot as a PDF and tried to edit it further by importing the PDF into a vector graphics program like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape? What typically happens is the points on the plot get converted into text of some sort, usually the letter “q”. To avoid this problem simply export your file as a postscript and it works like a charm in either Illustrator or Inkscape.

I find this approach quite useful when I want to annotate plots with greater precision and control than is possible in R.

Becoming an accountable leader

Although there are many people in positions of leadership, there are few leaders. One misperception preventing people from transforming into leaders is that they view accountability as unidirectional; once you are on top, you call the shots and do not have to answer to your followers.

Bidirectional accountability is where both parties are forthright in reporting the fulfillment of their roles and responsibilities. Gone are the days of passing the responsibility or failure down the ladder to those below you, blaming them for your own misjudgment to protect your infallible image. The ironic thing about being a leader with bidirectional accountability is that your followers actually respect you more and are more responsible as you demonstrate the process and power of accountability.