Monday, May 07, 2007

BBB - Baseball, bioinformatics, and brothers

I know quite a few people in bioinformatics who are also pretty avid baseball fans. Ian Paulsen and I sneaked away from a conference to go see his beloved Padres last year get slaughtered in two playoff games. A resercher from Wash. U.'s Genome Center caught Mcgiure's 70th home run a few years ago. An article in Bioinformatics even promotes a software package as being useful for viewing baseball stats.

I have tried to convince people there are connections between the two in the past. But the best article I have seen on this is, for better or worse, about my brother. What a scam he has pulled at Berkeley. He is teaching a course (with James Fraser) ostensibly about bioinformatics in some way. What is is really about? Baseball statistics. They are not even trying to pretend it is about bioinformatics. But they apparently hope that some of the stats rubs off enough that some students get into bioinformatics.

As an ex-baseball player I have some smpathy for their approach. Also, it was at a baseball game that my brother first convinced me that Open Access science was the way to go. But I think focusing on stats is the wrong way to use an interest in baseball to get an interest in biology. I think it would be better to get Drew Endy and his cohort into using one of their synthetic biology competitions to make some good new steroids. And then the stats course could be used to analyze the differences with and without the new drugs.

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