As I am redesigning the main pitch-page for IndieBB in order to appeal more to the currently-untechnical audience, what little technical detail I've reserved for the main page will have to be stripped out; I'm taking this opportunity to write up a “Frequently Asked Questions” post to address the more technical queries I'm seeing in the survey, tweets, comments and other correspondence. I will soon also post a less technical FAQ, but given that “Less Technical FAQ” is now the design goal for the main IndieBB crowdfunding page, I'm considering it a lower priority.
IndieBB stands for “Indie Biotech Backbone”. When I started this blog, I had intended “Indie Biotech” to be a phrase that could be generally used, not a “trademark” for my own work, yet people sometimes still refer to my project/company as “Indie Biotech” (I do have a company for this, and it's called “Glowbiotics”, not “Indie Biotech”!). With the same spirit in mind, I named my plasmid backbone “Indie Biotech Backbone” because I wanted it to be something that could be used by “indie” genetic engineers worldwide to make their own stuff.
So, in the preceding blogpost I introduced my current crowdfunding project, IndieBB: ..If you navigate to the “updates” panel on that crowdfunding page, I've been busy keeping things current. Among the promises I've made lately was to run through my workflow for total-plasmid-design as I plan to apply to IndieBB. So, here we go. Before clicking “more”, be aware that you do not need to understand any of the below to complete the IndieBB kit.
So I started a crowdfunding campaign today, and I'm really happy with the response and enthusiasm so far. I should probably have had a draft blog-post lined up prior to the launch, but my laptop took a dive and I suffered broken-screen-syndrome for 2.5 hours, so things were rushed. The video in the crowdfunding page on IndieGoGo and embedded here says it all; I want to create a kit that will let everyone get involved in genetic engineering, and from there to help democratise synthetic biology so we can all have a chance to shape the future of technology.
I've written before about Biocurious, the nascent Hackerspace for Biology that is raising money to rent out a real, no-kidding biotech lab full of professional equipment for community and citizen science. It's ambitious, it's brilliant, and it's already resulted in a study that's been published in Nature Medicine (a very prestigious journal even for well-equipped lab scientists), long before they reach their funding goal. The study in question was an excellent example of the power of citizen science and collaborative work.
As fully outlined here on Derek Lowe's blog “In the Pipeline”, Quackwatch is getting sued by some quacks because he highlighted their use of a misleading diagnostic and how it could be used to push unnecessary and potentially dangerous treatments on clients. Quackwatch have a Paypal donation system, so if you feel like committing a fiver to their defense fund, I'm sure it'd be much appreciated. After all, I'm guessing there's more money in quackery than in exposing quackery!
I'm a fool to be up this late, but I have to give a quick shout out in favour of the Biocurious Hackerspace, and a strong suggestion that you help them reach their goal on Kickstarter. Biocurious is planned to be a place where people can learn about and “hack” biology with access to proper, modern biological lab equipment and with close communication with fellow enthusiasts and fully trained biologists to help out.