Sunday, 27 April 2014

MODULUS - Methods Of Determining and Understanding Light elements from Unequivocal Stable isotope compositions

Another one from Rosetta, MODULUS - Methods Of Determining and Understanding Light elements from Unequivocal Stable isotope compositions - is described in Cosmos as part of the PTOLEMY instrumentation "to understand the geochemistry of light elements, such as hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen".

That’s a lot of words and definitely an ORCA level of commitment to contrive a word out of it, even if they were not able to use them all!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

miRCat - miRNA Categoriser

I am currently writing some lectures on RNA biology and came across the charmingly named miRCat: miRNA Categoriser.

This is a meta-acronym, with miRNA being short for microRNA (often abbreviated further to "miR" and pronounced “meer”, hence the logo) and RNA itself an acronym for Ribonucleic Acid).

miRCat is a tool to identify miRNAs in high-throughput small RNA sequence data… miRCat takes a FASTA file of small RNA reads as input and will map them to a reference genome… The tool then looks at genomic hit distribution patterns and secondary structure of genomic regions corresponding to sRNA hits and will predict miRNAs and their precursor structures.

Given the homophonic aspect of the acronym, I reckon this counts as pre hoc. As far as I am aware, “Categoriser” is not even a real (English) word, so this is definitely acronym contrivance worth of ORCA.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

TARDIS - TARDigrades In Space

Yesterday’s TARDIS post was preamble for another TARDIS: Tardigrades in Space. This TARDIS is science rather than science fiction and you can read about it at the Tardigrades In Space blog.

Tardigrades In Space or “TARDIS” is the first research project to evaluate the ability of tardigrades to survive under open space conditions. TARDIS is one of the projects within the Biopan-6 research platform provided by European Space Agency (ESA), and will be sent into space with the russian FOTON-M3 mission.

Apparently, Tardigrades (a.k.a. “waterbears” or "moss piglets") can survive the vacuum and cosmic radiation of space.

h/t: This one is a submission from reader vardis.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

TARDIS - Time And Relative Dimension In Space

Like many geeks, I am a fan of the rebooted Dr Who science fiction series.

As I suspect everyone with internet access knows, the Doctor’s spaceship-come-time-machine is the (or a) TARDIS: Time And Relative Dimension In Space.

It’s not my favourite acronym, I must admit, but it certainly is contrived. It is also a good excuse to share the photo on the left of the TARDIS in beautiful knitted form from the recent Royal Easter Show in Sydney. (Bravo, Andrew Galagher!) Mostly, though, it is a primer for the next ORCA post.

(NB. I always thought that the “Dimension” was plural but apparently not. I don’t really think that it makes sense in the singular but what do I know?)

Saturday, 12 April 2014

SESAME - Surface Electric Sounding and Acoustic Monitoring Experiment

As well as providing several years of geeky suspense from its launch in 2004 until its comet landing later this year, the Rosetta mission is replete with acronyms. One of the most ORCA-worthy of these is SESAME, the Surface Electric Sounding and Acoustic Monitoring Experiments.

Three instruments measure properties of the comet’s outer layers. The Cometary Acoustic Sounding Surface Experiment (CASSE) measures the way in which sound travels through the surface. The Permittivity Probe (PP) investigates its electrical characteristics, and the Dust Impact Monitor (DIM) measures dust falling back to the surface.

Not a space-related word but still a good ad hoc algorithm.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

TrIPE - T. rex International Paleontonomics Experiment (TrIPE)

The T. rex International Paleontonomics Experiment (TrIPE) was responsible for the Tyrannosaurus rex draft genome, released on 1st April 2003 and described as “the genetic blueprint for the most important of the dinosaurs used in genetics today”. Unfortunately, it is no longer available on the Ensembl genome database, having been withdrawn for being totally fabricated.

[Image from Wikimedia Commons]