This week’s staff picks

ASBMB Today Staff
By ASBMB Today Staff
April 18, 2020

Every week, the ASBMB staff shares what we’ve been reading, listening to, watching and doing. As we all weather the COVID-19 pandemic and our new normal of social distancing, we look for ways to cope and connect — and a bit of entertainment to take our minds elsewhere.

Circular  (TED Radio Hour, NPR)

I had no idea oysters were so important to the nitrogen cycle! Hooray for science. Also, I can’t decide if that segment makes me want to eat oysters all the time or never eat them again.

— Catherine Goodman, scientific editor at the Journal of Biological Chemistry  

Caterpillar to Butterfly Kit: Painted Lady Butterflies  (Nature Gift Store)

VJ Anderson/Wikimedia Commons
A painted lady butterfly, photographed in western Washington state.

Not exactly a grown-up recommendation, but when most extracurricular activities were suspended, my 13-year-old was looking for ways to channel his teenage energy and started a painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterfly farm. The store ships the caterpillars, the food, a habitat and all the necessary components to grow the butterflies indoors, and we release them into the environment when they’re ready (spring is the ideal time for this). We used to do this when my son was much younger, but now I’ve coupled the hands-on experience with a few developmental biology facts (he gets bored easily, so I try not to scare him off). We might try tadpoles and ladybugs next, but I said a firm NO to ants.

— Quira Zeidan, education and public outreach coordinator

Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, available on Hulu)

My husband and I finally got around to watching "Parasite," Bong Joon-Ho's masterpiece that took home the Oscar for Best Picture and the Palme d'Or last year. It did not disappoint. If it's not too late, I highly recommend you watch the movie with as little prior knowledge about the plot as possible. All I'll tell you is that it's not about a parasite outbreak. 

Parasite: Mastering the basics of cinema (Accented Cinema, YouTube)

"Parasite" is packed with visual metaphors. This video highlights some of the things you might not have noticed and explains what makes the movie so visually striking.

— Joanna Kotloski, marketing associate

Lemon blueberry coffeecake (Barbara Bakes) 

This is really, really good. One of the best coffee cakes I’ve ever made. 

— Laurie Reluzco, meeting planner

#PeepYourScience (The Open Notebook)

Though I usually like to blow Peeps up in the microwave, I enjoyed scrolling through the winners of The Open Notebook’s second-annual World’s Finest Science-Themed Peeps Diorama Contest. You can find plenty of Peep puns and fun re-creations of notable events, including Miss America’s elephant toothpaste science experiment.  

— Stephanie Paxson, diversity and undergraduate education coordinator

Shakespeare’s Globe: Free Premieres (Globe Theatre, YouTube)

Thanks to my seventh-grade English teacher, Ms. Frazier, I learned to love Shakespeare. So when I saw a post on Instagram about the Globe offering free recordings of performances on their YouTube channel, I had to share. The first play available is “Hamlet.” To keep with my favorites from middle school, I’m really hoping they show “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  

— Ally Frick, multimedia and social media content manager

Offshore (Penelope Fitzgerald, HarperCollins)

Living in an uncertain place between land and water could be a metaphor, especially now, but in this 1979 novel, it’s the literal setting — as well as the emotional condition — of a small community of barge dwellers who inhabit London’s Battersea Reach in the early 1960s.  Fitzgerald is a wonderful writer, and this is a lovely book about people I’d like to know — especially six-year-old Tilda, whose boots are always muddy. As soon as I got to the last page, I started reading it again.

— Comfort Dorn, ASBMB Today managing editor

A sonnet a day keeps ennui at bay (Sir Patrick Stewart/William Shakespeare) 

This one goes out to all my fellow Anglophiles: Legendary actor Sir Patrick Stewart has spent his time in isolation at home reading one Shakespeare sonnet a day. He posts videos of his dramatic readings, often accompanied by a short explanation about the poem, or an admission that he’s skipped one because he doesn’t care for its message or it’s just too difficult. Not only do I find these videos soothing and beautiful, but I’m learning a little more about Shakespearean literature too! You can find all of the videos on Stewart’s Twitter account, @SirPatStew, or under the hashtag #ASonnetADay.

— Laurel Oldach, science communicator

ASBMB Today Staff
ASBMB Today Staff

This article was written by a member or members of the ASBMB Today staff.

Join the ASBMB Today mailing list

Sign up to get updates on articles, interviews and events.

Latest in Opinions

Opinions highlights or most popular articles

The evolution of proteins from mysteries to medicines

The evolution of proteins from mysteries to medicines

February 27, 2021

An essay in observance of National Protein Day.

Racial stereotypes drive students of color away from STEM

Racial stereotypes drive students of color away from STEM

February 13, 2021

But many still persist. Here’s what one researcher has to say about the psychological and physical toll of persistence.

W.E.B. Du Bois embraced science to fight racism

W.E.B. Du Bois embraced science to fight racism

February 06, 2021

As editor of the magazine for 24 years, Du Bois featured articles about biology, evolution, archaeology in Africa and more to refute the rampant scientific racism of the early 20th century.

Intense scrutiny of Chinese-born researchers in the US threatens innovation

Intense scrutiny of Chinese-born researchers in the US threatens innovation

January 30, 2021

The recent arrest of an MIT engineering professor has once again drawn attention to the role of China in the U.S. science and technology system.

All about Ph.D. committee meetings
Professional Development

All about Ph.D. committee meetings

January 29, 2021

Our academic careers columnist breaks down everything you need to know: What they are, what they’re for, and how to get the most out of them.

Learning to be a science superhero

Learning to be a science superhero

January 24, 2021

To mark the International Day of Education, Allie Smith looks back on the experiences that shaped their desire to become a scientist and teach others about science.