Monday, June 16, 2014

Serving a life sequence- updated

I did an illustration for MIT Technology Review last week, that is up on the site. It follows the story of a man that was able to sequence his son's complete genome, before the baby was even born.

 Many parents have this done on babies that they know are unhealthy, as a way to determine a possible cause of the health problems. The man in the article admitted that this was more for fun than for any practical health reasons. Which raised the question among some, of whether it's unethical to do this on a fetus when it's medically unnecessary. As one person interviewed for the story explained, "discovery of a bad mutation could lead parents to an 'irrevocable action.'" A baby enclosed in a playpen seemed like a good way of conveying the idea that genome sequencing can help babies when there's some medical problem, but it can also hinder the child if it's used to predict hypothetical conditions that don't yet exist.

The magazine is out now, where the piece is featured as well. I also did a small spot for the story, a few pages later, which you can see above. Here's a link to it. Thank you to Colin, the AD on this!

I know that dude

This little spot was in the Wall Street Journal weekend edition a week or so back. It was for the "Mind and Matter" column, on a recent finding that reveals that a certain region of the brain is responsible for facial recognition. Ever walk into a room, see someone a few yards away and think to yourself "I know that dude." Apparently that's the CA2, a subfield of your hippocampus. It's when your CA2 isn't working properly that things can get embarrassing.

Spots can be more challenging than half or full pages sometimes, trying to convey a complex subject in such a tiny space. I prefer to go pretty graphic with them. Here's what the page looked like:

You can read it here. I've had a few of these spots in the WSJ over the last several months, for both the "Mind and Matter" and "Ask Ariely" columns. Here are some of them:

About transgenic "glow-in-the-dark" mice that were injected with cocaine in order to study it's effect on their brains. Article here.

For an "Ask Ariely" column on why the letter writer found it acceptable for birds to eat from his bird feeder, but not squirrels. Article here.

Another "Ask Ariely" column, about how to keep people from dropping garbage on the ground, instead of using the receptacle a few feet away. Article here.

And for another "Mind and Matter" column, on a study that found that a person's environment (such as living in poverty) can have a greater effect on their intelligence than their DNA. Article here.
Thank you to Kelly, AD on the Hippocampus piece, and to Keith, AD on all the others!

Jeff Spicoli demonstrates the usefulness of the CA2 subfield of the hippocampus.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Drop and give me 20/20

I had an illustration in last Tuesday's New York Times, for an article in the Science section, on training your eyes as you would the muscles in your body.

People who play sports in particular need strong eyes, and many universities have developed programs over the years to help improve school athletes' vision. As the article explains, it's more about training your brain's responses to what you see, than it is actually changing your vision. Here's how the page looked (it's printed in black and white):

You can read the story here. Thank you to Peter, who ADed this one!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Reading between the foul lines

This illustration of mine for went up on the site last week, but I haven't gotten a chance to post about it until now:

The story is about the multitude of baseball books out. No matter your team, or the decade, there seems to be a book out there for you. Whether it's the 1948 Cleveland Indians, or the history of the Expos, you're bound to find something. That Dodger pennant looks a lot like the one I had on my wall as a kid. I wonder if I could find a book on my favorite players growing up: Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela. Here's the link for the story. Thank you to my AD, Juliet!