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music + art
Equisitely detailed gigapixel 1-bit maps of the Moon (6,733 locations), Solar System (772,063 things) and the Northern and Southern skies (113,743,599 stars, 162,252 deepsky objects, 4,009 exoplanets).

There is no sound in space, but there is music

Moon above
All the secrets I've told
When we're alone
Down here
I'm always lonely
When you're gone
Down Here / Moon Above, Flunk (History of Everything Ever)

Why don't we send this music to space? What do you say?

imagination in space

Flunk has always had a special place in my heart. When I became involved in the Sanctuary Project — a kind of love letter to the Universe — I saw a way to say thank you to by favourite band.

So I invited them to come with me to somewhere distant and cold.

There is no sound in space, but there is music () -- science + art + data visualization / Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The first 12 seconds of a 1-bit encoding of a 128 mel 3-bit spectrogram of Flunk's Down Here / Moon Above

The Sanctuary Project is a Lunar vault for humanity, inspired by projects like the Golden Record and engraved on ten 10 cm sapphire discs. The discs include math, science, maps, poetry, art and a couple of jokes.

Oh, and a backup of our species. Push to reboot.

1 · How it started

A couple of years ago, I reached out to Ulf Nygaard, the principal and founder of Flunk, and invited him to contribute a song to Sanctuary. Something that would sound great on the Moon.

I'll make something perfect”, he said.

And then he did.

The 2022 π Day art is a music album composed by Greg Coles for solo piano. It tells stories from the very beginning (314…) to the very (known) end of π (…264) as well as math (Wallis Product) and math jokes (Feynman Point), repetition (nn) and zeroes (null).

2 · Moon conquest over drinks

I sat down for drinks with Flunk in Oslo. We celebrated Hitchmas. Make it a double — we were going to go to the Moon.

Ulf, why is this album called Chemistry and Math?” I asked about Flunk's latest album at the time. And perhaps one with the most unusual title.

I will never forget his answer.

Sitting in a cafe, I saw two people crossing the street from opposite sides. As they passed each other in the middle, they recognized each other and started talking.

In the end, it's just chemistry and math.

To me, this was the Mariana trench of deep romantic statments. I knew then Flunk was the perfect match for this project.

Ok, I knew thew before too.

3 · How it's going

On May 28th, Flunk released their new album History of Everything Every and Track 1 is Down Here / Moon Above.

While the original plan was for the song to make it to the Moon before its debut on Earth, this didn't quite happen. We're still working on the Moon angle.

4 · All our bases are belong on the Moon

Yes, I do science and make art and I love Flunk, but what does all this have to do with me.

Well, four of the Sanctuary discs contain the backup for humanity: fully sequenced genomes of a woman and man. The individuals were randomly and anonymously selected from our Healthy Aging Study lead by Dr. Angela Brooks-Wilson. The DNA was sequenced at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Center.

Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) at BC Cancer is an international leader in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics for precision medicine. By developing and deploying cutting-edge genome sequencing, computational and analytical technology, we are creating novel strategies to prevent and diagnose cancers and other diseases, uncovering new therapeutic targets and helping the world realize the social and economic benefits of genome science.
We are the Canadian node of the Earth Biogenome Project.

I designed and created the content for these discs, which not only include the genomes but also the proteome (gene protein sequences) and the chemical structures of associated metabolites. The genomes include about 10 million SNPs to represent all our variation (imagine me waving my hands around at this point). The SNPs are encoded inline with the sequence, so you do not actually know what the original sequenced genome was — at each position of variation you have a choice of bases.

The discs also contain art and snippes of culture (some pop and some not). It's basically a giant cosmic Easter egg.

5 · Sanctuary discs

Each disc is a 10 cm diameter sapphire wafer containing 3 billion 1-bit pixels.

They're thermodynamically inert and will last forever. Roughly speaking.

You can pixel-peep and browse each of the discs.

To me, these discs are a love poem to the Universe. Or a post card — I love post cards.

There is no sound in space, but there is music () -- science + art + data visualization / Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The top of the first disc. LUCA's cosmic postcard: the human genome, with related matters.

The four genome discs look like this.

There is no sound in space, but there is music () -- science + art + data visualization / Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Sanctuary disc with female genome. The proteome is stored in smaller squares placed around the edges of each disc the disc. In the center of disc are decoding instructions and Flunk's song.
There is no sound in space, but there is music () -- science + art + data visualization / Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Sanctuary disc with female genome (cont'd).
There is no sound in space, but there is music () -- science + art + data visualization / Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Sanctuary disc with male genome.
There is no sound in space, but there is music () -- science + art + data visualization / Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Sanctuary disc with male genome (cont'd) and chemical structures of metabolites.

You know you're done reading when you get to the end.

There is no sound in space, but there is music () -- science + art + data visualization / Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The bottom of the last disc. Because not everyone has time for all 6 billion bases.

The first disc, which contains roughly the first half of the female genome, also contains instructions for decoding, along with a few of our learned lessons (Nuremberg Code and Declaration of Helsinki) that remind the reader not to experiment carelessly with the information.

There is no sound in space, but there is music () -- science + art + data visualization / Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Sanctuary disc with the female genome. In the center of disc are decoding instructions and Flunk's song.

Peeping a bit closer, these instructions take shape. the long black strip is a spectrogram encoding of Flunk's song. For a closeup of the decoding instructions for the discs, see the Instructions section.

There is no sound in space, but there is music () -- science + art + data visualization / Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A closeup of the decoding instructions and sonogram encoding of Flunk's song.

music for space

Flunk's song is encoded using 128 mel 3-bit spectrogram. This takes 11,688 × 384 1-bit pixels on the discs. For details see the Sonogram section.

There is no sound in space, but there is music () -- science + art + data visualization / Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A closeup of the decoding instructions for the sonogram of Flunk's song.

poster for space

A 512 mel 1-bit encoding of the full History of Everything Ever album. Great for your wall or Moon patch.

There is no sound in space, but there is music () -- science + art + data visualization / Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The 1-bit 512 mel sonogram encoding of all tracks on History of Everything Ever album.
news + thoughts

How Analyzing Cosmic Nothing Might Explain Everything

Thu 18-01-2024

Huge empty areas of the universe called voids could help solve the greatest mysteries in the cosmos.

My graphic accompanying How Analyzing Cosmic Nothing Might Explain Everything in the January 2024 issue of Scientific American depicts the entire Universe in a two-page spread — full of nothing.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
How Analyzing Cosmic Nothing Might Explain Everything. Text by Michael Lemonick (editor), art direction by Jen Christiansen (Senior Graphics Editor), source: SDSS

The graphic uses the latest data from SDSS 12 and is an update to my Superclusters and Voids poster.

Michael Lemonick (editor) explains on the graphic:

“Regions of relatively empty space called cosmic voids are everywhere in the universe, and scientists believe studying their size, shape and spread across the cosmos could help them understand dark matter, dark energy and other big mysteries.

To use voids in this way, astronomers must map these regions in detail—a project that is just beginning.

Shown here are voids discovered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), along with a selection of 16 previously named voids. Scientists expect voids to be evenly distributed throughout space—the lack of voids in some regions on the globe simply reflects SDSS’s sky coverage.”

voids

Sofia Contarini, Alice Pisani, Nico Hamaus, Federico Marulli Lauro Moscardini & Marco Baldi (2023) Cosmological Constraints from the BOSS DR12 Void Size Function Astrophysical Journal 953:46.

Nico Hamaus, Alice Pisani, Jin-Ah Choi, Guilhem Lavaux, Benjamin D. Wandelt & Jochen Weller (2020) Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 2020:023.

Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 12

constellation figures

Alan MacRobert (Sky & Telescope), Paulina Rowicka/Martin Krzywinski (revisions & Microscopium)

stars

Hoffleit & Warren Jr. (1991) The Bright Star Catalog, 5th Revised Edition (Preliminary Version).

cosmology

H0 = 67.4 km/(Mpc·s), Ωm = 0.315, Ωv = 0.685. Planck collaboration Planck 2018 results. VI. Cosmological parameters (2018).

Error in predictor variables

Tue 02-01-2024

It is the mark of an educated mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision that the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness where only an approximation is possible. —Aristotle

In regression, the predictors are (typically) assumed to have known values that are measured without error.

Practically, however, predictors are often measured with error. This has a profound (but predictable) effect on the estimates of relationships among variables – the so-called “error in variables” problem.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Error in predictor variables. (read)

Error in measuring the predictors is often ignored. In this column, we discuss when ignoring this error is harmless and when it can lead to large bias that can leads us to miss important effects.

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2024) Points of significance: Error in predictor variables. Nat. Methods 20.

Background reading

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2015) Points of significance: Simple linear regression. Nat. Methods 12:999–1000.

Lever, J., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2016) Points of significance: Logistic regression. Nat. Methods 13:541–542 (2016).

Das, K., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2019) Points of significance: Quantile regression. Nat. Methods 16:451–452.

Convolutional neural networks

Tue 02-01-2024

Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry. – Richard Feynman

Following up on our Neural network primer column, this month we explore a different kind of network architecture: a convolutional network.

The convolutional network replaces the hidden layer of a fully connected network (FCN) with one or more filters (a kind of neuron that looks at the input within a narrow window).

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Convolutional neural networks. (read)

Even through convolutional networks have far fewer neurons that an FCN, they can perform substantially better for certain kinds of problems, such as sequence motif detection.

Derry, A., Krzywinski, M & Altman, N. (2023) Points of significance: Convolutional neural networks. Nature Methods 20:1269–1270.

Background reading

Derry, A., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2023) Points of significance: Neural network primer. Nature Methods 20:165–167.

Lever, J., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2016) Points of significance: Logistic regression. Nature Methods 13:541–542.

Neural network primer

Tue 10-01-2023

Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished. —Francis Bacon

In the first of a series of columns about neural networks, we introduce them with an intuitive approach that draws from our discussion about logistic regression.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Neural network primer. (read)

Simple neural networks are just a chain of linear regressions. And, although neural network models can get very complicated, their essence can be understood in terms of relatively basic principles.

We show how neural network components (neurons) can be arranged in the network and discuss the ideas of hidden layers. Using a simple data set we show how even a 3-neuron neural network can already model relatively complicated data patterns.

Derry, A., Krzywinski, M & Altman, N. (2023) Points of significance: Neural network primer. Nature Methods 20:165–167.

Background reading

Lever, J., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2016) Points of significance: Logistic regression. Nature Methods 13:541–542.

Cell Genomics cover

Mon 16-01-2023

Our cover on the 11 January 2023 Cell Genomics issue depicts the process of determining the parent-of-origin using differential methylation of alleles at imprinted regions (iDMRs) is imagined as a circuit.

Designed in collaboration with with Carlos Urzua.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Our Cell Genomics cover depicts parent-of-origin assignment as a circuit (volume 3, issue 1, 11 January 2023). (more)

Akbari, V. et al. Parent-of-origin detection and chromosome-scale haplotyping using long-read DNA methylation sequencing and Strand-seq (2023) Cell Genomics 3(1).

Browse my gallery of cover designs.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A catalogue of my journal and magazine cover designs. (more)

Science Advances cover

Thu 05-01-2023

My cover design on the 6 January 2023 Science Advances issue depicts DNA sequencing read translation in high-dimensional space. The image showss 672 bases of sequencing barcodes generated by three different single-cell RNA sequencing platforms were encoded as oriented triangles on the faces of three 7-dimensional cubes.

More details about the design.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
My Science Advances cover that encodes sequence onto hypercubes (volume 9, issue 1, 6 January 2023). (more)

Kijima, Y. et al. A universal sequencing read interpreter (2023) Science Advances 9.

Browse my gallery of cover designs.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A catalogue of my journal and magazine cover designs. (more)
Martin Krzywinski | contact | Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences CentreBC Cancer Research CenterBC CancerPHSA
Google whack “vicissitudinal corporealization”
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