The Turbid Plaque

A confusing mixture of ongoing projects

Semiannual Blog Overhaul

While reorganizing my two sites (this one and, I realized I did a similar exercise exactly two years ago. Apparently the urge to twiddle the settings on my blogging setup strikes every other Spring.

This time around, the inspiration was realizing that I really post two distinct types of content, and the more professional, thoughtful posts should be on the site that’s on my business card. I originally bought this domain name to be my science blog, but the name also makes sense for the non-science content I post.

For those who aren’t virologists or regular TWiV listeners, a plaque is a clear or translucent spot on a petri dish, representing a series of viral infections in bacteria or cells. Here’s a good description of the general procedure for assaying plaques, and what that type of assay is used for. It’s a foundational technique in virology.

A turbid plaque is one in which the virus only kills some of the cells, leaving a mixture of clear and opaque areas. When scientists first saw turbid plaques, the phenomenon made no sense, and figuring it out led to many of the earliest breakthroughs in molecular biology. In a broad sense, a turbid plaque is a confusing mixture of finished and unfinished business. That’s also what this blog is.

Another way of viewing this is that I own two web domains, wanted the one with my name on it to look more professional, and so decided to dump my lower-effort postings on the other. Enjoy.