This is our blog. It's not the journal.

To Rebuild or Not To Rebuild


Among the problems caused by environmental aggression to statues and buildings there is the acidic rain-driven marble solubilization:
Besides metals and bacteria-containing gypsum reprecipitation, which results in black crusts, another issue is the melting of the statue. Our early-stage project included the engineering of a light-controlled bacteria able to precipitate Ca2+ ions in the media to drive structural rebuilding of the heritage.
The proposed strategy was to couple photoreception and urease secretion, in a fashion similar to what team Newcastle 2010 did with its Bacillafilla.
In our most wild dreams, we imagined a technological apparatus, something like a 3D calcium carbonate laser printer. As a more feasible thing, we hypothesized a photoreceptor-coupled transcription factor (most likely a fusion protein) able to drive urease expression and secretion upon light stimulation. To give the system spatial control, we proposed a two-component logical gate, in which the system would have been triggered only by simultaneous stimulation with two wavelengths.
But then, we asked to ourselves: is it ethically correct to rebuild a statue? wouldn't it be some kind of falsification? And a whole new world of ethical debates opened to us. We found out that this is one of the main topics of discussion among restorers.
On one hand, to rebuild, for example, a melted statue would allow its perpetuation, so that not only our generation could appreciate it, but the generations to come too.
Not rebuilding would mean to eventually lose many of our works of art. Many of them are already missing some of their features, hairs, faces, lesser (finer) details.
On the other hand, while chemical composition and structural aspect would be the same, a rebuilt statue would lack, at least in part, the creative process of the author. His or her feelings, inspiration, ability. It would be the author's work no more, just a false.
For this, and other reasons, the project was set aside.
You can still say your opinion on our Facebook page though. If you need info about light controlled gene expression, you can e-mail Guzz.

The Tools You'll Need


I've been asked on Facebook what I'm using to build the website.

What you really need, actually, are just a text editor and a web browser: you write your HTML and CSS with the editor, and open the .html file with the browser.
Plus a server to store the files you can't have on Mediawiki and possibly a FTP uploader to push your files.
These two are not mandatory, tough: you can put your stylesheet in EVERY .html file you're building, but that's definitely unhandy, as you'll have to modify everyone of them when you edit something.
This basic setup surely gets the job done, but I suggest you to find some more specific software.

I'm on a Mac and using Espresso or Coda 2 (plus Diet Coda on my iPad). These are all-in-one apps, so they have a built in editor, auto-completion, code highlighting, visual editor (very useful if you don't know CSS), FTP capabilities and so on. They're powerful, but also expensive.

I suggest you to try Sublime Text 2, which is free and cross-platform.

Also, be sure to head over to Tuts+, where there are some must-watch free tutorials, including a 30 days one on basic HTML+CSS.

The Incredible Awesomeness of the First Post


Hi everyone! I'm not sure how many "everyone" includes as of right know, since I'm not sure how many team members are already thinking about the Wiki. Being myself a web designer in my spare time, we're already on the Wikimedia train (I'm sure you've seen me cluttering the Recent Changes page in the last few days), so I've decided to put up this little Blog page, in addition to the Journal. I'll have the others post something too.

The journal is still a work in progress (actually, it's kind of a mess), and I don't think it would be very useful until it's ready. But I also want to have a place to share our opinions during this exciting iGEM let's-call-it journey, so here it is.

I'm gonna start with my thoughts on Mediawiki and some tips to manage to do something. I say "manage", because, you know, Mediawiki sucks. I have experience with other CMSs, Wordpress, Tumblr, ExpressionEngine, even some niche stuff like Kirby (if you do web design, check it out!), but this thing is bloated. I can't make myself like it, since I think it's overly complicated. It's a wiki engine, so it should be much easier to use, since everyone should be able to edit things easily. Just the action of editing content is a mess: take a look at Tumblr, for instance, it's much easier and self-explanatory. There's a clear separation between "Theme" and "Content" (the way it should be for non-experts), that here is very subtle. And it's beautiful: let's say it, the Dashboard is dead-ugly, and the themes feel like we're still in the 90s. That said, I don't know other Wiki engines, so I can't compare it with others. It could be the best option.

I still think a basic Wordpress installation would be simpler. Good-old HTML+CSS files even better, but that's just my opinion.

Enough with the criticism, let's see some tips. What I've been doing is creating the website on my local machine with .html and .css files, then creating the pages I needed here on Mediawiki, placing an html tag in the content box, and pasting everything inside the html tag of my file inside. Here's an example:


What Mediawiki does is parse all that as HTML, in so doing achieveng our goal Some notes: don't put the <!doctype html> definition, it's already in the Mediawiki template. Notice that the stylesheet has to be hosted somewhere on a server, or it won't work, so be sure to specify the full url of the .css file.

For this to work, you also need to hide the default theme elements, so they don't display. It will be specific to your needs, just use the Web Inspector of your browser to find what the main.css file (the one Mediawiki is using) is saying, and correct in on your file, it will override the styles. Ah, another important thing to consider are the Mediawiki controls (Edit, Recent changes, blah, blah): you'll have to add those manually, in order to keep them. Many are useless, but the Edit link is essential to you. I hid them in the footer, making them display when the "Toggle Controls" button is clicked.

You could also make a new Mediawiki template, but I gave up on that a long time ago, I find my way simpler. Team DTU-Denmark made a nice page about it last year, so check it out if you're interested.

I believe that's all, I hope it will be of help (and that someone reads my rambling). If you have questions, feel free to ask, please contact us on our Facebook page, I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Università degli Studi di Trento