Monday, May 17, 2010

Silliness: Legos and BioBricks

It's finals week around here, which means you get a brief post while my brain tries to figure out electroosmosis and Van der Waals forces.

The similarities between Legos and BioBricks are legion -- in fact, if I'm explaining synthetic biology to someone and I've got more than ten minutes of their time, I'll break out my favorite Lego Analogies for the desirable properties that we want biological parts to have.

But they're similar in another way. Everyone refers to BioBricks as BioBricks, but you're supposed to call them BioBrick Standard Biological Parts.

Trumpet fanfare optional. [Source]

Likewise... hope I'm not ruining all your childhoods here... The LEGO(tm) corporation will be very, very sad if you refer to their product as "legos" instead of "LEGO bricks" or "LEGO toys". They might even cry.

Apparently if you went to, you used to see this before being redirected, according to Mental Floss.

This sort of prescriptivism amuses me a little. I don't know enough about the relevant laws to comment on the legal necessity of being anal about plurals. But I was in a class co-taught by Drew Endy once, so I know he can say "BioBrick Standard Biological Parts" until he's blue in the face. Better him than me, I suppose.

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