Is the Genetic Code just another Binary Code like ASCII?

My latest Decoded Science article, “Comparing the Genetic Code of DNA to Binary Code“, shows how our genome encodes information, but not quite in the same way as a computer code such as ASCII.

The Genetic Code from DNA to RNA to Amino Acids, copyright Mike DeHaan
The Genetic Code from DNA to RNA to Amino Acids, copyright Mike DeHaan

Topics in my Decoded Science Article on Genetic Code and Binary Code

Along the way, my article answers “what is DNA?” and the way our genome is copied from DNA, to RNA, and then to amino acids. That’s what this article’s image shows: the genetic code.

DNA testing shows the sequence of DNA in selected genes and chromosomes. The genetic sequence may help to reveal inherited medical conditions, identify or rule out crime suspects, or show your ethnic background through “ancestry DNA” that is common to your ancestors.

My article in Decoded Science did not have room to explain all the features of ASCII code; but it is a common example of a binary code used by many computers. Nor does the article explain the detailed chemistry involved in processing DNA. However, I claim it’s a good introduction to how much information is stored in your genome, and well worth reading before you go for DNA testing. It also has some reference links for a lot more detail about DNA.

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What’s New at Toronto Buskerfest 2015

The 2015 Toronto Buskerfest returns to Yonge Street from Thursday through Sunday, August 27-30.

So what’s new at this annual summer Toronto event? (Updated with photos I took Aug. 28, 2015).

"Fireboy, a Busker in Toronto Buskerfest 2009" by Loozrboy
“Fireboy, a Busker in Toronto Buskerfest 2009″ by Loozrboy

Innovations at Toronto Buskerfest 2015

Judging from their web site, Buskerfest Toronto has three main innovations.

First, their Family Fun Zone has expanded along Yonge St. between College & Gerrard. The Scotiabank Tent hosts the workshops and many activities. The Family Fun Zone Stage has performances from 12:30-6:30pm.

"Welcoming Children to Buskerfest 2015" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Welcoming Children to Buskerfest 2015″ image (c) by Mike DeHaan

The second new service is valet parking for your bicycle. Cycle Toronto will operate valet parking for about 200 bicycles. Head to Dundas St. West between Yonge and Bay Streets, where the Cycle Toronto tent will be pitched. The system works like a coat check: get a ticket stub when you leave your bike with them; trade the stub for your bicycle once you’ve been Buskered.

"Climbing the Wall at Buskerfest 2015" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Climbing the Wall at Buskerfest 2015″ image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Third, you can pre-register for a 5Km Epilepsy Walk to be held on Sunday Aug. 30 at 10am at 468 Queen St. East (at Sackville). The “Purple Walk” fund-raiser supports Epilepsy Toronto. The official Epilepsy Toronto Purple Walk web page explains more and has a link for registration or donations.

"Silver Elvis at Buskerfest 2015" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Silver Elvis at Buskerfest 2015″ image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Toronto Buskerfest offers a blend of new and returning performers, so it’s worth a visit every year.

"Map of Buskerfest along Yonge Street in Toronto" image (c) by Mike DeHaan via gmap-pedometer
“Map of Buskerfest along Yonge Street in Toronto” image (c) by Mike DeHaan via gmap-pedometer

The Nitty Gritty for Toronto Buskerfest 2015

Toronto Buskerfest 2015 runs on Yonge Street from College/Carlton south to Queen Street on Aug. 27-30. (Noon through 11pm on the two weekdays; 11am-11pm on Sat.; and 11am-8pm on Sunday). That section of Yonge Street will be closed to north/south traffic.

The #1 Yonge subway line has stops at College, Dundas and Queen. The TTC also operates the 501 Queen, 505 Dundas and 506 Carlton streetcars which should be running despite the Yonge Street closure. (Updated Aug. 28, 2015): This afternoon, I saw the 506 Carlton streetcars running just fine. While jogging toward Yonge St. along Gerrard, past Ryerson University, I nearly ran right through Buskerfest because Gerrard was open to vehicles.

As noted, the valet parking for bikes makes cycling a really good option.

"Kids Play the Bike Percussion Instrument at Buskerfest 2015" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Kids Play the Bike Percussion Instrument at Buskerfest 2015″ image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Almost everything is outdoors, so wear your sunscreen lotion, baseball cap, and carry an umbrella.

"The Bike Percussion Instrument at Buskerfest 2015" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“The Bike Percussion Instrument at Buskerfest 2015″ image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Toronto Buskerfest supports Epilepsy Toronto, so they’d like you to pay a toonie to enter the grounds. Each busker act passes the hat at the end of the performance, so bring a fair number of loonies, toonies, fives and tens. Even a person as frugal as myself sees the value in paying these amazing performers for their live up-close-and-personal shows. Buskerfest is your best chance to see these great Canadian and international buskers.

Regular readers know I’ve promoted Buskerfest Toronto in previous years. If you still need more details, the official Toronto Buskerfest web site has them.

"Rappelling down the Wall at Buskerfest 2015" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Rappelling down the Wall at Buskerfest 2015″ image (c) by Mike DeHaan

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Visit both China and Iran in downtown Toronto in August 2015

This weekend, visit both the Toronto Chinatown Festival and the Tirgan festival of Iranian culture. Explore the world in the comfort of two annual summer events in Toronto!

"Chinese Lion Dance for Chinese New Year 2009" image by Maureen Didde under CC license
“Chinese Lion Dance for Chinese New Year 2009″ image by Maureen Didde under CC license

The Tirgan Festival of Iran at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto

The Tirgan festival runs from Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 20-23, at Harbourfront Centre on Queen’s Quay.

Some of the showcase events require tickets, such as the opening ceremony on Thursday evening at 8:30pm. Surprisingly, that’s the most frugal paid-admission event for the Tirgan festival: a musical ensemble featuring guitars, bass, drum and sax. One of the other paid-admission musical performances is already sold out, as of Tuesday evening. Get your tickets online while they are still available!

From Friday through Sunday, the Iranian bazaar and “Taste of Iran” areas are free to enter. It may be tough to leave without buying at least a snack. There are free musical performances; a workshop on the tombak drum; visual arts; children’s programmes; and much more. Check the Tirgan Festival web site or browse the Harbourfront Centre’s “What’s On calendar” for all the events and the details about dates, times and locations.

Harbourfront Centre in Toronto is on the newly revamped Queen’s Quay, and a lovely walk south-west from Union Station on the #1 Yonge subway line. Or take the 509 streetcar from the depths of Union Station.

The Toronto Chinatown Festival on Spadina

For August 2015, the Toronto Chinatown Festival’s theme is “The Forbidden City”. You are free to enter Spadina Ave. from St. Andrew St. through Sullivan St. on Saturday Aug. 22 (from noon to 11pm) and again on Sunday (from 11am to 8pm).

China’s Forbidden City was home to the emperors and the government of China. It was the centre of culture and the Chinese civilization.

The Chinatown Festival in Toronto limits itself to the west side of Spadina. The OLG stage and the TD Bank stage anchor the southern and northern ends of the festival. Expect terrific performances; I would expect lion dances, musical performances, martial arts, and more. Unfortunately, at press time, they have not yet posted an actual schedule.

There’s no need to schedule your snacks; I count at least two dozen food vendors in their list of vendors. You might find something to buy, also: the Bee Shop is the most intriguing merchant with a purely English name; but I’m not sure whether the Tung Hoi Aquarium will sell fish to go.

The best way to find the Toronto Chinatown Festival is to exit the #1 Yonge/Spadina subway at the St. Andrews station and head south.

The full list of vendors and sponsors for the Chinatown Festival in Toronto is available online.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. (The site is monetized; buy something through an ad and I should earn a commission). However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the left-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about the Tirgan festival of Iranian culture, and the Toronto Chinatown Festival.

Writing for Clients; Annual Events in Toronto and the GTA