May 07 2013

The Watussi and the History Erasure Button

The Watussi (or Watusi) was a popular dance craze in the early 1960′s, in addition being the historical name for the Tutsi ethnic group in East Africa. ‘Watussi’ was also the lead track on the seminal offering (Musik von Harmonia) by those legends of Krautrock Michael Rother, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Möbius (Harmonia). As I often name the software program that I am currently developing after the music that I’m listening to at the time, my latest creation in Datapunk now carries this esteemed moniker.

Since most of Datapunk is involved in displaying gene-protein signaling data as a molecular graph network, while linking and then displaying data about natural products known to influence action and expression, it was about time that I turn the telescope around and allow investigators to poll the networks instead by choice of natural product.

 1. The Watussi main screen, showing scrollable window and History Erasure Button.

[1] The Watussi main screen, showing scrollable window and History Erasure Button.

From the main menu you simply tick off the natural products that you are interested in. [Figure 1]

[2. Results screen showing nodes associated with the 'Apigenin,'  a natural product belonging to the flavone class that is the aglycone of several naturally occurring glycosides

[2] Results screen showing nodes associated with the ‘Apigenin,’ a natural product belonging to the flavone class that is the aglycone of several naturally occurring glycosides

And Watussi will display the Quodlibet molecular maps that contain nodes that reference the agent. [Figure 2]

 3. Quodlibet map 'Polyamine synthesis and recycling' showing highlighted node 'ODC' (orinthine decarboxylase) associated with natural product 'Apigenin'.

[3] Quodlibet map ‘Polyamine synthesis and recycling’ showing highlighted node ‘ODC’ (orinthine decarboxylase) associated with natural product ‘Apigenin’.

Click on the network link and the specific node will be highlighted [Figure 3]. From there you can click on the actual node to retrieve the specific citations.

Limitations

Unfortunately, Watussi is a bandwidth hog (going even two or three levels out in a network of a few hundred nodes is a combinatoric nightmare) and my hosting service has already once had to shut the server down because of resource usage. However it runs just fine with small numbers of users, so if you are interested in using Watussi for research purposes, leave a comment here with a contact email and I’ll see about setting you up.

The History Erasure Button

People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.

–Peter Drucker

The Watussi interface features a large red button in the upper right area labeled with the words ‘Don’t Press This Button.’ I was interested in the percentage of visitors who would actually press the button.


History Erasure Button.

Turns out about one in two people actually press the button, which simply darkens the screen and plays this video:

According to Wikipedia:

When doing the Watusi, the dancer is almost stationary with knees slightly bent, although may move forward and back by one or two small rhythmic paces. The arms, with palms flat in line, are held almost straight, alternately flail up and down in the vertical. The head is kept in line with the upper torso but may bob slightly to accentuate the arm flailing. The dance, which became popular in the American surf/beach sub-culture of 1960s, may be enhanced if one imagines that one’s feet are on sand.

I vaguely remember the dance, along with the ‘Monkey’ and the ‘Frug’ although none of the ND students on any of my teaching shifts had ever heard of it. To me it seemed that most people seemed to do a combination of all three.

One response so far

One Response to “The Watussi and the History Erasure Button”

  1. Gillian says:

    :-)I remember doing the Monkey. It seemed very natural to me. Would I have pushed the button or obeyed my Teacher instincts? Every Nomad that I know personally would have pushed that button. ;-)