Totoro Bed <3

25 Oct

I’ve been squeee’ing for a full 10 minutes over this bed.

I must have it.
I will cuddle the entire world with it.

Why Science Nerds Wear Glasses.

24 Oct

Ever wonder why science nerds wear glasses?
Recently, a contact lens wearing lass was infected by an amoeba which was infected by a virus which was infected by a virophage which was infected by a parasitic piece of DNA called a transpoviron. It’s like a microbial inception. (This article originally appeared on io9.com)

Woman with eye infection had an entire microbial ecosystem in her contact lens solution


by George Dvorsky

There’s a reason why optometrists say you should regularly replenish your contact lens solution and throw out your lenses after the expiry date. Last year, a young woman contracted an eye infection after using tap water to dilute her cleaning solution, and while wearing contact lenses that were two months past their expiry date. Subsequent analysis of her lens solution revealed an entire cornucopia of microorganisms that were spawned from a single amoeba, including a giant virus that was also infected with a virus — and a piece of DNA that was capable of infecting both of them.

Thankfully, the woman’s condition, keratitis, was not serious and was easily treatable — but the subsequent analysis of her contaminated lens solution was quite revealing, if not disturbing.

The research, which was conducted by Bernard La Scola and Christelle Desnues, was initially concerned with an amoeba they found in the fluid. But after looking at the amoeba more carefully, the researchers discovered that it hosted two different microorganisms, including a giant virus that had never been seen before (what is now called the Lentille virus).

This Lentille virus, after infecting the amoeba, created a kind of “virus factory” where its genetic material was copied, thus spawning new viruses that were architected from its genetic script.

Now, if this wasn’t surprising enough, the researchers also discovered that the Lentille virus was also infected with a virus, what’s called a virophage. This virus-within-a-virus, named Sputnik 2, is only capable of reproducing in cells infected by other viruses (in this case, the infected amoeba). Amoebas that are infected with this virus continue to release virophage particles, which means the virus can continue to infect other amoebas on their own.

But there’s still more: Both the giant Lentille virus and Sputnik 2 virophage contained even smaller parasites called transpovirons — highly mobile chunks of DNA that can relocate themselves into the genomes of viruses and tuck themselves away inside of virophages.

So, in summary, the researchers discovered that a transmissible DNA sequence managed to find its way into a virophage (and potentially the giant virus itself), which in turn latched onto a giant virus, which then infected an amoeba — an amoeba that eventually found its way into the eye of a 17-year old girl.
You can read the entire study at PNAS.

Beard Love

24 Oct

Me: “Your beard tickles.”
Him: “It’s trying to give your face a hug”Image

Science Nook!

21 Oct

I’m currently writing this post from my brand new Nook. For the past few days, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a tablet or e-reader. I am an avid reader and devoted bibliophile, and my books are among my dearest possessions. The idea of e-readers never really appealed to me before. I love the the entire experience of reading a good book. I love getting lost in the story and the smell of the pages.
I love my various mismatched bookshelves, sagging under the weight of the books.

But as I get older, I find myself reading less and less sci-fi and lit, and more nonfiction, especially science books. Especially textbooks. Ive always been acutely aware of my textbook addiction. College always enabled it, but now that I’ve graduated, I can’t justify buying hundreds of dollars of textbooks. E-reader textbooks are often at a lower price (and sometimes I can even borrow them temporarily through the Nook.)

Im enjoying my nerdy science apps (Drugs and Bugs is a great one) and the new book Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature And Ourselves. So far, so good. Now that Ive settled into my new job, I may update more frequently. However, I live in the middle of nowhere, 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle, with sporadic internet and a computer that’s on it’s last leg.
But I work with so many amazing bacteria, I can’t help but share.

Star Chart

3 Jun

Super handy universe chart
^__^

Sagan Quote

2 Jun

Delicious Chemistry

1 Jun

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