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Ph.Diddy

10 Apr


Turn it up, dance, and giggle.
Via D&A Lab, a totally awesome blog that every science nerd should check out.

Light Up Your Wardrobe

10 Apr

I’m bringing up Becky Stern once again, because I believe she is an adorable crafting angel sent from another dimension to bring science and happiness to the world.

Today’s topic: Light-up shoes

The video gives great instruction, and here is a step-by-step overview (so you aren’t constantly juggling shoes and fabric and needles and fire while trying to watch the video).


Needless to say, the end result is super cute, and makes me want to make a pair so I can pretend my feet are fireflies.

The Secret Life of Plankton

5 Apr

via TEDTalks:

New videography techniques have opened up the oceans’ microscopic ecosystem, revealing it to be both mesmerizingly beautiful and astoundingly complex. Explore this hidden world that underpins our own food chain — in the first-ever TEDTalk given by a fish …

Tierney Thys is a marine biologist and science educator. She studies the behavior of the Mola mola, or giant ocean sunfish — and works with other scientists to make films that share the wonders they see.

The Plankton Chronicles Project uses state-of-the-art optics to reveal the beauty and diversity of planktonic organisms. It was initiated by Christian Sardet, Noé Sardet and Sharif Mirshak

You Will Never See Mold The Same Way Again

5 Apr


This video is mind-blowing in it’s quality and dedication. Many of these molds take days or even weeks to grow, and all such organisms, due to their spore-forming nature, must be handled in a designated Class III lab. This wasn’t some bored dude in his kitchen, this was a person with access to a designated space and a great talent for videography.

Stars, As Viewed From International Space Station

27 Mar

The Stars as Viewed from the International Space Station.
Absolutely breathtaking. I could watch this again and again for hours.
The music is beautiful too.

From AJRCLIPS on Vimeo.

Meryl Streep Is A Mimic Octopus

27 Mar

The mimic octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus, can imitate 15 aquatic animals (that we know of), including sea snakes, lion fish, flatfish, giant crabs, stingrays, and jellyfish. It can even do giant seashells, because why should it limit itself to just animals?
There are mimics that it can do that we haven’t figured out what it’s trying to mimic. Robert Krulwich of NPR wonders if maybe it’s unknown mimics are a product of its imagination.

Octopi are so intelligent, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they possess imagination. I love how Mr. Krulwich describes this creature as the Meryl Streep of the ocean.

I bet if the mimic octopus saw a picture of Meryl, it would instantly try to transform into her.

…Or what if Meryl Streep is a mimic octopus in disguise?!
The hair in this photo does look suspiciously like octopus arms. It would also explain her ability to morph into any role with apparent ease. It would make sense that the greatest living film actress is an octopus.
No human could be that awesome.

I’m on to you, Meryl!

Outside Ovaries

24 Mar

The following is written by Michael Marshall of New Scientist

First Animal With Ovaries On The Outside

SpeciesAllapasus aurantiacus
Habitat: On and around the seabed off the coast of California

If there’s one way we can be sure that life on Earth really is the result of evolution, and not the guiding hand of a cosmic engineer, it’s the hideous design flaws. The examples are too numerous to list, but let’s just consider one: human males have their testicles on the outside.

It seems they work better that way, because sperm production works best slightly below human body temperature. But it isn’t half inconvenient – as any male who has ever been kicked in the goolies will tell you.

Spare a thought, then, for the newly-discovered acorn worm Allapasus aurantiacus. The females are the first animals known that have their ovaries on the outside. But according to their discoverers, they are the first of many.


(The best shot starts at the 20 second mark)

Deep-sea worms

Acorn worms are quite different to the more familiar annelid worms, as they are close-ish relatives of backboned animals. They live on the sea bed, often burrowing into the sediment.

No one had noticed A. aurantiacus until June 2002, when Karen Osborn of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC spotted one via a remotely-operated vehicle deep into the Monterey Submarine Canyon off California, around 3000 metres down. Intrigued, she had it brought to the surface.

Once Osborn got a closer look she realised it was an acorn worm. Unusually large eggs, each almost 2 millimetres across, were pouring out of it. The new species belonged to a family of acorn worms called Torquaratoridae, which all live in the deep sea – unlike many acorn worms, which prefer the shallows.

Ovaries on display

Each worm has two “wings” – flaps of skin on the main body along much of its length. In an unprecedented arrangement, the ovaries are attached to the inner surfaces of these wings.

“Usually you want to protect these things, and keep them near and dear,” Osborn says. Even human testicles have several layers of skin protecting them. But the eggs of A. aurantiacus are only protected by a single layer of cells. That might make it easier for sperm to reach them, Osborn says.

She has since found a few males, whose genitals are in the same place on their skin. It’s not clear how they fertilise the females’ eggs. One possibility is that the males release sperm into the water, whereupon the females take it in through their gills and squirt it over the ovaries – which are ideally placed by the gill outlets.

Floating free

The worm uses its wings as sticky pads to attach itself to the sea floor. “They secrete a ton of mucus, and that probably helps them adhere,” Osborn says. “Mucus is a big part of their lives.”

Mucus may also be the key to the worm’s ability to float above the sea bed – something that only the deep-sea acorn worms do. Osborn thinks they secrete a balloon of mucus around themselves, which catches currents that then carry the worm away.

But first they have to get off the sea bed, and to do that they excrete the contents of their guts. This material acts as ballast, so getting rid of it means they drift upwards.

First of many

Osborn and her colleagues have since found over a dozen acorn worms in the same family. They all have external ovaries and the distinctive wings. One species has hermaphrodite forms, another first for acorn worms.

Worms aren’t known for their parenting skills but in a further surprise, at least one species uses the wings to shelter its offspring. Osborn found a single female, of a species closely related to A. aurantiacus, that was sheltering well-developed eggs and a few larvae under its wings.

She suggests that the acorn worms’ strange lifestyles are adaptations to life on the sea floor, where food and mates are scarce. In a place like that, it makes sense to move around in search of new feeding grounds, to make use of any and all sperm that comes your way, and to keep your young close until they’re ready to take care of themselves.

Journal reference: Journal of Morphology, DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20013

Video

Acoustic Focusing in Flow Cytometry

22 Mar

I will admit that I am a bit of a flow cytometry nerd. Our medical lab science program only has one graduate class so far, and it is in diagnostic flow cytometry. I begged the department head to let me take it, despite not having yet fulfilled my immunology requirement. I had taken the hematology class though, and flow cytometry is most commonly used in the medical lab to identify and monitor hematological diseases, so they decided to let me take it. I was ecstatic, and flow cytometry is still one of my favorite instrumentation methods. So this little video demonstrating acoustic focusing made my day.

A Biologist’s St. Patrick’s Day Song

17 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, fellow science nerds.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Recut.

13 Mar

A few days ago I posted the video of Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s address to  Senate. Here is an absolutely beautiful recut of that speech, which took the best clips of his speech and put it to beautiful music and historic clips. May these 5 minutes brighten your day. Enjoy.

Skin Cell Gun Rocks My Damn Socks Off

13 Mar

Watch it. Watch it now! It’s incredible, and will hopefully save countless lives.

The Most Astounding Fact

12 Mar

Absolutely stunning.

Molecular Machines

11 Mar

I love this video, for so many reasons.
I love how he makes a point to talk about the importance of art in scientific research and education. Because of their tiny size, accurate artistic representation is the best tool science currently has to convey how molecule interact and behave.
I love how it gives one of the best scale perspectives of DNA and chromosomes that I’ve ever seen. Simply breathtaking.
And I love how he focuses on the specific fibers and signaling proteins, demonstrating how amazing our adorable little molecular machines are.
It’s a nine minute video, and worth every second of your time.
Enjoy!

Optimus Prime Narrates Nasa Ad

10 Mar

Oh, the nostalgia!

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Address to Senate

10 Mar

You can also read the speech at the Hayden Planetarium website.

Lego Space Station

10 Mar

I actually meant to post this last week, but got distracted, and am currently playing catch-up with all the articles and science/awesome-related content I’ve been meaning to post.


Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa built a Lego model of the International Space Station while aboard the International Space Station. CollectSPACE.com reports that the model was “part of an educational collaboration between the Danish toy company and NASA.” You can watch a brief time lapse video of the model coming together and read more about it over on CollectSPACE.com.



I love this story for so many reasons. I love Legos. I love space. I love the concept of Legos in space, so you never have to accidentally step on a Lego again. I love goddamn super awesome astronauts. Mr. Furukawa, please have my babies.

Taking a Break

8 Mar

Unemployment is stressful, especially when you have a cloud of student debt hanging over your head. And especially when you love your field. I haven’t played with blood cells and bacteria in months, and I truly miss it. Every job application I fill out simultaneously fills me with more hope and stress, and it gets pretty exhausting after a while.

I decided to take a break. Not just a break from job searching, but a break from anxiety. I was fed up with the constant worry and doubt, and just needed a break, if only for a day. One day of not worrying about finances and job applications and future job interviews and cleaning the apartment and relationships and to-do lists and any other thing that could cause me stress.  So I settled in to my favorite coffee shop, surrounded with newspaper, coffee, chocolate croissants, yarn, a book, and a computer full of music.


My book of choice was a borrowed copy of “Headless Males Make Great Lovers,” by Marty Crump. It’s an charming book full describing peculiar animal mating rituals and habits, cleverly written and filled with the kind of enthusiasm I usually reserve for   blood antibody systems. So while attempting to crochet what will one day hopefully resemble a scarf, I took breaks to read about elephant seal harems and headless praying mantis sex. I haven’t gotten very far, but I absolutely love it. My attempt at a scarf is less entertaining, and looks like the work of a demented, drunken octopus. Mostly because I just let my mind wander and forget to count the stitches.


I suppose I’m taking the honey badger approach, where I just don’t care about the damn number of stitches. It’s just a silly scarf. The whole point of a scarf is to keep your neck and face warm, so who cares about the number of stitches or if the edges are straight? Today is my break from reality, so here I sit, contently crocheting away while humming The Cigarette Duet, which has been stuck in my head for days.

I certainly feel better, calmer, and ready to take on the world again, armed with biology books and happiness ^_^

Dynamite Science Dance

7 Mar

To highlight some of the critical work being done at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre, they gathered some of our top scientists, students, lab techs and dedicated volunteers, who turned on the music and danced!

Everyone should dance everyday, especially in the lab ^_^

Lego Space Shuttle Tribute

6 Mar

This is the very definition of awesome!

Such beautiful nostalgia. Submitted by Youtube user  and set to the music of Radical Face, this man pays his tribute to the end of the space shuttle era by launching his own little shuttle made of legos.

He writes: “My Lego tribute to the end of the space shuttle era. Proving that although retired, this machine can still fly, albeit in toy form.The launch took place from central Germany and reached a max altitude of 35000m. A 1600g meteo balloon filled with helium was used alongside a GoPro Hero, Spot GPS and of course Lego Space Shuttle model 3367. The launch took place on the 31st of December 2011, the equipment was recovered via GPS tracking 240 km S-E from a remote area.”

Simply amazing.

Children Create Evolution Video

1 Mar

I couldn’t stop squeeeing at all the hearts! ❤ ❤ ❤