Tag: science

Spin Ice

Monopoles, magnetic forces without a di-pole have been shown to exist in a substance called spin ice. Spin ice is composed of holmium titanate, molecules that have a tetrahedral formation. When corralled, the ions cannot align their spin in one direction leaving the two spins pointing inwards in the tetrahedron. When a magnetic field is…


Vesalius

Andreas Vesalius was a Belgian anatomist born in 1514. He worked with cadavers from graveyards or gallows to correct errors in the study of anatomy and created many artistic, yet accurate renderings of the human form. His work was considered to be groundbreaking as he corrected many of Galen’s errors and followed in the footsteps…


Evolution

People used to think that the universe was neatly laid out by God exactly the way it was destined to be laid out. The stars were crystal spheres pushed around in the heavens by angels and everyone found it to be comforting to think of the universe as such an ordered place. However, all of…


THE HUMAN GENOME MUSIC PROJECT

This project assigns musical pitches to each of the 22 amino acid codons in DNA. This is an example of what the first chromosome looks like.


Gecko Feet

I have always liked geckos. They are fascinating creatures that have inspired people for ages. There are even old myths that say, if you see a gecko, it means that you are safe and someone is watching over you. Today, people are asking different questions about geckos. One of the most obvious ones is, how…


Bacteria Has Harnessed Frozen Water As Weapon

A bacteria called Pseudomonas syringae has the ability to use proteins in their outer membranes to help ice crystals form at warmer than normal temperatures which they, then, use to form frost and invade damaged plant tissue. After these bacteria die, many of these proteins move into the atmosphere where they can alter the weather…


Long-Leaf Pine Savannah

I once went on an Ecology trip to a long-leaf pine savannah in. The long-leaf pine savannah is a common ecosystem to south-east Louisiana. It is a fire-dominated ecosystem (it depends on small grass fires ignited by lightning to survive) that has been logged, farmed, and damaged almost to where it has been driven to…


DNA Extraction

Have you ever DNA extraction from a banana? I have. The DNA in solution was so pretty! It looked like sparkling silk threads with tiny bubbles in it floating around in a viscous material. It reminded me of silk webs. For reference on how to do this: How lovely the “molecule of life” is. It…


Sandbox Tree

The sandbox tree (Hura crepitans and H. polyandra) has pumpkin-shaped seeds that explode. They have poisonous seeds, bark, and leaves. It’s trunk is also studded with short, conical prickles. These trees can be found throughout tropical America and the seed capsules were once used by the British as sandboxes for blotting ink.


Sea Sparkle

A species of dinoflagellate known as Noctiluca scintillans are a type of bioluminescent algae that lives in the ocean. When an algal bloom occurs, they cause the shores to sparkle. It is a spectacular sight that inspires the imagination, but unfortunately, can also result in the production of substances that are potentially toxic to marine…