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TRUE FACTS ABOUT THE GIANT SEQUOIA: OR WHAT KIND OF NAME IS SEQUOIADENDRON GIGANTEUM

Imagine a large tree. Now imagine a much larger tree. That is how the giant sequoia do. No, let’s try this again. Imagine a large tree. Now imagine this tree as a branch, not a tree, attached to another much larger tree. Now imagine that much larger tree. That is how the giant sequoia do. Three decades ago, a branch fell off one of the largest giant sequoia. It was 43m long. Last try: imagine a boy. He grew up in the desert, is 4 years old, has never seen a tree, but was once told how a tree looks…

BIODRIVE LEAK

A biodrive hides under a tattoo on my thigh, with enough memory to store data from neuroscience experiments I transport, airgapped. Covert pharmaceutical labs develop nootropics for troops and VIPs, cognitive enhancements and novel treatments for neurodiversities. Post-doc double agents steal data for competing labs, and rendezvous with me to transfer it to my wetware. Sometimes I toy with them. Today’s transfer is at a hackerspace. I try not to attract attention to the biodrive. They’d all want to gawk at the latest tech. The neuroscientist is late, I have to pretend to care about a demo, and when she…

DISPATCH FROM THE E.R.

I sat down on the folding chair in front of the emergency room admitting nurse and explained what had happened: “I’ve had an accident in my laboratory.” I was expecting a dramatic reaction. Instead I got barely a raised eyebrow. It must take a lot to surprise an emergency room nurse but still, hadn’t she heard about all the superheroes that have emerged from lab experimentation gone awry (Did she not know about Spiderman, who was bitten by a radioactive spider, or The Incredible Hulk, who was irradiated by gamma rays?) Was she not curious as to what superhuman feats…

CELL BIOLOGY VIA SEVENTEEN-SYLLABLES: LESSONS THROUGH HAIKUS

Introduction Since I have a fierce love for cell biology (I did complete my BSc. in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, after all), what follows is a brief overview of cell biology that someone in grade 12 could understand. We start with animal and plant cells, and the various organelles in each before we marvel at cell signaling for a moment, and then take a quick look at how cells use the processes of transcription and translation to produce proteins from a gene. Each section begins with a descriptive paragraph and helpful visuals, and is concluded by a series of…

MY NEUROTIC PATIENCE

“I started my professional activity as a neurologist trying to bring relief to my neurotic patients…”—Sigmund Freud in his only known audio recording – – – My neurotic patience bids me dance by candlelight waiting for answers that come in time. Its quiet causes fright in the noisier set—day-planning superego, demanding id, the rest. To bring relief to my neurotic patience, I smell no end of flowers, and pick none. I wander through fields of impatiens, worrying only about the wind and sun.

WHAT IS IN THE JAR?

This is a collaborative poem written by Grade 4 and 5 students on the contents of a “jar.” This jar was a prop that was used to discuss poetry and science, as well as segue into a DIY cloud chamber activity for detection of sub atomic particles. – – – There is gravity in this jar. There is humanity in this jar. There is insanity in this jar. Could it be a very good dream about your favourite thing? Could it be a miniature goat riding a minecraft boat? There’s a book in the jar. Could it be Minecraft Diamond…

HOW TO FART IN FRONT OF YOUR BOYFRIEND

i. hide your farts all over the house. under couch cushions, inside desk drawers. between bank statements, and behind the tv. he will find one eventually. ii. let them get acquainted without your presence. if you casually leave them in a room together it will give them an opportunity to familiarize themselves without relying on you to constantly accommodate them both. iii. go outside. pretend you smoke so you have an excuse to go outside a lot. iv. tell him you are made of sugar. your insides are peppermints and jujubes. your intestines are lined with fruit-roll-ups and liquorice. your…

A YOUNG VENN HEADS TO THE DIAGRAM CONVENTION

Venn’s been working on this for years. With the convention drawing close, his pace accelerates. Late nights. Early mornings. Lost sleep. Mid-day coffee. In the earliest fraction of morning light, his wife leans against the kitchen counter, sipping the day’s first mug of coffee. “Are you ready, darling?” The lip of the cup reaches her mouth. A shy smile of shared giddiness opens toward him. “Of course, Lil,” he says, drinking his orange juice. “Never so much as now.” He sets the juice cup on the counter. “Does this tie go with my suit?” “Does anything not go with gray,…