From archive

INTEGRINS AND THE SOCIAL NETWORK OF CELLS

(Art by Armin Mortazavi) When imagining a cell, it’s often easy to think of it as a lone entity, a single squishy bubble of fluid. However, cells are actually incredibly complex, and they can organize in ways to form many types of structures and ultimately whole living organisms like a tree, a bird, or even our own bodies! Understanding how these cells interact and get together is key to understanding how different cells make different structures – like how bones are different from skin for instance. Knowing this also reveals how cells talk to one another. And just as we…

DNA REPLICATION: NOT YOUR OFFICE PHOTOCOPIER

(Art by Armin Mortazavi) If the letters in the human genome, your DNA code, were a book, it would take a person typing 60 words per minute, 8 hours a day, around 50 years to copy the 3 billion base pairs. This incredible task of replicating all the genetic material in a cell must be accurate, must be copied only once, and must be complete at a specific point in time. The smallest mistakes can be disastrous. Sounds impossible? Not so fast – cells in your body are dividing as you read, and here’s the incredible part: copies of your…

KINESIN: THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD

(Art by Armin Mortazavi) When we are learning about cells and how they function, we are often confronted with large, circular blob-like things that contain several different internal structures for us to memorize. It may be tempting to dismissively think of cells as being nothing more than these simple, two dimensional objects (after all, they are commonly referred to as “the most basic units of life”). However, closer inspection reveals that cells are extremely dynamic, and their daily activities are far more exciting and complicated than first appearances may suggest. Cells operate like tiny machines and their inner workings are…

PLANTS: AMAZING PHYTO-PHARMACIES

(Art by Armin Mortazavi) Some of the best chemical engineers in the world don’t have a university degree. The most prolific institutions (if they can be called that) don’t have professors or laboratories. The chemicals themselves boast more complicated architectures than humans could imagine. The working conditions are dirty and crowded, but somehow the immobile chemists still succeed. These thriving chemical production plants, in every sense of the word, are forests. Some phytochemicals (compounds synthesized by plants) that nature has so elegantly engineered are also life-saving medicines. Take Taxol, a compound originally isolated from the bark of Pacific yew trees.…

SPOKEN IN STARDUST: MEMORIES ADRIFT ACROSS AN OCEAN OF TIME

Cast of Characters: Emma: an inquisitive teen-aged daughter Father: a neuroscientist with a love of theatre and the arts, Emma’s dad Mother: a neurologist who loves to garden and grow flowers, Emma’s mom David: a kind, sensitive nine year old boy who adores his sister, Emma Mr. Jiang: protagonist of the play Remember Me, Alzheimer’s patient Ms. Yun: first love of Mr. Jiang, separated during Chinese Civil War Mrs. Jiang: sympathetic and supportive wife of Mr. Jiang Nurse: caregiver to Mr. Jiang at the hospital in Taiwan – – – OPENING SCENE: VANCOUVER 2005 Setting: Friday family night in the…

SO MUCH CANDY DATA, SERIOUSLY

As promised, here is the candy hierarchy data for 2017. (Released Oct 25th @1:45pm PST. Will provide updated xlsx file on Oct 31st as well) . xlsx | csv | txt (d&t) | surveyQ pdf | n=2460 If you tag your work with #candyhierarchy2017 or #statscandy, I’ll do my best to aggregate efforts here (and also possibly at BoingBoing for a round up piece). Note that traditionally, we’ve plotted a figure based on a “Net Feelies” metric (=#JOY-#DESPAIR). We also have additional meta data affiliated with demographics, and some questions that link to other potential datasets (see actual survey for…

A BIOCHEMIST’S BOOKLIST

Are you a fan of literature? Whether you have a background in science and are looking for your next great read for those wait times between gel runs, or are an experienced literature enthusiast looking to better understand aspects of molecular biology and biochemistry, this list is for uracil. C.A.Q. – Commonly Asked Questions (or in Science: Condition Adverse to Quality – but don’t worry, the Biochemist’s Booklist is here for that literature quality control.) 1. How do you rate the books? Instead of the age-old star based methods, the Biochemist’s Booklist prefers to assign a component that better describes…

TRUMPIAN SCIENCE: A SHORT GUIDE

Science should be done with all the “best” words. Data is shown via tweets. Folks with “intelligence” not to be trusted. China is mathematically removed in climate change projections. Hypotheses all end with a “CHA-CHING!” Scientific credentials include showing your birth certificate. “Pussy” is a medically recognized term. Citations include lawsuits. Expert peer review still sound, except for the bit about “expert.” All computer stuff to be done by some guy in New Jersey: not Russia. Breibart News is a credible scientific source. Scientific community includes that crazy relative of yours who believes mermaids are real but climate change is…