From classroom

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…

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.…

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…

VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE (DARWIN!) PHYLO DECK IS NOW AVAILABLE.

The Voyage of the Beagle Phylo Deck is now available for free download, and/or for revenue neutral purchase (both as a boxed set, and a cheaper cards only option). Many thanks to Karen James for her research work on which organisms to showcase (and where they were found), as well as the awesome artistry exhibited…

OH LOOK, IT’S THE CANNABIS CARD, AND THE THC CARD… (PHYLO PHYTOCHEMISTRY EXPANSION DECK)

Just a quick word to let you know that our sister site (The Phylo TCG Game) has finally launched the purchasable version of their Phytochemistry Expansion Deck (also available as a free download). Now you can mix and match potent drugs with the botanical species they were derived from. Anyway, here are the details on how to use, as well as an image showcase of the awesome cards themselves: Welcome to the PHYLO Phytochemical deck. This is a cool expansion pack that looks at important chemicals derived from plant specimens. In other words, it’s not really a standalone playable* PHYLO…

GENOMIC DNA EXTRACTION IS ABOUT THE PLAYING

We are grand father-grand son duo emotionally intertwined like the two complementary strands of a DNA duplex. Unlike the weak H bonds in the biomolecule, our attachment is due to divine bonds strengthened by a friendship extraordinaire. Farzaan, eight-year old grandson of the senior author, is a regular viewer of ‘Backyard Science’ shows on television. Some months ago he dared his grand father, a university teacher of plant cytogenetics to coach him perform molecular biology experiments in their home in Kolkata, India. The kid had jeered at his friend-grandpa: “You bore me incessantly with your books and bla bla about…

DARWIN’S STRANGE INVERSION OF REASONING (VIDEO)
DANIEL DENNETT
JANUARY 14th, 2009

“Darwin’s Strange Inversion of Reasoning” (January 14th, 2009, Frederick Wood Theatre) – – – One of Darwin’s earliest critics noted his “strange inversion of reasoning: in order to make a perfect and beautiful machine it is not requisite to know how to make it.” This is indeed a counterintuitive idea, but it is central not just to biology but to computer science and, indeed, all of science. Resistance to this ‘strange inversion’ is at the heart of popular discontent with both evolution by natural selection and computer models of the brain and mind. It helps to understand some of the…