Archive for the ‘Science’ Category
 
Posted in DNA Ancestry, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on September 14th, 2012
 

We dug up this excellent infographic via Online Education and had to share. Does anything surprise you?

 
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Posted in biotechnology, Inspiration, Inspirational Design of the Week, Science by Courtney on August 29th, 2012
 

Is that food really organic? How much radiation is present? What’s your ideal climate? We discovered the Lapka Personal Environment Monitor and—in the name of sublime science visualizations—had to crown it as Inspirational Design of the Week. Via Uncrate:

The various components that make up the Lapka Personal Environment Monitor are useful — they can individually test for radiation, whether food is organic or not, electromagnetic fields, and climate — otherwise known as temperature and humidity. And yes, they connect to your iPhone using nothing but a simple headphone cable. But what’s really impressive is how they manage to be so stylish while being so unbelievably small.

The device is highly sensitive and responds to the invisible world of particles, ions, molecules and waves, so it can analyze your surroundings and smartly combine the results into guideline values for your comfort.

The Lapka is coming later this year ($TBA) and the company says that “the experience of being able to take precise measurements and the beautiful visualization of what’s beyond our perception are inspiring and addictive”. We can’t wait!

What are your favorite apps for visualizing or applying science in our everyday lives?

 
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Posted in Art+Science, biotechnology, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on August 21st, 2012
 

We’re always on the lookout for cool DNA developments! Did you catch this story via Science Now?

When it comes to storing information, hard drives don’t hold a candle to DNA. Our genetic code packs billions of gigabytes into a single gram. A mere milligram of the molecule could encode the complete text of every book in the Library of Congress and have plenty of room to spare. All of this has been mostly theoretical—until now. In a new study, researchers stored an entire genetics textbook in less than a picogram of DNA—one trillionth of a gram—an advance that could revolutionize our ability to save data.

A few teams have tried to write data into the genomes of living cells. But the approach has a couple of disadvantages. First, cells die—not a good way to lose your term paper. They also replicate, introducing new mutations over time that can change the data.

To get around these problems, a team led by George Church, a synthetic biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, created a DNA information-archiving system that uses no cells at all. Instead, an inkjet printer embeds short fragments of chemically synthesized DNA onto the surface of a tiny glass chip. To encode a digital file, researchers divide it into tiny blocks of data and convert these data not into the 1s and 0s of typical digital storage media, but rather into DNA’s four-letter alphabet of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts. Each DNA fragment also contains a digital “barcode” that records its location in the original file. Reading the data requires a DNA sequencer and a computer to reassemble all of the fragments in order and convert them back into digital format. The computer also corrects for errors; each block of data is replicated thousands of times so that any chance glitch can be identified and fixed by comparing it to the other copies.

Read more…

Do you dig DNA as much as we do? Check out our DNA portraits, where art meets science.

Image: Scientists have found a way to store an entire textbook in the code of DNA. (John Goode/Flickr)

 
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Posted in Just Cool, Science by Courtney on June 4th, 2012
 

The Venus transit of 2012 on June 5 is one of the rarest skywatching events—are you ready? It’s the last chance in our lifetime to watch Venus cross the sun. Check out the infographic below to find out more about the transit, previous instances, and how to view it safely.

If you live in North America, be on the lookout during sunset on June 5, 2012!

Find out about the planet Venus' dramatic trip across the face of the sun in June 2012 in this SPACE.com infographic.
Source SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration
 
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Posted in Just Cool, Science by Courtney on April 27th, 2012
 

Have you ever strapped a parachute to your back, hopped on a plane and then dove from the sky? If you think that’s intense, skydiver Felix Baumgartner’s next attempt is going to blow your mind. Via Pop-Sci:

Felix intends to climb into a capsule suspended beneath a helium balloon, rise 23 miles above Roswell, New Mexico, open the capsule door, and jump out. On the 120,000-foot free fall—the longest ever attempted—he will face temperatures as low as –70°F and speeds of more than 700 miles an hour, becoming the first person to accelerate through the sound barrier without a craft.

At the outset of the project, no high-altitude full-pressure suit had ever been built specifically to withstand this kind of controlled free fall. Engineers at the David Clark Company, which builds full-pressure suits for NASA and the Department of Defense, spent four years developing one. Baumgartner’s jump will be the first live trial at Mach speeds.

His special suit, above, has four layers, including a fire-retardant insulator, a mesh restraint and a gas-filled bladder. The suit will help Baumgartner maintain delta position (head down, feet up) throughout his free fall—crucial if he is to avoid a flat spin.

 

If Felix succeeds, his daredevil DNA is definitely worth showcasing through a DNA portrait. We think the perfect colour scheme would be Firesky in celebration of his Mach manifesto.

Check out more photos and details on Felix’s daredevil threads.

 
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Posted in Art+Science, DNA 11 New Zealand, International, Science by Courtney on April 25th, 2012
 

A DNA 11 portrait has been included in The New Zealand Portrait Gallery’s Art of Science exhibit, running now until May 22, 2012.

The Art of Science features paintings from the Royal Society of New Zealand’s private collection of portraits of notable scientists, capturing the connections between artists and scientists, and between science and art. The exhibit looks at the different ways scientists and artists appreciate colour and light.

This exhibit was one of the first times that a DNA portrait has been shown in New Zealand. We created it from a DNA sample from Professor Sir Peter Gluckman (above), the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.

Want to create your own DNA Portrait? Get started at www.dna11.com.

 
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Posted in Contest, Science by Courtney on April 5th, 2012
 

James Watson, the co-discoverer of the helix DNA structure, is celebrating his 84th birthday on Friday, April 6. Happy Birthday, James!

Via Wikipedia: James Dewey Watson is an American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist, best known as a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA in 1953 with Francis Crick. Watson, Crick, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material. After studies at the University of Chicago and Indiana University, James worked at the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory in England, where he first met his future collaborator and friend Francis Crick.

In honor of his birthday and countless molecular contributions, we’re throwing James an online Birthday Bash and giving away a DNA Portrait to one lucky winner. Enter on our Facebook page!

Rules
This give-away is open to residents of the contiguous USA or Canada.
One entry per person. Contest closes on  April 11 at 11:59pm and we’ll contact the winner via email on April 12.

Want a DNA Portrait right now? Save 15% with code JamesWatson15 until April 11. Join us in wishing James a Happy Birthday and good luck in the give-away!

 
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Posted in biotechnology, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on February 24th, 2012
 

Our DNA can unlock so many secrets and now it’s getting ready to take on the enemy! Scientists at the Harvard WYSS Institute have constructed packages of DNA dubbed “DNA origami” that might one day be used to create nanorobots capable of finding and destroying cancer cells in the human body. Via Mashable:

The nanorobots mimic a cell’s receptor system in order to communicate with cells. The cells can carry materials to cancer cells, and when the nanorobot detects the cells it’s hunting for, it will spring into action.

Once the bots were designed, the research team built the tiny barrel-shaped nanobots that measure about 35 nanometers in diameter. Each nanobot can hold molecules that are meant to be delivered to cells.

The system has yet to be tested in living organisms, but the researchers are considering testing the nanorobots in mice.

This potential DNA Origami Army could change the face of cancer treatment. Congratulations to researchers Shawn M. Douglas, Ido Bachelet, George M. Church, who are all affiliated with the WYSS Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

Want to make your DNA work for you? Throw your own DNA into action with a personalized DNA or Ancestry Portrait.

 
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Posted in Art+Science, Science by Courtney on February 3rd, 2012
 


Science in itself is captivating and we love science as art, but these photos from the 2011 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge really drew us in.

Contest judges made their picks based on visual impact, originality and clarity. The winners, which include “people’s choice” awards as well as honorable mentions, were published online Feb. 2 in the journal Science. Here are some of our favorites via Wired Science:

Mouse Eyeball Cells (above)
Researchers stained ultra-thin slices of a mouse’s eye to create this first-place photography winner. The stain was made of three antibodies that bind to three different molecules present in all cells, but in differing concentrations.
Image: Bryan William Jones/University of Utah/Moran Eye Center 

Breast Cancer Cells
In this illustration, breast cancer cells bear tentacle-like projections. An antibody designed to combat breast cancer, called TRA-8, floats in the foreground (green blobs). It earned an honourable mention.

Image: Emiko Paul/Quade Paul/Echo Medical Media/Ron Gamble/UAB Insight 

 

 

 

 

Cucumber Skin Barbs
Under 800X magnification, this honorable-mention-winning photograph shows toxin-filled barbs called trichomes on the skin of an immature cucumber. The trichomes bear sharp points to help protect the growing fruit from predators.

Image: Dr. Robert Rock Bellivea

 

 
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Posted in Art+Science, Science by Courtney on January 20th, 2012
 

We live and breath for the moments when science meets art. That’s why we’re totally captivated by PopSci’s Pretty Space Pics—a series of posts that brings us closer to the stars that otherwise seem so far away. Today we’re sharing some of our favorites.

The Helix Nebula, captured in infrared light by the European Southern Observatory’s VISTA telescope at Chile’s Paranal Observatory. The Helix Nebula is actually one of the closest planetary nebulae to Earth, just 700 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius.”

 

 

 

 

The Milky Way, viewed from the Cook Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean on a clear summer night. Snapped by skywatcher Tunc Tezel on the second largest Cook Island of Mangaia, the image was chosen as a winner of the National Maritime Museum’s Astrophotographer of the Year 2011 contest.”

 

 

 

 

“A whirling image of the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and the stars above it circling the southern celestial pole. It’s less a space pic than an Earth pic depicting really cool space searching technology.”

 

 

 

Photo of Saturn“Cassini proves once again that it’s the spacecraft that just keeps on giving. That’s fine with us, since it keeps sending back pics like these from its wide orbit around arguably the solar system’s second-coolest planet. Represented here: Saturn’s signature rings and five of its more than 60 natural satellites.”

 

 

 

The sky has always been mystifying, and with so many monumental discoveries on the horizon it’s impossible not to marvel at the universe’s vastness. We can’t wait to see which Pretty Space Pics turn up next!

Photos: Helix Nebula: ESO/VISTA/J. Emerson; The Milky Way: Tunc Tezel; Very Large Telescope: F. Char/ESO via SPACE; Saturn: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.
 
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