11 September 2009

Darwin Corn Maze

I visited Mike's Corn Maze in Sunderland, MA last year and had a lot of fun, so I checked to see what the theme of the maze is this year. To my delight, it's a Charles Darwin corn maze in celebration of his 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species! I can't wait to visit, too bad its raining this weekend. Learn more about this year's maze on their website, and if you're in the area, I promise a good time.


09 September 2009

Punnett Squares

This comic from xkcd made me giggle. While I haven't physically drawn out punnett squares, I do admit to thinking about the chances my potential offspring have of inheriting certain traits.


08 September 2009

Meet the Elements

I've been looking forward to They Might Be Giant's new album, "Here Comes Science" because I'm always on the lookout for songs about biology. Well my wait is over, below is a very cute video for their song "Meet the Elements" and if that isn't enough, you can listen/watch another video for the song "Science is real" on Amazon.


06 September 2009

Glass microbiology

Artist Luke Jerram has made some stunning glass sculptures/models of viruses: smallpox, HIV, SARS. Or if bacteria are more your speed, he has an E. coli sculpture as well. Below is a picture of his swine flu sculpture and you can view all of them on his site.
(Via The Loom)


23 August 2009

Plush cell model

ChrysN made a nice (and educational) tutorial on how to sew a plush cell including the organelles. I think this would be a great project to make with kids or a good way to remember all your cell parts for a biology test.

You could easily modify this to be a plant cell too, by adding a cell wall, some chloroplasts, and a nice big vacuole (similar to the plant cell brooch I made). I might make one of these as a throw pillow for my couch.
(Via Craft)


08 April 2009

If TV Science was more like real science

From PhD Comics.
So very true.


27 March 2009

Earth Hour

Tomorrow night (March 28th) is Earth Hour - show your support for taking action on climate change by turning off your lights for one hour starting at 8:30pm at your local time. From the Earth Hour website (Global, US):

"What is Earth Hour?
-Earth Hour is World Wildlife Fund's global initiative where individuals, businesses and governments turn off their lights for one hour to show their support for action on climate change.
-Earth Hour is a symbolic event designed to engage people from all walks of life in the climate change discussion to send a strong message to our political leaders that we want them to take meaningful action on climate change.
-The largest climate event in history where millions of people around the world will unite by turning off their lights for one hour, Earth Hour, to demand action on the climate crisis.
When is Earth Hour?
-Earth Hour 2009 takes place on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm–local time.
-Just like New Years Eve, Earth Hour will travel from time zone to time zone starting at 8:30pm in New Zealand."
There's lots of information of the website about how to get involved and tools to help spread the word.


24 March 2009

Comb Alone

I just watched a re-run of Good Eats, "Pantry Raid IV - Comb Alone".
It was a pretty interesting introduction to how honey is made. I did not know that when bees return to the hive with their nectar they use their honey stomach to ingest and regurgitate the nectar a number of times until it is partially digested. Hence honey is born. Mmmm, bee barf - or as Alton Brown states it "bee backwash".
I found a clip on the show on YouTube, give it a watch.


22 March 2009

How to be a bat

I found the article and videos on Carl Zimmer's blog about how bats fly, land, and run pretty fascinating. It's the work of Brown University biologists Dan Riskin and Sharon Swartz. Check it out.


18 March 2009

Growing Better - Serotiny

I previously posted the first episode of Growing Better staring Dr. Chris Martine. He's made a new episode about serotiny in jack pines. If you don't know what serotiny is, the video will teach you all about it. Keep 'em coming Martine!


12 February 2009

Happy Birthday Darwin!

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin.

Here are some limericks to recite throughout the day, written by Vince LiCata and posted on The Science Creative Quarterly.

There once was a young man named Darwin
Who spent five years tossed to the far wind
He wrote a book for his peers
After only twenty short years
And now he’s as pop as George Carlin.

They say we all came from a monkey
But I say that theory is bunky
Because as anyone knows
Who talks with creationist pros
That some people are closer to donkey.

Asked the petrified School Board of Kansas:
“I wonder why everyone slams us?”
The answer it seemed
As if from space it were beamed
Was: when God gave out brains, they were panned thus.

We’ve all grown to fill in some niche
Unless there’s some DNA glitch
In that case we change
Perhaps expanding our range
But more often, go face down in a ditch.

Upon a darkening midnight so dreary
While pondering evolutionary theory
Bob said with a wink
To his partner the twink
I fear for our fitness, my dearie.

Tad Crass was an irascible ass
Who came-on to any available lass
But by group affirmation
To stop Ted’s procreation
All said, on these genes, we will pass.

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all of his brains in a bucket
They said, he’s the kind
Who screams “Intelligent Design!”
I.e., when the bucket got full, he’d just chuck it.

If I gave you my genome to play with
Would you deem me as someone to stay with
Or would you scramble my genes
Like tossed salad spring greens
Just to see all the sequences I’m made with?


11 February 2009

A Darwin valentine

February 12th is Darwin's birthday and February 14th is Valentine's Day. To celebrate both, why not give your special someone a Darwin Valentine designed by Ironic Sans.


04 February 2009

Songs about Darwin and Evolution

A video of Chumbawumba performing a song about Charles Darwin (via the Guild of Scientific Troubadours and Pharyngula) got me thinking about what other songs about Darwin and evolution exist.

The Mirror.co.uk was thinking along the same lines as me and has an extensive list of songs that Darwin might have put on his iPod on their blog (compiled by Mark Pallen).

So celebrate Darwin's 200th birthday on February 12, 2009 by playing some of these songs:

* Charles Robert Darwin, by Artichoke
This is a great biography of his life (lyrics) (listen)

* Part Man, Part Monkey, by Bruce Springsteen
A song about the Scopes monkey trial (lyrics) (video)

* Dance Like a Monkey, by New York Dolls
The music video is pretty amusing (video)

* Do The Evolution, by Pearl Jam
A song with a darker view of where evolution has taken us (video)

* Hey, Charly, by Suzi Quatro

* Darwin, by Third Eye Blind
"A chromosome divides, multiply and thrive, and the strong survive" (video of a cover version)

* Line in the Sand, by Motorhead
For fans of metal and evolution (listen)

* Evolution (Use your brain), by My Poor Kevin
I can see this song getting stuck in my head (video)

* Man on the Moon, by R.E.M.
A small lyrical nod to Darwin, "Mr. Charles Darwin had the gall to ask" (video)

And finally not to forget Richard Milner who dresses up as Darwin and sings songs about Darwin and evolution (website).

If I've forgotten a song you know about, post them in the comments!


27 January 2009

Trapa necklace

I just came across this necklace on Ikyoto's Etsy shop called the 'Devil Nut Necklace'.

It's a photo of a seed of the plant genus Trapa. One species, Trapa natans, is an invasive aquatic plant in North America (it's native to Eurasia). It grows as a floating whorl of leaves on the surface of water and has seeds with 4 horns (a nice photo of the seeds can be seen here).

This plant is commonly called water chestnut but it isn't the same water chestnut you eat in stir fry dishes (those come from species of Eleocharis instead).

I always thought the seeds look like Dobby the house elf from Harry Potter, but I can also see the devil in these.


05 January 2009

Science knitting patterns

Happy New Year!

I got a hit on this blog from someone searching for science knitting patterns (which I've posted about here and here). So, I'll indulge the lookers by posting 2 more patterns featuring DNA that I found via Everybody wants a rock.

First is a DNA cabled scarf designed by June Oshiro. The pattern is free on her website.

And for your favorite little one, Kimberly Chapman designed a Baby's First DNA model stuffed with cotton balls.

Perhaps a new year's resolution should be to learn how to knit.