Field of Science

Links - June 2, 2011

A few orders of business:
  1. My mitosis painting from artologica arrived this week! It is gorgeous and I can't wait to frame it and hang it in my new condo.
  2. Add this blog on Facebook if you wanna.

I'll get back to posting soon. Now some links. Some of these are kind of old since I've been in the thesis defense cave. Sorry.


Semen allergy suspected in rare post-orgasm illness. Some dudes are allergic to their own semen and become ill for weeks after ejaculating. On the plus side, hyposensitization therapy seems to work for some of these dudes.

Human skin cells turned into nerve cells. Epidermal cells from circumcised foreskin are being turned into nerve cells via a reprogramming called transdifferentiation, which is faster than converting adult cells into stem cells and then back into some other type of cell. Unfortunately the success rate is very low.

Anorexic brain responds to food anxiously. Instead of releasing dopamine in pleasure centers like most people, food causes anorexics to activate areas of their brain associated with anxiety. Considering my phobia and my own battle with my relationship with food, I can relate to that.

Blue lights show to give brain a boost! But is it better than coffee? Photoreceptors in the eye that detect blue wavelengths of light boost alertness and concentration. Blue wavelengths are specifically associated with reduced levels of melatonin (which makes you sleepy) in the brain. That's why I have f.lux installed on all my computers. It automatically turns up the 'warmth' of your computer screen after sunset. This way you minimize your exposure to blue light in the evening, causing less inhibition of melatonin release so you can fall asleep easier.

Other Science

Bats use carnivorous pitcher plant as living toilet. It seems that a certain species of bat and pitcher plant have evolved a nice symbiotic relationship. The bat gets a place to roost, and the plant gets fertilizer. Also I just love anything to do with poop, so this was right up my alley. Bats aren't alone; it seems that some shrews have a similar relationship with another species of pitcher plant.

23andMe DNA Test Review: It's right for me but is it right for you? This is a good read for anyone considering getting genotyped through 23andMe. It does a bit of explaining about the process and product, and what questions you should think about before deciding to buy. I'm happy with it, personally, but you need to consider what you want to get out of the product.

Mpemba's baffling discovery: can hot water freeze before cold? A great story about scientific inquiry and battling dogma.

Other Stuff

Calvin and Hobbes Fight Club. Someone did a mash-up of the Fight Club trailer with scenes from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Watch the video!

I've gone and done it now: What it's like without the Muslim headscarf. Interesting read from a woman reconsidering her stance on the hijab.

The National Academies Press makes all PDF books free to download. The title says it all.

The man who wasn't there. There's been a lot of buzz lately in my meatspace life about the circumstances surrounding Jim Tressel's resignation as the Ohio State University football team's head coach. I've been finding it hard to care very much because football isn't as important or interesting to me as it was once upon a time. However I did like reading this post, which has an interesting take on his legacy.


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