Recently in Science Category

Inside a Cell

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When I was doing my B.Sc. and M.Sc. I can say the only resource of learning we had were books. Nowadays there are so many scientific resources available online most of which are free (at least for educational and research purposes), that can make learning easier for students. I came across this award winning animation by BioVision at Harvard which is graphically reproduction of some of the important phenomena's inside the cell. It is called The Inner Life of a Cell. I'm sure this short version with the amazing music you see bellow, anyone can enjoy even if you're not a biologist. As a biologist/Molecular biologist I suggest that after watching the short form also watch the complete version with the explanation on their homepage.  I love the part showing the Motor protein carrying a vesicle along the microtubules.
I also use this opportunity to introduce this valuable webpage: MolecularMovies is an amazing collection of cell and molecular animations, you can surf through them and enjoy.
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PCR Song!

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Those of you who have something to do with biology know the importance of PCR in molecular biology today, for those of you who don't know what Polymerase Chain Reaction is (or don't care), in short one can say PCR did the same thing to Molecular Biology research that Transistor did to electronics! This is a video-song called PCR song, watching it you can also know a bit more what PCR can do! The song was made as an advertisement for Bio-Rad PCR machines and similar to USA for Africa song! In the rest of this post I also attach the Lyrics. Here you can find the original video and download it. I like it when at the end one of the guys is dancing with a PCR machine! ;))

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Stem Cell

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  • Interesting news in Stem Cell Research: Nature News, A California company has brought human cloning research to a new level with efficient production of cloned human blastocysts. If you want to be updated about stem cell research news, Nature Reports Stem Cells is a valuable resource.
  • I saw this amazing video of Dolphins playing with air bubbles in Pharyngula, thought I'll share it here too.
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One of the great advantages of the growth of internet especially for scientists is the amount of freely available resources that one can find. Many of these resources are freely available for non commercial and educational purposes, like the valuable power point goldmine I introduced here!
When I was doing my bachelor so many online resources were not available and I do remember that even an important database like Medline was not freely available (you could buy them on CD's) as it is now in PubMed. I'll share the useful pages I find or I'm using in this weblog so that the friends and colleagues can also use them. If you find them useful or know other resources please leave a comment.
  • DNA Interactive is a page with valuable information for students and teachers. I'm sure you'll enjoy going through the pages. You can go to the players section to watch interviews with scientists in each research area.
  • DNA from the beginning is another useful page for students and those want to learn about DNA.
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  • The first Biodiesel powered Jet:
    Scientific Americal
    : A 1968 L-29 Czechoslovakian jet—dubbed BioJet 1—flew up to 17,000 feet (5,180 meters) over 37 minutes powered 100% on cooking oil. A three minute, 15-second test the day before was the world's first flight entirely fueled by cooking oil.
  • Talking about Fuel and alternative energy sources, in Nature collections, you can find Energy collections (Accessible for free), which is a collection of articles on different sources of energy. I'm sure you can find useful information there. These collections are really valuable one just has to find the time and surf through them.
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Small World Competetion

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Nikon has an annual competition called International Small World Competition which is meant for those involved in photography through the light microscope. The following picture is the second place winner. Real beauty, isn't it? The picture is a fluorescent picture of a 3 day old embryonic zebra fish brain. Michael Hendricks, has taken this picture as part of his PhD work.

Hendricks-10241-3.jpg For more great pictures go to the web page of this competition and watch these amazing photo's. On the other hand some of my colleagues might wanna take part in the next year's competition.
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Beautiful flying fishes

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As I was surfing in the internet I saw these beautiful pictures of Mobula Ray, in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. In this page you can read about them and see some more pictures.

Talking about fishes and ocean, a while ago I was discussing with a colleague that how few is our knowledge about ocean and the living things in it. Although ocean is accessible (or at least more accessible than space) we still don't know many things about it (even less than what we know of space).
I just read in "The Gear Beyond" (Nature's blog) that an international group of marine scientists met at the weekend to ask for $3 billion. Good luck for them as this money will boost up the research in this field.
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If you work in life science, as I do, it often happens that you want to prepare a presentation for a meeting or a talk, and you have to spend hours preparing illustrations to make it easier for the audience to understand your subject.
A colleague of mine sent me an interesting website today (thanks Marco!) that makes life much easier for life scientists or medical/biological students to prepare illustrations and presentations.

Servier, a French Pharmaceutical company has provided a new service called "Service Medical art" or SMART which is a collection of thousands of professionally designed medical elements in powerpoint slides and is free of charge for educational purposes. You can surf through the contents, find what might help you and use it. Most importantly you can ungroup the pictures in powerpoint and use them to make your own presentation.
They also have a few general stuff, so even if you're in medical or Biological sciences it is worth a short look at this valuable collection.
I'm sure I'll be using SMart, I thought I can introduce it here so others can use it too. If I find other open sources like this I'll introduce them here, if you happen to notice an interesting source please leave a comment and share it.
I hope "SMart" people will keep their good work going!

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Ig Nobel prizes

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The winners of this year's Ig Nobel prizes were announced. The Ig Nobel Prizes are a parody of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year in early October for ten achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think." Organized by the scientific humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), they are presented by a group that includes genuine Nobel Laureates at a ceremony at Harvard University's Sanders Theater.
The 2007 Ig Nobel prize for medicine was given to a study of the side effects of "sword swallowing".
The prize for Chemistry was awarded to a Japanese scientist who has discovered how to extract vanillin, the essence of vanilla flavor, from cow dung.

To read more check out these links:
An Ig Nobel diary
Ig Nobel Prizes Stranger Than Fiction

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