Dilettante Fascination

Main themes of this blog: ANIME and SCIENCE. Although I like plenty of things which may show up from time to time. Like Doctor Who. Or Sherlock. Or Supernatural. Or Steins;Gate. Or Persona 3/4.
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Posts tagged "science"

A poor man’s 96-well plate lol

I’m just as surprised that the bubbles were sterile. The fact that syringes and needles are required to use bubble wrap in this way make this approach just as unfeasible as obtaining glass test tubes in developing countries…but hey. It sure is an interesting use of bubble wrap.



Neil’s words from the last episode of “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”



Why Does Sleeping In Just Make Me More Tired?

We’ve all been there: It’s been a long week at work, so Friday night, you reward yourself by going to bed early and sleeping in. But when you wake up the next morning (or afternoon), light scathes your eyes, and your limbs feel like they’re filled with sand. Your brain is still lying down and you even have faint headache. If too little sleep is a problem, then why is extra sleep a terrible solution?

Oversleeping feels so much like a hangover that scientists call it sleep drunkenness. But, unlike the brute force neurological damage caused by alcohol, your misguided attempt to stock up on rest makes you feel sluggish by confusing the part of your brain that controls your body’s daily cycle.

Your internal rhythms are set by your circadian pacemaker, a group of cells clustered in the hypothalamus, a primitive little part of the brain that also controls hunger, thirst, and sweat. Primarily triggered by light signals from your eye, the pacemaker figures out when it’s morning and sends out chemical messages keeping the rest of the cells in your body on the same clock.

Scientists believe that the pacemaker evolved to tell the cells in our bodies how to regulate their energy on a daily basis. When you sleep too much, you’re throwing off that biological clock, and it starts telling the cells a different story than what they’re actually experiencing, inducing a sense of fatigue. You might be crawling out of bed at 11am, but your cells started using their energy cycle at seven. This is similar to how jet lag works.

But oversleep isn’t just going to ruin your Saturday hike. If you’re oversleeping on the regular, you could be putting yourself at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Harvard’s massive Nurses Health Study found that people who slept 9 to 11 hours a night developed memory problems and were more likely to develop heart disease than people who slept a solid eight. (Undersleepers are at an even bigger risk). Other studies have linked oversleep to diabetes, obesity, and even early death.

Oversleep doesn’t just happen as a misguided attempt at rewarding yourself. The Harvard Nurses Study estimated that chronic oversleep affects about 4 percent of the population. These are generally people who work odd hours, have an uncomfortable sleep situation, or a sleeping disorder.

People who work early morning or overnight shifts might be oversleeping to compensate for waking up before the sun rises or going to sleep when it’s light out. Doctors recommend using dark curtains and artificial lights to straighten things out rather than medication or supplements. Apps like the University of Michigan’s Entrain can also help people reset their circadian clock by logging the amount and type of light they get throughout the day.

When you go to bed, your body cycles between different sleep stages. Your muscles, bones, and other tissues do their repair work during deep sleep, before you enter REM. However, if your bed or bedroom is uncomfortable—too hot or cold, messy, or lumpy—your body will spend more time in light, superficial sleep. Craving rest, you’ll sleep longer.

If everything’s just fine with your sleep zone but you still can’t get under the eight hour mark, you might need to go see a doctor. It could be a symptom of narcolepsy, which makes it hard for your body to regulate fatigue and makes you sleep in more. Sleep apnea is a potentially more serious disorder where you stop breathing while you slumber. It’s typically caused by an obstructed airway, which leads to snoring. However, in a small number of sufferers, the brain simply stops telling the muscles to breathe, starving the brain and eventually forcing a gasping response. In addition to all the other terrifying aspects of this disease, it’s not doing your quality of sleep any favors.

No surprise, drugs and alcohol might also be causing you to sleep too much, as does being depressed (In fact, oversleep can contribute to even more depression). But no matter what’s causing it, too much sleep is not good for your long term health. Rather than kicking the can down the road, try getting some equilibrium between your weekend and weekday sleep.

My body’s perpetually stuck in the 1 AM - 8 AM sleep cycle.



Thomas Klapötke’s lab in Germany does some terrifying nitrogen chemistry…












EDIT: via cyclopentadiene

From the paper on C2N14 (that one with three -N3 groups on the substituted tetrazole):


Translation: “Taking an IR of this thing was enough to make it blow up.”


By tracking mRNA scientists can view chemicals within the brain creating memories for the first time. 


By tracking mRNA scientists can view chemicals within the brain creating memories for the first time. 


(via thecraftychemist)


In honor of the first day of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, a few fun physics facts about summer, courtesy of the Perimeter Institute (check out more here)


A 15-year-old with an insatiable thirst for science has developed shoes that can charge your phone or any USB-powered device by simply walking. Angelo Casimiro lives in the Philippines, a country still recovering from last fall’s Typhoon Haiyan. “A lot of people are still suffering from poverty,” he says in a YouTube video in which he demonstrates his invention. Some people have no access to electricity, he adds. For them, “a simple source of light is a big,” he says.

Read more

(via thecraftychemist)


Life from the Ancient Soup: The Miller and Urey Experiment

Alright, so we know how eukaryotes came to be, but how did life arise in the first place? In the early 1950s, an experiment performed by a couple of guys at the University of Chicago gave us a pretty good idea.

Early in Earth’s history, the conditions of the planet were relatively hostile. Temperatures were high, lots of energy was running riot (such as lightning, volcanoes, and UV radiation), and the atmosphere was reducing rather than oxidising, meaning that it was devoid of gaseous oxygen, but had plenty of methane, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, water vapour and nitrogen.

Miller and Urey decided to simulate these early Earth conditions in the lab to see if they could produce some form of life. Basically, their aim was to find out whether these abiotic (lifeless) conditions were conducive to the rise of living organisms.

To do this, they sealed ammonia, methane, hydrogen and water into a closed, sterile system. Then they heated it to form water vapour, and passed electrical sparks through it to simulate lightning.

After a week or two of brewing time, they analysed their mixture and found that up to 15% of the carbon in their system had formed into organic molecules—most noticeably, amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are one of the three most important macromolecules of life.


(Image Source)

By themselves, amino acids are relatively small and simple, but together they join to build structures far bigger and grander than individual molecules: life.

So, Miller and Urey found that it’s a cinch to synthesise at least the building blocks of life out of some messy soup.

Further resources: Animation

(via thecraftychemist)

I'm a semester away from having a bachelor's degree in chemistry and I feel like I've learned nothing. Do you know if this is a normal feeling or can I call this a personal fail?
nighthart001 nighthart001 Said:



There’s a number of reasons you could be feeling this way - seeing as you’ve got through the course so far without failing or dropping out I’m more inclined to think this is an issue in your perception of your self. In other words it could be due to a phenomenon called ‘imposter syndrome’ where even though you might be just as qualified and educated as everyone else, your perception of yourself and your abilities is much lower than what they actually are.

Alternatively, you could just be much more aware that no matter how much you revise something, you’re eventually going to forget the nitty-gritty details and will have to come back to it and revise when you need it again. This applies to everyone. No one in the workplace is going to demand that you take a random pop quiz on your knowledge of nomenclature. Seriously - and even if they did they would have to give you fair warning. The real reason for eduction is to test that you are able to learn and apply new things - the only thing you take away from this is an enhanced understanding of learning and re-learning over and over again. It’s about finding the right resources and knowing where to look for them, of team building and fostering working relationships and getting a feel that this is the thing that I want to do for your working life - that you can actually see yourself being employed to study and apply this information (not forcibly remember stuff to blurt out onto paper for an hour) because it is interesting or you get a good feeling seeing something work better than it did before. That’s it - this mindset was passed onto me from a professor with 40 years in the field of food chemistry so I’m not alone in that. He never touched the field of his thesis after he got his doctorate and did something completely different in food science after that. So while you’re learning valuable skills in the lab and you remember all the basics at the end of the day It’s just a piece of paper that proves to your employer that you have the ability to apply the information that you’ve been given.

I think it is a common feeling. Imposter syndrome seems big in the sciences. 

Here is how I ultimately feel about education: The value of your education is really not knowing nomenclature or any of that or memorizing things. It is about being able to go back and understand what you read (articles, textbooks, etc). You’re getting a new kind of literacy, not just a new set of facts. (I feel like thecraftychemist has said this in a different set of words.)

Also, for anybody feeling this way I highly suggest that you read “Forgive Me, Scientists, for I Have Sinned.” Professors feel this way, students feel this way, professionals feel this way.

I know that no matter how many grants I get or scholarships or how much praise I get from my PI or our graduate students, I still feel like I just lucked into and I get very confused by their praise. It happens. 

Fake it til’ you make it, I guess. 



Today, a look at the contributing compounds to ‘old book smell’, and the origins of the less well researched ‘new book smell’: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-hV

Books don’t get old. They get better.