Category: science

We Finally Know What Killed Sea Life in The De…

We Finally Know What Killed Sea Life in The Deadliest Mass Extinction in History:

eartharchives:

Now scientists have demonstrated what obliterated the marine life:
rising temperatures accelerated the metabolisms of ocean creatures,
which increases their oxygen requirements, while simultaneously depleting the oceans of oxygen.

nanonaturalist: Giant Floater Mussel, Pyganodo…

nanonaturalist:

Giant Floater Mussel, Pyganodon grandis

Let’s put it in the electron microscope!!

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I had to break tiny parts of the shell off to fit it into the microscope, and one part of it broke off into little needle-like crystals. This is what they looked like up close. Nice!

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I moved to an intact area, and saw these tightly-packed hexagon structures. Hmmmmmmmmm… I think those crystals in the top photo came from this anatomical feature of the shell. Let’s look at one of the opalescent areas!

image

Oh! Look at that! If you need help understanding the information at the bottom, this image is magnified 1350x. The scale bar in the lower left corner represents 50 microns. A human hair, on average, is 100 microns wide. If a piece of your hair was in this image, it would be twice as wide as that scale bar.

These little flaky things are interesting, let’s zoom in!

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WOW!!! Now we’re zoomed in 2600x. These are crystals that make up the inner portion of the shell, but look: they’re thin plates, and they grow in layers! The size is interesting, too. You know how the insides of shells shine kinda rainbow-ey? I’m guessing it has something to do with the size–visible light is roughly 400 to 750 nm in wavelength, so physical structures in those sizes tend to do strange things with light (you think butterflies limit themselves to pigmentation? HA think AGAIN!). And these crystal plates are about the right size! 

image

Here’s a different area with those crystals, but with mysterious holes! What are they for?! 

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ENHANCE. This was the zoomiest I could get. Look at those crystals! Nice!

Before I left, I needed to take a look at the outside of the shell.

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Since the electron microscope looks at things so close up, it’s possible that this is all just sand. But it could also be minerals bound together with a protein matrix, which is what I believe the outer shell of these is! I was looking around for an area that looked more “shelly” and I found… this:

image

Uh… I have no idea what this is… But it was embedded in the outer shell of that mussel! UPDATE! IT’S A DIATOM!!!! 😀

If you have electron microscope requests, keep sending them in! I’ll keep doing these until they kick me out the door on Feb 28 OR until I quit which is HOPEFULLY way earlier than that!

December 7, 2018

@thatmcufangirl Oh boy prepare to clutch your pearls (I guess maybe literally if you’re doing oysters!) and be horrified. Here’s the sample before I switched to electron beam mode:

It ain’t coated. It’s not a “real” SEM in the sense that your lab has access to. We can’t get 20,000x either. The diatom is 13,500x, and that’s PUSHING our best resolution. We have a Phenom desktop SEM, but the cheapest model, and the charge reduction sample holder lets you throw samples in without coating them at all. We could probably get better resolution if we did coat them a little, but before I discovered the secret of that sample holder, our “brilliant” senior scientist (who was promoted to department director…) was having us coat everything in the gold sputterer for 20 minutes and our samples were coming out terrible because… uh… well… You can probably guess.

I don’t have any good tips based on what I know from experience BUT I would suggest possibly looking into other coatings (do you have access to carbon?). When I did nanowires and nanoparticles, before imaging in TEM, we coated them in carbon. Another possibility is 120s is too long. What do the other oyster people use? (Lit review time!)

December 7, 2018

Giant Floater Mussel, Pyganodon grandis

Giant Floater Mussel, Pyganodon grandis

Let’s put it in the electron microscope!!

image

I had to break tiny parts of the shell off to fit it into the microscope, and one part of it broke off into little needle-like crystals. This is what they looked like up close. Nice!

image

I moved to an intact area, and saw these tightly-packed hexagon structures. Hmmmmmmmmm… I think those crystals in the top photo came from this anatomical feature of the shell. Let’s look at one of the opalescent areas!

image

Oh! Look at that! If you need help understanding the information at the bottom, this image is magnified 1350x. The scale bar in the lower left corner represents 50 microns. A human hair, on average, is 100 microns wide. If a piece of your hair was in this image, it would be twice as wide as that scale bar.

These little flaky things are interesting, let’s zoom in!

image

WOW!!! Now we’re zoomed in 2600x. These are crystals that make up the inner portion of the shell, but look: they’re thin plates, and they grow in layers! The size is interesting, too. You know how the insides of shells shine kinda rainbow-ey? I’m guessing it has something to do with the size–visible light is roughly 400 to 750 nm in wavelength, so physical structures in those sizes tend to do strange things with light (you think butterflies limit themselves to pigmentation? HA think AGAIN!). And these crystal plates are about the right size! 

image

Here’s a different area with those crystals, but with mysterious holes! What are they for?! 

image

ENHANCE. This was the zoomiest I could get. Look at those crystals! Nice!

Before I left, I needed to take a look at the outside of the shell.

image

Since the electron microscope looks at things so close up, it’s possible that this is all just sand. But it could also be minerals bound together with a protein matrix, which is what I believe the outer shell of these is! I was looking around for an area that looked more “shelly” and I found… this:

image

Uh… I have no idea what this is… But it was embedded in the outer shell of that mussel! UPDATE! IT’S A DIATOM!!!! 😀

If you have electron microscope requests, keep sending them in! I’ll keep doing these until they kick me out the door on Feb 28 OR until I quit which is HOPEFULLY way earlier than that!

December 7, 2018

Leaf of a Candlestick Tree (Senna alata), magn…

Leaf of a Candlestick Tree (Senna alata), magnified 3900x, viewed with a scanning electron microscope. 

The leaf dried up a long time ago, and I’d been meaning to take a look at it. The leaves are superhydrophobic, meaning water beads up into a perfect ball and just rolls right off of them. This often happens when plants have nano-scale structures on the leaves which mess around with the surface tension of the water, and it creates a self-cleaning surface. This is more well known in the lotus. I’m guessing that’s what all those texturey bits in here are, despite how shriveled the leaf was! When they are more hydrated, they might look like tiny little fingers. You can also see the stoma despite this poor leaf being all dry and dead.

December 6, 2018

Please not you too. I’ve already had to …

Please not you too. I’ve already had to tell my college students, colleagues at a national museum, and so many others that the meteor is just a weird shape. I’ve already read a paper (4 years ago) about why that could happen.

You can’t tell me about this paper about how a frikkin sausage comet could hold itself together and then not share it with me! Especially if you’re going to be anon about it!

The Transgender Scientists That Changed the Wo…

zoologicallyobsessed:

As this week is Transgender Week of Awareness (12th – 19th November) I felt it was a good time to bring awareness to some of the more well-known transgender scientists that changed science. Trans people have always been apart of scientific discovery but like most minorities within STEM have struggled to gain recognition for their contributions.  

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Alan Hart (1890–1962) | 

Epidemiology 

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A Yale-trained epidemiologist, radiologist and physician, Hart one of the first trans men in the US to undergo a hysterectomy and live openly as a man, taking testosterone treatments when they became available after World War II. Hart also become a prominent figure in the fight against tuberculosis, which at the time was the leading cause of death in Europe and the US. He graduated with a medical degree in 1912 and later in 1928 received a master’s degree in radiology. He eventually became an expert on tubercular radiology and published several articles on X-ray medicine and its use in the detection of tuberculosis and went on to gain another master’s degree in public health in 1948. 

Hart then served as the director of hospitalization and rehabilitation at the Connecticut State Tuberculosis Commission and continued to dedicate his professional life to tuberculosis research. 

Ben Barres (1954 – 2017) | Neuroscience 

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Barres was the first openly transgender scientist in the National Academy of Sciences in 2013 and talked openly about his experience of sexism pre-transition and advocated for better gender equality within science. Barres research focused on the interaction between neurons and glial cells in the nervous system. Barres showed that the gila, which at the time were often dismissed by neurologists as simple the support structure for the brain, had important functions in helping neurons to mature and producing connections between memory and learning functions. This discovery revolutionised neruobiologists understanding of the brain. 

Barres also went on to mentor many young scientists and repeatedly spoke about the systemic barriers and biases that kept marginalised groups such as women, poc and LGBT people, from succeeding or furthering their careers and research within science. 

Sophie Wilson |  Computer Science

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Sophie Wilson is a British computer scientist who is known for designing the Acorn Micro-Computer, the first computer sold by Acorn Computers. She also designed the instruction set of ARM processor

which is used in 21st-century smartphones

and is considered one of the most important woman in tech history.  

Lynn Ann Conway | Computer Science

A pioneer of a number of technological advancements and inventions, Conway is an American computer scientist, electrical engineer and inventor. She first worked at IMB in the 1960′s designing a super computer and is credited with the invention of generalised dynamic instruction handling, now used by modern computer processors in order to improve performance. She was fired after she revealed her intention to transition and was denied access to her children. 

After she transitioned she restarted her career and authored the Mead & Conway revolution in VLSI design, that was considered groundbreaking work that quickly become a standard textbook in chip design. 

Joan Roughgarden | Biology 

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known for her critical studies on Charles Darwin’s theory of sexual selection and LGBT biology, Roughgarden is an American ecologist and evolutionary biologist, having published over 180 scientific articles and books. Roughgarden has carried out ecological studies on barnacles, Caribbean lizards but is most known for her published book critiquing Darwin’s sexual selection theory based on the fact it fails to answer and consider animals which do not follow traditional sex roles of intrasexual and intersexual selection. She was met with bitter and 

vitrioli criticism from other scientists for publishing such views, to which she was not surprised. 

Roughgarden went on to publish a second book further pointing out over 26 phenomena which the current sexual-selection theory does not explain, and instead suggests the social-selection theory. She continues to make analytical studies that social selection is a more credible explanation.


Honorable mentions to these transgender scientists: 

And to all the unseen and unnamed transgender scientists. 

Shout-out to all my trans and gnc peeps out there! Y’all are in good company ❤️

November 18, 2018

turboferret: the-queen-of-angsts: xhangryx: …

turboferret:

the-queen-of-angsts:

xhangryx:

powerliftingpinay:

iwillfightu:

drained of blood, the heart is white

woah

No, that is NOT what this is. You’ve taken an amazing medical invention, a total game changer, and made up some stupid, faux-deep sentence fragment for it that is a complete falsehood. You should be embarrassed and ashamed, honestly.

This is a ghost heart. What they’ve done is taken a pig heart and stripped it down to, basically, a cell framework that they can use to BUILD A NEW HEART UPON. You could inject stem cells into this framework so that a newly formed personalized heart can be transplanted into a donor with a significantly reduced chance of rejection. FUCKING AMAZING. It’s not been done with human tissue yet, but the promise this given to people who need hearts – or kidneys or livers or whatever – is beautiful. Science is beautiful.

And it’s IMPERATIVE to mention that a woman, Doris Taylor, at the Texas Heart Institute developed this. And she started with a rat heart and worked up to he bigger, more complex (and more human) pig heart. What a total bad ass.

So look, quit making shit up, learn to do a reverse image search on stuff you find on the internet, and STOP ERASING WOMEN IN SCIENCE.

Reblogging for:

  • The corrected information
  • WOMEN IN SCIENCE
  • The fact that rejection rate would be LESS which is VITAL

Reblog for science communication

Oh hey I studied this stuff in graduate school.

Any structure you can grow cells on (typically stem cells) is generally referred to as a “scaffold.” They’re usually polymers, composed of a mix of natural and artificial materials, and that’s what I developed. The properties of the scaffold will affect how the stem cells behave, and we still don’t know exactly what it is about the scaffolds that causes which changes in the cells, and it makes the prospect of growing tissues outside of the body for transplants extremely difficult. Basically, we know that we want the scaffold to match the tissue it’s replacing as closely as possible–same toughness, same elasticity, same chemical composition, etc. This is very hard to do.

What to do, then? We can’t just transplant pig hearts into people, because our immune systems will reject them. But… Internal organs are built upon a “skeleton” of acellular connective tissue. The photo above is a decellularized organ (that’s the term to google to learn more about this! “ghost heart” is not a word I’ve ever heard before and I specifically studied heart tissue!) created with a process developed by Doris Taylor several years ago. Here’s an article that describes the process more in depth [link], but basically, you pump a bunch of surfactant (a component of soap) through the organ, and it “washes” all the cells out. 

And now that the heart is “empty,” you can “seed” it (yes, that’s the technical term!) with stem cells from the person who will receive the transplant, to ensure no issues with organ rejection. This process can be done with many other organs besides the heart. In my lab, we had students working on kidneys and spleens.

We’re still nowhere near being able to use this (decellularized whole organs) in medical practice, but considering that tissue engineering wasn’t even a thing until the early 1990′s, we’ve come a long way.

I know this isn’t bugs but the “nano” in my user name is literally from my academic studies in nanotechnology and its applications in biomedical engineering and everything is connected blah blah blah bio-inspired design blah blah blah Hi guys I’m back!!!

November 8, 2018

“Safe Space” Stagmomantis carolina…

“Safe Space” Stagmomantis carolina (Carolina mantis) adult gray female accepts mealworm. Such a good girl. #stagmomantiscarolina
#carolinamantis #carolina #prayingmantis #mantodea #mantis #nature #wildlife #animals #invertebrate #insect #science #entomology #alien #pets #photography #blackandwhite #mantismonarch
https://www.instagram.com/p/BpfILZLAFJB/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=1e5je9rah709n

Regular

“But Can You Do This?” Gonatista grisea (Florida bark mantis) adult male.

Regular

botanyshitposts:

eyyyyy squishy plant post deleted bc i misunderstood the paper ✌️

thanks to people who contacted me about my being wrong, but it also should be noted that i’m literally 19 years old and an undergrad in college and i make mistakes in terms of understanding of certain things and that i do not make those mistakes intentionally or maliciously. like seriously im tryin my best here and learning things for fun but im by no means a professional, and i’m also not leading people on or intentionally lying to people when i make those mistakes. 

*high fives @botanyshitposts for being excited about stuff and getting TONS OF PEOPLE also excited about that stuff*

The first post I ever made that more than five people saw was when I noticed something weird and jumped to conclusions [link] because I’ve never actually studied entomology anywhere formally, then I got called out by somebody for being “sensationalist” 👍

Also worth noting, even professionals make mistakes, and they make them all the time. (ALL the damn time smh)

ALSO ALSO, many times, if you “misunderstood” something you read in an article, book, or paper, it means the authors did a poor job writing it. It says absolutely nothing about your capabilities as a scientist, and everything about theirs.

October 19, 2018