Shape, Vibration of a Smell is Detected by the Nose
A new study of the sense of smell lends support to a controversial theory of olfaction: our noses can distinguish both the shape and the vibrational characteristics of odorant molecules.
Source: Univ. of Illinois
Asked by 360twist
Epigenetics is pretty far out of my area of expertise, although feel free to share your theory. I’m a comparative physiologist first and foremost. I could talk your ear off about bird skin.
I had another anonymous ask that I deleted, which asked a very rude and personal question. I will not answer questions about my personal life on this blog, especially ones of that nature. Just putting that out there for everyone to know.
Editing a paper this morning about cellular blebbing. What a great word.
In other news, I got my AncestryDNA kit in the mail the other day and sent it off yesterday. The collection process was exactly the same as it was with 23andMe, right down to the hardware.
Nothing left to do now but sit back and wait to see if the extra $100 I spent on this will tell me anything that 23andMe doesn’t already. The only advantage to using both services that I can think of off of the top of my head would be that you’d have access to two different populations for potential matches, if you’re interested in finding distant relatives. Anyway, we’ll see what happens with that.
Oh, and hello to the 3,000+ of you who have joined since my last post.
“Vertebrata” by Marc da Cunha Lopes.
Skeletons of questionable origin in a variety of domestic and human settings, arranged to carry a solemn and often pensive look, as the sole subject of a seemingly abandoned world. Careful use of light and color palette lends the tableaus an unexpected sense of drama and character to these at once imaginative and delightfully weird collection of photographs which breaths life and emotion into the inanimate creatures, giving them a narrative that dabbles with the notions of loss and emptiness.
To be honest, these have always creeped and repulsed the living Hell out of me. I attended a show of Farmer’s in NYC, lasted about 10 minutes and then I hightailed it out of there; I was just that bothered. They’re fantastic, though, so here you are:
Tessa Farmer - Swarm (2004) - mixed media, desiccated insect remains, dried plant roots, and other organic ephemera
“Farmer’s tiny sculptures give a glimpse into the world of fairies. No story-book land of Tinkerbells, Swarm envisions the purveyors of mischief and magic as an actual species, as animalistic and Darwinian as any other.
Exchanging Victorian romanticism for the darker pragmatism of science, Farmer evidences her specimens as fearsome skeletal fiends, plausible ‘Hell’s Angels’ of a microscopic apocalypse.
Posed in dramatic battle formations, Farmer’s menagerie wages war against garden variety pests; each figure, painstakingly hand crafted and adorned with real insect wings, stands less than 1 cm tall.”
I just got an email from Ancestry.com about their genotyping beta test (AncestryDNA). I’ll probably do it when they send the invite, cause it is only $99. That’s comparable to 23andMe, except that 23 requires you to sign up for at least one year of monthly payments to their subscription service. I’m interested to see what the redundancy rate across the two services might be and how they differ.
Their core service is obviously different, with AncestryDNA highlighting the, err, migratory forensics aspect of DNA (where your ancestors came from) and 23andMe more focused on medical stuff (they have an ancestry component, but it is rather weak right now). Both services seem to have some sort of “relative finder” feature. I imagine that would be a lot more relevant to adoptees than someone like me.
23andMe also has the very strong advantage of allowing you to download your raw data, which is invaluable to geeks like me who enjoy doing their own analysis with third party databases and programs. I wonder if Ancestry plans on doing the same? I should also look into how many markers they’re using…
Remember this? It just now panned out. I got my invite and ordered my AncestryDNA beta kit today. We’ll see what happens with that. Since I made this post, 23andMe made some updates to their service; specifically, they’ve gotten rid of the subscription service and gone back to a one-time fee… of about $300. The AncestryDNA kit cost me $108 with shipping. Not sure if that’s going to be the final price when they roll it out for the public or not, but we’ll see how much useful information that money gets me.
Photo Credit: Nat. Commun.
Oil and water usually don’t mix, but when the two end up together, say in an oil spill or in an emulsion, they can be nearly impossible to completely separate. But by combining a water-loving polymer with an oil-repelling silicon-based material, researchers have created a new breed of membrane that can separate bulk amounts of any type of oil-water mixture by simple gravity filtration.
The scientific team that created the hygro-responsive membrane, as it is called, believes it will become an energy-efficient, cost-effective means of cleaning up oil spills.
When an oil-water mixture or emulsion is poured onto one of the membranes, nothing appears to happen at first, Kota explains. After a few moments, rough microcrystalline silsesquioxane regions on the membrane surface reconfigure to form a smooth, noncrystalline surface that allows the polymer to hydrogen bond with water. This reversible change in surface morphology allows water to completely wet the surface and permeate the membrane, which holds back the oil.
My follower count is blowing up over here. I have no idea why Tumblr decided to give me any responsibility or highlight my blog since I hadn’t posted in two months when I got the email about it. Maybe this is their way of guilting me into posting more often? Goodness knows I really need to get back into the habit of blogging about something other than Homestuck, so perhaps this will be a positive experience. Hopefully it’ll be worth your time.
You likely won’t see a whole heck of a lot of original writing here because I work a lot and tend to be pressed for time (this is why I had to give up my blogging gig at Scientific American, which I regret was a necessity because I really enjoyed the community over there). Mostly I use this blog to pass along the things that come across my desk that I find interesting. Images, news blurbs, videos, etc.
My main interests are physiology and genetics, and my work is in chemistry, so those are the topics you’ll see here most often. The vast majority of the stuff in the science tag here on tumblr is space-related, but I assure you that there is plenty of interesting junk in the world of science that’s a bit closer to home than outer space. Maybe I can convince you of that, too.
Anyway. I may actually write up a personal introduction later, but in the meantime I hope you enjoy the photos of science art, birds, and gore-y healing wounds. (I will try to always post trigger warnings for graphic images in the tags, for those of you who use tumblr savior.) Feel free to introduce yourself, too.
Photo credit: Brian Peer
Reader Brian Peer sends us a photo of a “gynandromorph” cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). A gynandromorph, as the name implies, is an animal that is part male and part female, with the sex-specific parts usually demarcated cleanly. […] This, by the way, is a very graphic demonstration of the differences between males and females, with the brighter color of the male almost certainly reflecting sexual selection (with bright colors presumably advantageous in males because they attract females, but disadvantageous in females because they attract predators).