the people's science

flavoracle asked:

In the future, humanity discovers a way to genetically manipulate cancer cells, but instead of eradicating cancer they purposely use controlled tumors to grow things like wings, extra sensory organs, and specialized limbs for humans. Over time, they even begin growing controlled tumors into external organs called "familiars," capable of independent action and responding to basic commands. Familiars help and perform tasks during the day, and attach to their host to receive nutrients at night.

So, a much more grisly His Dark Materials? I can get on board with that.

I’m not very good at believable dialogue or connecting tissue for narrative fiction, but would anyone like to take a stab at this?

sixth-light replied to your post:Since I’ve just been brought back to the topic of…

I can see this. And he’d never say a word to Peter. :/ I think Nightingale has a pattern of hanging out with scientists too - Walid, Mellenby, Peter, his friend with the genii locorum theory. I bet secretly he likes listening to them talk about it :P

Oh god, they’d never talk about it. But of course Peter would notice how Nightingale sometimes gets that pinched and unhappy look on his face when Peter’s talking science, but he has no idea why and he can’t really say what it is either? Disappointment? Anger?
So he starts to get insecure about the whole science thing, because surely Nightingale would prefer an apprentice who stops being so distracted all the time, he said so himself after all, so Peter talks less and less science with Nightingale, biting his tongue whenever he wants to make a remark or ask a question and he means to only keep it to the science stuff, but censoring yourself in front of other people like that, it makes all their conversations suddenly feel so forced to him, the usual ease and comfort all gone from them.
All the while Nightingale is just very worried what is wrong with Peter, what happened to the man that had him suddenly going from enthusiastic and joyful to reserved and apathetic. And he wants to fix this, but doesn’t know how since he doesn’t even know what’s wrong in the first place, he only knows that he wants the old Peter back, his Peter, damn the whole issue with him sometimes reminding Nightingale of David, he doesn’t care, he’s Peter, he’s his own person and he has his own very special place in Nightingale’s heart and he wants him back.

And then they are finally forced to talk about their feelings because it all becomes too much and they are both visibly unhappy and worried about each other and things are explained and then they kiss and HAPPY END

“I Paint Music” By Melissa S. McCracken

Artist Melissa S. McCracken’s synesthesia allows her to translate music into stunning abstract oil and acrylic paintings. Those who have synesthesia posses the ability to see certain sounds and words as colors because their sensory and cognitive pathways neurologically lead them to involuntary experience secondary sensory cognitive pathways.

Her paintings express a vibrant and beautiful mixture of colors which feature a variety of artist from Led Zeppelin to Stevie Wonder. 

To describe her experience as a synesthetic artist, McCracken says on her website:

“I paint music.

Until I was 15, I thought everyone constantly saw colors. Colors in books, colors in math formulas, colors at concerts. But when I finally asked my brother which color the letter C was (canary yellow, by the way) I realized my mind wasn’t quite as normal as I had thought.”

Radiohead – Lucky

(Listen on YouTube)

“Basically, my brain is cross-wired. I experience the “wrong” sensation to certain stimuli. Each letter and number is colored and the days of the year circle around my body as if they had a set point in space.”

David Bowie – Life On Mars?

(Listen on YouTube)

John Lenon – Imagine

(Listen on YouTube)

Prince – Joy In Repetition

(Listen on YouTube)

Jimi Hendrix – Little Wing

(Listen on YouTube)

“But the most wonderful ‘brain malfunction’ of all is seeing the music I hear.”

Soulive – Interlude II

(Listen on YouTube)

John Mayer – Gravity

(Listen on YouTube)

Led Zeppelin – Since I’ve Been Loving You

(Listen on YouTube)

“It flows in a mixture of hues, textures, and movements, shifting as if it were a vital and intentional element of each song.”

Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight

(Listen on YouTube)

Radiohead – Karma Police

(Listen on YouTube)

Glass Animals – Flip

(Listen on YouTube)

“Having synesthesia isn’t distracting or disorienting. It adds a unique vibrance to the world I experience.“

Airhead – Callow

(Listen on YouTube)

Find Melissa S. McCracken on Etsy!

[via Melissa S. McCracken]

anonymous asked:

On the topic of aliens, the possibility of cross-species children.

There are a couple biological factors that could rain on our parade here.

Mechanical isolation: Maybe our fun-time organs just don’t fit together and there’s no way to put Tab A into Slot B.

Behavioral isolation: Maybe their ways of signaling sexiness are about as arousing to humans as graphic descriptions of late-stage syphilis.

Habitat isolation: Maybe the aliens can only get in the mood if they’re immersed in sulfur or in Marianas Trench-level ocean pressure.

Gametic isolation: Even if the previous things are dealbreakers for most people, there’s still a contingent of people who really want to have alien babies. [Source: Deviantart.] 

But different Earth species being able to have offspring at all is really rare, and you need very similar species; donkeys and horses, tigers and lions, slightly different varieties of coral. Mules and ligers don’t count as species, since they’re sterile or have devastating genetic failures within a generation or two.

So, here are all the things that need to happen perfectly if we’re going to have alien families:

1. We find aliens.

2. Those aliens understand how human sex works.

3. Those aliens are sentient enough to give consent.

4. Those aliens need to have genitals perfectly compatible with humans’.

5. Those aliens must be able to survive and be capable of arousal in comfortably Earth-like conditions.

6. Those aliens are sexually appealing to humans. [This is the easiest hurdle to clear by many orders of magnitude.]

7. Those aliens must have chromosomal setups pretty much identical to humans’.

8. Those aliens must be culturally similar enough to humans that forming lasting relationships and families is remotely possible.

I don’t blame erotica writers for hand-waving it all as “they’re conventionally-attractive humans but with some weird horn setup or something, shut up, it’s porn, if you want ironclad biological accuracy go read National Geographic or whatever.” But just once, I’d like to see an interesting exploration of the idea from a hard-science point of view.

Evelyne and I have had a lot of fun with those dynamics because obviously she’s got an attraction and a love for Cosima, but then what is that when she’s dealing with Rachel and what is that when she’s dealing with Sarah? Is that attraction still there? Is there something inherent about the women that’s what she fell in love with or is it uniquely Cosima?
—  Tat on clone dynamics (x)
From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’
—  Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut, speaking in People magazine on 8 April 1974.
Seeking SciNote, Biology: Stress and Grey Hair


Why do peoples’ hair turn grey when they are stressed often?

Asked by anonymous


Surprisingly, scientists aren’t really sure if stress causes hair to turn gray. There have been no perfectly conclusive studies to say that it does; however, there is some evidence that the claim is true. While natural graying of hair occurs for nearly everyone and usually starts in your 30s, certain individuals may develop grays much sooner or later depending on a number of factors, including genetic history and medical conditions. This makes it difficult to determine the extent to which stress plays a role in hair graying.

Let’s start by understanding the process by which hair turns gray. Hair is grown from follicles, which are small organs within the scalp where hair is made. Keratinocytes, which are skin cells, build the hair out of keratin, a colorless protein that also makes up your finger- and toenails. As the hair is built, neighboring melanocytes make a pigment called melanin, which is delivered to the keratinocytes in little packages called melanosomes. These melanosomes may contain varying amounts of colored pigments called eumelanin (dark brown or black) and pheomelanin (yellow, orange, or red) that give your hair its color. When your hair starts to gray, it’s because keratinocytes are receiving less of these pigments. As the amount of pigment declines, your hair turns gray and then white.

In an ideal world, the keratinocytes and melanocytes would always exist in the presence of the other, and you would never be left with colorless hair. However, the problem occurs when your hair has reached the end of its life cycle. Hair follicles operate on a cycle of two to seven years, after which the hair falls out as the follicle enters a resting phase. During the resting phase, the old keratinocytes and melanocytes die off, and new cells are generated by stem cells that reside at the base of the follicle. Unfortunately, stem cells don’t last forever, and scientists have found that melanocyte stem cells have a shorter lifespan than keratinocyte stem cells. Over time, this leads to less and less pigmentation and the natural development of gray and white hair.

This is the part where stress comes in. A study by New York University found that when nearby skin is damaged or exposed to UV radiation, the melanocyte stem cells will migrate to the site to assist in repair, leaving the follicle without a source for melanocytes. As we’ve just learned, without the pigments produced by the melanocytes, the hair will turn gray and eventually white as it receives less and less pigmentation. A receptor called Mc1r is responsible for regulating this migration of melanocyte stem cells. When skin is damaged, the body responds with a chemical stress signal that is sensed by receptors like these. Unfortunately, stress caused by other factors also causes the body to produce these chemical messengers, and so it is possible that excessive stress may lead to the migration of these stem cells away from their follicles and therefore cause premature graying. Another theory suggests that melanocyte stem cells are damaged by free radicals released in response to stress hormones.

No matter the source, greying is a natural part of aging, and certainly not something to stress about!

Read more here:
- Melanin, melanocytes, and melanosomes
- Why does hair turn gray?

Answered by Rachel R., Expert leader, and Teodora S., Expert.

Edited by Peggy K.


Well, THAT happened. Ugh. Indignant ducklings all around.

CHICKADEES! One of the cooler sciblogs on tumblr has been frozen for reasons unknown. There are reasons I’ve tried migrating off this platform in the past, but it’s so hard to move all of my previous content that it’s almost not worth it. :\

I suppose we’ll see how tumblr continues to act in the next few months, but for now I’m staying here, and so is Paxton, so go follow his new blog if you like nature and biology. He’s great at regular, interesting original content, as well as curating very cool animals that even *I* didn’t know about. Anyone who follows my personal blog probably sees his content at least once a night when I get a chance to get online.

…I will say that what he teaches you cannot be unlearned, though.

I still resent him for introducing me to the Eider ducks. There’s something so wrong about them.

anonymous asked:

why is everybody saying that skye and ward will have sex in 2x19 can you explain pls thxxxxxxxxx

Dearest nonnie,

I have been holding off on answering this ask because I wasn’t sure that I really had the answers that you were looking for. On the one hand I wanted to be glib. I wanted to say HONESTLY, EVERYONE’S JUST OVER-EXCITED NOBODY MEANS IT. And leave it at that. But I feel as though you deserve MORE than that, Nonnie. So I waited. Patiently. I knew that the day would come where forces greater than I would lend a hand in answering this VERY SENSIBLE ASK.

I feel as though it is important that you know that there are many different forms of sex and not all of them are penetrative. 


Keep reading


Unlike the large herds of barren-ground caribou, boreal woodland caribou remain year-round in small groups throughout the boreal forest. Dene people describe tǫdzı (boreal woodland caribou) as being darker colored, larger and heavier, and much more skittish of people than ɂekwę́ (barren-ground caribou). We saw these two groups of tǫdzı while flying over the Sahtú Region of the Northwest Territories last week.

Sub-Polar glacier belts on Mars could cover the whole surface in ice.

A group of researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute have predicted there could be as much as 150 billion meters of cubic water ice (150Km^3 or 36 Miles^3) underneath dust of the rocky red planet; Lake Tahoe in the USA or Vänern in Sweden have similar volumes of liquid. The ice is located in two belts around the planet, and would be enough to cover the surface in a 1.1 meter (3.6 feet) thick layer of ice. These glacier belts are found on the latitudes of 30°-50° in both hemispheres, comparable to how far from the equator Denmark or the Canadian/USA border is on Earth.

Nanna Karlsson and the other researchers used radar sounding data of glacier formations and models of Earth-based glaciers to predict flow and thickness of the ice on Mars. These deposits would evaporate due to the very low atmospheric pressure (Mars having 0.6% that of Earth’s sea level pressure) if not for the layers of soil and dust over them, the team predicts. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provided a more extensive look at the underground ice allowing for estimates of its extent and confirming that the composition was water ice rather than frozen CO2. Researchers show that this mid latitude ice is a small but significant amount of the near 5 million cubic kilometers of Ice on the planet.

Our local solar system seems to be quite drenched as we collect more data. MRO has also observed seasonal flows called Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) on the planet during warm seasons. These flows have been reported to occur in the late southern spring and summer from 48°S to 32°S. Could the prediction of such extensive sub-surface ice in the same latitudes have some clue as what these flows are?


More info on the RSL
More on the Ice belts
Image Credit: Mars Digital Image Model, NASA/Nanna Karlsson