bacterial colonies

Whenever I see a post on tumblr suggesting aliens don’t have gender, I always think–‘but what if also the reverse. What if aliens also have some fundamental social construct we don’t’.

Like, they come and meet us and they’re like ‘hey this is an awkward question but what’s your gooblebygark?’

And we’re like what.

‘You know, the… the thing. Your goobledygark. The thing that dictates whether you’re gnarfgnoovles or brubledoopes’

What. What. What the fuck, those words don’t even mean anything??? What are you talking about?

‘Look, your ridiculous human languages don’t seem to have the words for these! But they’re totally a thing, they’re like, fundamental aspects of social life for our species, just… just let us lick you so we can know what verb tense to use when we speak to you.’

What does one thing have to do with the other??? That makes no–

‘UGH, nevermind, you’re totally brubledoopes, I can just tell, I don’t even need to taste your bacterial skin colonies.’

And then another alien overhears and is like ‘holy shit, you can’t stereotype like that, that’s SO NOT COOL’


Science Fact Friday: Tetrodotoxin, ft. a small gif because I’m avoiding my real obligations.

Why does tetrodotoxin not affect its host? More studies need to be done but at least a few species possess mutated sodium ion channels. The tetrodotoxin can’t interact efficiently with the altered channels.

Another interesting tidbit: Animals with tetrodotoxin can lose their toxicity in captivity. It is suspected that the animals accumulate the toxic bacteria as a side-effect of their diet. After several years of captivity on a tetrodotoxin-bacteria-free diet, the bacterial colonies living in the animals die, residual toxin is cleared from the system, and the animal is safe to handle.


I didn’t figure out that Elsewhere University was anything other than a place filled with shivery-but-ultimately-harmless traditions until I’d already started my second year.

It wasn’t anything too exciting - I stumbled into the wrong part of the library, came out and realized I hadn’t missed my afternoon classes after all. I went to class, came back to my dorm room, had a panic attack, and went on with my life. Oh, and I changed my safename. I think I ended up going through half a dozen in the next few weeks, trying to find one that didn’t actually mean anything to me. (I remember Toucan was one of them, though I think I got anxious over what if it somehow offended the crows.) Sunny was the one I stuck with that year, mostly because my TA for Intro to Statistics sat me down and told me to just pick one so he’d know who to give the assignments back to.

I already knew most of the lore by then. I’d thought it was just fun bits of knowledge, traditions and legend-building, but I’ve always collected that kind of thing. After that initial panic (having made sure the horseshoe was securely over my doorway, and stuffed salt packets in all my pockets, and turned my underwear inside-out, and written and deleted several emails to my parents) I remembered that according to everything I heard, Bio majors didn’t usually interact much with the Fae. I’d actually been disappointed by that, back when it was just a story not quite close enough to touch, but it was a comfort now. So once I’d settled on my new safename (and stopped side-eying my poor roommate), I caught up with my assignments and moved on, just a little bit more careful than before.

I fell in love with lab work that year, and on the advice of a professor shifted into the tiny Molecular Biology concentration. Elsewhere University doesn’t do much research, but there’s lab space available for fourth years doing a thesis, and you can use it earlier if you have a Prof willing to supervise and sign off for you. The Molecular Genetics professor was full of ideas for what I could do with the reagents left behind in the fridge and one big freezer, and between us we managed to get me an internship the next summer, to stay and start on my own project.

I spent those months sharing a tiny apartment in the next town over with an English major going into her fourth year. (I don’t know why she was staying for the summer. I asked, but she gave me a different answer every time - she needed to hang teardrops on the rainbow, or count crow’s teeth, or find the door out of the laundry room. After a while, I stopped asking). In the mornings she’d drive us both into the university, and in the evenings I’d either wait for her in the library (always near the front) or I’d take the single late-night bus that ran from the university to the middle of town.

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Okay, guys, its that time of year again!

Time for Ryan to yell about the dangers of cleaning your fucking tank too often.

1. DON’T DO WATER CHANGES WHILE CYCLING. This sets your cycle back! ESPECIALLY don’t do it if you don’t have fish in there - theres no reason to change the water at all at that point!

2. If your tank is understocked, DON’T CHANGE YOUR WATER EVERY WEEK. Your bacterial colonies are small and your fish don’t produce enough waste for it to build up super quickly - you can easily starve the bacteria by keeping it too clean.

3. If you have problems with ammonia or nitrite, don’t do a huge water change - do a small one (or relocate the fish temporarily) and add bacteria, be it from another tank or an actual bottled bacteria that works (like TLC SmartStart Complete - I have PERSONALLY tested before and after for this brand and it DOES SIGNIFICANTLY SPEED THE CYCLE ALONG. It doesn’t instantly cycle the tank, but it’s very helpful).

4. If you’re having trouble with waste buildup, add another filter or increase tank size.

5. Water changes are stressful on the fish, too - moreso I’d say than from 40ppm nitrate (some exceptions aside, like apistogramma or fancy plecos) or the stress of going from 40ppm nitrate to 20ppm nitrate.

6. Shouldn’t your fish always be kept in a perfect environment???
Compromises must be made. Higher nitrates are much less problematic than water-change-induced stress or a bacterial colony dying.

7. What fucking resources do I have??? Admittedly, its anecdotal evidence. However, I have been seriously keeping fish for the past 8 years (starting from when my dad and I started keeping Discus). I have worked at fish stores on-and-off since I was 15, and have worked at my current location for over two years. I have 14 tanks of my own, ranging from 4 to 125 gallons (and a 350 gal turtle pond), both fresh and salt water. I have seen the effects of too-much-cleaning many times, including tonight (this is what set this rant off). This gentleman couldn’t get the nitrite-eating bacteria to grow, even though he was adding the tlc smartstart and it had been weeks!
Turns out the event that preceeded the crash was that he changed out his filter cartridge after only 2 weeks of cycling, which is a big no-no. Thats where your bacteria mainly lives. If you’re still establishing the colony, don’t disturb it. He was also doing weekly water changes, though they didn’t help - the nitrite immediately shot back up. My advice?
Take the betta out (it was in a 5 gal filtered, heated tank) and get him out of the tank with high nitrites. Do regular water changes on the bowl while the cycle finishes, then put him back in.
Typically, doing seeded fish-in cycling (especially in a very understocked tank) is a very easy thing. I do it often - including with delicate fish like apistogramma. If you leave it be, topping it off occasionally, for at least three weeks, it should be good. Test the water, of course, but don’t make any drastic changes.

I do a 50% water change on my 5 gallon reef every week. I might recommend super-regular changes on african cichlid tanks. But YOU always know your tank best. Every city, every well has different water. There are so many combinations of tank-water-filter-fish-chemicals that there is no fit-all rule. Test your water, keep an eye on your fish, and make sure you’re all healthy and happy.

You’re a scientist studying bacterial colonies. One day, you look under the microscope to observe strange shapes that, on a closer look, resemble letters. The bacteria are greeting you and have a message for you.

anonymous asked:

Considering that humans can deliver a bite strong enough to sever a finger, how effective would a bite be against an assailant trying to put you in a headlock? Would biting the arm be enough to make them let go?

Assuming the arm was in a position you could get to? Yes. Given a little time and the inclination, you can completely destroy someone’s arm (or, really, just about any body part,) with your teeth. The difficult part isn’t biting chunks out of someone’s arm, it’s being willing to bite chunks out of someone’s arm.

Think of it this way; your teeth are there to remove meat from bone, and they’re actually pretty good at doing it. On top of that, humans are one of the worst kinds of bites to receive. We build up some really nasty bacterial colonies in our mouths, and applying them to an open wound is a recipe for infection. Our immune systems (usually) recognize and know how to handle our own colonies. But, those are unique to an individual, so if you’re bitten by someone else, there’s no immunity, and the results are very unpleasant.

The hard part here is actually being willing to chow down on someone else. There’s a lot of social and psychological conditioning telling you not to bite fellow human beings.

The thing is, that conditioning is there to protect you. Exposure to blood is a fantastic vector for all kinds of illnesses that are otherwise non-transmittable. Some forms of viral Hepatitis and HIV are the big ticket items here; but, given the choice, there are many reasons to never touch a random stranger’s blood, much less gargle it.

So, you need to be willing to actually push past your own self preservation instincts, which is much harder than it sounds.

You also need to be willing to commit to seriously injuring your opponent. That’s a much easier threshold to hit, but combining it with the ability to shuck self preservation to mangle your opponent creates a weird paradox.

There’s a strand of combat philosophy that advocates rapid brutal escalation. Literally, “the best defense is a good offense.” You can see elements of this in a lot of the armed self defense forms. The problem is, outside of very extreme circumstances, biting someone takes the defense part of that equation out at the knees. You’re not using rapid escalation to protect yourself from attack, because you’re exposing yourself to far more potential harm now.

Now, obviously, you can end up with characters that have no problem taking out someone else’s throat with their teeth. But, that’s a rather singular kind of brutality. I did talk about the combat applications of brutality awhile back. So, that might be worth reading, if you haven’t seen it.



Nature to illuminate research

Here you can see fireflies, a type of beetle that glows.

Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light from enzymes called luciferases. In nature, many organisms such as jellyfish and fireflies ‘glow’ using these enzymes. 

In scientific research, bioluminescent proteins are used to monitor changes to cells. 

In the bottom images around 7000 bacterial colonies have been printed on an agar plate.The bacteria have been genetically engineered to display the bioluminescent enzyme from the firefly Photinus pyralis

The images were taken with a sensitive camera which can detect the light output from luciferase in each colony. The light output of different types of luciferase can be analysed to discover which ones have enhanced characteristics that could be used in research.

Image credits: Terry Priest, s58y, Cassandra Stowe


Greetings, friends and fellows of the grand scientific adventure that is life! It is I - Beverly Fluff, the Science Puff! For those of you who are new and for those of you who plain don’t remember I run a little publication here on the blog called Bev’s Science Corner! Today we’re talking about eggs, specifically the Plague Egg. Let us begin!

The Egg
Tradition has long held that Plague eggs derive their sticky exterior from bacterial colonies growing on the egg surface. Research suggests this is, in fact, entirely true. The long-held Plague assertion of “It’s the mother’s way” has yet to bear any fruit, as scheduling an appointment with the Plaguebringer appears to be both difficult and impossible. However, evidence collected over the course of our study supports the notion that the sticky egg exterior aids in keeping Plague eggs stationary during incubation, as well as provides a quick packet of endemic bacteria for the emerging hatchling’s immune system. It appears that bacterial egg colonies vary from clan to clan, with some strains of microorganisms having greater success in certain clans than in others. Some individual lairs claimed to purposefully cultivate specific strains of bacteria in their nesting grounds, either to maintain a uniform cultural identity or to provide a more quote-unquote “interesting” time of things for newly-hatched dragons.

Unsurprisingly, Plague eggs tend to have a pervasive odor which most agree is best experienced in open areas where the free movement of air is possible. It appears that the composition of Plague dragon olfactory cells has evolved somewhat differently than those of other flights, leading natural-born Plague dragons to describe the egg smell as calming or “homey.”

External image
Figure 1. In which the scientist’s assistant was 100% unwilling to touch the specimen.

The Nest
The nest, or - as some less professional sources have it - the soup bowl is, as with many other nests, constructed out of materials usually found in the surrounding elemental region. Of course, where other flights may make use of branches and minerals, Plague dragons seem to favour scavenged bones, ambient microbial carpets, and structures which our assistant described as “like intestines, except they don’t go nowhere.”

Ingesting the “soup” is not advisable and may in fact result in what was described by a local as “severe internal Wyrmwound”. This researcher has yet to validate these claims and must now grapple with the ethical ramifications of asking for volunteers.

Final note 
For anyone encountering a Plague egg in the wild - I would say to not be alarmed, but frankly that would be poor advice indeed. Be alarmed! A little caution may go a long way, and frequent claw-washing is advisable. However, don’t allow that wariness to stop you from collecting and nurturing the little thing to a, er, healthy hatching.

Lairs with compost heaps, organic trash heaps or unusually fetid pools nearby may be best off just storing the egg in one of these places until hatching. Those with less space will be glad of the egg’s naturally sticky abilities as they may very well store the egg by adhering it to a cave wall or ceiling. In such cases it is, of course, preferable to remove the egg prior to hatching or else instruct fellow lair-dwellers to keep clear of the splash zone.

anonymous asked:

Humans r carnivores so we can eat meat

Sigh. I think the time has come to explain as thoroughly as possible.

DISCLAIMER: I am not here to tell anyone to stop eating meat. I am not here to shit on your lifestyle, and I am not here to ‘force my beliefs down your throat’. I am merely educating those who are interested. I am stating facts, based off of research that does not come from the internet (which could be written by anyone like you and I) but from real scientific research, doctors, and books (whom are, of course, not allowed to promote fake facts). What you do with this information is your own choice.

Our anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and psychology all indicate that we are in fact not carnivores. Carnivores eat raw meat, straight from the carcass, and not only the flesh, but eating the muscle meat as well as the organs. They make sure they lap up the warm, fresh blood as well as other bodily fluids without hesitation.

Most of us love animals. We do not salivate when we see a little pig - in fact, we wanna play with it! Most of us do not salivate at the idea of crushing the life out of that pig, or gnawing on its insides. We can not imagine slurping the hot blood while ripping out its intestines, getting it all over our faces, hands, and bodies. These behaviors are not moral to humanity, perhaps are even sickening.

Slaughterhouses have the scents of those of death and blood. People who have been in one find them unspeakably abhorrent - in fact, no one is allowed to visit anymore. Employees find slaughterhouse conditions impossible to be okay with, which shows up in slaughterhouses having the highest employee turnover rate of any industry. Slaughterhouses do not fit in with our concepts of kindness and compassion.

We buy our meat off the shelf, packed neatly, without veins or bones or a carcass. Majority of adults agree that if they had to kill the animal themselves in order to eat it, they wouldn’t do it. We disguise animal flesh by only eating small cuts of the muscle and some organ meats. However, even then we are told not to eat them raw, but instead cook them and camouflage them with condiments.

Now, lets see an incomplete list of the major biological differences between humans and carnivorous creatures.

Humans vs. Carnivores, shall we?

  1. Walking: We have two hands and two feet, and we walk erect. All of the carnivores have four feet and perform their locomotion using all fours.
  2. Tails: Carnivores have tails.
  3. Tongues: Only the truly carnivorous animals have rasping tongues. All other creatures have smooth tongues.
  4. Claws: Our lack of claws make ripping through skin or tough flesh extremely difficult. We possess much weaker, flat fingernails instead.
  5. Opposable thumbs: Our opposable thumbs make us extremely well equipped to collect a meal of fruit in a matter of a few seconds. Most people find the process effortless. All we have to do, is pick it. The claws of carnivores allow them to catch their prey in a matter of seconds as well. We could no more catch and rip the skin or tough flesh of a deer or bear barehanded than a lion could pick mangos or bananas.
  6. Births: Humans usually have children one or two at a time. Carnivores typically give birth to litters.
  7. Colon formation: Our convulated colons are quite different in design from the smooth colons of carnivorous animals.
  8. Intestinal length: Our intestinal tracts measure roughly 12 times the length of our torsos (about 30 feet).This allows for the slow absorption of sugars and other water-borne nutrients from fruit. In contrast, the digestive tract of a carnivore is only 3 times the length of its torso. This is necessary to avoid rotting or decomposition of flesh inside the animal. The carnivore depends upon highly acidic secretions to facilitate rapid digestion and absorption in its very short tube. Still, the putrefaction of proteins and the rancidity of fats is evident in their feces.
  9. Mammary glands: The multiple teats of abdomens on carnivores do not coincide with the pair of mammary glands on the chest of humans.
  10. Sleep: Humans roughly spend two thirds of every 24-hour cycle actively awake. Carnivores typically sleep and rest from 18 to 20 hours a day and sometimes more.
  11. Microbial tolerance: Most carnivores can digest microbes that would be deadly for humans, such as those that cause botulism.
  12. Perspiration: Humans sweat from pores on their entire body. Carnivores sweat from the tongues only.
  13. Vision: Our sense of vision responds to the full spectrum of color, making it possible to distinguish ripe from unripe fruit at a distance. Meat eaters do not typically see in full color.
  14. Meal size: Fruit is in scale to our food requirements. It fits our hands. A few pieces of fruit is enough to make a meal, leaving no waste. Carnivores typically eat the entire animal when they kill it.
  15. Drinking: Should we need to drink water or any liquid substance, we can suck it with our lips, but we cannot lap it up. Carnivores’ tongues protrude outward so they can lap water when they need to drink.
  16. Placenta: We have a discoid-style placenta, whereas the carnivores have zonary placentas.
  17. Vitamin C: Carnivores manufacture their own vitamin C. For us, vitamin C is an essential nutrient we must get from our fruit.
  18. Jaw movement: Our ability to grind our food is unique to plant eaters. Meat eaters have no lateral movement in their jaws.
  19. Dental formula: Mammalogists use a system called the “dental formula” to describe arrangement of teeth in each quadrant of the jaws in an animal’s mouth. This refers to the number of incisors, canines, and molars in each of the four quadrants. Starting from the center and moving outwards, our formula, and that of most anthropoids, is 2/1/5. The dental formula for carnivores is 3/1/5-to-8.
  20. Teeth: The molars of a carnivore are pointed and sharp. Ours are primarily flat, for mashing food. Our “canine” teeth bear no resemblance to true fangs. Nor do we have a mouth full of them, as a true carnivore does. 
  21. Tolerance for fat: We do not handle more than small quantities of fat well. Meat eaters thrive on a high-fat diet.
  22. Saliva and urine pH: All of the plant-eating creatures (including healthy humans) maintain alkaline saliva and urine most of the time. The saliva and urine of the meat eating animals, however, is acidic.
  23. Diet pH: Carnivores thrive on a diet of acid-forming foods, whereas such a diet is deadly to humans, setting the stage for a wide variety of disease states. Our preferred foods are all alkaline forming.
  24. Stomach acid pH: The pH level of hydrochloric acid that humans produce in their stomachs generally ranges about 3 to 4 or higher but can go as low as to 2 (0 = most acidic, 7 = neutral, 14 = most alkaline). The stomach acid of cats and other meat eaters can be in the 1+ range and usually runs in the 2s. Because the pH scale is logarithmic, this means the stomach acid of a carnivore is at least 10 times stronger than that of a human and can be even 100, or even 1,000 times stronger.
  25. Uricase: True carnivores secrete an enzyme called uricase to metabolize the urid acid in their flesh. We secrete none and so must neutralize this strong acide with our alkaline minerals, primarily calcium. The resulting calcium urate crystals are one of the many pathogens of meat eating, in this case giving rise to or contributing to gout, arthritis, rheumatism, and bursitis.
  26. Digestive enzymes: Our digestive enzymes are geared to make for easy fruit digestion. We produce ptyalin - also known as salivary amylase - to initiate the digestion of fruit. Meat-eating animals do not produce any ptyalin and have completely different digestive enzyme ratios. 
  27. Sugar metabolism: The glucose and fructose in fruits fuel our cells without straining our pancreas (unless we eat a high-fat diet). Meat eaters do not handle sugars well. They are prone to diabetes if they eat a diet that is predominated by fruit.
  28. Intestinal flora: Humans have different bacterial colonies (flora) living in their intestines than those found in carnivorous animals. The ones that are similar, such as lactobacillus and e. coli are found in different rations in the plant eaters’ intestines as compared to those of carnivores.
  29. Liver size: Carnivores  have proportionately larger livers in comparison to their body size than humans.
  30. Cleanliness: We are the most particular of all creatures about the cleanliness of our food. Carnivores are the least picky, and will eat dirt, bugs, organic debris, and other items along with their just killed food.
  31. Natural appetite: Our mouths water at the sights and smells of the produce market. These are living foods, the source of our sustenance. But the smell of animal usually puts us off. Meat eaters’ mouths water at the sight of prey, and they react to the smell of animals as though they sense food, unlike humans.

When we weigh the evidence, we can see that too many considerations exist in physiology, anatomy, aesthetic disposition, and psychology for us to seriously entertain the notion that we were designed to eat flesh.

And yes, we used to hunt to survive, but we also used to hit each other over the head with clubs and smack rocks together to make a fire. We have alternatives now, and we do not need to cause harm in order to survive, unlike animals, who do need meat to survive. The choice is ours.

I highly recommend ANYONE to read ‘The 80/10/10 Diet’ by Dr. Douglas N. Graham, which has been adopted by several olympic stars. It is extremely educative as in what fruit does to the body and how it stands in comparison to meat, as well as going straight through myths.