fluorescent filter

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The bottle-shaped cell in the center is the shell of a microscopic protozoan called a tinntinnid. Tinntinnids form protective, vase-like shells (a.k.a. lorica), usually made of silica or some type of calcium carbonate. The green tint comes from a fluorescent filter on the microscope, which tells ecologists whether the cells are dead or alive. (The ones that glow are alive. The tinntinnid shell is not.)

Photo: Tim Mullady

Michelle swore under her breath. The fossil of a computer that she had had just crashed again, the blue screen replacing the Solitaire game that she had been entertaining herself with for the past hour. As a Fae and magic user, her ‘aura’ was far more prominent than that of a mortal, and this aura ran perpendicular to electric and magnetic fields, so technology post 1990 ran the risk of shorting out if she were to lay her hands on them. Sighing, Michelle raised a middle finger to the ceiling as she shut her computer off and put a call in to tech support. She glanced over to her partner, who seemed to be busy at work with some documents, then around the room, at the other agents that were in the office. Special Investigations took on cases that no other unit would take; cases that were too odd, too difficult to solve, or plain preposterous. It was the graveyard of one’s career in law enforcement, so to speak, considering the fact that the unit had a 90% 'Cold Case’ rate. There was a lull in the air, contributed to by the fluorescent lighting filtered through dirty light tubes, a drab grey carpet, peeling wallpaper and reject furniture that came in from the other departments when they got the grants to refurbish. She pulled out her typewriter, and after a few minutes managed to get some paper aligned before she got bored again. Michelle threw a ball of crushed paper to Shane, across the table. “Oi.”