Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Pi Day: Numberphiles, Calculating Pi with Pies

Posted by Youtube user: numberphile
I just happened to have stumbled upon this YT channel the other day, and wound up spending nearly 3 hours on it. Obviously, I enjoy it. Since today is Pi Day (3.14), thought I'd share this one. But there's loads more interesting things to be seen on the channel, including nine more videos about Pi itself, and Dragon Curves, and base 12, and lots of other fun math-y things. Even if you're not a math geek, it's more fun than you probably think it sounds.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Eye Candy: Movements in Red (Infrared Time Lpase)

Andrew 's description from his Vimeo post:

"A moving infrared timelapse movie.

This is a personal project culminated from years of shooting IR stills and never really being satisfied with the results. Shot primarily in Albemarle County, Virginia, the movie was captured using a Canon 5D mark II converted with a 720nm IR filter over the sensor. The sensor filter allows normal camera operation but shoots only IR images. I used a rail from Dynamic Perception to create the moving images and processed everything in Adode Premiere/After Effects.

Check out my website to see some cool IR stills under the fine arts section. Thanks for watching."

VIA: Bad Astronomy

The Higgs Particle And The Apparent Instability of Our Universe

Image credit: Cern -simulated data modeled for the CMS particle detector
Though it has yet to be confirmed to a degree which constitutes scientific certainty, last years discovery of what is believed to the higgs bosan- the final fundamental particle described by the standard model, and the one believed to be responsible for imparting all regular matter with mass-  has brought with it  a number of new scientific possibilities. One of them, according to physicist Joseph Lykken, while speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), is that the entire universe might exist within an unstable vacuum; one which could potentially someday reorganize itself into a more stable state. Which would be bad for anything existing in the current one. Which probably won't be much, anyway.Seriously, we're all gonna be long dead when and if any of this happens. So it's okay to think it's cool.

According to Dr Lykken, via BBC News:

"It turns out there's a calculation you can do in our Standard Model of particle physics, once you know the mass of the Higgs boson," - "If you use all the physics we know now, and you do this straightforward calculation - it's bad news." - "What happens is you get just a quantum fluctuation that makes a tiny bubble of the vacuum the Universe really wants to be in. And because it's a lower-energy state, this bubble will then expand, basically at the speed of light, and sweep everything before it,"

As best as I understand all of this. One of the debated physical properties of the universe in which we all live, is that the vacuum in which said universe exists, is not as stable as it could be. The notion that this instability is one of the physical properties of our current universe, isn't a new one. But determining weather or not this theory is true, is all based on a calculation involving the frequency of the higgs' own mass, versus that of the top quark's pole mass, amongst other things. If our current understandings of those measurements and calculations hold true, then it's possible that at some point in the distant future - as in, an incomprehensibly long time from now-  a fluctuation within the field which maintains said vacuum, could cause it to re-align itself into a more stable state. Meaning; The universe in which we currently live, will be no more. Which sounds bad. But, again, you're gonna be dead anyway. So don't worry too much about that. Besides which, the calculations described by DR. Lykken also bring with them another possibility: What if the end, is really just the beginning?

"It's much easier to explain a lot of things if what we see is a cycle. If I were to bet my own money on it, I'd bet the cyclic idea is right," - Dr.Joseph Lykken [BBC

Potential evidence of successive big bangs/Gurzadyan and R. Penrose  
In other words, there have been a number of theories over the years which propose the idea that our universe is cyclical. And some have even argued that there is physical evidence which supports them. Most notably, maps of our universe's cosmic background radiation, which some have interpreted as containing rings of radiation consistent with remnants of a previous -possibly even multiple- big bang(s).[SEE: eternal inflation and bubble collision ]. So if this whole quantum vacuum bubble thing turns out to be true, it could be a strong indication that the universe we currently live in, is just one of many iterations in a potentially endless series. Then again, future measurements of the proposed higgs particle could invalidate all these things -cause that's just how theoretical physics works. Either way, I certainly can't proclaim to understand all of this well enough to speculate as to weather or not it really does lend any further validity to the idea of a cyclical universe. I just thought it was something fun to think about. Which is kind of all this blog is really about.

Source: BBC News  
Image Credit: Cern , Gurzadyan and R. Penrose

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sci Fi Short: Plurality

Posted YouTube user: dennisaliu

I don't know why this has been sitting my bookmarks for all this time without being posted, but it has. It's amazing, and you should watch it now.

That is all.


APOTD: Ghost Nebula

Caption: NOAO

This image was obtained with the wide-field view of the Mosaic Camera on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. vdB 141 is a reflection nebula located in the constellation Cepheus. Sometimes referred to as the ghost nebula, its awkward name is its catalog number in Sidney van den Bergh's catalog of reflection nebulae, published in 1966. Several stars are embedded in the nebula. Their light gives it a ghoulish brown color. North is down and East is to the right. Imaged August 28, 2009.

Image: T.A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage, H. Schweiker/WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF [high-resolution] Read NOAO Conditions of Use before downloading

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Favorite Show EP:14- Alien Ninja Horseman Babies

In this week's episode, our collective uber-ADD was in full effect. So Tara and I manage to make our way to everything from Spontaneous human combustion, UFO's and paranormal beliefs, to TMNT remakes, future technology, as well as a few other things. All in all, I think it's a fun episode. If you agree, why not Subscribe on iTunes ? Also, I had a sudden burst of inspiration during production. So those of you who make it past the outro music, will be handsomely rewarded. Well, reward might not be the right word. let's just say, something lurks just beyond the closing credits this week, and leave it at that....

In This Weeks Episode: We begin with a brief mention of Mississippi's recent decision to finally ratify the 13th amendment - I make up for last week's Pope song with a bit of wholesome x-tian rap - A Texas man does his best to make a Horseman baby - while a Florida man earns a fine for harassing (not a euphemism)  a baby manatee - an Oklahoma man spontaneously combusted, or not (not) - And Tara discovers the looming Michael Bay TMNT remake - Physicists learn to make ghosts - google glasses are finally starting to look cool - a Russian man gets caught cheating via street view- as well as a few other things along the way.

Our Favorite Things: Tara recommends the website, which allows  restaurant workers to rate their employer. For my pick, I've chosen to recommend Ray Kurzweil's most recent book " How To Create a mind, the secrete to human thought revealed."

Finally, because it really MUST be seen to truly be appreciated: "Rappin' for Jesus"

Posted by YouTube user: brianspinney

Monday, February 25, 2013

Eye Candy: Giant Dry Ice Bubble Experiment

Posted by YouTube user:http: brusspup

Fun with dry ice.

Bionic Hand That Can Feel Set To be Transplanted Later This Year

Though a number of new artificial limbs have been developed which can be controlled by the brain through both direct and indirect neural interfaces -either by being wired directly into the patient's nervous system or by monitoring electrical fluctuations in the brain via an external controller or interface. Figuring out how to integrate artificial systems directly into the human nervous system to allow for communication both to and from such devices and the brain, remains a difficult problem to resolve. Which is why as exceptional a thing as they still are, even the most advanced modern prosthetic devices are typically capable of delivering either control or sensation, but not both.

One of the promising looking attempts to overcome the current limitation of advanced prosthetic replacements, are experiments being conducted by a Swedish research group called  École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).  Having already had significant success with previous devices, the EPFL now has plans to fit an unnamed man from Rome, with an advanced robotic hand which they described as the first ever to deliver real-time sensory feedback, directly through the recipient's own nervous system.

The planned procedure -which is set to happen later this year in Switzerland-  follows the success of an earlier portable version of the hand that was tested In 2009, on a man who suffered the loss of half of one of his arms in an auto accident. After being temporarily fitted with this earlier version of the device, xxx was reportedly able to manipulate and grasp objects with his new hand, as well as being able to feel the sensation of needles pricked into it's palm. All that despite this earlier version of the prosthetic having only two sensory zones. The current model is capable of transmitting sensory feedback from all of it's fingertips, as well as it's palm and wrist, potentially providing a much more life-like feeling for it's recipient.

According to Dr. Silvestro Micera, who is Head of the Translational Neural Engineering Laboratory at EPFL and Professor at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Italy, the newest version of the device will be attached directly into the patient’s nervous system via electrodes clipped onto the median and ulnar nerves in the arm. The expectation is that this method of attachment should allow for a bidirectional flow of information between the prosthetic and the patient's brain, enabling it's recipient to control the device by thought, while simultaneously receiving tactile sensations from the prosthetic itself, and all in real time.



Speaking of neural computer interfaces. In the above Ted Talk, brain-machine interface scientist Miguel Nicolelis, discusses his own on going research into the science behind said interfaces, using a monkey named Aurora.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Favorite Show EP:13 Curious Squatch and The Man in The pointy Hat

It's late, so is the episode, I'm tired. The End.

In This Weeks Episode: Pope Ratzinger set to step down at the end of February - The Russian Meteor thingGroup claims to have definitively Identified Bigfoot DNA - Counting the days till the conspiracies begin, following The conclusion of the Chris Dorner case - The world's shittiest cruise - A drunken Florida man, a car fire, and a taco.

Our Favorite things: Tara shares the rest of her comics from last week's trip to the comic shop, while recommend zefrank's True Facts videos.

New Genetic Study PROVES Bigfoot is a Thing! [SPOILER ALERT: No it Doesn't.]

Just before we set out to record this weeks podcast Tara reminded me of a story that had made the rounds earlier in the week, about a genetic study which had supposedly produced definitive evidence of the existence of Bigfoot. What I didn't realize at the time of recording, was that the "study" in question was the same one that had been announced in November of last year, by Texas Vetrenarian and genetic researcher Melba Ketchum. Once I realized this was the case, I started to wonder why it was in the news again. Turns out, after months of struggling through the peer review process, the team's research paper was finally published on Feburary 14th, in the well known and highly respected "DeNovo Scientific Journal".

What's that?  "I've never heard of the Denovo Scientific Journal."  you say? Well, that's probably because - according to the Huffpo, anyway- it was first registered with (anonymously) on February 4th, 2013, for a period of one year, and currently contains only one published paper "The Bigfoot Genome Paper"; AKA, the "study" in question. Seems legit, right?

Aside from the dubious method of publication, which we'll get back to shortly, the problems with the study, the likely rational explanation, as well as why the paper was rejected for publication by legitimate scientific journals, seems pretty obvious. Best case scenario, the samples were contaminated. Which the group, of course, insists couldn't possibly be the case, since they were very careful to eliminate that possibility. Which I'd be willing to give them the befit of the doubt on, had the 1,100 samples used in the study not been collected, handled, and stored, by untrained individuals, from 34 different sites across North America [Yahoo News]. Which, again, one might be willing to forgive, if their claims weren't so definitive.

Melba Ketchum's statements from DNA Diagnostics Inc's Press release on their "Bigfoot Genome Paper"

Our study has sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and utilized next generation sequencing to obtain 3 whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatch samples. The genome sequencing shows that Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to modern Homo sapiens, but Sasquatch nuDNA is a novel, unknown hominin related to Homo sapiens and other primate species. Our data indicate that the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens. "

"Sasquatch nuclear DNA is incredibly novel and not at all what we had expected. While it has human nuclear DNA within its genome, there are also distinctly non-human, non-archaic hominin, and non-ape sequences. We describe it as a mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence. Further study is needed and is ongoing to better characterize and understand Sasquatch nuclear DNA.

Mmmm-kay. Maybe it's just me. But, "mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence", sounds a lot like: Collection of unrelated genetic materials most likely originating from multiple sources, some of which we can't identify. But, okay. Is there anything else we should know?

Genetically, the Sasquatch are a human hybrid with unambiguously modern human maternal ancestry. Government at all levels must recognize them as an indigenous people and immediately protect their human and Constitutional rights against those who would see in their physical and cultural differences a ‘license’ to hunt, trap, or kill them.

Soooo.... Remind me again why you decided to self publish? I mean, the flaws in your study's methodology seem glaringly obvious, even to a dum-dum like me. And you did just say you wanted to give constitutional rights to a creature no one other than you has ever "confirmed" the existence of. But I have a feeling you suspect more devious intentions towards your work, are to blame.

Melba Ketchum on her paper's rejection in mainstream journals (VIA Huffington Post):

"It has been a long and tedious battle to prove that Sasquatch exists... Trying to publish has taken almost two years. It seems mainstream science just can't seem to tolerate something controversial, especially from a group of primarily forensic scientists and not 'famous academians' aligned with large universities, even though most of our sequencing and analysis was performed at just such facilities."

Oh, THERE it is. It always comes down to this, doesn't it? What I've come to call "the X-files argument"; the assertion that the mean old dogmatic doctrine of the scientific establishment is holdin' ya down, cause they're all just too close minded to challenge accepted facts. In short, it's nonsense.

Even if  the "scientific establishment" did choose to dogmatically resist or deliberately deny their findings, it wouldn't matter. Because, as the saying goes: the great thing about science is that it's true, weather you believe it or not. Which really means- objective truths, are objective truths, regardless of who discovers them. So If you've done your science correctly. If what you think you've found, really is what you say it is. Then proving it's true, is only a matter of someone else looking in the same place, and seeing the same thing. And sooner or later that WILL happen regardless of weather you, or anyone else for that matter,  tells them where to look or not. But if what you've claimed to have discovered, truly is something that only you can manage to see. Then whatever it is you may think you've found, it isn't science. That's what that whole peer review process Melba's research couldn't get past, is all about. 


Sources:,  Ben Radford: (Yahoo News)- (, The Huffington Post

Monday, February 18, 2013

Flash Games: Faith Fighter

Because it's hilarious and awesome. Even though I suck at it at and have yet to NOT get my ass kicked.  

VIA: Left Hemispheres

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Russian Meteor videos

As you are likely well aware -because unlike me, you exist in the same time frame as most other people in the world- a large meteor went streaking across the sky in Russia early Friday morning (FEB 15th). The object is not believed to have been directly related to the much more massive -150 feet (45 meters) wide- asteroid 2012 AD14, which passed within about 17,000 miles of Earth later the same day, without incident.

NASA has estimated the size of the object over Russia, at 50-55 feet across, and 7,000 -10,000 tons, and that it was traveling somewhere in the range of 40,000 MPH, when it exploded. The blast created as the meteor impacted with the Earth's atmosphere is estimated to have been the equivalent of a 470-kiloton explosion, and managed to cause sever damage to a Zinc processing plant, as well as shattering windows throughout the city of Chelyabinsk, injuring about 1000 people. The incident is being described as the most significant of it's kind since the Tunguska event of 1908, in which an unknown object - possibly a small comet - exploded over the Russian wilderness, leveling trees for several hundred square miles. 

There are obviously LOADS of videos and pictures available of the incident. Of the two I've chosen to post, the one above is sort of a compilation, which includes bits from many of the most popular videos, along with some stuff I hadn't seen from security cameras, as well as footage of some of the damage caused by the blast. The one below, I choose because it captures the gap between the object's passing, and the sound of the explosion itself. Which, as you'll see, happens a considerably long time after the object has disappeared from view, illustrating just how fast it was actually traveling.

Posted by YouTube user: Idan Drori


Source: All of the Internets 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Darwin day! Ze Frank's True Facts about the Katydid

Posted by: zefrank1

If I were better at planning posts for the site, had a different work schedule, or hadn't just spent the better part of the past four hours fighting with my internet connection, I would have prepared something of substance for Darwin day. Instead, here's my admittedly anemic, and just barely on time/on topic offering, in the form of yet another true fact video from ze Frank. This time around, evolution checks in on the Katydid. All in all,  things seem to be going well for the creature... except for where the monkeys are concerned.



My Favortie Show EP:11- Caffeinated Colonics and Vigilante Justice

As my beloved technology continues to torment and betray me, this week's episode of My Favorite Show arrives a little over a week late. Last week, I just didn't feel like fighting with the internets, and this week, it took revenge upon me. But, I finally managed to edit what we got into submission, and I hope you'll be pleased with the result. Since it is the first show of a new month, that means, new artwork. And in case you couldn't guess by the subject mater, this month's artwork was done by me.

In This Week's Episode: We begin with the tale of Kai, the hatchet weilding hitchhiker. Who has, of course, already been remixed HERE - Tara discovers the phenomena of coffee enemas - we discuss the ongoing saga of Chris Dorner 's Vendetta against the LAPD - The real purpose of a so-called "Anti human/animal hybrid bill" in Mississippi: SPOILER ALERT: it's really about abortion -  and a company threatening to sue podcasters for trademark infringement, as well as the ongoing issue of trademark trolls in general.

Our Favorite Things: This week, Tara and I took a trip to our favorite comic shop, where she picked up an issue of the series "The Boys". Which, for those of you who prefer the digital format, you can also find on the comixology site/ mobile apps. Not to be out-geeked, this week, I have chosen one of my new favorite podcasts: Nerd Poker with Brian Posehn. In which, Posehn and friends gather to play D&D.

Subscribe on iTunes

Because I can:

Posted by Youtube user: RelapseRecords

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sci-fi Short R'ha by Kaleb Lechowski

Even if you know nothing about video production or computer animation whatsoever, it should go without saying that the six minute indie sci-fi short above titled "R'ha", is impressive by pretty much any metric you'd like to apply. So the fact that other than some help with the music and the voice acting, it was created entirely by one 22 year old German film student named Kaleb Lechowski,  makes it astounding. Unbelievable job.


Kaleb's Blog

Tampa Couple's Lawsuit Accuses Church of Scientology of Deception and Fraud

Is it really possible that in all this time, I've only ever even touched on the glorious disaster that is the cult of Scientology, but once? Yes, it appears that is the case. And even when I did, it was really more about Russia's banning of Hubbard's books, than it was the church itself. Time to fix that. Because as the so-called "church" has been spreading out over the years, it's hit a few... let's call them snags, along the way. In the last few years in particular, along with Russia's efforts to ban Hubbard's writings, countries like France and Belgium have attempted to eject the group, by labeling them a criminal organization, primarily based on charges of fraud. And there are rumblings abound, that similar actions are soon to follow in various other places where scientology has only just begun to spread . All of which, is well and truly deserved, in my opinion.

The newest set of fraud charges the organization is currently facing here in America, are being alleged in a lawsuit filed by a couple in Tampa Florida. Luis and Rocio Garcia claim they were mislead into donating $420,000 into the church for charity and relief efforts, as well as for the construction of  the groups "Super Power building". A building which the Pinellas county Property Appraiser's Office has valued at $80 million, but lists as fully tax exempt, and which has sat unfinished in downtown Clearwater FL, since 2003.

From the Tampa Bay Times (which wrote a surprisingly thorough article on this):

"Plaintiffs Luis and Rocio Garcia of Irvine, Calif., name five Scientology corporations as defendants, including the church's main entity in Clearwater. The former church members say they gave Scientology more than $420,000 for the massive "Super Power" building in Clearwater that has never opened, church services they never received and humanitarian projects that never materialized.

The deception went as far as producing phony videos of church earthquake relief efforts to induce parishioners to give, said the Garcias' attorney, Theodore Babbitt of West Palm Beach.

The lawsuit focuses on Scientology leader David Miscavige, saying he exerts control over an "interdependent network of entities" that extracts as much money as it can from parishioners and denies promised refunds. It alleges the church improperly uses donations to finance Miscavige's "lavish lifestyle" and to stifle critics with private investigators and lawyers.

"We believe that these lawsuits will put an end to these practices," Babbitt said.

Clearwater church spokeswoman Pat Harney said: "The church has not been served and has no comment. However, we understand from media inquiries this has something to do with fundraising, and we can unequivocally state all funds solicited are used for the charitable and religious purposes for which they were donated." "

According to the article, the couple also claims they've spoken to dozens of other former members, and similar lawsuits are coming.

Unfortunately, even if the Garcia's allegations against the church are true, and there are plenty of reasons to believe they are, how much success they'll have fighting an organization as well funded as scientology, remains to be seen. After all, we're talking about an organization whose ranks likely only number somewhere in the tens, maybe, hundreds of thousands* -despite their assertions of Tom Cruise having reached over a billion people with scientolgy's message- who still manage to find the capital and resources to defend themselves against entire foreign governments. But with the growing number of similar suits, potential suits in waiting, and the onslaught of bad publicity, criminal charges, and all of the just plain embarrassing allegations that continue to be waged against the organization, there is some hope. And while I doubt we'll ever see an absolute end to scientology as an entity, it seems to be ever more likely that we are at least seeing the beginnings of the end of what little legitimacy it's managed to create for itself in the eyes of the general public.

Now if we could just get people to apply the same critical eye to "transubstantiation" or the vatican's banking practices.

Baby stepping towards apostasy...

Ba-by steps.... (1,000,000,000 bonus points to you if you get this reference, BTW.)



*The actual number of "practicing" scientologist, is debatable, and ultimately unconfirmable, as the "church" goes to great links to keep said figures as vague and confusing as possible.

Finally, because I simply cannot resist any opportunity to share it, THIS mangled train wreck of crazy. Which you may have forgotten existed. But I didn't, Oh no my friend. I remember it well.

Posted by YouTube user: Aleteuk

APOTD: Molecular Cloud in Monoceros

Image: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and N.S. van der Bliek (NOAO/AURA/NSF) [high-resolution] Read NOAO Conditions of Use before downloading

Caption: NOAO

This image was obtained with the wide-field view of the Mosaic II camera on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory on January 11th, 2012. It shows a portion of the giant Monceros R2 molecular cloud. It is a location of massive star formation, particularly in the location of the bright red nebula just below the center of the image. The image was generated with observations in the Sulphur [SII] (blue) and Hydrogen-Alpha (red) filters. In this image, north is to the right, and east is up.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Favorite Show EP:11- Baby Shower Brawls and Telecom Cults

Recording this week's episode of My Favorite Show was... an adventure. Unfortunately, it was an adventure primarily involving the frustration of lousy internet connections and dropped Skype calls. So, ultimately, we weren't quite able to get to all of the things we would have liked to this week. But, all things considered, I think it's still an entertaining episode. Hopefully you will agree, and reward our efforts by Subscribing on iTunes. Or not. In which case, you're dead to me. DEAD, you hear me. DEAD!

In This Week's Episode: Tara shares her encounter with a mysterious dive bombing plane - I enjoy the sweet sounds of people screaming bloody murder in the streets of Switzerland - there's a brawl at a baby shower - A teacher marries the 15 year old student she molested to avoid jail - an assault victim sues for not warning her strangers on the internet could be dangerous -A Tampa family sues the Cult of Scientology for fraud - a Catholic organization declares that fetuses are not children to avoid a lawsuit- a night of dropped Skype calls drives me to a Comcast rant- and a few other things.

Our Favorite Things: Tara manages to procure a new digital camera, while I'm still all worked up over the idea of quadruple helix DNA.

Because I love this:

Posted by YouTube user: Opreann


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ze Frank's- True Facts About The Tarsier

Posted by YouTube user: zefrank1

Yes, these are going to be a regular feature on the blog for just as long as he continues to make them. Which I hope is forever, because they are AMAZING.

"Quadruple helix" DNA discovered in Humans Also, "Quadruple Helix" DNA is a Thing, Sort of

Digital rendering of the "crystal structure of parallel quadruplexes from human telomeric DNA." (Image credit: Wikipedia Commons)
So here's an unbelievably fascinating and cool thing that I had no idea was actually a thing: quadruple-Helix DNA, or G-quadruplexes.

As I have attempted to make clear many times in the past, I know nothing. Meaning, I have no scientific education or expertise beyond the trivial bits of knowledge I learned in school, and the things I have managed to shove into my own brain over the years. But, obviously, I have a thing for science. And my interest in biology and genetics ranks just behind my fascination with all of the various forms of physics in the world. So usually I could at least say; Oh ya. That's a thing I heard about before, but wound up loosing somewhere in the background noise of my brain. But other than some vague recollections of futurist postulations about potentially engineering such a thing, or speculations about the genetics of as of yet unknown alien species, this time around- I got nothin. So my first thought upon reading the headlines "Quadruple helix DNA found in humans" was- well, that can't possibly be right. And, as is often the case, if you took the headline to mean the same thing I did anyway, it isn't what you think.

As you (hopefully) already know, DNA is the molecule which carries the genetic instructions that make you what you are. Fish, sheep, person, plant, virus, we all become what we become, because our DNA tells us too.  DNA itself, is built from the pairing of four base chemicals, adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). Once bonded together, these base pairs in turn attach themselves to a sugar molecule and a phosphate molecule, to form a nucleotide. Those nucleotides are in turn strung together along a sugar-phosphate backbone, forming the typical double stranded sequence of genetic information that is our DNA. Because these chemical bases always form specific parings -A to t and C to G- that means, that as long as either side of the helix is copied during cell division etc, the other half can always be replicated.

It's all admittedly more complicated than that, obviously. But for our purposes here, I think that description pretty well illustrates why one might find the notion of 4 stranded DNA sequences... Surprising. Because, it's this redundancy of the double helix structure of our genetic code, that gives DNA superiority over it's likely predecessor RNA, as a means of successfully replicating complex biological sequences. So, taking all of the above into consideration. What the hell then is a quadruple helix? And what does IT do?

Previously seen only under laboratory conditions, a paper just published in the journal Nature Chemistry, based on a study conducted by scientists at the University of Cambridge, describes the first identification of these structures within human cancer cells. Unlike the double helix which controls our genetic development, G-quadruplexes appear to be non-coding genetic structures built from four guanine bases, which join together to form a square planar structure called a guanine tetrad.

Obviously, little is yet known for certain about the absolute purpose and function of these genetic structures. But The findings of the study seem to indicate a correlation between high concentrations of G-quadruplexes, and the process of cell division and replication; a theory which is supported by the finding that these structures appear more likely to occur in the genes of rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer. If their apparent genetic function proves true, researchers hope that removing the structures could potentially turn off the ceaseless replication that occurs within cancer cells, and experiments have already begun using specific molecules to isolate and capture the structures, so that they can do exactly that.

So, if like me, your initial reaction upon reading a headline containing the phrase "quadruple helix DNA" was to immediately start wondering about chromosome counts, evolutionary origins, and what not. First- we both REALLY need to get out more. Second, try not to be too disappointed. Because, while the actual nature of G-quadruplets is, admittedly, not as exciting as discovering an entirely new structure of DNA, potentially curing cancer is pretty good too, I think. And it' still undeniably cool, either way.


Sources: Nature Chemistry,

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

And Now, Gary Busey Explains Hobbits


APOTD: Soap Bubble Nebula

Image: T. A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage, H. Schweiker/WIYN 
and NOAO/AURA/NSF [high-resolution]

Caption: NOAO

nformally known as the "Soap Bubble Nebula", this planetary nebula (officially known as PN G75.5+1.7) was discovered by amateur astronomer Dave Jurasevich on July 6th, 2008. It was noted and reported by Keith Quattrocchi and Mel Helm on July 17th, 2008. This image was obtained with the Kitt Peak Mayall 4-meter telescope on June 19th, 2009 in the H-alpha (orange) and [OIII] (blue) narrowband filters. In this image, north is to the left and east is down.

PN G75.5+1.7 is located in the constellation of Cygnus, not far from the Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888). It is embedded in a diffuse nebula which, in conjunction with its faintness, is the reason it was not discovered until recently. The spherical symmetry of the shell is remarkable, making it very similar to Abell 39.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Craigslist Ad Seeking Lady Cosplayers for Garage-based STar Trek TNG Fun

 Found on Craigslist: Make it so-

“Need 2 or 3 women for Star Trek roleplaying. No nudity, no touching. STRICTLY “THE NEXT GENERATION” ERA CHARACTERS AND COSTUMES. Last time someone tried TOS and it was a disaster. There will be no mixing of eras. I don’t want to hear how Captain Kirk is so great. Kirk isn’t half the Captain that Picard is, OK? Kirk is a fat chauvinist ladies man. Picard is an honorable intellectual and an excellent diplomat. I built a bridge in my mom’s garage and a small shuttlecraft. If this sounds like something you want to do let me know and I’ll send you the script. I don’t mind if your costume isn’t terribly authentic, just make sure it’s close to TNG era. Once you have your script you can think about your character and let me know about any ideas you have. We won’t be filming anything it, it’s just a fun way to spend an afternoon. Maybe my mom will make lunch. It helps if you know a lot about the show. This isn’t paid, but I have a doctor’s prescription pad ( a long story) and I can write you a prescription for basically anything you want. The reason I need women is that the story is about getting stuck on a shuttlecraft. I can’t tell you more now. Most weeknights and weekends are good times. Having your own props is an asset e.g. a phaser or a VISOR if your character needs one. Please respond with pic and short bio plus stats. Nothing weird is going to happen. “

Well then. Seems like it’s all on the up and up to me. I mean, his mom’s gonna be there AND she might even make sandwiches- BONUS. plus, “a prescription for basically ANYTHING you want.” AND “Nothing Weird is gonna happen.” It says so right there in the ad…so… Nope, can’t see how this could possibly go wrong.

Your move, ladies…


Via: Craigslist

My Favorite Show EP:10- Catfishing For Fecal Transplants

Have I mentioned yet that you can find episodes of My Favorite Show via our Libsyn page or by Subscribing on iTunes? K, Just checking.    

In this week's episode: A moron from Sweden hits a house with the train she stole - Coca cola takes a stand against obesity, while insisting vitamin water isn't being marketed as "healthy" - Tara talks about people's fetish for ripping fake memorabilia from the walls of her workplace - that bike rider guy admits to doping - while the country mourns the loss of another sports-o-lete's make believe lady - another woman smothers a man to death with her boobs - and we learn all about the fine art of fecal transplants- as well as a few other things along the way.

Our Favorite Things For The Week: Tara wants all the things from from The While I recommend Michael Shermer's book The Believing Brain, before announcing the launch of my new musical career as a Dubstep artist, using  Savageapps' Dubstep, for the iPhone.

Posted By YouTube user: musicgearvideos909

Yes, I am aware that's an iPad, and the person demoing the app isn't very good at it. But it's the only vid I could find and the iPhone app is identical, anyway.  

This month's show art: Tara 


zeFranks, True Facts About The Seahorse

Posted by YouTube user: zefrank1

I have no idea when zeFrank Started doing these true facts videos. But they're amazing, and I hope he keeps doing them.


Sometimes I Take Pictures

Since adding recording and producing a podcast, as well as opting to try and get back into the music thing, and all of the usual activities that take up my time. I haven't had much time to get out and take any pictures, or to draw anything for that matter. Hopefully, I'll get out to do something new soon. In fact, I think that'll be part of my goal for next weekend, assuming I don't spend it playing mechanic again, I'll try and make my way out to some place interesting and take some new stuff. Not that anyone's clamoring to see my photos, or anything else I do for that matter. But I have discovered I really like both taking photos as well as editing them, so. ANYWAY- this is one of many that have been sitting around for quite some time. It's obviously pretty minimalistic, especially compared to my usual stuff. It's not one of my absolute favorite to be honest (Blogger's shit ability to display photos isn't helping it any) and it works better as part of a set. But, I like it.


APOTD: Saturn's Glowing Aurora

Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Leicester[high-resolution]

Caption: Cassini Solstice team

This false-color composite image, constructed from data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, shows the glow of auroras streaking out about 1,000 km (600 miles) from the cloud tops of Saturn's south polar region. It is among the first images released from a study that identifies images showing auroral emissions out of the entire catalogue of images taken by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer.

In this image constructed from data collected in the near-infrared wavelengths of light, the auroral emission is shown in green. The data represents emissions from hydrogen ions in of light between 3 and 4 microns in wavelength. In general, scientists designated blue to indicate sunlight reflected at a wavelength of 2 microns, green to indicate sunlight reflected at 3 microns and red to indicate thermal emission at 5 microns. Saturn's rings reflect sunlight at 2 microns, but not at 3 and 5 microns, so they appear deep blue. Saturn's high altitude haze reflects sunlight at both 2 and 3 microns, but not at 5 microns, and so it appears green to blue-green. The heat emission from the interior of Saturn is only seen at 5 microns wavelength in the spectrometer data, and thus appears red. The dark spots and banded features in the image are clouds and small storms that outline the deeper weather systems and circulation patterns of the planet. They are illuminated from underneath by Saturn's thermal emission, and thus appear in silhouette.

The composite image was made from 65 individual observations by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer on 1 November 2008. The observations were each six minutes long.

What would traveling through Hyper-space REALLy Look Like?

If you've been paying any attention to me at all over the past few years then it should come as absolutely no shock to you whatsoever, to learn that I have often tried to work out for myself exactly what one would see if traveling at light speed towards an object. Why? Because that just happens to be the kind of thing I think sounds like a good time. But if you never have before now, think about it for a minute... Did sci-fi get it right with their streaking star fields? Or would the objects in front of you appear to freeze in place, the way physicists have described an object passing over the event horizon of a black whole would look to an outside observer? Would the viewer's apparent horizon stretch and blur into a blinding white light? Would visible objects just disappear altogether, leaving a seemingly empty black field in it's place? Or maybe something else entirely, that I've forgotten to mention? Either way, if those don't all seem like interesting things to ponder to you, well, I just don't know what else to say. I know what I think about it, and it seems as though I'm mostly correct this time around- though not entirely for the right reasons. But as I've said many times before, I'm WAY not qualified to speculate scientifically about anything. But hankfully, I'm not the only one who wonders about these sorts of things. And most of the people who do, are usually actual physicists- or at least in the process of becoming actual physicists. Which is why  four students from the University of Leicester recently put their actual knowledge and education to the question of what it might look like to travel at light speed, and here's what they came up with.


Traveling Through Hyperspace. Image: University of Leicester
" The fourth year physics students – Riley Connors, Katie Dexter, Joshua Argyle, and Cameron Scoular – say that the crew wouldn’t see star lines stretching out past the ship during the jump to hyperspace, but would actually see a central disc of bright light. This is due to the Doppler effect, specifically the Doppler blue shift, that results in the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light, shortening as the source of the light moves towards the observer.

As the spaceship makes the jump to hyperspace, the wavelength of the light from the stars would shift out of the visible spectrum into the X-ray range. Meanwhile, Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR), which is thermal radiation that is spread fairly uniformly across the universe and is thought to be left over from the Big Bang, would shift into the visible spectrum, appearing to the crew as a central disc of bright light.

“If the Millennium Falcon existed and really could travel that fast, sunglasses would certainly be advisable,” said Connors. “On top of this, the ship would need something to protect the crew from harmful X-ray radiation.” "

So basically, what you'd see -assuming you could look out a window in the first place, which seems inadvisable given the torrents of amplified thermal radiation pounding against your vessel, but if you could. Odds are you'd see something like the representation above. By which I mean the still black and white one not the gif, that's from Spaceballs; there's probably not a lot of plaid in hyper space

But even if the truth about traveling at light speed isn't as interesting as you might like it to be, aesthetically speaking. It's still a pretty awesome thing to try and imagine; stars streaming at you so quickly that they all soon disappear from view behind a wall of white hot light. Not to mention the astounding distances you'd be traveling while they do it. And more importantly. Knowing, not only what traveling through hyper space might look like, but also what it would mean for the levels of deadly microwave radiation bombarding any ship traveling through it, are just two more examples to add to the already lengthy list of reasons for us all to stop and acknowledge Star Trek's superiority to Star Wars. Since it's now obvious that Luke, Han, and the gang, would clearly have been cooked like potatoes through those 70's party-van style portholes on the Millenium Falcon. While Kirk, Picard and the rest, would have been just fine observing the universe on an advanced view-screen from the comfort and safety of their shielded Starship.

And isn't that what REALLY matters?

I think it is.

Posted by YouTube user: WilliamShatner



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sundance Short FIlms: Apocalypse ( Ideas That Make Your Head Explode)

Posted bu YouTube user:http: greencardpictures

Well then. This is seriously messed up yet, hilarious.


Monday, January 14, 2013

My Favorite Show EP:09- Reptilian Overlords Ate My Baby

Alright, so I'm a day late with this one due to some un-postponeable home repair issues. Trust me, I would have much rather been producing a podcast, and let's leave it at that. Particularly since I REALLY like this week's episode. So, once again, if you haven't listened yet- now would be a good time to start. And, as always: Subscribe, iTunes, blah, blah, blah. 

On This Week's Episode: A pastor makes a tentative call to 911, after getting himself trapped in a pair of handcuffs - A man is nearly smothered to death by his girlfriends giant breasts - while another looses part of his ear to his mate - a Florida man tries to rob a convenience store without a gun - Yoga in California classrooms - A 20 year old woman trapped in the body of a toddler - All the crazy that is, Alex Jones - a bit of David Icke - Ted Nugent thinks he's Rosa Parks, former NRA president Marion Hammer, says banning guns is racist, and the rest of the ongoing gun insanity.

Our Favorite Things For The Week: Tara longs for a snap together circuit set of her very own, while I introduce you all to yet another crazy person from the Internets- The 3rd Eagle of The Apocalypse -AKA- William Tapely.

Also check out: Jon Ronson's 1999 Documentary with Alex Jones: Secret Rulers of The World:Bohemian Grove

This month's show art: Tara


Nerdist: ANTHONY BOURDAIN dishes on Food - StarTalk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Posted by YouTube user: Nerdist

Though I would have been even happier if it was one long sit down between the two of them, I am indescribably happy that this conversation, between these two people, exists.


Alex Jones, Info Wars, and Prison

Though I suspect the majority of you who manage to find your way to this site were already well aware of his existence, last week, much of the world had it's first introduction to Radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, after he appeared on Peirs Morgans talk show and semi-coherently frothed and ranted about gun control. Not one to pass up an opportunity for a little free press, this appearance was immediately followed with an equally insane visit with the Huffington Post, where Jones expanded his ramblings beyond guns, to include some of his other pet conspiracies about vaccines and GMO, amongst other things. He also opted to trade in all the screaming he did about revolution during his appearance on Morgan's show, with an even more theatrical outburst. Which he screamed, red faced, into his webcam as the interview drew to a close. It was more than a little comical, honestly. -


Now, as I said, I suspect most of you already knew exactly who, and what, Alex Jones is. Or if you didn't before, hopefully you do now. And I actually spend a good 15 minutes or so talking about him on this week's episode of the podcast (hint, hint) so I don't want to draw things out too much here as well. But his ever more frequent encounters with David Icke ( Who WILL get an entry of his very own, someday) alone, are enough to warrant adding Alex Jones to the collection of crazies I've been slowly compiling on the site over the years. So just in case, let's start with the basics, via the opening paragraph from Jones' entry on Rational Wiki:

"Jones is the most visible (and literally loudest) proponent of the grand Unified Conspiracy Theory wherein just about every current event can be tied into the NWO's nefarious schemes. The NWO is the framework which every new conspiracy-of-the-week can be fit into. According to Jones' broadcasts and various "documentaries," the scaffolding around which the NWO was built came about over two hundred years ago when the Rothschild banking family, the Illuminati, and the Freemasons came to power. Since then, things have snowballed into a complete worldwide conspiracy of every government and corporate entity."

But, less you think a site called Rational Wiki, might be a bit biased in it's description of the man, you need look no further than either of Jones' own  dot coms; Infowars, and Prison planet, to see that the paragraph above barely even begins to scratch the surface. Because woven within the impressive tapestry of crazy he's managed to fabricate for himself, there is also a deep undercurrent of  religious nonsense as well. In fact, most, if not all, of the beliefs and conspiracies Alex pushes ultimately boil down to "Satan-O-Phobia"- which is a stupid word I just made up, cause, it's late, and I'm too lazy to find a better one. Also, I like it. and it's my blog so, deal.

Take, for instance, a meandering conspiracy involving (amongst other things) the short lived Lone Gunmen series, and which stretches all the way back to 1993, before culminating in what the Info Wars article describes as: "what some have called a “mega ritual” event: 9/11." [Because, obviously] "If 9/11 was set to be one of the largest mass rituals in history, it would require some of the grandest predictive programming that could be conjured, beginning as early as 1993 with various questionable insertions into the popular Simpsons TV show."   

And, yes, Alex and friend's are "truthers" too. But honestly, wouldn't it be weirder if they weren't?

But the thing about Alex Jones that's most important to remember, and the real point I wanted to make, is that, like David Icke, and most other popular and successful conspiracy theorists, he isn't really that screaming nut you saw on CNN and the Huffington post. I mean, yes- he's a nut. But he isn't an idiot. And he knows how and when to perform for his audience. And that's exactly what he was doing on both his most recent appearances, and it worked better than you may think. Because he also knows how to sell an idea- it's what he does. And as silly as he may (hopefully) seem to you, he has A LOT of fans. And there are even more people in the world who are already primed and ready to buy into his ideas, if only he could somehow reach them. This week alone, I encountered several people who had never heard of him before, and though they agreed that he was a little over the top, they really liked what he had to say. And that's just scary.

So if you weren't before, make yourself a little more familiar with Alex Jones. Because it's a safe bet that he's only gonna get louder from here.


Sources: Info Wars, Rational Wiki

Lastly, check out this 1999 documentary from Jon Ronson "Secret Rulers of the World - Bohemian Grove - Alex Jones & Mike Hanson"

Posted by YouTube user: MikeHansonArchives

Sam Harris- It is Always Now

Posted by YouTube user: ayjaysalas

Generally speaking, I am not much for inspiration quotes and speeches. But, from time to time, I do stumble upon something that I even my, dark, cynical self, can't help but derive a little flicker of positivity from. Rest assured that said positivity is always quickly, and unceremoniously crushed and forgotten by natural state of pure negativity. But, hey- a flicker counts for something, right?

APOTD: Tectonics on Enceladus

On Oct. 5, 2008, just after coming within 25 kilometers (15.6 miles) of the surface of Enceladus, NASA's Cassini captured this stunning mosaic as the spacecraft sped away from this geologically active moon of Saturn.

Craters and cratered terrains are rare in this view of the southern region of the moon's Saturn-facing hemisphere. Instead, the surface is replete with fractures, folds, and ridges—all hallmarks of remarkable tectonic activity for a relatively small world. In this enhanced-color view, regions that appear blue-green are thought to be coated with larger grains than those that appear white or gray. Portions of the tiger stripe fractures, or sulci, are visible along the terminator at lower right, surrounded by a circumpolar belt of mountains. The icy moon's famed jets emanate from at least eight distinct source regions, which lie on or near the tiger stripes. However, in this view, the most prominent feature is Labtayt Sulci, the approximately one-kilometer (0.6 miles) deep northward-trending chasm located just above the center of the mosaic.

Near the top, the conspicuous ridges are Ebony and Cufa Dorsae. This false-color mosaic was created from 28 images obtained at seven footprints, or pointing positions, by Cassini's narrow-angle camera. At each footprint, four images using filters sensitive to ultraviolet, visible and infrared light (spanning wavelengths from 338 to 930 nanometers) were combined to create the individual frames. The mosaic is an orthographic projection centered at 64.49 degrees south latitude, 283.87 west longitude, and it has an image scale of 196 kilometers (122.5 miles) per pixel. The original images ranged in resolution from 180 meters (594 feet) to 288 meters (950 feet) per pixel and were acquired at distances ranging from 30,000 to 48,000 kilometers (18,750 to 30,000 miles) as the spacecraft receded from Enceladus. The view was acquired at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 73 degrees.

Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute [high-resolution]
Caption: NASA

Zefrank- True Facts About The Angler Fish

Posted by Youtube user: zefrank1

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Favorite SHow Ep:08: Esquela

After a brief hiatus for the holidays, My Favorite Show Has returned. Much to the delight of, well, me. Also Tara, and the three of you who actually listen to our ramblings. And since It's a new month, not to mention a new year, that means- new show art. This month, it's one of Tara's. We skip most of the goofy stuff this time around, and spend the majority of our time discussing the fallout from the Newtown massacre, violent entertainment, and the future of education. Seriously though, it's much more fun than it sounds like. Plus, I do manage to drag things down at the end with a donkey sex story. So there's that at least.

On This Week's Episode: The fallout from the Newtown massacre. Specifically, the statement from NRA VP Wayne LaPierre, blaming video games and violent media - A town near Newtown, holding a "book burning" for violent games and other media - A NJ student is arrested for drawing weapons in class - The practice of classroom flipping (probably not what you think) - and changing common core standards, turning High school reading lists mostly nonfiction.

Our Favorite Things for the week: Tara embraces the hottest new site of  2009, with her first deep dive into Kickstarter. While I use my time for an all important update on the case of a Florida man, accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a miniature donkey named Doodle. Cause I'm classy like dat. Also check out: The Reigning Monarchs campaign on Indiegogo.

Also in this EP: Having recently decide to take up playing music again, I decided to tack one of my songs onto the end of the show, "The Plight of Patient- X". So please stick around through the credits (it starts at: 1:05:54) to check that out. Or, you could also go HERE to listen on my tumblr. I'd post that song here, but, I still don't have a place of my own to post such things and embed them elsewhere.

As always, if you enjoy the show, please share it with your friends, and rate and subscribe on iTunes.