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Author: Lab Mom | Views: 1953 | Comments: 6
Last by Bryan on May 23, 2012, 12:14pm
Over on my personal blog I have been lamenting the fact I live in a 100 year old house and absolutely hate what a money pit it has become. To put in perspective how long ago 100 years really is, I looked up a few facts about life in 1905 (the year my money pit was built) .

"When this house was built Teddy Roosevelt was president, there were only 45 states in the Union, most people still drove a horse and buggy, and milk cost 14 cents per gallon. It was the age of the Victorians. Automobiles, the railroad, radio, the world series, airplanes and indoor plumbing were all in their infancy. Albert Einstein still hadn't finalized the theory of relativity, and William Bateson suggested the term "genetics" for the very first time. The average weekly salary was $12.98 and the average life expectancy was 47 years. Child labor and racial segregation were prevalent and women wouldn't be given the right to vote for another 15 . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 10313 | Comments: 12
Last by Unhappy on Jun 09, 2012, 1:16pm
Angela Monaghan is a geophysicist living in southwest Montana. In her spare time she trains and field trials her Hellfire Springer Spaniels, sporadically blogs as GeoFizz and tweets as MTHellfire.

*This entry contains a YouTube video*

"Tide goes in and tide goes can't explain that." Bill O'Reilly recently told Dave Silverman of American Atheists, during a recent airing on Fox News as they debated the integrity of religion.

Although I was disappointed Dave couldn't just blurt out "It's the MOON, moron" and melt Bill into a gooey puddle of religious ignorance, I did sympathize with him. (Just look at his stunned facial expression!) He was probably thinking the same thing I was, it's impossible to rationally argue with a person who thinks facts don't matter anyway.

The frightening aspect to a highly paid TV personality being so ignorant should be obvious. There are thousands, if not millions, of people watching who might be even more ignorant than "Bill-O The Clown", and who might believe every ignorant thing he says is true.

Recently, I was told through a Facebook i . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 3045 | Comments: 7
Last by LeStonga on May 09, 2011, 9:40am
Sean Marshall is a science communication practitioner living in Ireland. He produces and presents the Science Chat podcast and associated blog. He blogs and podcasts mainly on issues and topics related to science communication, education and outreach. He also writes (fiction) and plays electric guitar (noisily). Sean can be found on twitter as @arthurpdent42.

So many people, I mean soooo many people have been saying to me over the past few weeks (in Ireland - unsurprising as that's where I live) that how can people be talking about climate change and global warming when this year and last year we've had such snow as hasn't been seen in these parts for years. Of course, the fact that we're having some really cold weather with plenty of snow doesn't contradict global warming. Global warming is a climate change effect that can cause many types of weather anomaly, and an overall increase in global temperature doesn’t have to cause locally warmer weather, it’s a bit more complex than that, and you have to understand how climate relates to weather. . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 1204 | Comments: 17
Last by Alena on Jan 06, 2012, 12:34pm
Alchemystress is a graduate student working on her PhD in Chemistry. She works on instrumentation, biotech, microfab and nanotech. She is in her first year of a PhD program but second year of graduate school. Alchemystress started out as a biochemistry student and did a BS in biology and has worked in the proteomics field of cancer research for about 2.5 years before starting her work in chemistry.


I am super feminine, but not girly, I dress classic like Audrey Hepburn but have tattoos, and skulls on my keychain, working on a quarter sleeve in fact. I am a chemist that does engineering and biology. I drive a truck and wear high heels almost everyday. I model, I do runways, I build mass specs and nanodevices. I spin fire, and am an honorary part of a fire circus and I teach organic chemistry. I did Burning Man, I did research on a boat in Hawaii. I have a horrid curiosity to the point where I want to know everything even, when I am not interested. I hike and love the outdoors, camping and getting dirty but enjoy a good dance club as well. I drink whiskey and smoke cigars sometimes, and I also like to run long distances.

I think people forget that to be successful doesn’t m . . . More
Author: Suzy | Views: 8622 | Comments: 6
Last by Suzy on Feb 17, 2011, 10:19am
OK, let’s pick up our discussion where we left off last week, at feasibility. You did it. You successfully convinced a room full of vice presidents and directors, or maybe even the CEO that they should take your fabulous product idea to the next level. You’ve got marketing on board, excited to promote it and now it’s time for the work to begin.

You are the lead scientist so this will be your baby. You most likely are working on other projects too so you have to divide your time wisely. An R&D scientist always has multiple projects as various stages of the development process. You don’t get to spend full time on one thing. You know what your deadlines are and the target dates for giving updates to the committee and you make it a point to meet them.

I think to fully explain how a product is developed it would be helpful to have an example. Let’s use an example of something that no one has ever figured out how to do yet but almost everyone wishes they had a solution for. How about:

A novel method that allows for any protein of any size or sequence or species to fold correctly when recombinantly expressed in E.coli cells.

No inclusion bodies, no toxic . . . More
Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 6196 | Comments: 3
Last by Mike Bramnik on Mar 26, 2011, 11:09pm

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Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 2063 | Comments: 14
Last by katie_phd on Mar 17, 2011, 9:57am
This week's guest blogger is Image Goddess who is a PhD Scientist with a multidisciplinary background. She has a degree in a field within the biological sciences and is currently enjoying life after graduate school. She blogs at


When you're in graduate school, especially in the biological sciences, your life is your dissertation work. You live it. You breathe it. If you're like most doctoral students your dissertation work is everything. You are in the standard doctoral student mold created by the system you have to go through to get that coveted degree. And because your whole life is focused around getting your degree, after several years all you can think about is getting done and moving on. But you're often afraid to think about it. Where are you going to move on to? That's the big question. You've spent years dedicating yourself to obtaining this degree, to your research, but now what? And frequently, you don't want to think about it un . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 1723 | Comments: 9
Last by Ragamuffin on May 04, 2011, 12:57am
This week's guest blogger is Kristin Lammers. She has an MS in chemistry from Rutgers University and is currently a PhD student at Temple University in physical chemistry. Her thesis work is on environmental chemistry and CO2 sequestration.


I recently read Jade's post about what she would want to study if she wasn't working in the biotech industry. She indicated that she would love to research multiple sclerosis and this has motivated me to share with you my perspective on life as a graduate student. In actuality, we may all go through the thought process of questioning our current path in the sciences. This is usually catalyzed by some experiment gone wrong or when we are in the “negative region of the sine wave”, which is quite a common case in graduate school. However, my perspective really isn’t too far of a stretch from the life of a graduate student, just that there is one extra hurdle to deal with, and maybe an extra abundance of caffeinated drinks. I have been “blessed” with (a) MS. Yes, the degree in chemistry and the autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis. Interestingly enough for me, I rec . . . More
Author: Alchemystress | Views: 1724 | Comments: 11
Last by Alchemystress on Jun 08, 2011, 10:26pm
Hello gentle readers… or something. So I know I have been very, very quiet as of late, on twitter, on labspaces, etc. Well, I have had a rough few months, and sort of reclused myself from the world to deal with it all. I had to put everything else on hold and take care of business. My physical friends have seen very little of me as well, but I think I have everything under control now, and have time once again to delve into the world. So here is the low down on my insane life:

I’ve been having a hard time in my lab group. Miss Jade has been more help than I could ever say; I owe her huge thanks because she has been a great sounding board for advice, and I am happy to say I took it and am in a much better place because of it. So first, things in my lab group were getting rough. I know there is snide politics everywhere, but - I wasn’t shielded from any of it (to put it lightly). The work became rather uninteresting, and my capacity as PhD student rode on the line of technician. Plus, we did all research on one instrument and there were 5 of us vying for time on it. No data could be done except on that instrument, and each experiment run to set up etc. would take between 8-12 hours… I am sure at this point you are seeing some of the problems we were having.
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Author: genegeek | Views: 700 | Comments: 3
Last by genegeek on Sep 03, 2010, 8:26pm
Have you heard of Terry Fox? He is a Canadian hero and 30 years ago today (Sept. 1), he had to stop his Marathon of Hope due to a return of his cancer.

I was 10 when Terry Fox started his Marathon of Hope. I had been in hospital a lot and thought it was pretty cool that a sick guy from around Vancouver was out there doing stuff (yeah, that's the kid lens). As I got older, I got a better appreciation for the determination, courage and idealism that he possessed.

“I'm not a dreamer, and I'm not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer, but I believe in miracles. I have to.” Terry Fox

Terry Fox lost his leg due to osteosarcoma in 1977. Three years later, at the age of 21, he started a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. He ran a marathon every day! He rested (didn't run) on only 4 of 143 days.

Let's think about this - a marathon every day? If I count up my running mileage, I run a marathon every 2 weeks. So, I'm taking up a new challenge and I invite you to join me. I'm going to run at least 6 days per week until I run 1961 miles. Note: may have to have a few walking days until my mileage incre . . . More
Author: Evie | Views: 2173 | Comments: 8
Last by katesisco on Jun 01, 2011, 2:12pm
I'm excited about this new finding. Not only because water is a good thing to have in the far reaches of space, but because the new theory of how the water got there came into existence by analyzing new data, and discarding an old theory.

It is so important to remember that everything we think we know about stuff, can be totally turned around when new or additional information becomes available.

Back in 2001, water vapor was discovered in a cloud around a Carbon star named IRC+10216. It is the most studied carbon star to date. A Carbon star has an atmosphere containing more carbon than oxygen. The two elements combine to form carbon monoxide and the reaction continues until all the oxygen is consumed, leaving carbon atoms free to form other carbon compounds. This gives rise to the Carbon star's characteristic red 'sooty' look.

Located roughly 500 light years from Earth, IRC+10216 also known as CW Leonis, is about 4 times as massive as our Sun. Size wise, if placed in the center of our own solar system, it would sprawl out beyond . . . More
Author: Disgruntled Julie | Views: 1043 | Comments: 13
Last by Odyssey on Aug 05, 2010, 8:17pm
A female physician with a successful career and family once tried to explain the work-family balance to me as: "You can have it all; you just can't have it all when you want it." In other words, she went for the whole good things come to those who wait cliche -- in other words, eventually, someday, you'll retire and then you'll get the family life you craved while you were working. I tend to think of it more like "You can have your cake and eat it too, but your cake will be triple wrapped in the freezer taunting you for years before you get to take the first bite." Whatever it is that you want, it's right there waiting for you... but if you want it all, patience is key. Sure, you can jump right in and sink your teeth into the cakey goodness (assuming you like cake; I do not), but then the cake will be all gone too soon and you'll spend the rest of your life wondering if you should have waited. On the other hand, you can not-so-patiently wait, hold your hands over your ears while everyone else talks about how great their cake is, and then, when the time is right... unwrap that (slightly stale) cake and enjoy a life of bites.

So why has my life philosophy been reduced to pastries? Well, you see, I have my cake, and I am in the long, slow, pain . . . More
Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 4922 | Comments: 6
Last by JanedeLartigue on Oct 15, 2010, 12:42pm
24hrs or less to live. Gotta make the most of it!

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Author: Evie | Views: 2418 | Comments: 8
Last by Evie on Aug 17, 2010, 1:58pm

Net Neutrality is a very important issue.

If you’re not familiar with the term, here’s how Wikipedia describes it:

“Internet neutrality is a principle proposed for user access networks participating in the Internet that advocates NO restrictions by Internet Service Providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and no restrictions on the modes of communication allowed.

The principle states that if a given user pays for a certain level of Internet access, and another user pays for the same level of access, then the two users should be able to connect to each other at the subscribed level of access.”

Net Neutrality is all about safeguarding your freedom to choose what sites you visit, without being restricted or hindered. You should have the ability to check out both CNN and MSN, you should be able to watch videos on YouTube, and Vimeo. That sounds fair.

But what if for instance, and this is JUST an example, CNN were to strike a deal with an internet service provider and say hey, if we pay you some extra money, would you provide higher bandwidth to CNN sites and lower bandwidth to our competitors . . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 1728 | Comments: 12
Last by Thomas Joseph on Jan 12, 2011, 2:11pm

Coruscant - an ecumenopolis

What are sci-fi movies trying to tell us with images, and themes, like the above? The term ecumenopolis comes from the combination of the two Greek words ecumene and polis -- in other words, a city made of the whole world. It is featured in Star Wars (as an example) as the planet of Coruscant (pictured above). Watching the movie one may note that there is no visible greenery on the planet, no visible water, and even major landscapes are dwarfed or have been wiped out by buildings. It is a theme that has been mentioned numerous times in science fiction, and a listing can be found in Wikipedia. While it seems like a thing of fantasy, the view of North America from space at night suggests otherwise (see below).

An ecumenopolis in the making?

My thoughts turned to such notions as I was reading the following article, which is definitely worthy of a read. The article discusses the issue of mesopredator release, which is when small- to mid-sized predators are released from the pressures of their own predation by large-sized predators. Since they are no longer pre . . . More
Author: Psycasm | Views: 2273 | Comments: 20
Last by Pascal Wallisch on Nov 04, 2010, 1:10am

[Wherein our Hero considers the consequences of being Blonde. Notes for femme fatale bank-robbers...]

So this was a topic I received via twitter, or perhaps I was being alerted to a finding via twitter... in any event I've decided to run with it.

The tweet was referencing the degree of eye-contact men make with women who have different coloured hair. Though I couldn't find an article addressing that direct question it seems that the implication is that hair colour influences the perceived attractiveness of women in men. I think the folk wisdom is that, yes, it certainly does; but the bigger question is how might such a difference manifest in the real world. Ok, so men are nicer to women who they find more attractive? There are some good (evolutionary) reasons why this might be the case; and I would also suggest that women are nicer to men they find more attractive.

But again, so what?

Well, apparently there are some pretty big differences. Let's begin with those who receive tips during their work. It seems tips increase with breast size, and hip-to-waist ratio, but start to decline if the ratio is too large or the breasts are too far either side of some 'optimum' t . . . More
Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 3652 | Comments: 4
Last by Will on Oct 28, 2010, 5:09pm
I've had this one floating around in the back of my mind for a while.

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Author: the modern scientist | Views: 1601 | Comments: 13
Last by the modern scientist on Oct 23, 2010, 3:24pm
Greetings LabSpaces readers! Several times this summer, I tried (and failed) to kick the dust off this blog. I've decided to let those partially finished posts simmer a while longer because I simply could not pass up the opportunity to incorporate my other passion–all things Mac–into a blog post. As you probably noticed, this post coincides with an ongoing contest here at LabSpaces to win one of these magical devices, so perhaps it will further motivate those who are in the running.

I admit I was skeptical of the iPad when it was announced last January. I have a very capable computer and phone, so why would someone like me need another device? When would I use something that is too limited for serious computing and too big to fit into my tiny (and staying that way) purse? I never found good answers to these questions, so I didn't investigate further. As serendipity would have it, I was given an iPad as a gift about a month ago. Having used it regularly since then, I have found several uses–some of them scientific–for which the iPad is my device of choice. I have decided to share this list and, while I don't intend for this to turn into a review of iPad applications, I felt it would be us . . . More
Author: Evie | Views: 10844 | Comments: 8
Last by Mike VH on Jun 18, 2013, 11:15am
Physics is cool.

It turns out that in the big bad dark vastness of the ever expanding, contracting, and moving universe, you can find certain spots that are always at rest.

Well I mean that’s all relative. They’re at rest relative to more massive bodies orbiting in their vicinity.

Say you’ve got your Sun and you’ve got your Earth, and you’re a much much smaller object, like a satellite, or space telescope. Well as it turns out, there are 5 points in space, not too far from both those bodies, which if placed at, you would appear to be holding your position steady with respect to both those large bodies.

This means, that even though you’re in motion, the Sun is in motion, the Earth is in motion, and the rest of the galaxy is hurling toward the unknown, you will still be in very good company. Your Earth and your Sun will literally always be there. In the same exact (relative) spots.

I think that is pretty damn cool.

What you're seeing here is an animated sketch of the relative motion of the bodies in question. The big yellow ball in the middle is the Sun, the blue small one is the Earth, and the labeled green points are the 'parking spots'. This pic is from Wikipedia, . . . More
Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 632 | Comments: 14
Last by Thomas Joseph on Nov 23, 2010, 12:01pm

I'm back! And here's an early treat from my photographer and good friend, Todd Adamson

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