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BioMed Central has gone beyond conventional scientific publishing and started including movie supplements to scientific papers. I saw this one in my e-mail box and couldn't resist. After all, if you don't have access to a microscope, equipped with a digital video camera, how are you supposed to see these sorts of things? I took a look at the article from Neural Development, from Zolessi, et. al. comparing the development of retinal ganglion cells in vitro and in vivo. In the movie, linked below, the first cell looks a bit like a child playing "Pin the tail ... Read more
You've probably heard about enterprising researchers attaching cameras to dolphins, dogs, and other animals, in order to learn how things look from the critter-point of view. Now, some enterprising lab rats have added a new twist to this technique. It's lab cam! From Attila Csordas , we have a report about researchers documenting their work through film in an unusual way. They put on a funky-looking hat with a digital camera attached and film their hands doing ... Read more
Yikes, I've spilled some DHMO on my hands! What do I do now? Do you know the truth about DHMO? Look at this web site and tell me if you still want to go swimming. Read more
In last week's episode, your assignment was to think of an interesting plant trait and find a description about a gene, related to that trait, by searching PubMed. Since coming up with an interesting trait might be a challenge for some people, let's think about how to approach this step. Picking your trait. ... Read more
Why is an eye, an eye and a nose, a nose? Why do different cells create different kinds of tissues when all the cells in a single organism start out with the same set of instructions (aka DNA)? Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes is a learning activity that helps students discover, for themselves, that certain genes are expressed in some tissues but not in others. My goal here, as part of our NSF-funded project, is to show how students can learn biology by doing science with bioinformatics tools. If ... Read more
Many of you might take this for granted, and I know it seems amazing today, but I when first started teaching, our access to scientific literature was pretty limited. I could go to the UW and use Grateful Med to search Medline, but we didn't have anything like it at my college and web browsers, like Mosaic, had yet to be invented. So, when I first started giving workshops for teachers on biotechnology and the world of the web, many were quite surprised to find out about the PubMed database. Since PubMed is (to me) one of the best resources to ever come along, I think we ... Read more
Awhile back Chemical & Engineering News published a fascinating article called "The Secret Life of Plant Crystals" with some wonderful photos of calcium oxalate crystals. Special cells (called "idioblasts") produce these crystals, with shapes that are unique to each type of plant. Even though 75% of flowering plants make these crystals, no one knows why they make them and in fact, their functions may be as diverse as their ... Read more
Today, we're going to look for rainbows in double-stranded DNA and see what they can tell us about DNA structure. First, we're going to get a structure for a double-stranded molecule of DNA and open it in Cn3D. 1K9L If you want to do this at home and you haven't already downloaded a copy of Cn3D, you may want to read these instructions and get a copy. These directions ... Read more
i-1b1eed7059f467a3112cb1b7920b3402-flower.gifA long time ago, I saw a Star Trek episode where the crew encountered aliens who lived at a different frequency. I may have this backwards, but I think the aliens moved so quickly that no one knew they were there. And until problems struck, our heroes were happily oblivious to the existence of the others. The Plants In ... Read more
"And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard, And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall. " - BoB Dylan Tired of Simpson reruns and the exploits of Friends? [From the WSTA] NOVA is broadcasting an entire series of shows on hurricanes, Katrina, and what the experts predicted would happen should a hurricane ever hit New Orleans. Check out the schedule below.
NOVA Presents "Storm That Drowned a City" Broadcast: Tuesday, September 12, 2006 ... Read more

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