Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DNA Origami

This I found absolutely amazing. Senior Research Associate at Caltech, Paul W.K. Rothemund, has invented a process for creating images from DNA. 

(from his website at "Each of the two smiley faces above, at right, are actually giant DNA complexes imaged with an atomic force microscope. Each is about 100 nanometers across (1/1000th the width of a human hair), 2 nanometers thick, and each is comprised of about 14,000 DNA bases. 7000 of these DNA bases belong to a long single strand, a DNA molecule that just happens to be the genome of the virus M13. The other 7000 of these bases belong to about 250 shorter strands, each about 30 bases long. These short strands fold the long strand into the smiley face shape. I call the method "scaffolded DNA origami". (For the record: there is no fundamental significance to the fact that it is viral DNA; I could buy it and it was cheap and pure. M13 is a bacteriophage---it can make the bacteria in your intestine sick but not you!)"

Brilliant! IBM is now looking into the technology for possible computer hardware applications.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Don't Wait Until You Die!

Coffins aren't just for dead folks anymore. There's something undeniably classy about a well-polished casket, and many Colorado residents can't wait to close the lid. 

The Emma Crawford annual coffin races (an event which I had the good fortune to attend last year) have been held since 1994 in Manitou Springs, CO. Every year, attendants gather to memorialize Miss Crawford, a 19-year-old woman who died of tuberculosis at the turn of the 19th century. Her body, buried high on Red Mountain, was sent shooting down the cliffs when they eventually eroded. You can probably infer the rest of how the tradition began. If you're interested, the 2009 races will take place in downtown Manitou on October 24th. You can read more about it on the chamber of commerce website:

However, if you don't live close enough to be a part, there are others ways to enjoy that new casket smell without all the downsides of being a corpse. The "Coffin Kart, For Your Budding Little Undertaker" is a brilliant D.I.Y. project for a rainy day in the garage. Made from a child-sized coffin and the parts of riding mower, the mostly self-explanatory building process is depicted here:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Spider Thoughts:

Two things about the spiders that I forgot- this movie is amazing. You should watch it-

And 2nd, this is the caffeine web above this text, hopefully it'll actually post this time. 

The Spider Experiments.

When you give a spider a will weave webs that look as though they were built by a creature missing a good-sized chunk of brain. At least, it will if that cookie contains mescaline, a favorite drug from the '60s (my uncle used it during his stay at a hippy commune to 'help' his tuba playing). Now, you might be wondering why such a strange scenario would ever arise, that anyone would want to create inebriated arachnids.

The experiments on the effects of drugs on spiders began in 1948 when zoologist H.M. Peters was having difficulty conducting his regular studies on the animals. The spiders tended to spin their webs during the early hours of the morning. Rather than sacrifice his own sleep to research, Peters followed the advice of a colleague and tried giving the spiders a dose of amphetamine. Although the arachnids continued their same nighttime habits, something else changed.

Depending on which drug the spiders were administered, they created radically different webs. The mescaline spiders, for example, made webs that appeared only half finished. This was due to the fact that the administered drug weighed its body down, making more web necessary for any movement. Other substances tested include LSD and caffeine, that latter causing the insects to construct extremely irregular webs (depicted here). The results of the experiments can be read about in much greater detail in "The Biology of Spiders" by Rainer F. Foelix.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Eat My Work

So, here's the first piece of mine to be published in a long time. The magazine is called Steampunk, which is a microgenre of science-fiction that you may have heard of, you may not have. The basic premise is to explore what would happen if the Victorian world met 21st century technology. Anyway, the magazine is available in print and downloadable for free @:

My story is "The Useless Pistol", and if you don't read it, little ghosts will fly out your nostrils.  

Greetings, Earthlings

Hello everyone, and welcome to my blog, still downy and new as a baby chick (or an infant with Hypertrichosis).

You don't know me, so I'll introduce myself. I'm a small-time artist and science-fiction writer from the Boston area, currently wrapping up my liberal arts associates degree. After that I intend to move on to what I really want to do, which is art history or museum studies, maybe a history of science minor.

Get to it already, you say, and I shall. I started this blog primarily in order to promote interest in those freaks of nature that are my stories, and also to occasionally stick my opinion on a piece of literature in as well. On a completely random side note, I enjoy folklore, gadgetry, and anything paranormal, so any viewer of this page shall be subjected to relative articles as well. Now, fear my blogging.