Reblogged from whisperoftheshot
Fully connect your home to your smartphone with Ninja Blocks ($200). This compact, completely customizable/hackable device allows you to connect with a variety of sensors and actuators to monitor and control things around your home, all directly from your cell phone. The starter kit includes a temperature and humidity sensor, a wireless motion sensor, and a wireless door bell; it’s and affordable to add more as you need. Of course, hardware is just part of the solution, which is why the app lets you set rules for controlling different items and appliances, and can alert you when someone’s at your door, when a door or window is open, or even if it’s getting too hot in your wine room.
Reblogged from beautifulthingsawaityou
The world’s most famous living scientist, physicist, cosmologist and obsessor of black holes Stephen Hawking turns 71 today. We should all take a moment to appreciate all of his accomplishments, the knowledge he has and shares with the world.
“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”
this man is such a badass.
Reblogged from jtotheizzoe
Coming of Phage
Everything you’ve been taught about phage is wrong. Well, maybe not everything. Heck, maybe you’ve never been taught anything about phage in the first place! But if you’ve ever encountered a story about this family of bacteria-infecting viruses, I’m willing to bet it included a picture much like this:
That geometric lunar lander is the standard illustration of phage such as T7. It looks exotic and alien, a freakish example of biological symmetry, but it’s pretty accurate to hte actual biology: The icosahedral protein head, the protruding neck that it uses to pierce the membrane of its victim so that it can inject its genetic material … and the legs.
Wait a sec, those legs need revising. Some really cool new research by Ian Molineux (who taught my graduate school molecular bio class, btw) says that all those “legs-out”, moon lander drawings of phage probably aren’t right.
In the video above you see that, according to the electron imagery they report in their Science paper, those legs stay tucked up next to the body for most of the free-floating life of the phage. It sort of drags one or two along, waiting to hook onto an appropriate bacterium that it can infect, at which point it extends the rest of the legs to go into full infection mode. To give you an idea of how hard this was to observe, a single phage is only around 20-30 nanometers wide, which means you could fit about 4,000 of them across the width of a single human hair!
It might seem like a small, ho-hum tidbit of research at first, since who really cares about a virus that infects bacteria? But phage are incredibly important. Phage have driven a great deal of the evolution of life on Earth. They are vehicles of gene swapping that have allowed genomes to expand and become more complex. They are veterans of 70+ years of biology research, from back when we first identified DNA as a genetic material to today’s exotic synthetic biology applications. A great deal of what we know about molecular genetics is because of these little guys, and we’re still making the most basic discoveries as to how they function.
Never let anyone tell you that there’s nothing left to discover! We have scarcely begun to fill in the colors, even for the most basic parts of biology’s palette.
Reblogged from kickstarter
Look what you did.
It’s been an inspiring year.
We’re celebrating the most creative projects and memorable moments on Kickstarter in 2012. Looking back, we couldn’t be prouder of this community or more excited for the future. Thanks to all the creators and backers who make it happen — here’s to 2013!