1. Stare at the red dot for about 20 seconds
2. Look at a white (or near white) wall and blink rapidly
3. Freak out at the awesome power of your brain
You just processed a negative WITH YOUR MIND.
Graffiti Death Star
Recycling is all well and good.But it hardly addresses the real problem we have with our household waste: We throw two-thirds of it in landfills while somehow managing to feel virtuous that we put last night’s empty wine bottle in the recycling bin. Surely we could do better, environmentally and economically.
There is, in fact, value in trash—if you can unlock it. That’s what this facility in northern Oregon is designed to do. Run by a startup called S4 Energy Solutions, it’s the first commercial plant in the US to use plasma gasification to convert municipal household garbage into gas products like hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which can in turn be burned as fuel or sold to industry for other applications.
Photo: Kevin Van Aelst
Ode to a nematode
In the pantheon of animal models upon which basic scientific research relies, no species stands taller (metaphorically speaking) than Caenorhabditis elegans, a tiny worm (just one millimeter in length) that is broadly used to study fundamental molecular, cellular and developmental processes in animals.
Nobel laureate Sidney Brenner was among the first to promote the nematode’s utility as a model organism in the early 1960s for a variety of reasons: It is simple. Its entire neural system consists of exactly 302 neurons. It’s easy and cheap to grow in large numbers – and you can freeze the worms, and then thaw them out for later use. And it’s transparent, making it all the easier to peer at the worm’s internal workings.
C. elegans was the first organism to have its genome completely sequenced in 1998. An adult hermaphrodite worm contains 20,470 protein-coding genes, only slightly less than the estimated total for a human being.
In recent years, scientists have begun creating systemic catalogs of how these genes function and interact, not just in C. elegans but in other model organisms as well. Some of this research is being done by researchers Karen Oegema, PhD, a professor of cellular and molecular medicine and head of the Laboratory of Mitotic Mechanisms in the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at UC San Diego and her colleague, Rebecca Green, PhD.
Rather than studying individual cells, Oegema, Green and co-workers look at the effect of gene inhibitions in the structure of a complex tissue. Sometimes, it results in an eye-popping picture. The image above reveals the architecture of C. elegans’ reproductive tissue – its gonads. Red fluorescent markers highlight cell boundaries; green markers indicate DNA.
GOOD’s got a great gallery of last evening’s Occupy Wall Street clashes in Oakland. So much tear gas.
Things got intense in Oakland last night.
Hollywood is a business. And I don’t fault it for that. It’s a business about money and advertising, and we don’t translate in the foreign market. And a lot of people want to indict Hollywood for that, but I don’t think it’s just an indictment on Hollywood; it may be more of an indictment on people who go to the theatre to put their money down – to see what? You see a film with a predominantly black cast and you don’t see it as inclusive, but you see a film with a predominantly white cast and it is. Why?
I want to be a pioneer; I want to take on the responsibility and the weight of something bigger than myself, which is more diverse storylines, especially for African-American actresses. But I can only do what I do. I certainly can’t change Hollywood’s complete perception of black actresses – I need help.