Bioscience


With a title like that, there was no way I could pass up this article in a vain search for anything vaguely more interesting. I found this December 2010 article in Wired. Even though I had no idea where this article was going, I was intrigued and very impatient when getting started to read. I had no idea what "mirror-image" cells were or what the author could have been referring to.

The gist of the article put in story form, is that there are these astrophysicists who spend our money and their time trying to discover other inhabitable worlds and the possibility of alien life on these planets. Anyway, disheartened by the fact that he may never see alien life on another planet, one particular scientist gets the idea to create alien life here on Earth. The idea that such life could exist here stems from the fact that we, as humans, exist and our existence could be explained simply as humans are the sum of proteins, amino acids, and sugars and nucleic acids-particularly DNA and RNA.

Keeping the ideas simple and non-scientific, all these "sciency" things do their jobs in our bodies based upon their particular 3-D shape. There are certain proteins that code for specific traits or functions and do so because they are shaped like the letter "I" more so than they are shaped like the letter "T." Because the shapes of these molecules exist in either a left-handed or right-handed fashion, these scientists surmised that they could create alien life based upon the human genome, except that every place there was a human left-handed molecule, a corresponding yet identical right-handed "mirror-image" molecule would be created and used in its place. The same idea would be used for existing human molecules that exist in the right-handed fashion. And there you have it - Bizarro alien, just like the Superman comic!

According to these geniuses, if this pan worked, it would open up a world of new scientific discovery in materials science, drug development, and fossil fuels to name only a few. They also believed that these new aliens would have no known diseases that exist here on Earth and that it could quickly get out of control and try to take over the world-or at least the tri-state area!

So they got to work and found that there were several problems that they had to overcome. Not getting too "sciency," they discovered that the enzyme that catalyzes the reaction of DNA replication, does not work on mirror-DNA. Several other such oversights were noted and are being circumvented as we speak. Anyway, although skeptical, I find that this idea may have some credibility to it. If we exist in either the left-handed or right-handed form (and we do), why couldn't other beings exist as our exact mirror images? Creating these life forms by manufacturing every protein in reverse form would be a huge undertaking; however, the astrophysicists have thought of that too. While working on creating the mirror proteins, others in the field who understand how viruses work have concluded that if these life forms do exist somewhere, then they will be plagued by viruses in much the same way as humans are, and these viruses would be mirror-images as well. Since viruses attack cells by taking over the cell's DNA replication cycles, if we found one of these mirror-viruses we could then get it to replicate mirror-DNA and therefore mirror-proteins so we don't have to. Moreover, the scientists concluded that if any of this works, that would mean that the aliens are already on this planet-us!

These ideas are intriguing to me as I continue my studies into Biology and Chemistry as I plan to apply that knowledge to cancer research. I too can see the implications for "mirror-cures."

Great Science Experiments for Kids

Science experiments can be a fun way to keep kids interested in learning. These experiments explain how electricity is all around us and teach kids the basic principles of static electricity.

Charging a Fluorescent Light Bulb

Objective: This project demonstrates how our bodies contain electricity and how friction creates static electricity.

Materials Needed: A comb, a woollen scarf or sweater, a dark room, and a Fluorescent light bulb.

Experiment: Enter a dark room with the material for the experiment. Have one of the students run the comb through his hair about 20 times. Also, the comb could be rubbed back and forth on the woollen sweater or scarf to achieve the same effect. The friction from rubbing the comb through hair or on the scarf will cause aelectrons to travel to the comb. The friction causes the students body to become positively charged and the comb to become negatively charged. Now place the comb on the metal end of the fluorescent light bulb and watch it flicker in the dark room. As the electrons travel from the comb into the metal end of the bulb, the bulb will begin to flicker as it uses the electricity. This experiment can be used to teach the kids about positive and negative electrons and static electricity.

Using the Force

Objective: This project demonstrates how water is drawn toward electricity.

Materials Needed: A Plastic Comb, A woollen jumper or sweater, and running tap water

Experiment: Positively charge the comb by running it through a student's hair or back and forth on a jumper or woollen sweater. Once the comb has a positive charge through static electricity, turn on the tap water so that there is a small steady stream. Now take the comb and slowly move it toward the stream of tap water being careful not to let it touch the water. When the comb begins to get close to the stream of water, the students will observe that the water will begin to bend toward the positively charged comb. This experiment can be used to show the students that water conducts electricity, and that electricity is drawn toward the water. This is an excellent experiment to use to teach kids to be safe around water and electricity.

Dancing Tissue Paper

Objective: This project demonstrates the pull of static electricity.

Material Needed: Small pane of glass (about 5x10 inches), plastic zipper lock bag, two large books, small bits of paper (hole punched paper works great), foam egg carton material, metal pie pan, scissors, notebook paper

Experiment: Place the two books several inches apart on a table. Sprinkle the small bits of torn up paper between the two books and then carefully place the piece of glass on top. The pieces of paper should be visible under the glass between the two books. Begin the experiment by rubbing the plastic bag slowly back and forth across the glass. As the static electric charge begins to build between the glass and the plastic bad, the pieces of paper will begin to react. Ask the students what would happen if you rubbed the glass faster or slower. Demonstrate these changes and see if the students were able to successfully predict what would happen. This experiment can also be done by rubbing a balloon rapidly back and forth across the glass. Have the students record their observations in a science journal.

Grumpy Balloons

Objective: This experiment will show how two objects with the same electrical charge will resist each other.

Materials Needed: Two balloons, string, tape, woollen sweater or scarf, scissors, and a door frame

Experiment: Cut two equal lengths of string and hang them from the door frame. Blow up the balloons and hang them both together from the pieces of string. Make sure that the balloons are hanging evenly and slightly resting against each other. Take the balloons one at a time and rub them against the woollen sweater or scarf. Once both of the balloons are charged, gently let them hang from the strings against one another. Observe what happens when both negatively charged balloons are left to rest against each other. Because both of the balloons carry the same charge, they will resist each other and push out against the string.

Computer Science Is A Flourishing Field Of Study

Computers are an important and necessary part of our lives, both professionally and personally. The technicians who repair them are the professionals who are responsible for the maintenance and repair of these machines as well as their auxiliary components. A computer technician tests the computer using specialized equipment to diagnose the source of the computer problem(s). These machines have a multitude of uses and are used daily by millions of people which make computer repair opportunities plentiful for these technicians.

A technician in the field of computer repair might be required to have a Bachelor's degree in computer science or information services, but many repair technicians begin their successful careers with an Associate's degree or applicable certificate. You can increase your value as a computer repair tech by keeping your skills up-to-date attending a vendor or a manufacturer certificate course.

Computer repair technicians can be categorized within two groups. Computer repair professionals are either bench technicians or field technicians. Cnmpanies who are dedicated to the repair of computers in their own repair centers employ bench technicians. Someone who has a problem can bring their computers directly to the bench technician who then troubleshoots and repairs the issue. Companies such as these have the indispensable tools and skilled techs to fix the machines needing repair.

A field tech travels to the computer problem. They also repair computers on-site at a home, an industrial site or an office. These repairs are often required to be done on-site because the computer may need to be repaired off-hours or its size limits its ability to be moved and brought to another location.

Computer techs can also specialize in the specific part they repair. They may concentrate on the hardware only. An example of the hardware would be a smart-phone, laptop or server. Those who specialize in repairing hardware might also be responsible for peripherals like input or output devices or data storage. Hardware technicians will also repair network problems that may occur due to errors in routers, wireless components or fiber optics. Having an area of specialty may require some in-depth training.

Repair workers can also choose a software specialty. Software repairs focus on data retention and protection. Software programmers cannot account for how their software will interact with another company's software. Often, this interaction is the source of the conflict or problem. A software tech will be responsible for the installation of required software updates the programs need to work properly.

Career opportunities in this technology field are showing great potential. A certified or trained repair professional will find his or her skills are in strong demand as companies seek to stay ahead of the technological curve. Their existing devices and software programs are in constant need of technical support that can only be provided by a computer whiz.

Computer repair technology is a relatively new field. Schools that offer both degree programs and certificates, even via online education, are experiencing explosive growth that is needed to match the demand for repair techs. There are computer experts who are successful despite their lack of formal training, but now, the industry's education requirements are changing. A college education, particularly computer science degrees, is preferred and sometimes required to land a job in this field. If a career as a computer repair technician is in your plans, find a program to meets your career goals as you consider your next move.

Stoichiometry


Understanding the concepts of stoichiometry can help students deal with the various mathematical problems in chemistry. When you understand the subject in detail, you will be surprised to know that mathematics has an important role to play in the branches of chemistry. The term is derived from the Greek words - stoicheion and metron. Stoicheion means element and metron means measure. Stoichiometry is an interesting subject that deals with the quantitative relation of reactants, and the products in a chemical reaction.

Stoichiometry works on the three chief laws that form the basis of laws and rules concerning mathematical calculations in a specific chemical reaction. The laws include Law of Conservation of Mass, Law of Definite Proportions, and Law of Multiple Proportions.

Stoichiometry is used to make various calculations in industrial chemistry resulting in the production of many chemicals in our daily use. If you wish to find out the amount of a product that will be created after reacting with some ddfinite amount of reactants then you can take the help of mathematics. So, it can be concluded that stoichiometry is the math after chemistry.

In the beginning classes, students will be asked to balance chemical equations as a part of learning the subject. The basic principle on which it works is that all the chemical elements respond in a specific manner. We all know that when acids and bases react together, they form salt and water. There are certain combustion reactions that take place mainly in the presence of oxygen. An in-depth study of the subject helps students predict the potential course of a chemical reaction, and this further helps them calculate the amount of reactants and products in a certain chemical reaction, according to the industrial requirements. If you are having problems with the subject then you can take the help of a private tutor who is expert in this field.

Let's take for example the formation of a water molecule. It is known that when hydrogen and oxygen come together under some fixed conditions of pressure and temperature, they form water. With the help of stoichometry, a person can actually calculate how much of water can be formed with the precise amount of oxygen and hydrogen gases under the favorable conditions. With the help of balanced equations, it is possible to calculate numerous unknown figures in a chemical reaction. Most of the quantities in a reaction are measured in the terms of mole because it simplifies the mathematical calculations.

If you are having problems keeping up with the class or there are certain areas of the subject that you find difficult understanding then hire a private science tutor in your locality to help you understand the concepts better and develop interest in the subject.

Pythagorean Cup and Siphons

A rather thought-provoking invention, Pythagorean's cup is like any other cup except for a small mechanism located in its center. This mechanism consists of a hollow pipe-like chamber that follows an opening, starting from the bottom of the liquid-holding part of the cup, up to the top of the central column that makes up the cup's core, and back down 180 degrees, out the bottom.

As the pipe curls over the top of the central column, after coming up from the entrance of the cup, its floor marks an imaginary line of sorts. If this line is extended horizontally in both directions, it will trace out a "limit" across the liquid-holding section. This limit is the point at which, if filled further, liquid will begin to siphon out the bottom and onto your lap or feet...Yowza!

See, if the cup is only filled till below this limit or level, you'll never have a problem. It's when you get greedy and begin pouring too generously, that you end up with a wet lap and an empty cup. Due to hydrostatic pressure, once the liquid closes the air passage at the top of the column and begins falling downward, it will "drag" or siphon a trail of said liquid until the cup's contents are completely emptied.

This phenomenon called the siphon is created due to a reduction in pressure at the higher end of the siphon. As gravity pulls the water column down the pipe of the Pythagorean cup, the lower pressure thus created on the other end causes the liquid there to be overpowered, subsequently allowing itself to be "dragged" along, stopping only when the water level either falls below the intake, or the outlet.

If the level falls below the intake, the introduction of air will break the siphon; and if the level falls below the outlet, the pressures at the two siphon ends will reach an equilibrium - which consequently grinds the siphon to a halt. Unless one of these two eventualities occur, the "ideal" and undisturbed siphon can theoretically continue indefinitely without assistance.

And you should know that a normal siphon doesn't require liquid tensile strength in order to work. In other words, even if there is a break or an air pocket within the siphon, where there is absolutely no connection between the water, the siphon can still operate normally. The important things are that the high end is submerged in the liquid and that there is a pressure difference. However, once the siphon has begun, no additional energy is required to keep the flow going - it can now run entirely on autopilot.

Priming the Siphon

You may have experience "priming" a siphon by mouth, and while this works and is suitable for many situations, it may not always be feasible. Another common way to accomplish this is by first plugging up the lower end of the siphon and filling it with liquid. You then submerge the higher end into the upper reservoir. By simply releasing the plug from the lower end, you can kick-start the siphon by utilizing the hydrostatic pressure.

This method is particularly useful when siphoning toxic substances such as gasoline using a simple hose. You should know that attempting to orally prime a siphon submerged in gasoline or any other toxic liquid is potentially dangerous and discouraged. The possibility of either swallowing or aspirating the substance (into the lungs) is high, both of which can cause serinus injury to your throat, stomach, and lungs, resulting even in death.