The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Friday, March 18, 2011

Scientists turn brains into stunning art

From MIT Technology Review: "Harvard scientists devised a way to make mouse neurons glow in a breathtaking array of colors, a technique dubbed “Brainbow.” Using a clever trick of genetic engineering genes for three or more different fluorescent proteins were combined like paints to generate different hues allowing researchers to create a system to make each neuron glow one of 100 different colors. Now, fruit fly researchers have a similar visual show on their hands. Last week, two Brainbow-based methods for making fly neurons glow customized colors—called dBrainbow and Flybow. " Have a look at this incredible art these processes  have created.

Credit: Phuong Chung, Stefanie Hampel, and Julie H. Simpson/HHMI

Graphic: Troops in Afghanistan – what happens after they leave?

This is a nice graphic from showing the troops still in Afghanistan. The good guys that is, as in the NATO led forces.  Not much point showing the Taliban, warlord troops and Al Qaeda fighters ... they're not going anywhere. We, on the other hand, are slowly pulling out. Canada will be be withdrawing at the end of 2011, although a significant number of training personnel will remain. What happens when all the good guys are all gone? With a corrupt government in place, and a tribal society, I don't believe there is much hope of a good outcome. The Taliban will move right back in to fill the void and the warlords will keep the country carved up as before. All that is missing form the mix is Bin Laden.

Videos: Nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima – aerial views

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 is considered the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, and  the only one classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The Japanese nuclear disaster is currently at a level 5. The Chernobyl disaster began during a routine systems test. There was a sudden power output surge, and when an emergency shutdown was attempted, a more extreme spike in power output occurred, which led to a reactor vessel rupture and a series of explosions. This event exposed the graphite moderator components of the reactor to air, causing them to ignite. The resulting fire sent a plume of radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area. Here is the first aerial footage of Chernobyl taken after the disaster:

For comparison, here is the latest aerial video released March 18 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in Japan:

Chart: How sick will radiation exposure make you?

Recent measurements at the Fukushima nuclear plant  in Japan, 1.1 km west of the plant's No 2 reactor showed hourly radiation levels of 279.4 microsievert at 5 am on Friday, March 18, down from 309 and 292 microsievert around the time when the Self-Defense Forces shot water into the reactor. Here is a chart that shows how different levels of radiation exposure affect humans. So far the levels outside the plant are not making the chart, however, exposure to lower levels obviously has many long term negative effects.

Chart from Wikipedia

Scranton woman hides heroin, bags, money and loose change in her vagina

Loose ChangeImage by nicholasjon via Flickr
How many items can a woman hide in her vagina? Police in Scranton, Ohio had a Karin Mackaliunas, 27, searched after she was suspected of robbing an inn. After searching her for weapons, police found three bags of heroin in Mackaliunas' jacket. A more thorough search was carried out after Macalinunas admitted she had more items of interest in her vagina. This is what the further search turned up:
  •  54 bags of heroin
  •  31 empty bags
  •  8.5 prescription pills
  • $51.22

Mackaliunas was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of possession of a controlled substance. Who needs a purse when you can carry your goodies like this!     Read more here