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Updated: 13 hours 37 min ago

White Line Warrior

21 March, 2015 - 10:07

A song of history, chemistry and exploitation

White line warrior
Heading up the Inca Trail
Silkroad Surfer
Hides behind electric veil

Foothill courier
En route to the promised land
Fuelled with a bitter taste
Torment is in her hand

Global decimation
One in ten, where worlds collide
Find the taker nation
A future lost for lack of pride

Main line quarrier
Digging up the dragon’s tale
Milk wet citizen
Finds the time to read the mail

Timeline warrior
Waking in the promised land
Works a little haste
Though history’s in his hands

Global decimation
One in ten, where worlds collide
Find the taker nation
A future lost for lack of pride

Words & Music by David “dB” Bradley
Vocals, Fender and Ibanez electric guitars
Taylor acoustic guitar
Yamaha bass

Drums Klaus “daFunkyDrummer” Tropp

Mixed and mastered by dB

Heads down proggie rock with layers of guitar in the early 80s Rush vein (sans keyboards) and with the awesome Klaus Tropp on drums being the Neil Peart to my Alex Lifeson ;-) Where’s Geddy?

White Line Warrior is a post from the science blog of science journalist, photographer and musician David Bradley
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Categories: Science Blogs

Listen up bat man, this is a sound book

20 March, 2015 - 08:52

Think of a plant trying to attract a pollinator and the image of brightly coloured flowers with sweet bowls of nectar perhaps come to mind. You might also be aware of the ultraviolet landing strips that guide insects towards the flowers sexy bits where pollen is picked up and deposited. There are even plants the flowers of which resemble female insects and so a libidinous male will attempt to mate unwittingly with the structure and do the pollen transfer business too.

What I didn’t know until I read “The Sound Book” by Trevor Cox is that some plants use, not brightly coloured flowers, but noisy leaves to attract their specific pollinator. The Cuban vine, Marcgravia evenia, stands out aurally from the rainforest crowd. At least to the local bats. The vine produces a ring of flowers on an arching stock and atop the stalk a leaf that is concave and hemispherical hangs over the flowers. This structure reflects the ultrasonic chirps from the bats hunting insects on the wing.

SB-bat-vine

Amazingly, while the vegetation of the rainforest presents to the bat a complicated soundscape of endless echoes that shimmer and shake as it flies through the trees, that convex vine leaf is a steady signal. No matter at what angle the bat flies past, it can sense the vine as the chirps are focused by the leaf. Marc Holderied of Bristol University, UK, and colleagues have confirmed (in 2011, it was all over the science news, how did I miss it?) that the bats benefit from the presence of these leaves in the rainforest, finding food twice as fast in areas where the vine grows than when there are none. For its part, the plant increases its chances of being pollinated by being a focus of the chiropterine aviators who also benefit from a tasty supply of nectar from the ring of flowers.

How could you not want to read a book that reveals such a wonder? Cox, who acoustically engineers classrooms and concert halls for a living reveals many more exotic noises: creaking glaciers, whispering galleries, stalactite organs, musical roads, humming dunes, seals that sound like alien angels, and a Mayan pyramid that chirps like a bird. Listen up, this is a book worth reading.

The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World Paperback (2015) Trevor Cox, Published by W. W. Norton & Co; ISBN-10: 0393350584 ISBN-13: 978-0393350586.

Listen up bat man, this is a sound book is a post from the science blog of science journalist, photographer and musician David Bradley
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Categories: Science Blogs

The hormone’s on the wall

16 March, 2015 - 11:09

Molecular astrophysicist “Invader Xan” just posted a photo on Twitter showing a chemical structure painted on the wall at Schloss Ringberg. It looked like a steroid hormone to me and Invader, but were weren’t sure which. It didn’t take more than a minute or so for me to draw it on the emolecules site and do a quick search: 17-acetyl-10,13-dimethyl-1,2,6,7,8,9,11,12,14,15,16,17-dodecahydrocyclopent a[a]phenanthren-3-one, better known as progesterone or pregn-4-ene-3,20-dione a hormone involved in menstruation, pregnancy, embryogenesis in humans and other species.

invader-xan-steroid

The hormone’s on the wall is a post from the science blog of science journalist, photographer and musician David Bradley
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Categories: Science Blogs

Grammar numpty flowchart

16 March, 2015 - 10:50

We’ve all been there…spotted a typo in someone’s tweet, an unfortunate autocorrection, bad grammar, misused apostrophes, their instead of there, tragic spelling mistakes. Grammar and spelling are important, of course. But, is it your place to correct your fellow twitter users? Maybe they’re on a crowded commuter train and simply desperate to share that photo of a sleeping passenger dribbling over The Times crossword, maybe they have other things on their mind (Instagramming their food, yelling (virtually) whassup via WhatsApp, liking something unlikeable on Facebook, etc etc). Either way, don’t get labelled a grammar numpty, use this hand flowchart to help you decide whether to interject when you spot a typo or other error…

grammar-numpty-flowchart

Grammar numpty flowchart is a post from the science blog of science journalist, photographer and musician David Bradley
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Dopamine and Desire

12 March, 2015 - 12:44

We are all essentially addicted to dopamine…we seek out things that stimulate the release of this neurotransmitter in our brains, dopamine activity hooks into the pleasure and reward centres, it makes us feel good. Some things stimulate those centres more than others…but whatever your choice, it’s down to dopamine…

Dopamine & Desire

White sheets without emotion
Soaking up your fever
Watching from the corner of your eye

Floating round in circles
Your limbs as flailing cleavers
Thrashing with the torment in your eye

The pulse of failed addiction
Scratching at the ceiling
With the needles of desire

Tomorrow never knows what today would bring
The day before the aftermath
The eve of all the yesterday’s bitter sting

Words, music & production by dB
Vocal, guitars, bass, programming dB

dopamine-and-desire-pinterest

Dopamine and Desire is a post from the science blog of science journalist, photographer and musician David Bradley
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Epigenome links nature and nurture

10 March, 2015 - 17:41

“Cells use their DNA code in different ways, depending on their jobs [heart, brain, lung, skin cell etc] — just as the [chamber] orchestra in this video can perform one piece of music in many different ways. The combination of changes in gene expression in a cell is called its epigenome.”

Epigenomic changes are chemical changes, ‘tweaks’, to DNA and to the protein packaging the DNA. They don’t directly affect genes themselves but affect regions of the genetic code that turns genes on or off. Methylation is one such tweak that primes a gene to be switched off. Environment, diet, exercise and activity, whether you smoke or drink, and many other external factors can alter your epigenome, thus providing a link between nature and nurture, your behaviour, health, longevity, and even those characteristics of your offspring and grandchildren. More on the symphony playing in your cells here.

KEYWORDS: Epigenome, epigenomic, epigenetics, genetics, genome, genomics, gene, genes, DNA, methylation, health, disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease (AD)

Epigenome links nature and nurture is a post from the science blog of science journalist, photographer and musician David Bradley
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Categories: Science Blogs

WebElements: the periodic table on the WWW [http://www.webelements.com/]

Copyright 1993-2015 Mark Winter [The University of Sheffield and WebElements Ltd, UK]. All rights reserved.