Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fibonacci Numbers in Biology

Fibonacci numbers are found in the sequence below:
1, 1, 2,  3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144...and so on.

how is this sequence made?
and you get the point.
Fibonacci Spiral

Fibonacci numbers are often seen in nature, in fact they're everywhere. Snails, pinecones, flowers, pineapples, plants, even down to the living cell. These numbers are seen in plants to optimize the use of sunlight. It's not like the plants have this number programmed in them or anything, it's just that over time through natural selection the plants that tend to survive are the plants that have the leaves that capture the most sunlight.

If you look at yourself close enough you begin to see the fibonacci numbers in yourself. One nose, 2 eyes, 3 segments to each limb, and 5 fingers. Even our DNA molecules measure 34 angstroms and 21 angstroms wide (angstroms are a very small unit of measurement).

So what does this all mean. Do fibonacci numbers run the world around us or is it all just a coincidence? Sometimes it is a coincidence.  

talents include: referencing every thing to a disney movie.
But many times we see these ratios and numbers in living things around us because that proved to be the most efficient way to evolve. 

To go more in depth about this concept visit this site.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The World Through A Colorblind Person's Eyes

What is colorblindness?

It's not always black and white, colorblind people can see colors but they just can't differentiate between certain colors. In fact only the most rare type of color blindness is black and white. The most common type of colorblindness is red-green colorblindness, this is where people mix up the red and green colors hence the name. Most people inherit the condition from their mother because colorblindness is an X linked trait.
The retina of the eye has 2 types of light sensitive cells called rods and cones. Rods work in low light conditions (like nighttime) and cones work in daylight specifically to differentiate colors. The cone cell also has three types; Each type of cone cell perceives each primary color. Colorblindness is usually caused by a fault in the cone and/or the pathway from the cone to the brain.

For example, playing "I Spy" with someone might be a little difficult (I discovered this early on with my younger brother). Christmas colors would look like a mixture of yellowish-green and color coordination your outfits in the morning in the morning would be a nightmare, good thing my brother has me.

Cool info graphic I made on colorblindness. 


Monday, April 14, 2014

I Sleep With One Eye Open At Night

On This Edition Of Cool Animals:

For humans and other land mammals sleep involves complete or partial unconsciousness. But what if I told you this wasn't the case for dolphins (and other cetaceans, like orcas and whales). Instead these animals undergo "unihemispheric slow-wave sleep" (ooh fancy words).

When it's time for a dolphin to go to sleep it'll close one eye and shut down the opposite hemisphere of the brain, the left eye being controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain; because we all know that the half the brain controls the opposite side of the body right. During this time the side of the brain that is awake controls the breathing functions and monitors what's going on in the environment. Within a 24-hour period the dolphin switches the eyes every 4 hours.

Many scientists believe dolphins have evolved this way they would drown if they didn't keep half their brain active because they need breath consciously, this type of sleep also allows the dolphins to keep an eye out for danger literally and they also can control muscle movement which helps them maintain a warm body temperature in the chilly ocean.

flying dolphin
Did you know: the dolphin has an partially unfused neck vertebrae which means they can turn their head a 180 degrees. 
Imagine a dolphin in a horror movie oh my. 
horror movie dolphin

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tasting The Food Your Twin Eats

Krista and Tatiana are craniopagus twins, basically means they're connected at the head. They share a structure called the thalamus, this organ is responsible for processing our senses and creating consciousness. Since they are connected by the thalamus many scientists believe they see the world different from the rest of us.

Dr. Cochrane believes the two girls can see through each other's eyes. He came to this conclusion after conducting a test and watched Krista's brain respond after shining a light into Tatiana's pupils (pretty neat huh?). Another time one girl could be watching TV while the other is looking somewhere else, and the twin not watching TV will laugh at what is happening onscreen. This also affects their sense of taste. Krista loves ketchup, but Tatiana hates it (she obviously has a bad taste in sauces). Once while Krista was eating ketchup Tatiana tried to wipe off her own tongue even though she wasn't eating any ketchup. 

*brain explosion noises

Although I can't understand why someone wouldn't like ketchup?

Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm Made Of The Ashes Of Dead Stars

"the nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made of interior collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff" 
- Carl Sagan 
Every element on the periodic table is made of starstuff actually, expect for hydrogen. hydrogen isn't.

The video doesn't really explain all that much (although it is very well made and gives a sort of nostalgic feeling) the link below explains a lot more.
But the video is cool too or else I would't have embedded it here.


Monday, March 3, 2014

How Octopuses Camouflage And Much More

In the depths of the ocean many animals have evolved to use camouflage as a self defense technique. But how? Because that would be very useful to me. Unfortunately only selected animals can camouflage because you need these cells called chromatophores which are pigment containing and light reflecting organelles. The Octopus (and many other animals that can camouflage) can control these cells with their brain. Imagine changing your skin color by just thinking about it. In addition to changing it's skin color the octopus can shrink and stretch it's skin to make it look like a different texture.

If this animal wasn't cool enough, octopuses also have 3 hearts. 2 pump blood through each of the gills and 1 pumps blood throughout the body. Another self defense technique is that octopuses release black cloud when spotted, this gives the octopus time to swim away. The black ink has a substance to dull the predators sense of smell making it harder to attack the octopus. And if all else fails a octopus can lose an arm to escape the predator's grasp and grow it back later.  How cool.

The most famous octopus of them all.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Sorry I'm Allergic To Bright Light"

Bright lights make 1 in 4 people sneeze.

Everyone sneezes when something enters their noses (or in my case pollen, it's the worst...I genuinely believe it makes me sneeze more then it actually fertilizes flowers). But some people who have a genetic disorder where they sneeze every time they are hit with bright light. Why? Well the human brain has a bit of a mix up. When light hits our eyes the pupils shrink, this reflex is called the pupillary light reflex. When the signal for this reflex is sent to the brain it gets a bit mixed up. The sneeze reflex is confused with the pupillary light reflex; that's why when the pupils shrink because of light, the brain mixes up the message and the sneeze reflex is triggered. This phenomenon also known as autosomal dominant compelling hello-opthalmic outburst or

the ACHOO syndrome. (ha)

This is a completely legitimate gif to use and you can't tell me otherwise.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Forbidden Colors (The Colors We Can't See)

If you listened in elementary school to your art teacher or just have basic common sense you should know that red-blue is called purple (or violet if you're one of those people). Now just imagine red-green...
you can't, it's probably just and ugly shade of brown if anything. 

Well just like red-blue has a color called purple, red-green has a color too...we just can't see it. This color just hits a blind spot in our brains. Frustrating it is, knowing that there is a color out there that just you can't see. Our eyes have these neurons in our retina that tells our brain that we are looking at the color red, same with the color green. Most colors we look at require a mixture of neurons to send a signal so we know what color we are looking at. When we look at the color red and green simultaneously the red light cancels out the green light, so we are never able to see what those two colors look like coming from the same place.
I have been waiting patiently for a chance to use this gif

Well almost everyone isn't able to see that color in their lifetimes...
In the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory a scientist has been working to prove the existence of "forbidden colors". He created striped images that are retinally stabilized(ooh fancy words), basically means that both colors had equal amounts of brightness. When the experiment is done correctly people who were lucky enough to see it said "it was like seeing the color purple for the first time".

Perhaps someday we will be able to see forbidden colors with a cool handheld-color-viewer-device-thing.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Sloth.

What hangs upside down from trees and lets beetles live in it's fur?
The Sloth.

Sloth's are creepy.

Sloth's are one of the most amazing animals in the world and they most certainly are not creepy. You know what is creepy? 
The "Aye-Aye"
But we're talking about sloths so back to the subject. 

The Sloth is known for being super lazy and it's true they are very lazy. They move at an average of 6-8 feet per minute, in fact they move so slow algae grows on their fur. This in the end proves to be beneficial to sloths because they mostly stay up in the trees so the greenish tint on their fur is a form of camouflage. The algae also benefits from this symbiotic relationship, since sloth fur is long it absorbs water which the algae can use to grow. Sloth fur is also a popular housing spot for beetles, cockroaches, and ciliates. One study found more than 950 beetles living on a sloth. See I told you they were important. 
Three toed sloth hanging from tree
The main source of nutrition of a sloth is leaves, twigs and fruit, this is mainly the reason why they are so lethargic. Sloth's have a 4 part stomach which digests the food that it eats, it can sometimes take a month before a single meal is digested. The sloth spends as much a 20 hours a day sleeping while hanging or curled up on a tree branch. Sloths only leave the tree to get rid of waste in their body because once they leave the tree they are exposed to many predators and their only form of defense is their long claws. Eagles are even known to snatch up small sloths! Although they are mostly found in trees they are excellent swimmers because of their long arms, they are known to drop from tree branches into water.

Scientist say very long ago the sloth used to be the size of a present day elephant. Can you imagine seeing a sloth that big! That would be so amazing. 

In conclusion sloths are amazing animals that are greatly under appreciated. We should learn more about them and admire their lazy way of life. So instead of saying "sloths are creepy" think again because you're wrong. 

Info Graphics!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Kiwi Nation

Save The Kiwis. Save The Nation

The Apteryx australis better known as the kiwi bird is one of New Zealand's most endangered animals. These birds were named after their distinctive shrill cry "kee-wee kee-wee".The kiwi bird are by far the smallest living ratites and lay the largest egg in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world. These birds are classified in the phylum chordata and class aves.

The North Island Brown Kiwi, Apteryx australis mantelli is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island and with about 35,000 remaining is the most common kiwi. The Kiwi population of 80 years ago was around 5 million birds. Today they have plummeted to 50,000 - 60,000. Kiwi birds have been called a genetic leftover. Their characteristics seem are very odd probably due to the fact that they haven't evolved much at all. They are suspected to be about 8 million years old. That's 7 million years older than humans. Kiwi are a significant national icon, equally cherished by all cultures in New Zealand. Kiwi are a symbol for the uniqueness of New Zealand wildlife and the value of our natural heritage.

Kiwi Nation is not a real organization sorry

These videos are fake but Kiwis are actually endangered!

REAL ORGANIZATION <--Click here if you want to help Kiwis :)