Infinity Imagined
Multicellular Organic
Neural Network
Lives in Nitrogen-Oxygen Atmosphere
270 K - 300 K
Eats, Breathes, Thinks, Creates
atomstargazer:




 Crescent Moon Rising and Earth’s Atmosphere  







On Feb. 1, 2014, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata tweeted this view of a crescent moon rising and the cusp of Earth’s atmosphere. Distinct colors are visible because the dominant gases and particles in each layer of the atmosphere act as prisms, filtering out certain colors of light.
Image Credit: NASA
A story about my work has been published in the UVic newspaper “The Ring”!

One student’s grand view of the smallest things
Invisible worlds exist all around us. UVic biology undergrad James Tyrwhitt-Drake has made it his mission to reveal the smallest of those worlds, with spectacular results.
The invisibility of microscopic creatures, much like the perceptual invisibility that comes with the speedy flapping of a hummingbird’s wings, requires special equipment to capture and appreciate. For Tyrwhitt-Drake, that equipment is the scanning electron microscope (SEM) in UVic’s Advanced Microscopy Facility.
Tyrwhitt-Drake’s enthusiasm is contagious: he thinks of himself as a “science artist” and explains the motivation behind his work in grand terms. “I just want to show everyone that the world is beautiful.”
“We so often use technology as simply a tool for comfort,” he clarifies, “but it can also be used as a window into other worlds; into the worlds around us that the human body cannot experience unaided.” [continue reading]
what-dimension asked: Do you think that intelligent life is the universe's method of reproduction?

I think that life is a method by which the universe produces systems that resemble parts of itself from different perspectives.  A ‘mind’ is a simulation or dynamic replica of a volume of the universe that is generated by a system of interacting particles.  The mind of each organism resembles its local universe to promote survival by enabling behavioral interactions with its environment.  In this way each mind is a fractal shape of the universe experiencing itself.  What we call ‘intelligence’ or more accurately ‘consciousness’ may be the degree of fractal recursion within a universe-replicating system.  

ageofdestruction:

astarte: Horizon of Europa, photographed by Galileo, 1st February 1999.
Images adjusted so the horizon is always level and at centre; in the originals it is tilted about 45° and toward the bottom right corner.
Image credit: NASA/JPL. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.
At the origin of the phenomenon of scientific knowledge, we find wonder and the contemplation of reality, as we find it created in front of us and not in accordance with the affirmation of our sensibilities or a preconceived image. Therefore, to say that in the mind of the scientist there is something like a childlike spirit is not a rhetorical phrase but indicates a distinctive feature of the attitude required to understand reality: to know how to look, to allow oneself to be amazed by what is there.
A warmer Arctic could permanently affect the pattern of the high-altitude polar jet stream, resulting in longer and colder winters over North America and northern Europe, US scientists say. The jet stream, a ribbon of high altitude, high-speed wind in northern latitudes that blows from west to east, is formed when the cold Arctic air clashes with warmer air from further south. The greater the difference in temperature, the faster the jet stream moves. According to Jennifer Francis, a climate expert at Rutgers University, the Arctic air has warmed in recent years as a result of melting polar ice caps, meaning there is now less of a difference in temperatures when it hits air from lower latitudes. “The jet stream is a very fast moving river of air over our head, but over the past two decades the jet stream has weakened. This is something we can measure,” she said Saturday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. As a result, instead of circling the earth in the far north, the jet stream has begun to meander, like a river heading off course. This has brought chilly Arctic weather further south than normal, and warmer temperatures up north. Perhaps most disturbingly, it remains in place for longer periods of time.  
Image Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio [x]
A major winter storm imaged by NOAA’s GOES-East satellite on February 11, 2014.  This storm is the second in two weeks to cause snow and freezing rain to regions of the United States that rarely experience it, including Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina.  The unexpected cold weather has caused significant disruptions to transportation, resulting in hundreds of accidents and trapping thousands of motorists in gridlock.
Land surface temperature anomaly for Alaska, January 23rd to 30th, 2014, compared with the 2001 - 2010 average for the same week.  This image is based on data collected by the MODIS sensor on NASA’s Terra satellite.  A persistent ridge of high pressure off the Pacific Coast fueled this warm spell, directing warm air and rainstorms to Alaska instead of California. The last half of January was one of the warmest winter periods in Alaska’s history, with temperatures as much as 22°C above normal on some days in the central and western portions of the state. The all-time warmest January temperature ever observed in Alaska was tied on January 27 when the temperature peaked at 62°F (16.7°C) at Port Alsworth.  Numerous other locations all set January records.
Images of California taken on January 18th, 2013, and January 18th, 2014, by NASA’s Terra satellite.  California is experiencing a record drought, possibly the driest year on record.  Snowpack is 10-30% of normal and vegetation cover is greatly reduced.  Water shortages are expected to have a severe effect on agriculture and the environment, prompting a state of emergency.
An extratropical cyclone over the United Kingdom, imaged by NASA’s Terra Satellite on February 12th, 2014.  This storm caused heavy rains, flooding, winds in excess of 160 kilometers per hour, and power outages for more than 700,000 people.  January was recently declared the wettest month on record by the UK Met Office.
A helical TALE protein molecule wrapped around a double helix of DNA.  TALE stands for “Transcription Activator-Like Effectors”, they are produced by Xanthomonas bacteria when entering a plant cell.  They manipulate the host cell by switching on certain genes that make the plant cell more susceptible to infection.  TALE subunits bind to the nucleotides of DNA in a 1:1 ratio, and each subunit has a pair of amino acids that is specific to a single DNA base.  This enables the TALEs to recognize and activate specific sequences of DNA.
Animation rendered from PDB file 3UGM with qutemol.
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