Nanoparticles

Tiny UPS... or something You've learned about phage therapy, quorum sensing and quorum quenching, which means, hello PhD! I'm just kidding, no grad student has the time to jump from topic to topic like this. But for us curious nerds, the next topic in the fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria is nanoparticles. Specifically, using them…

Quorum Sensing

Chattering Bacteria Ever notice how animals are able to communicate, move, hunt, and travel in large groups? Bacteria are no different. Quorum sensing, in the simplest sense, is bacteria chatter. Instead of using words, they use chemicals. Once these communication chemicals build up to a certain level, they affect gene expression and transcription. Antibiotic Resistance…

Correlation, Causation, and the NFL

It's Football Season... Tom Brady posted about the Madden "curse" the other day and it got me thinking, "Is it really a curse or just clever manipulation of events?" Of course, this reminded me of how often people confuse correlation with causation. My initial example (on my Instagram account) was about vaccines and autism (that's…

Sterilization of Milk

Ah! Milk on the Shelf If you've ever traveled to Europe, you'll notice something interesting. In the grocery stores, milk and eggs sit out in the aisles unrefrigerated. What kind of magic is this?! The secret to Europe's room temperature dairy products is sterilization and vaccinations. Milk Bacteria While pasteurization kills most of the bacteria…

Carbon Neutral

Carbon In, Carbon Out What does it mean when an energy source is carbon neutral? Does using it still emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? What are some examples of carbon neutral sources of energy? Are all renewable sources carbon neutral? You've already learned about molten-salt reactors as a possible new source of energy. In…

The Lager Story

The German Lager Compared to the Belgians, German beers are rather monotonous. Instead of using ale yeast, lager yeast (a more chilled out yeast) is used in the brewing process. There are two historical events to thank for all this: a beer purity law and a duke. The law was called the Reinheitsgebot and it…

The Lambic: Belgian Microbe Magic

Cantillon Tucked away in a small alley in Brussels, there's a brewery that still practices open fermentation. Hundreds of yeast and bacteria in the air (the "open" part) are responsible for brewing (the "fermentation" part) a very special kind of beer called the lambic. Unlike other breweries you may have visited, this one has no…

Falsettos and Vocal Fry

vocal register

There's a theory that the violin was made to sound like the human voice. As a violin player, I can attest to the degree of precision one needs in order to coax out that sound. So what makes the human voice so special? Why, the muscles of the vocal cords! With practice, humans can make…

Vocal Cords and Fry

Violin, Vocal Cords There's a theory that the violin was made to sound like the human voice. As a violin player, I can attest to the degree of precision one needs in order to coax out that sound. So what makes the human voice so special? Why, the muscles of the vocal cords! With practice,…