TED Fellow Greg Gage Turns a Smartphone Into a Microscope
Bringing About The Neuro-Revolution
The Cochroach BeatBox
Daphnia Magna – Birth of the Next Generation
One way to test for the presence of toxic compounds in a water sample is a bioassay. In a bioassay, a living organism serves as a detector for toxins—the same way canaries were used in coal mines to detect invisible toxic gases. In this project, water fleas (Daphnia magna), a freshwater crustacean, are used in a bioassay to monitor water quality. Many variations of this experiment are possible.
Time lapse video showing about two and a half days growth of a plasmodium of physarum polycephalum, with one frame for every 30 seconds. Temperature, humidity and lighting were not controlled (except for pulling the curtains). Sometimes condensation forms on the inside of the petri dish lid. About 75% through there is a gap of about 40 minutes.
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Beaker Amazing Grace
Using beakers with water filled at various levels, the hymn Amazing Grace can be performed.
Neuroscience – SpikerBox
Gregory Gage of Backyardbrains.com shows how to measure the electrical activity of a neuron in a cockroach leg. At around the 12:00 minute mark, Gregory pumps the electrical signal from music on his iPhone into the cockroach’s leg, causing it to twitch in time with the beat. (The cockroach’s leg will grow back.)
Unwinding The Silk Filament From The Cocoon
Silk is one of the oldest known textile fibers and, according to Chinese tradition.
A typical adult silkworm moth is yellow or yellowish-white, with a thick, hairy body, and has a wingspread of about 3.8 cm (about 1.5 in). The adult has rudimentary mouthparts and does not eat during the short period of its mature existence; the female dies almost immediately after depositing the eggs, and the male lives only a short time thereafter. The female deposits 300 to 400 bluish eggs at a time; the eggs are fastened to a flat surface by a gummy substance secreted by the female. The larvae, which hatch in about ten days, are about 0.6 cm (about 0.25 in) long. The larvae feed on leaves of white mulberry, Osage orange, or lettuce. Silkworm caterpillars that are fed mulberry leaves produce the finest quality silk. Mature larvae are about 7.5 cm (about 3 in) long and yellowish-gray or dark gray in color.
About six weeks after hatching, the common silkworm stops eating and spins its cocoon. The length of the individual fiber composing the cocoon varies from 300 to 900 m (1000 to 3000 ft). The silkworm pupates for about two weeks; if allowed to complete its pupation period, it emerges as an adult moth. Tearing during emergence damages the silken cocoon beyond commercial use. Therefore, in the commercial production of silk, only enough adult moths are allowed to emerge to ensure continuation of the species. Most of the silkworms are killed by heat, either by immersion in boiling water or by drying in ovens.