Antony van Leeuwenhoek’s diagram of bacteria in pepper water. 

Porter, J. (1976). Antony van Leeuwenhoek: Tercentenary of His Discovery. Bacteriological Reviews, 40(2), 260–269. 

Antony van Leeuwenhoek’s diagram of bacteria in pepper water. 

Porter, J. (1976). Antony van Leeuwenhoek: Tercentenary of His Discovery. Bacteriological Reviews, 40(2), 260–269. 

The 6th of August…. This was to me, among all the marvels that I have discovered in Nature, the most marvelous of all; and I must say for my part, that no greater pleasure has yet come to my eye than these spectacles of so many thousands of living creatures in a small drop of water moving among one another, each individual creature with its particular movement. And if I said there were a hundred thousand in one droplet… I should not err. Others viewing this would multiply the number by fully ten times, but I state the least. My method for seeing the very smallest animalcules I do not impart to others; nor how to see very many animalcules at one time. This I keep for myself alone.

Antony van Leeuwenhoek on his discovery of bacteria (small “animalcules”) in pepper water. Written October 9th 1676.

Porter, J. (1976). Antony van Leeuwenhoek: Tercentenary of His Discovery. Bacteriological Reviews, 40(2), 260–269. 


David S. Goodsell is an Associate Professor of Molecular Biology at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Both a researcher and an artist, Goodsell creates beautiful pictures of intracellular machinery alongside his scientific experimentation to help everyone visualise molecular and cell biology in a different - and stunningly beautiful - way.

When asked about his work, Goodsell responded, “Biological systems are a source of constant amazement for me. I use a combination of hand-drawn and computer graphics illustrations to reveal the invisible world of molecules inside cells. Computer graphics is a perfect way to display the atomic details of biological molecules. Using experimental coordinates determined by x-ray crystallography or other methods, we can see the position of every atom, and examine how they work together to catalyze a reaction or carry genetic information.”

His paintings are usually created through ink drawing and watercolour, taking inspiration from computer models and graphics of cells. The images shown here are six illustrations commissioned as a project for Biosite.

Top left: This illustration shows a portion of basement membrane, a structure that forms the support between tissues in the body. It is composed of a network of collagen (yellow green), laminin (blue-green cross-shaped molecules), and proteoglycans (deep green, with three arms).

Top right: A small portion of cytoplasm is shown, including three types of filaments that make up the cytoskeleton: a microtubule (the largest), an intermediate filament (the knobby one) and two actin filaments (the smallest ones). The large blue molecules are ribosomes, busy in their task of synthesising proteins. The large protein at bottom center is a proteosome.

Middle left: Blood serum is shown in the picture, with many Y-shaped antibodies, large circular low density lipoproteins, and lots of small albumin molecules. The large fibrous structure at lower left is von Willebrand factor and the long molecules in red are fibrinogen, both of which are involved in blood clotting. The blue object is poliovirus.

Middle right: Part of a muscle sarcomere is shown here, with actin filaments in blue and myosin filaments in red. The long yellow proteins are the huge protein titin.

Bottom left: This view shows DNA being replicated in the nucleus. DNA polymerase is shown at the center in purple, with a DNA strand entering from the bottom and exiting as two strands towards the top. The new strands are shown in white. Chromatin fibers are shown at either site of the replication fork.

Bottom right: A portion of a red blood cell is shown in this illustration, with the cell membrane at the top, and lots of hemoglobin (red) at the bottom.

All images courtesy of David. S. Goodsell, whose homepage can be found here.

Boston Molasses Disaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

At about 12:30 in the afternoon near Keany Square,[3] at 529 Commercial Street, a molasses tank 50 ft (15 m) tall, 90 ft (27 m) in diameter and containing as much as 2,300,000 US gal (8,700 m3) collapsed. Witnesses stated that as it collapsed, there was a loud rumbling sound, like a machine gun as the rivetsshot out of the tank, and that the ground shook as if a train were passing by.[4]

The collapse unleashed a wave of molasses 25 feet (7.6 m) high at its peak,[5] moving at 35 miles per hour (56 km/h).[1] The molasses wave was of sufficient force to damage the girders of the adjacent Boston Elevated Railway's Atlantic Avenue structure and tip a railroad car momentarily off the tracks. Author Stephen Puleo describes how nearby buildings were swept off their foundations and crushed. Several blocks were flooded to a depth of 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm).

via Caleb

2 months ago - 1


Musical artist Imogen Heap has developed “gestural music gloves” which are poised to not only disrupt how we interact with our hard/software due to the availability and versatility of so many emerging technologies, but will change our experience with live music forever. What’s more, the ‘Music Gloves’ will be open-sourced, so they’ll be constantly in transition, with far-seeking applications into the future across multiple fields, if not all.

The brief rundown (from her website):

Using a unique gestural vocabulary, motion data-capture systems, and user interfaces to parameter functions developed by Imogen Heap and her team, artists and other users will be able to use their motion to guide computer-based digital creations. The Musical Gloves are both an instrument and a controller in effect, designed to connect the user fluidly with gear performers usually use, such as Ableton - think minority report for musicians brought to you by the DIY/maker revolution.


As the only ever female solo artist to be awarded a Grammy for best-engineered album (Ellipse, 2009), this solution sees the creativity of Imogen Heap applied to music technology in a complete symbiosis between invention, composition and performative innovation.


The gloves are in a pre-commercial status, Imogen being the Alpha tester. The team is currently looking for other artists wanting to become beta-testers and get a custom set of gloves made for their anatomy and creative ambitions. Please feel free to contact us if you want to join the project’s evolution and be part of making this available to more talents and purposes.

Read the full story on these “magical music gloves as Imogen refers to them, and watch Heap perform, showcasing the Music Gloves during a 2012 Wired Talk (spoiler alert: it’s amazing).

I have music in my hands, and the playground of the stage around me.” — Imogen Heap


Image above from TEDGlobal 2012, where Imogen Heap performed with the gloves on stage for the first time.

Visit The Gloves Project for more on this game-changing tech, along with Imogen Heap’s new website dedicated to the Music Gloves.


How the Recession Reshaped the Economy, in 255 Charts

Incredible visualization by the NYTimes of the economic changes in the US over the last 5 years. Great job using interactive visualization to make lots of disparate data intelligible and explorable on one page. 

via Caroline McCarthy

3 months ago

See New York's future defenses against storms and rising sea levels

via andybons

3 months ago

Visual account of protein investment in cellular functions

New paper out today from the Milo Lab at Weizmann (that I contributed to very minorly). Author summary - we made pretty pictures of proteomes of 10 organisms ranging from cyanobacteria to humans. The figure above is of the proteome of a Synechocystis cyanobacterium. The pictures are both pretty and useful, we think. You can easily see which proteins and which biological systems are abundant in different growth conditions in your favorite organism at

3 months ago

BrewPi released! All source code online, a wiki, a forum, a bug tracker.. Let's go! -

Very cool open source beer fermenting system. Via Elad Noor.

3 months ago

Q: Why Do Animal Cells Stay So Small? A: Gravity

Biologists have generally attributed the limit to the difficulty that large-volume cells face in obtaining nutrients. But researchers at Princeton are now offering another answer, one that has nothing to do with food and everything to do with force: gravity. Clifford Brangwynne, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering and the scientist who led the research, has put bioengineering techniques to use to suggest that it’s gravitational force that imposes the size limit on cells. The rare cells that are larger than 10 microns in diameter, his work has found, seem to be the exceptions that prove the rule: They have evolved as they have in part to support their contents against gravity.

4 months ago