Cool Stuff from Last Semester

I did some cool stuff last semester in my science classes that I’d like to show you guys.

The gist of it is… This picture:


This is a picture taken by my lab group in my basic lab technique class last semester of a mouse fibroblast cell moving into a simulated wound on a glass slide.

Fibroblast cells are kind of like the contractors of your body when you get a scratch or wound. There are your first responders to the “disaster,” your immune system, and then fibroblasts go in to start the process of rebuilding your tissue by laying the foundation for other cells to move in.

A lot of scientists are interested in wound healing. How can we make it faster? How can we make it better so people don’t have lingering problems after the superficial injury has healed? How can we prevent infection? How can we prevent scarring?

Those questions are tested with a variety of experiments but one of the msot common is the scratch assay.

A bunch of fibroblasts are grown on a glass slide until they practically cover it. Then the slide is scratched.

The fibroblasts move into the scratch, thinking it is a wound. Their movement into the scratch is measured in a couple different ways and those measurements can tell us a little bit more about how wounds heal.

Which brings me back to the picture my lab group took. Obviously its got a lot of color and is very prety, but what are all those colors? What’s going on in that picture?

My lab group scratched the space above the big cell in teh picture. The cell is now moving into the scratch.

The red lines are called actin. Actin is the support structure of your cells. Cells move by extending actin filaments where they want to go and breaking them down behind them.

The green parts are called vinculin. Vinculin is spread throughout the cell and localizes into spots where the cell is attached to a surface to assist in adhereing to that surface. All those bright green spots are where the vinculin is helping the cell hold onto the glass slide.

The blue parts are cell nuclei. Each cell has one nucleus and I’ll bet you can pick out the one that belongs to all the actin and vinculin in the middle of this picture.

I did a lot more stuff on scratch assays in this class and leaarned a few new techniques, but the best part was definitely getting this picture.

Oh and apologies to any color blind people. I have no idea how to spearatae out the red and green things for you. Enjoy!

-GoCorral

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Dorrowsan

Dorrowsan

Dorrowsan is a city with about 30,000 people living it. The city is a single structure made entirely out of magical ice. The ice doesn’t melt despite high ambient temperatures and does not chip when attacked with a non-magical weapon. It does melt when an everlasting torch is put next to it, even though such a torch is just an illusory flame that produces no heat.

The fortress’s temperature is a comfortable 72˚F (22˚C) with a slight wind in larger rooms. Sunlight penetrates the walls illuminating every room, hall, and passageway, but one cannot see through the ice into other rooms. Food, furniture, and items can be produced at will if the person doing so is in a calm state of mind. In combat a Concentration check is required of DC 15+how many rounds the combat has lasted. The created things all have a look similar to the ice and will melt if taken from the fortress.

Obviously such a paradise would attract many people, but the city is run like a mystical cult with many odd organizational principles and rituals. The societal classes are split into colors with White being on the bottom going through Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple to the highest Black. To get into the city you must give up your possessions and wear a robe according to your color. If you wish to have your items returned you are given a tattoo that signifies that you are never to enter the city again. One is upgraded from each color for doing something considered exceptional for their current ranking and downgraded for doing something dishonorable. The society’s rules are vaguely Japanese in structure.

The different ranks don’t have any significant responsibilities as the fortress provides enough that no real work is needed. Each rank simply has a level of control over lower ranks. Hence if a Yellow wanted a Red to help him make a table with their minds then the Red would have to help or risk demotion.

Dorrowsan exports a few magical items in exchange for commodities that can’t be produced by the fortress. The imports are mostly good food and other luxuries such as blankets that the fortress is incapable of making from ice.

An odd thing happens in Dorrowsan at sunrise that seriously disturbs foreigners. All of the people wake up, go outside of the fortress, and stand in what would look like a military parade. They then simultaneously empty their bowels and pee. The excrement is quickly burned by the people before they retreat to the fortress. This is done every day in silence and when mentioned to the residents of the city the event is always denied.

The leader of the city is titled The Great Lump. Prior to the events of the Second Alliance War, The Great Lump was a fire giant priest named Chirrigar. The people of Dorrowsan, instead of being unnerved by the identity of their ruler were honored to have such a wise and strong protector. The ice in the Dorrowsan shrank and retreated to accommodate space for whatever he did. Chirrigar’s scepter gave him this power and allowed him to see through the walls. The scpeter counts as a +4 Flaming Burst Mace. The scepter can also be used to control the people in the city who wear the robes or have the tattoos, but only when the sun shines its brightest, sunrise. He maintained the morning ritual as a cruel joke upon his subjects.

Chirrigar was walking through the desert after his tribe had been wiped out by a Blue Dragon when he found the scepter. He went to the Dragon’s cave and slew it, taking its hoard he spread the word to humans of his new city he had seen in a divine vision. He went to the site of the city northwest of the desert and planted a large piece of quartz he had found in the Dragon’s cave. It grew and grew and took on the shape that Dorrowsan has today.

Dorrowsan initially joined the Xorians in the Second Alliance War. Chirrigar used the scepter to physically move the icy city towards Dalleer. Upon reaching the city he challenged the Alliance to single combat. The Alliance would send forth a champion to fight the Great Lump. The winner would gain control of both Dalleer and Dorrowsan. Hektor of Lakatia represented the Alliance and defeated Chirrigar by beheading him.

The scepter that controlled the city was given to Kig Yupington. He moved the city east to Jipangu to train with other new recruits to the Alliance.

-GoCorral

Home Movie Review

A week after moving into our new home my wife and I had some of our friends over to celebrate my birthday.

We went out to eat and then saw the Dreamworks movie, Home.

The movie is about an alien race that invades Earth and takes over everything.

The trailer didn’t talk about this much, but the invading race, the Boov, are running away from another alien race, the Gorg.

The Boov move all the humans on Earth to Australia and deposit them in a prefabricated idyllic suburban complete with ice cream and amusement park rides for everyone (nevermind that most of the world wouldn’t consider this a paradise but a horrible alien environment).

The Boov overlook one human in the abduction process, Tip.

Tip and her cat, Pig, soon hookup with an outcast Boov, Oh. Oh is as socially awkward as someone can be and also accidentally sent an email to everyone in the galaxy, inviting them to a housewarming party on Earth. Everyone in the galaxy also includes the Gorg who will be coming soon to blow up the Earth.

The rest of the Boov are looking for Oh. Oh is running away from them with Tip, but to get her cooperation he has to help find her mother who was moved to Australia.

The trailer can probably tell you the rest of what you can expect from the movie. Oh doesn’t understand human culture and Tip teaches him about it.

I liked the movie a lot. It is a traditional kid’s movie where everyone gets a happy ending with no consequences, but that’s fine.

The acting is well done by Rihanna and Jim Parsons. They aren’t playing characters that are significantly different from what they’ve done before. A little typecasting never hurt anybody.

The movie has great coloration as well. I don’t often expect movies to be that visually pleasing.

The Boov have all sorts of colors for their technology, going all over Earth presents tons of different landscapes and colors, and most important of all the Boov themselves have tons of colors to represent their different emotions (blue for neutral, red for anger, yellow for scared, green for lying, etc.).

The movie had the ever present issue of “Why does everyone speak English in space?” but that’s something you get over after watching and reading tons of science fiction stuff.

It was the perfect movie for my loosely space themed birthday party! We had a cake with stars and a moon on it after the movie of course.

-GoCorral

The Giver Movie Review

The Giver Movie Poster

My wife and I went on a date last weekend to see The Giver and we both really liked the movie.

It was a faithful adaption of the book and I felt it was a good movie on its own as well.

There are a few additions to the movie and a few things removed as well. Of course this sort of thing always happens in movie adaptions of books.

For example, Two scenes that I really enjoyed were not present in the movie, Jonas tossing an apple and seeing it turn red in the air, and a more direct explanation of precise language that Jonas receives from his parents.

In the book, Jonas says he is starving. His parents correct him and say that he is only hungry, not starving.

The movie skips that scene, but contains plenty of other pieces of dialogue that illustrate the precise use of language the people have developed in The Giver‘s utopia.

My wife was disappointed that the movie did not include the variety of gifts the children receive for each year of advancement. Only the bike at year nine is in the movie.

The special effects and acting in the movie were excellent. I loved that it switched back and forth between black and white and color. Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep were amazing as always and the young actors put forward impressive performances as well.

My wife’s major complaint (and I agree with her) was that the movie was too short. It’s only about an hour and a half long. The movie could’ve easily been lengthened and included all the things that we missed from the book.

I’d definitely recommend the movie for those who enjoyed the book or for people who get as excited about utopia/dystopia stories as I do.

Oh! And fair warning, Taylor Swift is in this movie and it utterly destroys your suspension of disbelief when she shows up.

-Mister Ed