Extinct porpoise had a pronounced underbite

Skimmer porpoise skull and jaws Credit: Rachel Racicot

Skimmer porpoise skull and jawsCredit: Rachel Racicot

I got to write about a fossilized porpoise that had a pronounced underbite, a feature that’s seemingly unique among mammals. Based on their study the researchers think the extinct California porpoise may have used its extended lower jaw to probe for prey on the ocean floor.

The fossil […Read More]

Axon: A game about growing neurons

Axon game

Axon, a game about growing neurons

Wellcome: Axon Game.

Wellcome seems to have an interesting collection of educational web games. Axon, in particular, seems pretty fun to play (although my 5-year-old computer seems a bit too slow for it).

They have more on their main games page. I was impressed with how […Read More]

Microscopia: A web game

The Friday Game: Microscopia – Edge Magazine.


A quick little diversion, Microscopia was apparently created in just 48hrs. It sort of simulates what it’s like to look at bacteria under a microscope. A simplistic take on it, to be sure, but it’s an interesting idea given how simple the design is.

Given that I did a fair amount of microscopy in graduate school, thankfully I had slightly more interesting things (such as Toxoplasma parasites in human cells) to look at, although of course they were mostly fixed and […Read More]

Wellcome Image Awards 2012

The Wellcome Image Awards 2012 winners are here, stunning as always. I think my favorite is the image of caffeine crystals shown above (by Annie Cavanagh and David McCarthy). The Arabidopsis seedling, mothfly and bacterial biofilm look really cool as well, but they’re all worth checking out–here is the winners’ gallery.

[Wellcome Image Awards 2012 | Wellcome Image Awards.]

Lizard Multimedia

This quarter I worked on a lot of multimedia projects, all focused on the same researchers I wrote my feature on. They’ll all be up on ScienceNotes 2011 soon, but in the meanwhile I thought I would put them up here.

First up, a revised version of my Slideshow, about Alison Davis’s work on lizards forming families:

And here’s a podcast and a video about Amy Patten and her research on the effects of climate change on lizards:

Lizard Podcast

The […Read More]

Researchers find lizards that form families – A slideshow

A short slideshow created for class, created in SoundSlide. It’s based on my feature article on lizard researchers at UC Santa Cruz who found that Desert Night Lizards live in families, unusual behavior for a reptile. It also talks about how they’re studying the effects of global warming on these lizards.

I created it first in Garageband, synchronizing short clips from previous interviews to the images, and then moved it over to SoundSlide to create the slideshow.

Update: I received extensive feedback on the slideshow, and will be posting an updated (and enhanced version). I learned how to clean […Read More]

One last scientific publication, for old time’s sake

Nearly two years after I graduated, some of the last work I did as a graduate student testing antibiotic derivatives on Toxoplasma to see if they might eventually lead to anti-malarials, has finally resulted in a Journal of Medicinal Chemistry paper on which I’m a middle author.

I think this is probably the last publication that will result from my graduate work, and it’s almost funny how distant it seems.

Anyway, here’s my foray into drug discovery and chemical biology, for those brave souls who want to read it: Chemistry and Biology of Macrolide Antiparasitic Agents.

How Visual Illusions Make Your Brain Flip

How Visual Illusions Make Your Brain Flip.

Interesting research on trying to identify the region of the brain which causes you to switch between two ways of viewing certain optical illusion.

The study points to the superior parietal lobe being involved, but I found the study method even more interesting than the results.

Check out the link up top to read more details and actually see the video of the optical illusion that the researchers used to figure out when volunteer’s brains flip from one view to the other.

[New Scientist Via Gizmodo.]