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Showing posts from September, 2015

Why do fish need sunscreen? [Coffee-byte]

Danio rerio, better known as the zebrafish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)If you remember your last trip to the beach and try to list out the things you took for this trip, chances are that the sun block or sunscreen will feature in there. Why just the beach, using a sun screen is almost a part of our daily routine, whenever we know we will be spending time under the sun. But, as you might have noticed, it is only humans who wear a sun block while the rest of creatures walk, swim and fly on the planet, unprotected. As much as we, humans, like to think that we are the smartest on the planet, we actually are not. The fact is that we have to manufacture our sun blocks in factories, whereas fishes can do it on their own. Why just adult fishes, even fish eggs can do this nifty trick that protects them from harmful sunrays.
Research conducted at the Oregon State University, shows that zebrafish can produce this magic chemical called gadusol, that can protect it from UV-B rays of the sun. Before th…

The Science of Success!

A good player rarely makes a good coach

I never quite understood what it tried to say, till I discovered this whole new genre of Hollywood
movies, where a bunch of skinny, dorky looking teenagers come together to beat the star players of the school in a game of baseball, or football, basically any team sport. This whole feat is however impossible, without the guidance of a rather obscure (career wise, of course) coach who has been ousted by the community or who just knows the game too well to be bothered by some trophy that other coaches crave for. But don’t be fooled by their rather tragic past, or even their rude, unkempt demeanour there is something that makes you root for them despite the fact that their track record is not very good. Logically speaking, they have far too much experience losing, which is why we as the audience is always eager to dismiss them as backbenchers, let alone a team to have potential to win. Why is it, (if not for the empathetic angle created by the br…

How many trees does the Earth have?

We have always been told about the importance of forestation, the need for trees and how deforestation is causing climate change. Many of us are willing to and also actively participating to revert climate change.


Keep your world clean and green. 
Save trees,Save the environment!! 
Clean city,Green city!! 
To have a good scenery, there should be little greenery! 
are everywhere and we are all eager to see a greener Earth. But like any other goal that we chase, shouldn't we know where we are starting and what are we aiming at? How many trees does the Earth have and is there a tree census done every decade.
Recently, New York City took up the initiative to map and catalogue every tree on every street of the city. Called, TreesCount!2015, it is a crowd sourced program, looking for the task to be completed through voluntreers. If you would like to be one, you can sign up here. But other than a few instances where cities or organizations such as Terracon or SmartSurvey have tried to use G…

Genetically Modified Plant can help clear TNT from soil

As a species, humans hardly grasp the ramifications of their actions. Whether it be the rapid climate change or the shattering effects of war. Even though we realise that we are the main culprits in both these cases, under no circumstances do our actions look like we are on the course of correction. The snail's pace of climate talks or our outright refusal to contribute to dialogue and engage in wars instead are proof enough to show that left to politicians, sooner or later our Earth's environment will soon turn hostile for our own survival and bring our end nearer. 
Plants, on the other hand, are entirely different. Slow yet sure in their approach, these silent beings are always trying to maintain the balance that is being disturbed, thanks to human activities. Since the beginning of our civilization, plants have always provided for us, whether in the form of naturally available fruits or planned growth of crops as our ancestors turned agrarian. As we are also aware, plants ha…

Your next dose of antibotic - Sugar [Coffee Byte]

These tiny grains could be your next dose of antibiotics
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)We have all heard of antibiotic resistance, notoriously of  the MRSA and the need to use antibiotics sparingly. One major reason that antibiotic resistance scares us is because we do not have sufficient alternatives available with us to combat a resistant strain. For example, the microbes belonging to Burkholderia sp. can be naturally resistant to about 35 antibiotics agents as was shown in this 2004 research paper and therefore provide a small window of opportunity for treatment if contracted. 
The solution to this problem is to develop new age antibiotics. The problem here, however, is that the pace of discovery is much slower than the growing pace of antibiotic resistance and at this rate we will soon have microbes that are resistant to every antibiotic in our armoury. The way out of this is to understand the psyche of the microbes and develop antibiotics that microbes are not going to develop resista…