Categories
Science

DNA has a half life

Watched Can We Get DNA From Fossils? from pbs.org

In 1993, scientists cracked open a piece of amber, took out the body of an ancient weevil, and sampled its DNA. Or, at least, so we thought. It took another few decades of research, and a lot of take-backs, before scientists could figure out how we could truly unlock the genetic secrets of the past.

DNA has a half-life, but it’s highly dependent on conditions

DNA constantly breaking (reacting with water molecules) which your body fixes up no prob while you’re alive, but the process continues after you die

Half-life of moa DNA only 500 years! Others 10000 years…

After the first half life though, degradation may slow down

Can also gather much older info by combining lots of smaller pieces of DNA — but for now it’s kind of hit a limit until scientists figure out how to decipher much smaller units of DNA

PCR very sensitive to contamination, it easily gets amplified and overwhelms the target data

Categories
Science

TIL: caffeine is example of convergent evolution

Watched Why Does Caffeine Exist? from YouTube

Thank you to Wondrium for Supporting PBS. For more information and a trial please go to http://ow.ly/6nrt30smywMCheck out PBS Terra! https://www.youtube.com/…

  • Caffeine is a natural insect deterrent
  • Convergent evolution on different continents by plants that aren’t closely related – never thought about implications of tea and coffee originating on different continents before 😉
  • Caffeine similar in shape to adenosine, which makes us feel sleepy
  • Bees that consume caffeinated nectar have better memory
Categories
Cool

TIL how digital video works

Today I learned:

  • Digital video is made feasible by deciding whether a pixel should change or stay the same in each frame; letting most background pixels stay the same color reduces the amount of new data that needs to be saved / rendered each frame
  • The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the name for the Arrival thing, where the form of the language you speak shapes how you think
  • Richard Morgan, the guy who wrote Altered Carbon, is a TERF
Categories
Learning Science

TIL: white holes and efficacy

Today I learned:

  • White holes are the opposite of black holes and the big bang might be that
  • Efficacy is how well it works in ideal conditions; effectiveness is how well it works under normal conditions