Theory time!

So from this brilliant post we can discern that Kira’s tag number, or at least the number Dyad uses to classify her, is in fact:


Now we all know that Cosima’s number is 324b21. Quick theory, but perhaps the letter designates the generation. That being, our Tatianas came in the Bgeneration, and thus the offspring of a Tatiana would be part of the Cgeneration. Or perhaps the Cclassification denotes the entirely new being that Kira is. There are so many roads this could be taken. (Please oh please John and Graeme give us some deep meaning in these tag numbers)

Regardless, does this mean I hope an generation exists in some form or another?

You’re damn darn right. 


Ok, as many of you know, I have been waiting a REALLY LONG TIME for another tag number. And in that really long time, I have done a little research into what clone tag numbers look like. 

So, unfortunately, my research has led me to believe that the letter classification doesn’t exactly mean too much. When naming clones, there’s a standardized nomenclature: 


(for more information on how this works you can click here for the NCBI Clone Database FAQ). 

But, basically, our infamous Orphan Black tag numbers come from a microtiter plate, that probably looks like one of these guys: 


Cosima was on plate 324, row B, column 21. 

It’s like an Excel sheet basically. But, for science. 

With regards to Kira’s tag number, I’m thinking it’s probably the case that Kira has the same tag number as Sarah (and Helena). No one would have had the opportunity to get in her genome to change it, and so it’s likely she would have inherited it. 

(But, OH BABY! This now means I have three tag numbers for the price of one which makes me a very happy Jacq indeed). 

However, I do have one nagging question about the 33 number. Since microtiter plates always have a 2:3 ratio, getting all the way to column 33 would make that a really, really large plate. We’d have to go into double letters (just like in Excel!). And that’s, well, not exactly as poetic as I would have liked. 

But, this could just be the Props Department, at it again, driving me crazy. 

Thus concludes my rudimentary science lesson. People who have actually seen a microtiter plate before, please feel free to jump in here. 


(via sapphicscience)

[original image is a white man with what looks something like a microphone attached to his forehead, who is dressed in a royal blue shirt, sunshine yellow pants, and a mauve blazer]


A man who has never been able to see color before is now able to perceive it thanks to a device that lets him listen to colors.

Artist Neil Harbisson suffers from a visual condition called achromatopsia or total color blindness. Harbisson can only see things in shades of grey. So, he partnered with some computer scientists at the in 2003, who created an “electronic eye” for him.

The device - which Harbisson wears on his head - detects the color frequency of the item that is passed in front of it, turns it into a sound frequency and passes the information to a chip installed at the back of Harbisson’s head. He then is able to hear the color through bone conduction, or sound waves that are created as they pass through the bones of the skull to the inner ear.

“I’ve been hearing color for eight years since 2004 so I find it completely normal to hear color all the time,” he explained during his TED Talk in June. “At the start, I had to memorize the names you give for each color, so I had to memorize the notes, but after some time this information became a perception. I didn’t have to think about the notes, and after some time this perception became a feeling.”

Now, the artist can go to an art gallery - which he compared to listening to a concert - and hear the paintings. He also enjoys walking in supermarkets, which he likened to going to a nightclub.

“It’s just full of different melodies,” he said excitedly.

Instead of dressing in a way that looks good, he said he know dresses in a way that sounds good. At the TED talk, he wore a multi-colored outfit that sounds like C major to him.

He also now has the ability to translate songs and speeches into colors using their sound frequencies. Justin Bieber’s “Baby” (see below) is full of bubble gum pinks and neon yellows.

[image is a series of concentric rectangles mostly in bright yellow and pink shades]

Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Hitler’s famous speeches look visually appealing (see picture below). Harbisson admitted that when he tells people the one on the left is Hitler, people tend to say they like the other one better.

[images are a pair of concentric rectangle things again; the left one is rainbow and the right one is pinks, purples, and blues]

Thanks to the device, Harbisson he now has favorite colors. He also added infrared and ultraviolet colors to the device so now he can “see” colors that the human eye cannot perceive. One other side effect is that he has started to dream in “color.” He hears the electronic sounds in his sleep, even if he no longer had the device on.

“That’s when I began to feel like a cyborg,” he said. “It’s when I started to feel the cybernetic device was no longer a device, it had become a part of my body, an extension of my senses.”

(via moniquill)

Rant about vaccines/autism stuff. Feel free to ignore.


I will never forgive Andrew Wakefield.



Fucking ever.

If people understood the trajectory that his bullshit took, you would never believe a goddamned WORD of this vaccine/autism shit. He didn’t even care about autism or vaccines to start with. He cared about Crohn’s disease. Then he decided that bowel inflammation somehow (?) went to the brain and caused autism.  But then that turned out to be bullshit, so he looked at vaccines.

Wakefield proposed a lot of different causal mechanisms for the vaccines. I think he and his ilk first started by declaring that the dead viruses in the vaccine traveled up to the brain and did something (?) to cause autism.   Then he started with the inflammation/bowel thing again.  He published a paper in that vein, but it was found that his samples were entirely contaminated and the methodology was TERRIBLE. So the Lancet withdrew the paper and apologized.

Too late.

Somehow, though, Wakefield stirring up this pot of bullshit led to the Jenny McCarthy’s of the world deciding that the REAL problem with vaccines is the MERCURY (Thimerosal) in them. Based on someone somewhere saying “Hey, autism’s symptoms are a lot like mercury poisoning.”  Spoiler: No they aren’t.

Common symptoms of mercury poisoning include peripheral neuropathy (presenting as paresthesia or itching, burning or pain), skin discoloration (pink cheeks, fingertips and toes), swelling, and desquamation (shedding of skin).

Mercury irreversibly inhibits selenium-dependent enzymes (see below) and may also inactivate S-adenosyl-methionine, which is necessary for catecholamine catabolism by catechol-o-methyl transferase. Due to the body’s inability to degrade catecholamines (e.g. Epinephrine) a person suffering from mercury poisoning may experience profuse sweating, tachycardia (persistently faster-than-normal heart beat), increased salivation, and hypertension (high blood pressure).

Affected children may show red cheeksnose and lips, loss of hair , teeth, and nails, transient rashes, hypotonia (muscle weakness), and increased sensitivity to light. Other symptoms may include kidney dysfunction (e.g. Fanconi syndrome) or neuropsychiatric symptoms such as emotional labilitymemory impairment, and / or insomnia.

Thus, the clinical presentation may resemble pheochromocytoma or Kawasaki disease.

None of that sounds anything like autism to me.

This entire hullabaloo is based upon layers and layers and layers of complete BULLSHIT. 

(Source: healerirl)

You may carry cells from siblings, aunts and uncles


YOUR siblings may be closer to you than you thought. Male cells have been found in the umbilical cord blood of baby girls with older brothers, suggesting that the transfer of cells between mother and baby may be more extensive than previously imagined. Indeed, all of us may be walking chimeras*.

Previous studies have shown that cells from both mother and fetus can cross the placenta during pregnancy, and survive for decades in the skin, liver, brain and spleen - a phenomenon called fetal microchimerism. There is even evidence that fetal cells may repair damage to the mother’s heart during pregnancy.

Read more

*A chimera is a single organism composed of two genetically distinct groups of cells, which originated from different zygotes (the initial single cell formed after fertilsation). 

When you’re scientifically literate, the world looks different to you. It’s a particular way of questioning what you see and hear. When empowered by this state of mind, objective realities matter. These are the truths of the world that exist outside of whatever your belief system tells you.

One objective reality is that our government doesn’t work, not because we have dysfunctional politicians, but because we have dysfunctional voters. As a scientist and educator, my goal, then, is not to become President and lead a dysfunctional electorate, but to enlighten the electorate so they might choose the right leaders in the first place.


‘An Evolutionary Throwback’: Panda Filmed Eating Meat

A wild panda was caught on a remote camera eating an uncharacteristic meal recently: meat. A wildebeest carcass (of natural causes) was used as a feeding lure to see what sort of animals in the Wanglong Nature Reserve might be interested in a wilde-snack, and the remote camera they set up captured this adult panda.

It’s not unusual, considering that pandas are members of the bear family. This means that they have the ancestral digestive system of an animal that eats meat.

This evolutionary “throwback” actually isn’t that surprising. We’ve known for a long time that the giant panda is one of the most inefficient eaters in the animal kingdom. Because its digestive system has such a hard time breaking down its meal of choice - bamboo - it loses most of its food as waste and must spend up to 16 hours a day eating just to get enough nutrients to survive.

(via NPR)

Not totally creepy at all. Nope.


DEEP BREATH. In. Out. Be calm.

You might have heard some news about something called a “neutrino” that might have moved faster than the speed of light. This news is out of CERN, in Europe, and like Ron Burgundy, it’s kind of a big deal.

Remember Einstein’s E=mc² equation? Well, that wouldn’t exactly be ruined, but relativity would need to be seriously adjusted. As Phil Plait put it, it would turn so much of physics upside-down that it’s like saying “… that gravity pushes, not pulls.” So what did they observe?

A neutrino is a particular subatomic particle, like an uncharged electron. They travel, well, very fast, and can go through matter. Photons are light, and they travel at (wait for it) the speed of light. According to what we know up to now, neutrinos should travel fast, but according to the laws of physics not as fast as light. That’s where the CERN experiment comes in.

The scientists at CERN set up a detector at a very exact distance away from a source of photons and neutrinos. When I say exact I mean exact. Like so precise that they could be within a meter or so of error at a distance of 730 km apart. They know how fast light travels, and it should have taken about 2.43 milliseconds for the light to reach the detector in Italy from CERN. According to the scientists, the neutrinos arrived 60 nanoseconds before the light.

The Swiss are impeccable time-keepers.

They report that their error is within 10 nanoseconds, so it’s a significant result. But there are a couple of problems. Not problems that for sure disprove it, but certainly give reason for caution.

  1. It’s very hard to know exactly when neutrinos are created in whatever source you are shooting them from. So the “start” point is a little fuzzy.
  2. As noted at Bad Astronomy, a supernova called 1987a throws some more cold water on this. See, that supernova was 160,000 light years away. So if neutrinos traveled faster than light by the same ratio as above, we would have seen the 1987a neutrinos about four years before the light. And that didn’t happen.
  3. Neutrinos are pesky little things, and very hard to control and measure, being as they flow right through planets and the like.

The scientists had a webcast from CERN today, and they are being very careful to say that this needs to be checked and über-checked, and then repeated again after that. They also claim no theoretical re-writes of history. The problem is that the press is not being nearly so cautious.

So take a deep breath, relax, let their fellow scientists and the skeptics have at it for a while, and don’t be sad if this turns out to not be as big a deal as thought. Of course, it might be true, but when it comes to extraordinary claims, you have to provide extraordinary proof.


(Source: jtotheizzoe)








Speed of light may have been broken

Okay guys, this one is hot off the press. I’ve only found two sources for this (here and here) that have been posted in the last hour. I have to say that I immediately doubt the validity of this, but I feel I should bring it to your attention anyway.

Reports from our good friends at CERN say that they’ve observed particles traveling at faster than light speeds. For those of you who know a bit about relativity, this ain’t all that cool. The speed of light is basically meant to be the fastest speed there is, and if this wasn’t the case then we may have a major breakdown of Einstein’s theory of relativity.

The scientists at CERN have concluded this based off results in which a beam of neutrinos fired from a particle accelerator in Geneva traveled 434 miles 60 nanoseconds faster than it should have. This may not sound like much, but the error was calculated at 10 nanoseconds and the scientists themselves seem fairly adamant in their results.

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa

Hold the fuck up.

(This is the second thing I’ve heard about the theory of relativity being questionable in the past few months, though. ffffffff-)



If this is true

I just read this on the news.  It’s an amazing story to wake up to.

I’ll wait until I hear more before I get excited about this /skeptical bastard.

Will you guys lose all respect for me if I confess that my first thought was that contraption looks an awful lot like the Mirror of Twilight in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess?

-looks around tumblr-

You do realize who you’re talking to, right?

We’re ALL thinking that!

Sadly, CERN’s press release to actual discovery ratio is…poor. The chances that this turns out to be accurate are not very good.

(via karnythia)



As Irene bears down on the East Coast, Fox calls for the abolition of the National Weather Service

Whoa, this shit is perfect:

The weather might be the subject people care most about on a daily basis. There is a very successful private TV channel dedicated to it, 24 hours a day, as well as any number of phone and PC apps. Americans need not be forced to turn over part of their earnings to support weather reporting.

This right here is the key to the conservative thought process. Americans need not be forced to turn over part of their earnings to the government, if they want to survive then they should turn over part of their earnings to private industries like cable companies! Poor people who can’t afford cable tv or internet deserve to die from natural disasters, that is all this whole fucking article is saying.

The National Weather Service (same as many other government entities) does not exist to serve people who can afford to find out about natural disasters from The Weather Channel and the 24 news machine, it exists to serve those who cannot.



How do they think the Weather Channel and all those apps and websites get their data? Really? What the fuck.

(Source: bringtheruckuss, via bluntlyblue)