RuBisCO_disco

Drawings, writings and the search for the sex appeal quark

Posts Tagged ‘Biology

That’s what it looks like

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Written by rubiscodisco

August 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm

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Introducing new verbal memes

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Anybody who has spent some time having conversations with people will understand that sometimes you have to say something without really saying it directly. Somehow the cold and naked truth is just awkward, and direct words can be so… unlovely. However, the run-of-the-mill common euphemisms can be quite boring, and, let’s face it, as soon as a euphemism becomes widely used, it loses its virtue of indirectness. So if you want to say something rather awkward but find the words rather indelicate, try to use some bio-inspired euphemisms to brush lightly on the issue.

 
Bathroom breaks

Gotta pee? Gotta poo? Gotta change your napkins too? Sometimes it can be quite taboo to say you’re going to the loo. Fear not, for these words are just for you. (Oh yeah. Rhymed it.)

Peeing is quite easy. Just say you are “completing the process of micturition“, or perhaps “eliminating nitrogenous byproducts“. “Maintaining osmotic balance” is also good, if a little vague.

For taking a dump, it was harder for me to make a quirky euphemism just because “solid waste” and “defecation” are both pretty well-understood terms related to poop. I can think of the clumsy “releasing my [total energy-energy assimilated]” for starters, but after that it’s just “perpetuating nutrient cycles*” I suppose.

Now on menstruation and changing one’s feminine sanitary napkins, I’m not exactly an expert. As you may have noticed, I don’t own a uterus (either within my anatomy or preserved in a jar). Do you think “discarding some endometrium” is classy enough? Or instead of saying you’re in the middle of your period, say that “your progesterone levels are plummeting“.

*by giving back unassimilated nutrients to lower trophic levels

 
Sex

Being in a culture where sex is considered taboo, a lot of euphemisms are readily available. These are just newer and geekier terms for talking about the birds and the bees and the chimpanzees:

If you’re into metaphors, you can always use descriptions of how other lifeforms have sex. Conjugating quickly comes to mind, and it has a certain microbial twist, doesn’t it? More of a botanist type of person? Why use inseminate when you can say pollinate? (personal fave :D) Or, instead of saying “deflower”, you can say en-fruit, if you get the joke there. Zoologists will love using the term amplexus though. It has such a romantic ring to it. Of course, if you don’t want to use these metaphors, you can always go with “haploid time” or something, but whatever…

Who's up for some Paramecium porn?

 
Children

Got a bun in the oven but you haven’t told everybody yet? Perhaps you’re the teenage father of an illegitimate child. It the little tyke is not born yet, say that you or your partner is gravid. Also, instead of saying son or daughter, why not try offspring, or, to be even more euphemistic, progeny?

What have you got there?

Just something for progeny.

Better, right? Want to sound even more exotic? Be mendelian and say F1. Or if you’re feeling more in tune with DNA and gene pools, try vector**. I wanna see if “proof of biological fitness” catches on, but I don’t think it will. I guess if you’re into either biogeography or mangroves like me, you’ll have to stick with propagule.

**it’s broader definition as “carrier of DNA”.

 
Unpleasant qualities

Sometimes we’re tasked to describe somebody to another person and their most defining characteristics aren’t always flattering. For example, your girlfriend looks kind of mannish and you have to describe her to parents, opt for “she has some sexually antagonistic features” (although come to think of it, that doesn’t sound quite flattering either). Fat could be passed off as “lipase-challenged” or “energetically well-stocked” (Cetaceous might be too offensive). Unfortunately, I can’t think of any euphemism for ugliness at the moment. Oh well, maybe we can deal with that if I ever make a part 2 of this post. :)

– o –

On a related note, breakfast today was champorado. I usually eat champorado with milk so I opened up a can of condensed milk and poured it in. Here’s the pattern that I made by pouring thick, white condensada into the dark champorado.

As a science nerd, you know you've crossed the line when you draw metaphase on your breakfast.

– o –

This post is brought to you by René Descartes and this.

Written by rubiscodisco

March 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm

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Happy Darwin Day! ♥

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Today is the birthday anniversary of Charles Darwin. It’s Darwin Day! And it’s also Valentines day on Tuesday. So I made this Darwin Day / Pre-Valentines Day tribute for y’all. It’s a bio novelty poem. Expect cheeziness. :3

Darwin

I’m sitting in the lab with my thoughts, all alone
And everything’s quiet except for the drone
Of the centrifuge on the side, which I paid no mind
‘Cause my thoughts were of you, there I sighed and pined

I should really get to work with testing this locus
But thinking of you, I just cannot focus
Don’t even get me started with collections from the field
The sample bags lie empty, still brand new and sealed

But what can I do when I’m thinking of you?
I have so much to tell you, if only you knew
I should drop this pipettor, out with it and say
That I’d rather be with you than do these assays

I mean, isn’t it obvious as plastids on a plant
That I love you my dear, if I could do what I want
I’d choose you to caress than this common thale cress
Oh – that’s Arabidopsis thaliana if you’re really clueless

It started out small like the opening of a gate
Which causes an action potential to propagate
Then the next thing I knew I was so into you
I’m down with the sickness, it ain’t avian flu

Maybe I have to check my otoliths’ performance
Cause when I’m with you I feel so out of balance
You’re growing on me, but not the parasitoid kind
Babe, like a Cordyceps, you’re messing with my mind

You make my heart wish to beat faster than it could meet
With this measly sinoatrial node’s average feat
Like a boa constrictor, you leave me out of breath
And I’m certain, baby, that I’ll love you to my death

Even to the next era, my love will endure
When I tell you I love you, believe me I’m sure
Sure as population separation causes allopatric speciation
Significant as hell, well over standard deviation

And if you’d say yes if I ask for a date
I’ll be yours, unchanging as a committed cell fate
I promise to always be faithful to you
Like nerves to a somite’s derivatives, true

So if I ask, dear, then with others don’t bother
I’m sure that you’ll see, we’re perfect for each other
Like Enzyme and substrate, Like cDNAs
Like SNAREs on a vacuole, a perfect embrace

Alas though, I pine in this room, still just one
My chances with my better half seem to have gone
You’ve chosen another, I was to slow
My regret running deep as a tap root can grow

But still my love for you will not die
Unlike a creationist, I’ll never deny
Because dear you’re the Darwin of my life
And nothing makes sense except in your light

-o-

Eat your heart out, “premature ventricular contractions”.

PS: Kadakong CHAR!

Written by rubiscodisco

February 12, 2012 at 10:45 am

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The history and usage of species names and a brief discussion on money

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I wanted to try writing sciencey stuff here along with other topics so I’m starting with this post. Something has been bugging me for a long time about this topic anyway.

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Binomial nomenclature

The system of naming biological organisms was developed by Carolus Linnaeus with the publication of the tenth edition of his book Systema Naturae on 1758.  Since then it has been adopted by the scientific community as the universal system for naming biological organisms. The use of the binomial nomenclature system can be attributed to its two key benefits.

from wikipedia

Firstly, it is used solve the problem that a particular species is known by many names. A single species of bird, for example, may have many different names in many countries. To avoid confusion, a scientist will instead use the binomial name so that other scientists all over the word will know which bird he is referring to as the scientific name of the bird is (in principle) the same all over the world.

Secondly, as wikipedia explains, using this system confers consistency to names after much modification and reclassification (as taxonomists do with many organisms).

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Rules in writing scientific names using binomial nomenclature

Let’s take our own species as an example. This is the correct way to present a scientific name:

Homo sapiens

The first word, Homo (and if you giggle at this, you’re an idiot), is the name of our genus. We belong to the genus Homo along with our close relatives, the Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) and other examples. The second word, sapiens, is the name of the modern human species in particular. Thus we belong to the genus Homo and specifically, the name of our species is sapiens***.

Homo (<-genus name) sapiens (<-specific descriptor)

In writing by this system, one must follow these simple rules:

A. In typing a name of a species, use a different font for it which is distinct from the rest of the text. Using italics is the conventional way of doing this. If you are using your handwriting, underline both words instead.

“I found the skull of an early Homo sapiens in the cave”

A Neanderthal man

B. The genus name is always written with an initial capital letter. The specific descriptor is always written in all lower case. Please please please… do not write species names in all caps.

Homo sapiens

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Epic fails in presenting species names

Now that you know the rules in writing species names, you can see that a lot of times people don’t actually use them correctly.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines)

I’m so ashamed. You know how recently the Bangko Sentral released the new design for the peso bills? Well, if you look at the “backs” of the bills (the side showing scenery instead of people), they have a picture of an endemic species of animal from somewhere in the Philippines and it’s shown with its English name and its scientific name…

Aaaargh! Aaaargh! Aaaargh! Why?!? †

Note that not only does it begin the specific descriptor in upper case, it also fails to italicize the text.

Here’s another example of species names gone wrong.

So next time, be sure to apply the rules on using the binomial nomenclature system in writing species names. I might be blogging about your mistakes if you don’t. :P

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* and I was still in a “good” school at this point

** part of the reason why at a later point I wasn’t in that “good” school anymore

*** and by “our” I mean all of humanity excluding the CBCP

†   I copied this from somewhere as I don’t have a scanner or, for that matter, any money.

Written by rubiscodisco

May 31, 2011 at 1:55 pm

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