reopen NASA's WISH program for young women. | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government



Recently, girls across the United States applied for WISH, a program run by NASA which was offered to junior girls who hoped to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, a field in which women are a scathing minority.

However, today an email from NASA to the applicants canceled the program as a result of complaints from male high school students who demanded to participate as well. There is nothing wrong with men and women working together to create innovations and better the world, but with men holding 76% of the jobs in STEM and the stigma surrounding women in science, programs to specifically encourage female participation are essential.

Please join in combating this discouraging act against women in the STEM field by reminding NASA what WISH was really about.

I have several friends who have participated in this program, and it was an amazing experience for all of them. One is currently majoring in Engineering, and the other is majoring in Biology and Flute Performance. If I had known about this program when I was eligible, I would have loved to participate. It would have helped me immensely. 

You’ve probably seen me posting about how isolated I feel in my male-dominated physics and math classes. If you care about changing that to help the future women interested in STEM fields, please sign this petition. 

Sign it!

Please sign this, folks. Please. We need these kinds of programs. I would also like for everyone to note that this post on Tumblr has over 5,000 notes, YET THE PETITION HAS ONLY 2,000. It only takes a second to sign up, if you haven’t already signed a petition online before, so if people made the effort to sign this petition instead of just re-blogging it that would really make a difference.

(Source: that-other-lesbian-ellen)


ICYMI my live-tweeting of the Oscars tonight

look! someone is using this trending hashtag to actually teach all y’all something while you’re hootin an’ hollerin about it ;) 



Just a reminder that a cell is not a bag of water, but rather a crowded metropolis of macromolecules. The reality of cell biology, while more complicated than what your textbook shows you, is much cooler than a simple cartoon.

When you look at the inside of a cell as the crowded, semi-organized, collision-riddled mess that it really is, you’ll look at every bit of biological chemistry in a new way.

(The image of a super-crowded cytoplasm comes from this PLOS paper)



What better way to celebrate the birthday of Charles Darwin than by checking out some must-read books about the life and theories of this revered scientist?

Happy reading! But most importantly—happy birthday, Darwin!


Match It Monday!

Plant stem, neural stem cells, or a alveoli in lungs? How did you fare?

Though not the most popular guess, this is actually a micrograph of neural stem cells specializing into mature neurons. Blue staining marks the nuclei of cells, while green and red staining mark growing axons, which can be seen growing on the periphery. This intricate pattern probably arose due to a specialized matrix on which the cells were cultured. Neural stem cells hold tremendous promise in regenerative medicine and drug discovery as they provide an essentially limitless supply of cells that can be turned into desired cell types of the nervous system.

Image by Regis Grailhe and Arnaud Ogier, Institut Pasteur, Seongnam, Korea.


29 January 2014

Push and Pull

As embryos develop and organs form, cells are constantly pushing and pulling on each other. The mechanical forces exerted in this tug of war might be as important in controlling embryonic development as chemicals and genes. But their influence has been hard to gauge, largely because it was impossible to measure cell-generated forces in living embryos. Now, scientists have devised a solution: they film cell-sized oil microdroplets, which remain separate from cells and glow when illuminated by lasers, under the microscope. Pictured is a droplet (blue) being squeezed by cells in the developing jaw (red) of a mouse. By measuring the deformation of these droplets with computerised image analysis tools, scientists can calculate the force exerted by neighbouring cells. The new method should help researchers to figure out the role of mechanical forces in the normal shaping of tissues and organs, and in instances where it goes wrong.

Written by Daniel Cossins

Image courtesy of Otger Campàs and colleagues
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature Methods 2013
Research published in Nature Methods, December 2013


Multiphoton Microscopy of Mouse Motor Neurons

Motor neurons in the sternomastoid muscle of a postnatal day 9 mouse which constitutively express cytoplasmic CFP and YFP in varying proportions under the thy1 promoter. Acetylcholine receptors are labeled with alpha-bungarotoxin-Alexa-647. Imaged with ZEISS LSM 780 NLO. 

Image Courtesy: Stephen Turney, MCB, Harvard University.



Fantastically nerdy Valentines Day cards made by David Friedman over at Ironic Sans

Happy early Valentines Day to all my followers!

Valentine’s Day is less than a month away— I’ve seen a bunch of valentines cards on tumblr, but these ones just take the cake!



Super-rich and beautiful colorization of an SEM of blood cells, both white and red.

isopoda asked:
Hello! I've enjoyed your blog for awhile, but your response to apatheticattitude made me unfollow. I do not agree with their beliefs, but your condescending response was disappointing to read. If you truly want someone to reconsider their beliefs, attacking their intelligence is no way to do so. If I was in their shoes, your response would diminish any respect I had for proponents of the big bang theory and evolution. Please use your knowledge to educate, not belittle. Take care!


Hi! Thank you for your honesty and consideration. I’m sorry that you find the response offensive enough to unfollow. But I will not be taking back any of the things I said, whether or not it’s condescending or arrogant. I don’t buy into the idea that we must baby talk all of the opponents of science into “believing” the system. There’s no believing in the truth of the universe. There is only that—truth. I am only interested in educating those who are open-minded. I will be an aggressive debater to anyone who isn’t. Perhaps I’m being a bit of a douche, but I’m not about to sugar coat any of it so not to hurt their feelings. Religious conjectures have pushed back the advancement of science for far too long. I don’t want to have to wait for these kinds of people to catch up. It’s no use because there are certain things about people’s beliefs that you can never change. That’s all I really have to say. I do hope that you can find a better place elsewhere to serve your daily fix of the micro and macro of the universe. Take care also! 

Personally, I find it very upsetting, very one-sided, that everyone appears to be dismissing the derisive nature of apatheticattitude’s question in this! Lu and just about every other scientific mind out there are met with questions worded in this condescending manner all the time. After awhile, being considerate, sincere, and explanatory with people who continue to harrass us because we choose to go with truth over faith gets tiring, and frustrating. We have a right to be upset. 

And to be frank, do any of you see any science blog contributors attacking the beliefs of those who believe some cosmic higher power is responsible for life? No! We’re happy to go on asking questions and looking for tangible answers to life in the world around us, and how we came into existence. Why waste our time trying to convince another human being of the truth? That’s how scientists see it, but closed-minded people like apatheticattitude can’t help but start arguments anyways.

So when people like apatheticattitude cast first stone, berating Lu with “so you believe we are JUST soulless creatures…”, I think they deserve a blunt and unforgiving answer. 

Lu— I’m very proud to see someone else just as upset over the suppression of scientific advancement due to religion, and the constant bombardment from opponents such as these. Thanks for standing up against those who fail to see who was in the wrong here. If anything, I’ve gained even more respect for you.

Keep doing what you’re doing.