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Aug 05

FUCK YEAH SCIENCE! – Hit Me! (Hit Me!) (Hit Me! (Hit Me!)) With Those Laser Beams!

Greetings well-wishers, eager hangers-on and the other one of you three people that frequent these Fuck Yeah Science posts! Yes, I am back from my pointless three-month hiatus in which Real Life and an overall, loathsome feeling of laziness has prevented me from producing any new content. But hopefully it will have all been worth it as the wonderful world of Science has not stopped just because I wanted to take some time off!

Describes me all too well… (Thanks, random Blogspotter)

And as a practical denouement to the Neverending Tale of My Own Procrastination, I feel I need to throw out there some praise to Fox. Yes, that Fox; the oft shat-upon gem of the Rupert Murdoch Evil Media Empire. None other than the network which brought us Married with Children, Temptation Island and American Idol has seemed at least somewhat willing to shake off their (probably deserved) stereotype of appealing to the lowest common denominator.

How could they, you may ask? As you might already know, Fox has greenlighted a remake of the Cosmos series. The classic cerebral space adventure into the limits of our understanding brought to us by the legendary Carl Sagan  is being revived and I, for one, am quite excited about it. I can only hope it will inspire some of the minds in this great land of ours to take an interest in science in the same way the original Cosmos series did, and I applaud Fox as well as the creators in taking the initiative!

Or maybe they’re concerned about the legacy they leave behind… (Swiped from AlBundy.net)

It will feature none other than the most well-known public face on physics and cosmology, Neil DeGrasse Tyson as the host, and to further consolidate its credentials, Anne Druyan (wife of the late Dr. Sagan) will write and produce the show along with Steven Soter who contributed to the original Cosmos series. It will also have Seth MacFarlane who – wait, what? Seth MacFarlane? WHAAAT??!? Boundless fountainhead of lazy writing and cheap, throwaway jokes and pop-culture references Seth MacFarlane? I think I just shat in my pants and threw up in my mouth a little.

We all deserve a chance at redemption, and outside of copypasta animated shows, Seth MacFarlane seems to do decent work. And I suppose sometimes, the ends justify the means! (imgur.com)

Fear not the judgements of some cynical bastard hashing out thoughts on a keyboard;  I’m gonna keep an open mind and still await the show eagerly. Far be it for me to tell you what to think, however, so check out the trailer for yourself!

And besides, this isn’t supposed to be some elitist and pretentious commentary on popular culture or media; this is Fuck Yeah Science! So on to the God-Damned, Fucking Science!

 

And since I seem to have a boner for Fox today, let’s go right to an article from Fox News on an amazing discovery straight out of some evil supervillain’s Lair of Doom: human/jellyfish-spliced cells that can emit laser beams. Yes, that’s right! Biological tissue that can emit laser light!

And surely the fulfillment of Dr. Evil’s wet dream can’t be too far beyond. (Nocookie.net)

From the article, “‘This is the first time that we have used biological materials to build a laser and generate light from something that is living,’ said Seok-Hyun Yun.” Working with colleague Malte Galther at Harvard Medical School and Mass General Hospital. I don’t know what the hell is going on at Harvard, but the most devious and fascinating shit seems to be coming out of there lately.

“Lasers require two elements: a material that amplifies light, called a ‘gain medium,’ and an arrangement of mirrors to concentrate light waves into a beam.” Instead of using crystals, semiconductors or gases like traditional lasers, these scientists used a natural compound called GFP in jellyfish that give them bioluminescence. Bioluminescence is what gives fireflies the ability to shine their happy asses a healthy shade of radioactive-looking green, so we already were well aware Nature is biologically capable of producing light.

The real question is if Fox will ever be able to produce Firefly again. If so, they will have fully redeemed themselves for Joe Millionaire and every shitty NFL broadcast featuring the ever-so-insightful commentary from John Madden. (Lifted from Wikipedia)

The team were able to modify embryonic human kidney cells to produce GFP and then place these cells between two tiny mirrors in a cavity just 20 micrometers wide. After hitting the cell with pulses of blue light, the apparatus emitted a focused laser beam actually visible to the naked eye. Again from the article: “The laser beam is tiny and weak compared with traditional lasers, the researchers said, but still an order of magnitude brighter than natural jellyfish fluorescence, with a ‘beautiful green’ color.”

Like so much of this research in the early stages, the implications need to be tempered with some measure of restraint. So sorry, no X-Men Cyclops frying people’s faces off just yet. However this could yield amazing benefits in micro-scale biological analysis of specific cells. Or, in a nod to Cyclops, these lasers could be targeted to fizzle disease vectors that attack healthy cells. And Yun has also predicted “a future where cells could even ‘self-lase’ from within the body’s tissue.” In case you weren’t sure about his mad scientist credentials, he is advocating an internal self-destruct mechanism, so there you go.

Clearly, Harvard needs more funding for its Diobolical Research division if the universal dream of Fauna with Frickin’ Lasers is to ever be fully realized. Those Ivy-league assholes better get on that! (And I use the term “Ivy-league assholes” in the most positive way, I assure you.)

Crowdsourcing the design and drafting of blueprints may not work out all that well. (Stole from University of Michigan who is clearly lagging in the tertiary-educational arms race of doom)


 

Hey! Hey, hey! Fuckin’ pay attention here for just a minute more! In the coming weeks, Fuck Yeah Science will be moving to the more appealing realm of video! (Or appalling, depending on your tastes.) We are working on the details, but hope to bring you future installments of FYS! in full HD-like video, replete with awkward dialogue, bizarre edits and cuts and all the trappings of some guys on the internet stumbling through and figuring out what they are doing!

Surely watching a video version of Fuck Yeah Science appeals to the lazy bastard in all of us, as all this tedious reading is such hard work. We’ll keep you posted, so keep a lookout for it in the future!