this is too wonderful :]



Called “Prototaxites,” the giant fossil was first thought to be a tree or some kind of algae. According to C. Kevin Boyce, a University of Chicago professor, a fungus was the last thing to be expected because “A 20-foot fungus doesn’t make any sense… but here’s the fossil.” Fungi are actually more closely related to animals than plants, but still have their own biological kingdom, as they are considered neither. 

This particular giant mushroom has now been found all over the world from 420 to 350 million years ago- when nothing but bugs and worms had made it onto land yet. What’s even more interesting is that the tallest trees at the time were typically only three to four feet high, meaning this giant mushroom was most likely the largest living thing on land at the time. 

Though it would be really cool to see one of these in our time, Boyce says, “It’s hard to imagine these things surviving in the modern world.” 


The Physics of Straws

Straws, how complicated can they be? Most people have a few misconceptions about how straws work, but just like everything else - the answer lies with physics. 

Upon placing the straw in a regular cup of water, the pressures inside and outside of the straw are equal! You can see this by noticing that the level of the water and in the glass are the same - both reach the same height of the straw. 

When you suck on the straw, you are effectively decreasing the pressure in your mouth - and this lowers the pressure at the top of the straw. As soon as this happens, the force of the atmosphere pushing on the water in the glass is higher than the force of the gases inside the straw. Since pressure acts from high to low, the atmosphere forces the liquid water up the straw. In essence, you are not sucking the water into your mouth, but the atmosphere is pushing it! 

Explain this to your friends the next time you’re out to eat - then write down a few bogus equations and they’ll think you’re a genius. 


The jellyfish Atolla lives worldwide in the deep sea, where light levels are very low. The jellyfish is bioluminescent — emitting blue-green light — and so are most of its prey. Scientists think that the deep red color of the animal’s stomach serves a purpose — to keep the blue light of its luminescent lunch from escaping and giving away Atolla’slocation to its own predators.


U.S. firm The Amazing Jellyfish (theamazingjellyfish.com) takes the bioluminescent bodies of creatures that have died of natural causes and encase them in resin, thus preserving not just their bodies, but also their incredible glow-in-the-dark properties. 


A gram positive streptococcus growing on mannitol salt agar (the yellow media indicates the fermentation of the mannitol to acidic byproducts; differential). Because this media includes “salt”, it selects for the grow of halophiles, therefore this media type is both selective and differential.


Xylene is a chemical which is made up of three isomers of dimethylbenzene. The isomers are distinguished by the designations ortho- (o-), meta- (m-), and para- (p-), which specify where the two methyl groups are attached to the benzene ring component of the chemical. The mixture is a slightly greasy, colourless liquid commonly encountered as a solvent. It is commonly found in histology laboratories for the purpose of removing parrafin wax for subsequent hydration (with alcohols) and staining, and for coverslipping.


Diagram of a bacterium.

MATH: We know drama.


This peripheral blood smear is stained with the Wright’s stain.