Wonders of LIFE Drinking Game Rules

January 27, 2013

In which I re-hash an old blog post for some exceptionally cheap japes. 

BBC2. 9pm. 27th Jan 2013.


 

Take 1 finger of drink when Prof Cox says:

  • “Millions”
  • Evolution
  • Inherited
  • Quantum
  • “Probability”
  • “Vast”
  • “Epic”
  • Gregor Mendel” or “Mendelian Inheritance”
  • DNA
  • Primordial Soup
  • When ever Brian shouts at us from a moving vehicle. (Double for a flying vehicle – h/t @Markgfh)
  • Whenever you see time lapse footage of the sky or clouds (like this) – h/t @MrMMarsh

Take 2 fingers of drink for:

Take 3 fingers of drink for:

  • “Trillions*”
  • Any mention of crystallography or model of a protein/DNA structure. (Just because, OK!?)

Half-a-pint for:

  • Any side-swipe at pseudoscience – creationism, homeopathy, astrology, etc

Finish your drink whenever you see Brian in silhouette up a mountain somewhere.

 

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I do love a nice salt bridge…

January 17, 2013

Salt BridgeSalt bridges are a type of electrostatic ( i.e. positive and negative charged components being attracted towards one another) interaction in proteins. In this case, the amino acid on the left is an Arginine (positively charged at pH 7.5, the pH of the crystal) and on the right is a Glutamate (negatively charged). Opposites attract – and these sit ~3 angstroms apart, which is 3 ten-billionths of a metre (0.0000000003 m).

There are many different types of interactions within a protein that combine to determine what the overall fold of the protein will be, and the protein fold determines its function.  The mesh surrounding the atoms is the electron density map, which is a 3D contour map of the probability that electrons will be found in a specific position. Here dark blue is contoured at 1 sigma, light blue at 1.5, and white at 2 sigma. Building and fitting protein sequences into the electron density that is the experimental result of X-ray crystallography allows us to construct accurate, atomic resolution models of proteins.

In the picture above, hydrogens atoms are omitted for clarity (and because hydrogen scatters X-rays very poorly and therefore does not appear in the majority of electron density maps), carbon atoms are shown in yellow, nitrogen in blue and oxygen in red.

The image is a screenshot from the crystallographic model building program COOT.


Today, I shall mostly be Flying the Stealth Bomber of the Biophysics world: the Farfield Analight

January 15, 2013

image


The Brian Cox Drinking Game – Stargazing live edition

January 8, 2013

This is an updated of the original, “popular-yet-disasterous” Wonders of the Universe drinking game


Take 1 finger of drink when Prof Cox says:

Brian Cox and the Lovell Telescope look wistfully at something

  • “Millions*”
  • Stelliferous
  • Any reference to British weather being crap for Astronomy.
  • Chandrasekhar limit
  • When ever Brian shouts at us from a moving vehicle. (Double for a flying vehicle – h/t @Markgfh)
  • Whenever you see time lapse footage of the sky or clouds (like this) – h/t @MrMMarsh
  • Brian Cox points meaningfully at anything
  • SETI
  • “Kepler”
  • “Curiosity”
  • “Exoplanet”
  • Any failure to operate overly complicated set (massive touch screens, etc)

Take 2 fingers of drink for:

  • “Billions*”
  • Any mention of the Large Hadron Collider.
  • Any use of props (like salt and pepper shakers) or drawing in the sand with a stick (ht Rob and @carolwhead)
  • Any snark levelled at homeopaths, astrologers, moon-landing deniers, etc
  • “Black Hole”
  • Heat Death

Take 3 fingers of drink for:

Finish your drink whenever you see Brian in silhouette up a mountain somewhere.


* The more conservative ethanol-enthusiasts out there may like to take advantage of a modification suggested in the comments by @Nullifidian whereby each mention of million/billion/trillion in a row be counted as a single occurrence – eg “one billion billion billion billionth” would count as 2 fingers of drink, not 8.

Tip o’the hat to @fibularis , @imascientist & @KashFarooq for other (original) ideas.

Add more below and I’ll add them to the list…