The equation for photosynthesis is often written as:
6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2
Now while this is the overall equation and is relatively easy to remember of course this is a massive simplification and doesn’t really describe the process behind photosynthesis at all. Really the key part of photosynthesis is the breakdown of the water molecules into oxygen (O2), hydron (H+) and electrons. The action of photosynthesis takes place in Photosystem I (PS I) and Photosystem II (PS II), two protein membrane complexes. PS II acts first to absorb photons through a pigment called P680 (named for its absorption maximum, 680 nm) which results in promoted electrons which are passed to pheophytinwhich the allows them to go on to reduce a molecule called plastoquinone to plastoquinol (a ketone to an alcohol) which then goes on to transport the electrons further and further down the required chain of reactions.
Coastal upwelling systems are one of the most important ecosystems in the world. A process called Ekman dynamics (which the more mathematically inclined can read about here, you may need to reload it a few times before the link works) acts to sweep water away from the coast and out into the open ocean. This action leads to the upwelling effect where cool water from the deep ocean is pulled up to the surface. These waters have been deep in the ocean where photosynthesis has been impossible leading these waters to contain more nutrients than those at the surface and as a result phytoplankton thrive in coastal upwelling systems. It is estimated that these habitats cover 2% of the world’s oceans but contribute about 7% of the world’s biomass production through photosynthesis.
On some level we all know astrology has to be ridiculous. There is absolutely no way that stars many hundreds of thousands of light years away that just happened to look like a crab (even then the resemblance is questionable) somehow determine my personality. But then there have been reports, many linked in this paper, which do describe violence, revolutions, crime and just general social unrest to have slight changes based on the solar cycle of 11 years and the associated geomagnetic changes in the Earth. By the inverse the solar cycle and changes in emitted ultraviolet light have also been associated with scientific and artistic innovation, creativity and social change. If the reader of this post is sceptical, I would like to make it known that I’m probably more so even while reading this paper.
When I was younger I often took to wondering about the lives of animals. If a human was to try and survive out in wilderness we can see that without shelter they would perish relativity quickly in the cold. A mouse, for instance, may have fur but will still always have a body temperature significantly higher than its surroundings. A mouse will always be rupturing heat, so it’s clear why animals in the wild need to eat considerably more of their body weight than humans do. We have houses to keep us warm, they have burrows and nests but mostly their own metabolism. On a more technical level, the thermoneutral zone is very important. This is the range of ambient temperature where a particular person or creature doesn’t need to undergo regulatory balancing. In other words they won’t need to start sweating to reduce heat or speed up their metabolism to produce heat, the thermoneutral zone is when they’re perfect temperature.
The brain is inarguably the most critical part of the human body. A first aid instructor once pointed out to me that we can lose all four limbs, a lung, a kidney, a good portion of our stomach and still survive. In fact the blood loss that would normally come with these injuries is in fact still a condition that affects the brain. It is not really surprising that the brain receives 20% of the bodies energy and 15% of its blood flow. It’s estimated that a adults brain has three quarters of a litre of blood flow through every minute.
Caenagnathidae is clade of dinosaurs from the late Cretaceous period approximately 80 million years ago. The caenagnathidae are believed to be oviraptorosaurian theropods although actually very little remains have been extracted from Canada and Asia. The picture on the left is the Oviraptor extracted from the Hell Creek formation on Montana and the similarities are likely to be many between this and a lot of the caenagnathidae clade.
Colours in nature are an incredible thing. Considering the sun gives out so much light in the visible spectrum its unsurprising that animals decided to capitalise to separate this spectrum into a variety of vibrant colours. The most common way of doing is producing a pigment, an organic molecule that will act to absorb all but one colour of light, this is the colour we see. Red pigments absorb all the spectrum except red, for instance. There is a second less common method of producing colour. The Blue Morpho butterfly, as shown on the right (and also in the butterfly emoji), actually has no blue pigment. Its wings act as a diffraction grating and causes destructive interference between all colours but blue. Forget chemistry, it’s this kind of physics based colour production that’ll be looked at today.