Tag Archives: biophysics

epow (Experiment project of the Week)

The experiment I want to highlight this week is related to salt concentration in plants and how it is related to electrical signals in the plant: Discovering a salt-induced systemic electrical signal in plants.

This project is relevant to improve plant tracking with several applications like study how a highway affects local plants, how a forest changes its soil over the years, or for instance, how different chemicals enhance the growth or maybe detecting a bug infestation.


epow (Experiment project of the Week)

This week the project I want to highlight is about biohacking. The idea is to create open source processes to fabricate insulin and hence reduce the cost of the drugs.

Once developed, the processes to fabricate insulin will be free available to everybody, so it will be very easy to anybody to produce insulin on demand.

Because this project aims to help improve life and will have a huge impact in millions of people, it deserves to be funded.


What if?


Original title: What if?

Title of this edition: What if?

Author: Randall Munroe.

Gender: Scientific divulgation.


Editorial: Houghton Mifflin HarcourtPublishing Company.

Edition year: 1, 2014..

Prizes: …

Synopsis [Warning: Spoiler]: This is a set of scientific answer to “absurd hypothetical questions”, like for instance “How high a human can through something?”.

Personal Review: There is 3 reasons why I enjoy this book quite a lot. The first one, because it is a present from a very good friend for my birthday. Although the questions are completely absurd in some cases, the answers are scientifically correct, and I like it. The last reason is that Randall Munroe is the creator of xkcd comic.


This book is totally engaging. You read one answer, and if you read the next question… they you are done, you need to red next answer and so on.

The best thing is that it keeps using the same jokes he developed in the xkcd comic, and even using completely accurate answers, they can be understood by everybody with minimum physics knowledge.


Piano talks like a human.

A long time ago, I though that maybe an orchestra (using the right combination of notes), might be able to reproduce sounds similar to human speaking. I didn’t do anything about it, because I consider it just an idealization which might be impossible in real life. But, it turns out it is possible. However, you need electronics to turn speech into a combination of precisely timed notes.

Bret Victor and the visual comunication of science.

Not long ago, I came across a very nice simulation that described very well Why do buses bunch? That simulation belonged to the project Setosa, which main objective is to promote the visual communication of science.

Following that trend, I discovered another programmer that is also producing some very nice simulations. Its name? Bret Victor.

bret victor“purveyor of impossible dreams”

If you explore Bret’s webpage, you will find interesting exploration/simulation programs. Like the road bending simulation.

In this simulation there is a self-driving car that has to stay on the road despite a turn in the road. The parameters you can play with are the angle at which the road bends and how big is the angle the car uses for correction when it detects that is not over the road.

road bendsBut most important, you will discover some good talks and videos about the importance of good communication and how the new technologies can give us the power to effectively communicate our ideas or our results.

Ok. If you have read this far, probably you want to try something yourself.

The JavaScript library that Bret refers to is called d3. You can download d3 and see examples here.

For instance… Conway’s game of life.

conwayor a collision detector.

collisionOr…. visualize the stock exchange market.


By the way, if you need to refresh JavaScript o need some SVG to combine with d3… the best place for learning is the w3schools.