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Siromi Samarasinghe has been at 5 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
STEM Women on G+166,314Join us for a STEM Women HOA as we speak to Professor @108612046527316778941 from the University of Sri Jayawardenapura, Sri Lanka. Siromi lectures in organic chemistry and her research interests include the chemistry of tea compounds. She will talk to us about her research and career path, and also share her experiences of studying abroad and mentoring students.  You can read more about Siromi here: http://www.stemwomen.net/science-helped-me-to-overcome-challenges-in-life/ This HOA will be hosted by Dr @110756968351492254645  and Professor @114601143134471609087. You can tune in on Sunday 5th October at 1.30 PM Pacific or 9.30PM UK/ Monday 6th 7.30 AM AUS. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel after the event: http://www.youtube.com/stemwomenIn the Spotlight with Siromi Samarasinghe, Professor of Chemistry2014-10-05 22:30:0037  
STEM Women on G+166,314Join us for a STEM Women HOA as we speak to @103101121348859087349 on how men can help with the issues of gender inequality in STEM fields. Jonathan is a Professor at UC Davis and also the Academic Editor-in-Chief for PLOS Biology (http://www.plosbiology.org/). He is a passionate advocate of gender equality in STEM, and will talk to us about what we can do to encourage women in STEM. This is an important issue that affects both men *and* women. This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229  and Dr @110756968351492254645, and you can tune in on Sunday February 16th at 12.30 PM Pacific/ 8.30PM GMT. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/stemwomen) after the event. Follow us on Twitter @stemwomen and on www.stemwomen.netSTEM Women: How Men Can Help, with Professor Jonathan Eisen2014-02-16 21:30:0061  
Scientific American307,945GMOs are essential to feeding the world, proponents say. Tampering with nature is perilous, critics say. Who is right? Scientific American editor Michael Moyer will host a 30-minute conversation at noon EDT to explore this question with David H. Freedman, journalist and author of "Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us—And How to Know When Not to Trust Them." Join in and let us know what questions you'd like us to address. For more on this topic, see our September issue on Food, on newsstands later this week. The Truth about Genetically Modified Food2013-08-20 18:00:0077  
Scott Lewis325,819Have you ever wondered what it's like to give a TEDx talk? How about working at M.I.T.? What sort of excitement comes with working on a project that allows people from across the globe to map neurons through a video game? Come find out when +Buddhini Samarasinghe and +Scott Lewis interview +Amy Robinson! Buddhini and Scott will be together in San Diego hosting this special Google+ Hangout On Air interview with Amy from +Sebastian Seung's computational neuroscience lab at MIT.  This Hangout On Air will be broadcast live and recorded to YouTube. If you have any questions or comments for Amy or the hosts, please feel free to leave them here on the event page, through the live Google+ shares, via YouTube or on Twitter using the hashtag #ktcHangout .  Buddhini's Twitter:@DrHalfPintBuddy Scott's Twitter:@BaldAstronomer Amy's Twitter:@AmyLeeRobinson #HangoutsOnAir   #ScienceSunday   #ScienceEveryday   #CitizenScience   #TEDx   #OpenScience   #WomenInSTEM   #ktc20130616   #Science   #STEM   #Neuroscience   #MIT  Interview with Amy Robinson | ktc2013-06-16 23:00:0056  
Astronomy Cast11,029Join +Fraser Cain and +Pamela Gay for a live recording of their long-running and popular Astronomy Cast podcast. We'll spend the first 30 minutes recording the podcast, and then stick around to answer your questions about space and astronomy. *Episode 291: Shock Waves* As a meteor crashed into the atmosphere above Russia, the world discovered the importance of shock waves; how they're caused and how they propagate through the atmosphere. Today we'll discuss the topic in general and find many examples where shock waves can be created, here on Earth, and out in space. #ac291Astronomy Cast, Ep. 291: Shock Waves2013-02-18 21:00:00310  

Shared Circles including Siromi Samarasinghe

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Average numbers for the latest posts (max. 50 posts, posted within the last 4 weeks)

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 23

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2014-04-14 03:43:58 (23 comments, 0 reshares, 29 +1s)Open 

May you have a peaceful and joyous “Aluth Avurudu”  (Sri Lankan New Year)

The Sinhala and Tamil New Year dawns today and is celebrated throughout  Sri Lanka.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinhalese_New_Year

Some of the traditional sweetmeats:
Kavum:  Oil cake, made with rice flour, treacle and coconut milk, fried in oil. http://goo.gl/1cMT0W

Kokis: A crispy and sweet food made from rice flour and coconut milk, believed to have been introduced by the Dutch. The batter is first poured into molds and then deep fried in coconut oil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kokis

Aluwa: (White rectangular pieces in the photo) made with treacle, sugar, rice flour and added spices.

Mung Kevum: Made with a mixture of rice flour and Mung flour, with treacle and deep fried in coconut oil.
http://goo.gl/yMTuDs

Delicious food!

Most reshares: 22

posted image

2014-07-27 08:37:53 (15 comments, 22 reshares, 47 +1s)Open 

Chilling facts about Red Hot Chilli Powder

I read a news report titled “Fabric dye mixed chilli powder has hit the market - CAA “ which appeared in the local newspaper today,  with much concern. http://goo.gl/NjsFsf

“Instead of using food colouring dye,  illicit manufacturers use strong fabric dye to manufacture chilli powder which is extremely poisonous and hazardous to human health. To get a very bright reddish mixed orange shade the manufacturers use fabric dye which in other terms the consumers would believe that the best quality chilli powder has a dark, bright, red colour.. ..... ..

The low quality spices are sold retail without a packet, label or a brand. Most such substandard products are sent to day fairs and street markets held in remote areas where customers are willing to buy anything cheaper”.

✿  Industrial dyes are used forcolouring sp... more »

Most plusones: 219

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2014-11-06 02:57:28 (9 comments, 7 reshares, 219 +1s)Open 

Autumn Glory in Glasgow

Fiery orange, yellows and reds were the crowning glory of trees that adorned the streets and parks in Glasgow. Coming from a tropical country, I was fascinated by this awesome display of colours during my recent visit to Glasgow.
 
The leaves of many plants in the northern hemisphere change colour in autumn, fall off in the winter, and grow back again in the spring. This adaptation helps trees in the forest survive winter.

Unlike yellow and orange autumn leaves where chlorophyll breakdown unmasks the already present carotenoid pigments, most red leaves result from de novo synthesis of anthocyanins. The role of anthocyanins in senescing leaves are discussed in detail here:
http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/127/2/566.full.pdf+html
 

Anthocyanins are a group of plant pigments responsible for the attractive colours of manyf... more »

Latest 50 posts

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2015-06-14 07:30:52 (5 comments, 0 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

Rambutan
Rambutan on my tree,  have to share with the squirrels, bats and birds. They always get the bigger share!

Rambutan
Rambutan on my tree,  have to share with the squirrels, bats and birds. They always get the bigger share!___

posted image

2015-04-05 03:16:52 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

Unbelievable! Gratitude and devotion, lessons to humans, from the canine community. I felt so touched reading this, I wanted to share with everyone who has not already read about this amazing , unbelievable story!  Many shares and reshares on G+.
I feel I should also share this, though I had my doubts at first, about it being an April fool's joke!

So sad.... Group of Stray #Dogs Unexpectedly Show Up to at Funeral of the Kind Woman Who Gave Them Food http://laughingsquid.com/a-group-of-stray-dogs-unexpectedly-show-up-to-pay-their-respects-at-the-funeral-of-the-kind-woman-who-gave-them-food/
cc +Anne Wheaton +Jenna Busch +Jeri Ryan ___Unbelievable! Gratitude and devotion, lessons to humans, from the canine community. I felt so touched reading this, I wanted to share with everyone who has not already read about this amazing , unbelievable story!  Many shares and reshares on G+.
I feel I should also share this, though I had my doubts at first, about it being an April fool's joke!

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2015-03-27 02:47:49 (20 comments, 1 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

New cooking method to lower calories in rice by  increasing resistant starch

Abstract of paper presented to 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS):

Obesity is an emerging health crisis in many developing countries. To find food based solutions for obesity, rice resistant starch (RS) concentrations and novel ways to increase RS concentrations were studied. A total of 38 Sri Lankan rice varieties were tested; the RS concentrations ranged from 0.30 to 4.65%. The traditional rice varieties had significantly higher RS concentrations than old and improved varieties. Bg 305 had the least RS concentration out of all. However, applying different heating and cooling conditions with pure coconut oil showed RS concentrations increased by at least 10 times. The increase in RS content could be attributed to the increase in RS3 and RS5 types, suggesting... more »

New cooking method to lower calories in rice by  increasing resistant starch

Abstract of paper presented to 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS):

Obesity is an emerging health crisis in many developing countries. To find food based solutions for obesity, rice resistant starch (RS) concentrations and novel ways to increase RS concentrations were studied. A total of 38 Sri Lankan rice varieties were tested; the RS concentrations ranged from 0.30 to 4.65%. The traditional rice varieties had significantly higher RS concentrations than old and improved varieties. Bg 305 had the least RS concentration out of all. However, applying different heating and cooling conditions with pure coconut oil showed RS concentrations increased by at least 10 times. The increase in RS content could be attributed to the increase in RS3 and RS5 types, suggesting potential to increase these types of RS in rice. This study results clearly show that rice, when cooked properly, could be a good low calorie food source for obesity reduction. In-vivo glycemic effects of RS studies are in progress.

(The above findings are in the news! I am posting it as it is linked to my country, Sri Lanka. However, I am unable to find the methods the scientists have used to arrive at this conclusion and would like to read the full text of the published work before commenting further).___

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2015-03-09 02:17:28 (2 comments, 3 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

A fitting tribute to historic female scientists on International Women's Day.

How many of them do you know?
#internationalWomensDay  and #ScienceSunday  ___A fitting tribute to historic female scientists on International Women's Day.

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2015-02-10 09:08:10 (14 comments, 3 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

A visit to Lunuganga, a place of peace, tranquility, and natural beauty

Lunuganga is the creation of renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa.

Situated on the banks of the Dedduwa Lake, in Bentota, Sri Lanka, the property had been planted originally with cinnamon and then replaced with rubber over the years, before it was transformed  to the magical gardens of Lunuganga ("Salt river") by Geoffrey Bawa.

Harmonising with nature, he changed the land to the peaceful retreat it is today, where one can sit for hours amidst the giant trees and the beautiful ponds or walk in the parkland by the paddy fields appreciating the beauty of his creation.
http://goo.gl/BAsW9c

(Geoffry was the brother of Bevis Bawa, who created 'Brief', a similar refuge of lush greenery and natural beauty not far from Lunuganga.
http://goo.gl/kWYgBc)

A visit to Lunuganga, a place of peace, tranquility, and natural beauty

Lunuganga is the creation of renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa.

Situated on the banks of the Dedduwa Lake, in Bentota, Sri Lanka, the property had been planted originally with cinnamon and then replaced with rubber over the years, before it was transformed  to the magical gardens of Lunuganga ("Salt river") by Geoffrey Bawa.

Harmonising with nature, he changed the land to the peaceful retreat it is today, where one can sit for hours amidst the giant trees and the beautiful ponds or walk in the parkland by the paddy fields appreciating the beauty of his creation.
http://goo.gl/BAsW9c

(Geoffry was the brother of Bevis Bawa, who created 'Brief', a similar refuge of lush greenery and natural beauty not far from Lunuganga.
http://goo.gl/kWYgBc)___

posted image

2015-02-05 16:37:25 (5 comments, 1 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

Unsung Heroines of Chemistry
Mary Sherman Morgan, Alice Ball and Rachel Lloyd  - three chemists who have contributed  much to chemistry, but whose amazing accomplishments remained unknown to the public. One was a US rocket scientist while another discovered a better treatment for leprosy . The third is believed to be the first American female to get a PhD.

Unsung Heroines of Chemistry
Beautifully animated video by +Reactions showing American STEM women whose contributions are largely unknown by the public. Rocket scientist Mary Sherman Morgan "single-handedly saved the American Space Program - and nobody knows it but a handful of old men." Chemist Alice Ball is responsible for the enhanced treatment of leprosy. African-American chemist Rachel Lloyd was the first woman to publish in a chemistry journal; she was the first American woman to receive a PhD in this field and the second in the world; and she was the first woman professor in a co-ed institution. 

Hosted by analytical chemist Dr Raychelle Burks!

HT +Josh Witten 
#stemwomen   #chemistry   #astronomy   #woc  ___Unsung Heroines of Chemistry
Mary Sherman Morgan, Alice Ball and Rachel Lloyd  - three chemists who have contributed  much to chemistry, but whose amazing accomplishments remained unknown to the public. One was a US rocket scientist while another discovered a better treatment for leprosy . The third is believed to be the first American female to get a PhD.

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2014-12-30 02:33:54 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Encouraging Women Working in the Energy Sector

Julie Rankin-Perez is the site and installation team leader for Senvion, an international manufacturer of onshore and offshore wind turbines. She shares her experience and advice, to encourage  women in the energy sector, which is still male dominated.

"It is vital that we encourage women to stay in the sector and move up into more senior positions. After all, it’s hard for young women and girls interested in engineering to imagine their own professional future without role models who look and sound more like them".

"Highlighting case studies and “ambassadors” for the industry could also help to provide role models for women. Challenging the reinforcement of traditional gender stereotypes within science, technology, engineering and maths subjects at school and university level would also bebenefi... more »

Encouraging Women Working in the Energy Sector

Julie Rankin-Perez is the site and installation team leader for Senvion, an international manufacturer of onshore and offshore wind turbines. She shares her experience and advice, to encourage  women in the energy sector, which is still male dominated.

"It is vital that we encourage women to stay in the sector and move up into more senior positions. After all, it’s hard for young women and girls interested in engineering to imagine their own professional future without role models who look and sound more like them".

"Highlighting case studies and “ambassadors” for the industry could also help to provide role models for women. Challenging the reinforcement of traditional gender stereotypes within science, technology, engineering and maths subjects at school and university level would also be beneficial".
+STEM Women on G+ ___

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2014-12-13 02:22:04 (5 comments, 1 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Glasgow Botanic Gardens___

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2014-12-02 01:29:21 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Magic Mushrooms

___Magic Mushrooms

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2014-11-30 02:09:20 (11 comments, 5 reshares, 81 +1s)Open 

Brief, the lush green gardens in Southern Sri Lanka

All shades of green, a variety of plant species, ponds, unusual sculptures  and stone seats tucked away in hidden mini gardens.... This was the refuge,  the creation of Bevis Bawa, a Sri Lankan who lived in the Colonial era when Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon. His home and the beautifully laid out gardens tell the story of his lifestyle.
http://goo.gl/mC7f0J
http://goo.gl/b5R1ZF

Brief, the lush green gardens in Southern Sri Lanka

All shades of green, a variety of plant species, ponds, unusual sculptures  and stone seats tucked away in hidden mini gardens.... This was the refuge,  the creation of Bevis Bawa, a Sri Lankan who lived in the Colonial era when Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon. His home and the beautifully laid out gardens tell the story of his lifestyle.
http://goo.gl/mC7f0J
http://goo.gl/b5R1ZF___

posted image

2014-11-25 02:27:36 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Tea pot, Steampunk style!

Love it:
Steampunk style teapot by Michael Grafton___Tea pot, Steampunk style!

posted image

2014-11-08 03:57:02 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 20 +1s)Open 

Autumn Berry bonanza

Today I share with you photos of the red, orange and purple berries that decorate many hedges and field margins in the UK. Some add vivid colours to the evergreens in gardens and parks.

Wild berries are such beauties, but watch out, most are poisonous! Unlike the edible strawberries, and raspberries, the small round ones are difficult to identify.

 Plants cannot run away from predators, so their defences are thorns, spines, and chemicals which are irritants, bitter compounds or poisons. The chemicals, alkaloids in particular are toxic. However, most of the chemicals have valuable medicinal properties.

Some fruits in these photos are not scientifically classified as  ‘berries’.

European yew Taxus baccata
The fruit of the yew tree is an ‘aril’, Yew is classified as a conifer and its seed cones are modifiedso that e... more »

Autumn Berry bonanza

Today I share with you photos of the red, orange and purple berries that decorate many hedges and field margins in the UK. Some add vivid colours to the evergreens in gardens and parks.

Wild berries are such beauties, but watch out, most are poisonous! Unlike the edible strawberries, and raspberries, the small round ones are difficult to identify.

 Plants cannot run away from predators, so their defences are thorns, spines, and chemicals which are irritants, bitter compounds or poisons. The chemicals, alkaloids in particular are toxic. However, most of the chemicals have valuable medicinal properties.

Some fruits in these photos are not scientifically classified as  ‘berries’.

European yew Taxus baccata
The fruit of the yew tree is an ‘aril’, Yew is classified as a conifer and its seed cones are modified so that each cone contains a single seed partly surrounded by a bright red fleshy berry-like structure which is the aril. The seeds are dispersed when  the arils are eaten by birds. However, the black seeds inside them should not be eaten as they contain poisonous alkaloids.

Yew trees contain the highly poisonous taxane alkaloids that have been developed as anti-cancer drugs.The precursors of the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (taxol) is obtained from the extracts of the leaves of the European yew. It is a more renewable source than the bark of the Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia). http://goo.gl/w9Gj9L
These drugs are now chemically synthezed.

Holly Ilex aquifolium
Associated with Christmas, the small red ‘berries’ of the common Holly are technically ‘drupes’. Its spiny leaves deter grazing animals and protect birds from predators as they feed on its bright red berries.

Fruits of the holly are generally considered to be poisonous to humans. They contain the bitter compound  ‘ilicin’ which is toxic. http://goo.gl/TjA2To

 
Rosehip
Rose hips are particularly high in vitamin C content, one of the richest plant sources available.
They are used as herbal teas, in jams and jellies,  and made into wines. They can also be eaten raw, like a berry, if care is used to avoid the hairs inside the fruit. http://goo.gl/RXv1C2___

posted image

2014-11-06 02:57:28 (9 comments, 7 reshares, 219 +1s)Open 

Autumn Glory in Glasgow

Fiery orange, yellows and reds were the crowning glory of trees that adorned the streets and parks in Glasgow. Coming from a tropical country, I was fascinated by this awesome display of colours during my recent visit to Glasgow.
 
The leaves of many plants in the northern hemisphere change colour in autumn, fall off in the winter, and grow back again in the spring. This adaptation helps trees in the forest survive winter.

Unlike yellow and orange autumn leaves where chlorophyll breakdown unmasks the already present carotenoid pigments, most red leaves result from de novo synthesis of anthocyanins. The role of anthocyanins in senescing leaves are discussed in detail here:
http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/127/2/566.full.pdf+html
 

Anthocyanins are a group of plant pigments responsible for the attractive colours of manyf... more »

Autumn Glory in Glasgow

Fiery orange, yellows and reds were the crowning glory of trees that adorned the streets and parks in Glasgow. Coming from a tropical country, I was fascinated by this awesome display of colours during my recent visit to Glasgow.
 
The leaves of many plants in the northern hemisphere change colour in autumn, fall off in the winter, and grow back again in the spring. This adaptation helps trees in the forest survive winter.

Unlike yellow and orange autumn leaves where chlorophyll breakdown unmasks the already present carotenoid pigments, most red leaves result from de novo synthesis of anthocyanins. The role of anthocyanins in senescing leaves are discussed in detail here:
http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/127/2/566.full.pdf+html
 

Anthocyanins are a group of plant pigments responsible for the attractive colours of many fruits, flowers and leaves. The red colour of strawberries, bluish purple shades of berries are just two examples. They are water-soluble phenolic compounds  with a flavan C6-C3-C6 skeleton,  produced in the cytoplasm and then transported into the vacuole
 
Anthocyanins are also known to act as a “sunscreen” in photosynthetic tissue, by absorbing blue green and UV light, thereby protecting cells from high light damage during the cold months.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthocyanin
 ___

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2014-10-31 04:06:03 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

Plants are so smart!

"Plants rely on sunlight to make their food, but they also need protection from its harmful rays, just like humans do. Recently, scientists discovered a group of molecules in plants that shields them from sun damage. Now scientists report on the mechanics of how these natural plant sunscreens work".___Plants are so smart!

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2014-10-17 17:32:38 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Amazing how the brain functions!

Stroke at 33

This is an amazing essay about what it was like to have a stroke at 33. It also gives a fascinating glimpse into how the brain functions, and can adapt as a response to injury. This is a must read.

"Each time I thought about whether I needed to make a left turn or right or stop or go, I felt lost. I had no idea. And so I pressed on without thinking, while relying on intuition. Each time I stopped, recognized landmarks — a tree or a house or a store. I knew I was getting closer to home, but I did not know how to continue. Intuition carried me when logic and memory failed"

I made it home.

And then I thought, I need to get to a hospital.

I picked up the phone and then I asked myself, What is the phone number for 911?

I looked at the numeric keypad, and I could not figure out what number each shape represented. And what is the number for 911?

Read the full article at http://www.buzzfeed.com/xtinehlee/i-had-a-stroke-at-33___Amazing how the brain functions!

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2014-10-13 10:37:53 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 21 +1s)Open 

Day Five of 5 day quest
Princess Street Gardens in Edinburgh.

Day Five of 5 day quest
Princess Street Gardens in Edinburgh.___

posted image

2014-10-13 10:34:24 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

Day Four of 5 day quest
Shopping for a laptop in Glasgow city center

Day Four of 5 day quest
Shopping for a laptop in Glasgow city center___

posted image

2014-10-13 10:29:06 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Day Three of 5 day quest
Autumn in Glasgow. Leaves are falling, so is the temperature - down to 10C degrees!

Day Three of 5 day quest
Autumn in Glasgow. Leaves are falling, so is the temperature - down to 10C degrees!___

posted image

2014-10-09 14:32:11 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 18 +1s)Open 

Day Two of 5 day quest: Lunch at the City Center Glasgow.

Another sunny day, I have been lucky so far! Spanish food was delicious!

Day Two of 5 day quest: Lunch at the City Center Glasgow.

Another sunny day, I have been lucky so far! Spanish food was delicious!___

posted image

2014-10-09 14:24:33 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

Day One of 5 day quest: St. George Square, Glasgow.

I am in Glasgow right now. It was a beautiful sunny day, a good start to my 5 day quest, (tagged by +Deeksha Tare )!

Day One of 5 day quest: St. George Square, Glasgow.

I am in Glasgow right now. It was a beautiful sunny day, a good start to my 5 day quest, (tagged by +Deeksha Tare )!___

posted image

2014-09-23 11:36:27 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

At recently opened shopping complex - Arcade, Independence Square, Colombo, Sri Lanka. 

At recently opened shopping complex - Arcade, Independence Square, Colombo, Sri Lanka. ___

posted image

2014-09-08 16:35:11 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

A tour of ancient temples in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
 Kandy is the last capital of Sri Lanka, before British rule of the country in 1815. The Art, architecture, traditions, skills and the ancient culture that prevailed during the reign of the Kings of Kandy are depicted in these temples.
Kandyan architecture is highly decorative. Stone carvings, murals and  wall paintings show its unique nature.

A tour of ancient temples in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
 Kandy is the last capital of Sri Lanka, before British rule of the country in 1815. The Art, architecture, traditions, skills and the ancient culture that prevailed during the reign of the Kings of Kandy are depicted in these temples.
Kandyan architecture is highly decorative. Stone carvings, murals and  wall paintings show its unique nature.___

posted image

2014-09-08 15:14:15 (11 comments, 4 reshares, 45 +1s)Open 

Kandy is the last capital of Sri Lanka, before British rule of the country in 1815. The Art, architecture, traditions, skills and the ancient culture that prevailed during the reign of the Kings of Kandy are depicted in these temples.
Kandyan architecture is highly decorative. Stone carvings, murals and  wall paintings show its unique nature.

Kandy is the last capital of Sri Lanka, before British rule of the country in 1815. The Art, architecture, traditions, skills and the ancient culture that prevailed during the reign of the Kings of Kandy are depicted in these temples.
Kandyan architecture is highly decorative. Stone carvings, murals and  wall paintings show its unique nature.___

posted image

2014-08-29 01:59:10 (5 comments, 5 reshares, 27 +1s)Open 

Insect venom at a glance...

Today's post examines some of the chemical components of bee, wasp, hornet and ant venoms. Also, in the accompanying post, why you can't really use knowledge of acids and alkalis to neutralise bee stings, how ants can create ionic liquids, and what bee attack pheromones smell like.

See a bigger version of the graphic & read the post here: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-rb___Insect venom at a glance...

posted image

2014-08-21 01:55:37 (2 comments, 5 reshares, 25 +1s)Open 

The beauty of minerals is seldom appreciated!

I like the most .... Tree fossils with Opal growth rings...___The beauty of minerals is seldom appreciated!

posted image

2014-07-27 08:37:53 (15 comments, 22 reshares, 47 +1s)Open 

Chilling facts about Red Hot Chilli Powder

I read a news report titled “Fabric dye mixed chilli powder has hit the market - CAA “ which appeared in the local newspaper today,  with much concern. http://goo.gl/NjsFsf

“Instead of using food colouring dye,  illicit manufacturers use strong fabric dye to manufacture chilli powder which is extremely poisonous and hazardous to human health. To get a very bright reddish mixed orange shade the manufacturers use fabric dye which in other terms the consumers would believe that the best quality chilli powder has a dark, bright, red colour.. ..... ..

The low quality spices are sold retail without a packet, label or a brand. Most such substandard products are sent to day fairs and street markets held in remote areas where customers are willing to buy anything cheaper”.

✿  Industrial dyes are used forcolouring sp... more »

Chilling facts about Red Hot Chilli Powder

I read a news report titled “Fabric dye mixed chilli powder has hit the market - CAA “ which appeared in the local newspaper today,  with much concern. http://goo.gl/NjsFsf

“Instead of using food colouring dye,  illicit manufacturers use strong fabric dye to manufacture chilli powder which is extremely poisonous and hazardous to human health. To get a very bright reddish mixed orange shade the manufacturers use fabric dye which in other terms the consumers would believe that the best quality chilli powder has a dark, bright, red colour.. ..... ..

The low quality spices are sold retail without a packet, label or a brand. Most such substandard products are sent to day fairs and street markets held in remote areas where customers are willing to buy anything cheaper”.

✿  Industrial dyes are used for colouring spices
 Food adulteration with industrial dyes has been a common practice with deceitful vendors. However,  it has been on the rise with the rapidly increasing demand for spices and food ingredients by the fast food outlets and roadside restaurants that have come up in the city in recent times. The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has detected many such establishments in the recent past. The most common spices that are adulterated with industrial dyes are chilli powder and turmeric powder.

The dyes used are mostly azo dyes, used for dying fabric and other non food items, which are freely available in the market at a cheaper price than food colouring.

Sudan IV and metanil yellow dyes are common adulterants of spices. Sudan IV is a suspected genotoxic carcinogen. Metanil yellow is also a '*non permitted food dye*' . Adverse effects of metanil yellow has been reported in rats, indicating that consumption of metanil yellow can predispose both the developing and the adult central nervous system (CNS) of the rat to neurotoxicity.

Rhodamin B, an anionic dye is also used to adulterate spices.

✿  Detecting adulteration
Adulterated spice samples could be analysed using the analytical technique of chromatography.
Paper chromatography* and thin layer chromatography as well as HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) are used to detect the presence of industrial dyes which are not intended as food colouring.

In paper chromatography, and also in thin layer chromatography, substances are distributed between a stationary phase and a mobile phase.  In paper chromatography, the stationary phase is usually chromatography paper e.g. high quality filter paper. The mobile phase is a solvent ( the developing solvent) that travels up the stationary phase by capillary action carrying the components  with it. Components of the sample will partition between the stationary and mobile phases depending on the polarity of the components and the solvent.
The ratio of the distance traveled by the substance to the distance traveled by the solvent  is used as the reference value (Rf), and compared with that of known standards.  
http://goo.gl/9FycAV

What the consumer can do
         * Obtain condiments and spices from reliable sources

         * If available, get the raw material and grind to a powder

         * Report suspicious outlets and vendors to the authorities

         * Avoid eating spicy street food and food sold by vendors at  fairs, open stalls and bazaars.

Useful links:

http://omicsonline.org/scientific-reports/srep586.php
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8095244
+ScienceSunday ___

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2014-07-26 02:41:53 (7 comments, 2 reshares, 25 +1s)Open 

The smart defense mechanism of the Monarch butterfly

The monarchs use the toxic compounds known as cardenolides present  in milkweed for their own defense from predators.

Cardenolides and Monarchs

Monarchs require milkweeds in order to thrive, and many know it is because they rely on it and use that toxin as their own. The bright colors of the monarch are an indication to predators that they are unpalatable. Predators take heed allowing monarchs to leisurely fly to their next nectar destination undisturbed, but why?

Cardiac glycosides, known as cardenolides, are steroids characterized by a glycoside bond. There are at least 400 known cardenolides, and can be found in a number of plants including milkweed, foxglove, and oleander. Cardenolides inhibit the NA+,K+-ATPase (sodium pump) in vertebrates. Cardiac function is the key disruption, but the ionic balance of other animal cell types are as well including vascular smooth muscle, neurons, and kidney tubules. In the right dose, cardenolides can help treat heart failure and irregular heart beats. In the wrong dose, it can be fatal. 

One of the key features of cardenolides are the bitter taste. The cardenolides also are known to cause vomiting (emesis). As the emetic dose is approximately 50% of the lethal dose, fatal poisoning for herbivores is rare. Instead, most animals quickly associate vomiting with a plant containing cardenolides and avoid it.

Invertebrates are not spared by the NA+,K+-ATPase inhibition. Neuronal tissue is especially sensitive to cardenolides, particular the cardenolide ouabain. As it were, some species such as the Monarch butterfly have evolved a way not only around that issue, but to use it to their advantage as well. A modification in the sodium pump proteins confers resistance to the toxic cardenolides. For the Monarch, the ouabain binding site is of particular importance in determining their insensitivity to cardenolides.

The NA+,K+-ATPase is a protein. This protein consists of one alpha subunit of 1,016 amino acids and one beta subunit of 302 amino acids. Within the alpha subunit is the ouabain binding site. For Monarch butterflies, the change of a single amino acid within that binding site seems to contribute the most to insensitivity towards cardiac glyocsides. The switch of asparagine for histidine changes the receptor properties to a high degree and prevent ouabine from binding. From there, monarchs can sequester the toxin and incorporate it.

Foremost, cardenoalides are a plant defense mechanism. Monarchs evolved a way around that defense. The latex within the plants are yet another deterrent, and Monarchs yet again are finding a way pass by bleeding out the latex first before continuing to consume the milkweed. It is an evolutionary arms race where so far, it is monarchs (and their mimics) who are benefiting.

#scienceeveryday  (but so close to #sciencesunday !)


Sources and Further Reading:
Saponins and Cardiac Glycosides
http://goo.gl/nRWOCU (website)
Cardiac glycoside overdose
http://goo.gl/Q8ee6D (website)
Milkweeds, monarch butterflies and the ecological significance of cardenolides
http://goo.gl/cOiyxq (pdf/website)
Molecular basis for the insensitivity of the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) to cardiac glycosides
http://goo.gl/ScCYl8 (pdf)
The Sodium-Potassium Pump
http://goo.gl/TSNgUk (website)
Evolutionary Assembly of the Milkweed Fauna: Cytochrome Oxidase I and the Age of Tetraopes Beetles
http://goo.gl/GEAlYm (pdf)___The smart defense mechanism of the Monarch butterfly

The monarchs use the toxic compounds known as cardenolides present  in milkweed for their own defense from predators.

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2014-07-24 02:17:16 (9 comments, 2 reshares, 18 +1s)Open 

#wordlessonwednesday  

#wordlessonwednesday  ___

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2014-07-12 05:35:24 (8 comments, 3 reshares, 43 +1s)Open 

Tour of Eastern Sri Lanka
The tour included  archaeological sites, ruins of ancient temples, palaces and ancient irrigation tanks, in the Monaragala and Ampara Districts in the Eastern part of Sri Lanka.

Tour of Eastern Sri Lanka
The tour included  archaeological sites, ruins of ancient temples, palaces and ancient irrigation tanks, in the Monaragala and Ampara Districts in the Eastern part of Sri Lanka.___

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2014-06-13 02:29:12 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Nupe Market, Matara, Sri Lanka (former Ceylon)
 
This building is believed to have been erected in 1784 in the Southern coastal city of Matara, during the British occupation of Ceylon.  It was built to house the market  situated at the Nupe Junction in the heart of the city. Characteristics are large masonry columns, timber trusses, steep roofs with half round tiles, and a timber portico.
Due to neglect and without maintenance a part of the building collapsed. It is now being restored by the Archeological Department, to bring back the glamour of the built fabric back to its original status.

Nupe Market, Matara, Sri Lanka (former Ceylon)
 
This building is believed to have been erected in 1784 in the Southern coastal city of Matara, during the British occupation of Ceylon.  It was built to house the market  situated at the Nupe Junction in the heart of the city. Characteristics are large masonry columns, timber trusses, steep roofs with half round tiles, and a timber portico.
Due to neglect and without maintenance a part of the building collapsed. It is now being restored by the Archeological Department, to bring back the glamour of the built fabric back to its original status.___

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2014-06-12 03:38:09 (7 comments, 0 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

A visit to the Southern coastal city of Matara, Sri Lanka

The places of interest included historical sites dating back to the Dutch occupation of Sri Lanka (from 1640 - 1765) - The Star Fort, Dutch Reformed Church, an old printing press, some old houses of the period and a market place which is now being restored preserving its old architecture.

Star Fort – the last major defensive fort built by the Dutch VOC company, during 1763- 1765.
The British took possession of the Maritime Provinces in 1796, and since then the Star Fort had undergone several changes.  
The shape of the Fort is like a star, with six points jutting outwards which were gun embrasures.
http://www.nation.lk/edition/fine/item/18794-how-the-dutch-fortified-matara-with-star-fort.html
 
Dutch Reformed Church
The original foundations of the Church are said to be muchold... more »

A visit to the Southern coastal city of Matara, Sri Lanka

The places of interest included historical sites dating back to the Dutch occupation of Sri Lanka (from 1640 - 1765) - The Star Fort, Dutch Reformed Church, an old printing press, some old houses of the period and a market place which is now being restored preserving its old architecture.

Star Fort – the last major defensive fort built by the Dutch VOC company, during 1763- 1765.
The British took possession of the Maritime Provinces in 1796, and since then the Star Fort had undergone several changes.  
The shape of the Fort is like a star, with six points jutting outwards which were gun embrasures.
http://www.nation.lk/edition/fine/item/18794-how-the-dutch-fortified-matara-with-star-fort.html
 
Dutch Reformed Church
The original foundations of the Church are said to be much older than 1767 as depicted above the entrance. The gable facade its half round tiled roof, wide verandah  and pillars reflect the Dutch architecture.

St. Mary’s Church
A Roman Catholic church which houses the Statue of Our Lady of Matara. The statue is of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus, and is said to have been there from the Portugese occupation of Ceylon, in the 16th century.   During the recent Asian tsunami which struck Matara town in 2004, the statue got washed away, but it was recovered later.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrine_of_Our_Lady_of_Matara

 
Carlton Press
This is an old printing press which has machinery used for letterpress printing and is still in use for printing handbills and notices.

Market Place
This is preserved for its architectural value, and is being restored. It is believed to have been erected and used by the British in 1784 to house the market in the city. Characteristics are large masonry columns, timber trusses, steep roofs with half round tiles, and a timber portico.

(Text reference: National trust Sri Lanka Booklet - Quarterly Tours 31st May 2014 by Jayatissa Herath)___

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2014-05-18 03:33:52 (6 comments, 9 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

One of the most important chemical reactions, from simple molecules to complex processes, essential for life on earth.

Photosynthesis

Millions of years ago a bacterium evolved to obtain energy from the sun by means of Photosynthesis. Confusingly we call such bacteria blue-green algae or perhaps more clearly, cyanobacteria.  Later, it seems, a more complex organism with a cell having a nucleus and other internal components, somehow, engulfed a cyanobacterium within its own membrane and hijacked and used this powerful energy conversion technique for its own ends and green plants were the result.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss photosynthesis, the process by which green plants and many other organisms use sunlight to synthesise organic molecules. Photosynthesis arose very early in evolutionary history and has been a crucial driver of life on Earth. In addition to providing most of the food consumed by organisms on the planet, it is also responsible for maintaining atmospheric oxygen levels, and is thus almost certainly the most important chemical process ever discovered.

The biology, chemistry, and story of Photosynthesis is told, in more detail than you probably got at school, in this episode of In Our Time.

Listen here (stream): http://goo.gl/wskv3M
Streaming is simplest with a browser although an app works in some countries.
MP3: http://goo.gl/Plx8Cc


Nick Lane, Reader in Evolutionary Biochemistry at University College London: http://goo.gl/ckqgUI

Sandra Knapp, Botanist at the Natural History Museum: http://goo.gl/sBo9jA

John Allen, Professor of Biochemistry at Queen Mary, University of London: http://goo.gl/naC7jo

In Our Time Science Archive: http://goo.gl/LQRRv3
Podcast: http://goo.gl/8DVCpD

Image: Kristian Peters -- Fabelfroh http://goo.gl/eHcdEa___One of the most important chemical reactions, from simple molecules to complex processes, essential for life on earth.

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2014-05-13 13:22:55 (6 comments, 2 reshares, 29 +1s)Open 

This is about my story, of how I faced the obstacles in life to shape my career in science. I’m greatly honoured to be featured in the Role Model series of +STEM Women on G+ 
For the full article see: http://www.stemwomen.net/science-helped-me-to-overcome-challenges-in-life/

Science Helped Me to Overcome Challenges in Life
On our blog, Professor of Chemistry +Siromi Samarasinghe has written a wonderful guest post describing how she overcame cultural, social and financial hurdles to pursue a research career in tea chemistry. She did so at a time when it was highly unusual for women in Sri Lanka to obtain higher education. She writes of her research:

I loved the research I did for my PhD, which was related to the chemistry of black tea manufacture. This was a highly relevant topic to my country, the world renowned producer of Ceylon Tea... I used model oxidation systems to investigate flavour and colour development from tea polyphenols during black tea manufacture. The chemistry involved was fascinating!

Siromi has been a teacher, mentor and role model to many students over her 40 year career. Her story demonstrates the pressures of breaking away from traditional roles for women. Family demands and unforeseen life obstacles can have a dramatic impact on women in STEM careers all over the world. Siromi notes that while her professional journey was riddled with many personal hurdles, "Science has been my strength, it always will be." 

Read more on our blog and share your experience of juggling gender expectations in forging your career: http://www.stemwomen.net/science-helped-me-to-overcome-challenges-in-life/

#stemwomen   #science   #stem   #women   #chemistry  ___This is about my story, of how I faced the obstacles in life to shape my career in science. I’m greatly honoured to be featured in the Role Model series of +STEM Women on G+ 
For the full article see: http://www.stemwomen.net/science-helped-me-to-overcome-challenges-in-life/

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2014-05-10 01:50:30 (2 comments, 10 reshares, 47 +1s)Open 

Beautiful example of ancient  'nanotechnology'! Thanks for sharing +Trey Pitsenberger 

2000 year old Roman vessel that changes color
This cup take ones breath away. Carved around the 4th century this cup is known as a diatretum, or cage cup. Diatretum cups were all made around the 4th century and represent the pinnacle of Roman glass making. 

What make this cup so unusual is it's ability to change color. "In reflected light the cup appears opaque olive green, but when transmitted light is shone through the glass, it changes to a rich and vibrant red. The effect is caused by nanoparticles of gold and silver within the glass, so tiny and in such small quantities that only in the last few decades has microscopic analysis with sufficiently high resolution been developed to detect them. As light passes through the glass the gold and silver particles scatter the waves, allowing those at the red end of the spectrum to pass through more easily, causing the dramatic colour change."

Read more here,
via:
The British Museum
http://bit.ly/1oqVKo4

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cage_cup

#roman  
#ancient  
#art  ___Beautiful example of ancient  'nanotechnology'! Thanks for sharing +Trey Pitsenberger 

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2014-05-04 18:03:01 (12 comments, 10 reshares, 40 +1s)Open 

A hidden ‘gold mine’ in the heartwood of a tree

Nature’s chemical laboratories are forever producing fascinating substances, among them a valuable perfume ingredient in the resinous heartwood of a tree! What is even more fascinating is that the substance is produced not by healthy trees but by trees that become infected with a certain type of parasitic fungus!

Most species of the genus Aquilaria and some species of Gyrinops  are known to produce a resin as a reaction to a fungal infection. The resinous substance which darkens and solidifies in the heartwood of the tree is known as Agarwood. High in volatile organic compounds, the resin helps to suppress or retard the fungal growth, a process known as tylosis.

Agarwood oil  can be obtained by steam distillation of the resinous material. It is used in the modern perfume industry and is a much favored commodityin the ... more »

A hidden ‘gold mine’ in the heartwood of a tree

Nature’s chemical laboratories are forever producing fascinating substances, among them a valuable perfume ingredient in the resinous heartwood of a tree! What is even more fascinating is that the substance is produced not by healthy trees but by trees that become infected with a certain type of parasitic fungus!

Most species of the genus Aquilaria and some species of Gyrinops  are known to produce a resin as a reaction to a fungal infection. The resinous substance which darkens and solidifies in the heartwood of the tree is known as Agarwood. High in volatile organic compounds, the resin helps to suppress or retard the fungal growth, a process known as tylosis.

Agarwood oil  can be obtained by steam distillation of the resinous material. It is used in the modern perfume industry and is a much favored commodity in the Middle Eastern countries.The extracted oil is said to emanate a unique exotic fragrance which is highly prized.

The chemical constituents of agarwood that are reported include sesquiterpenes, chromone derivatives, tetradecanoic acid and pantadecanoic acids. http://goo.gl/lS0h4g

Perfumes produced using agarwood are expensive because of the resin’s scarcity. It is said that the quality of the aroma of this precious and luxurious commodity, is an indication of status and prestige.

Gyrinops walla,  a tree that grows in the wet zone of Sri Lanka, was not known as a resource of this fragrant resin until recently. Known as Walla Patta locally, it has few medicinal uses, the villagers use its fibrous rope (“patta”) for tying up limb casts.

This seemingly insignificant plant suddenly came to the lime light with a recent news report about an attempt by a foreign national to smuggle agarwood produced by this plant. The offender was nabbed by customs officials at the Bandaranaike International Airport carrying 16.8kg of the  agarwood worth Rs. 12 million concealed in his baggage. The cleaned up product was considered to be of Grade 1 quality. Thus the locals realized the high commercial value of Walla Patta resulting in a wave of illegal felling in different parts of the country.  

Since naturally formed agarwood is found in very small quantities, methods should be developed to form the resin artificially. The indiscriminate felling of trees threaten the survival of the agarwood producing trees, and therefore every effort should be made to conserve these valuable plants.
Image credit:http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2014/02/09/fea09.asp
#sciencesunday #scienceeveryday  ___

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2014-04-26 02:30:54 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Nature's way of detecting radiation

The stamen hairs of the common spiderwort are highly sensitive to nuclear radiation, mutating from blue to pink.
 +Rajini Rao explains how this extraordinary phenomenon of nature occurs.

See It with Flowers: A BioSensor for Radiation

✿ The stamen hairs of the common spiderwort (Tradescantia) are made up of rows of cells in single file, like beads on a string. Fuzzy and blue, they emerge by the hundreds around the stamens that hold up the bright yellow, pollen-filled anthers in the flower center. In 1975, a scientist named Sparrow made a remarkable discovery: the stamen hairs were highly sensitive to nuclear radiation, mutating from blue to pink like the floral equivalent of the canary in the coal mine! The mutation frequency is linear down to very low doses and low exposure rates such that counting the number of pink cells as a percentage of blue ones gives an accurate reading of radiation exposure. Since the cells divide in sequence, the position of the pink cell tells when the radiation exposure occurred. The flowers have been used to monitor radiation leaks around nuclear plants in Japan or as a biosensor for chemical pollutants (http://goo.gl/GTMi9C).

✿ As if this biological oddity were not enough, the flower enjoys a romantic history dating to Captain John Smith, the legendary American settler who was plucked from the perils of death at the hands of the Powhotan tribe by the chief's daughter Pocohontas. When Smith left Virginia in 1609, he carried with him spiderwort seeds to his friend John Tradescant the Elder, a master gardener in England. The plant was named Tradescantia virginiana in the latter's honor (http://goo.gl/u9dwVM).

Image Credits: Tradescantia from the garden of +Chris Veerabadran whose question about the flower name inspired this post. Thanks, Chris! 

Staminal Hair from www.microscopy-uk.org.uk
Video: Cytoplasmic Streaming in Tradescantia Stamen Hair Cells

#ScienceEveryday  ___Nature's way of detecting radiation

The stamen hairs of the common spiderwort are highly sensitive to nuclear radiation, mutating from blue to pink.
 +Rajini Rao explains how this extraordinary phenomenon of nature occurs.

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2014-04-25 12:47:32 (5 comments, 0 reshares, 18 +1s)Open 

Chico practicing patience

"What’s for dinner I’m waiting for food
Do I sing for my supper, I wonder if I should,
But she hates my singing, so I’ll pretend to be good
Take a nap before dinner and dream of food!”

#fidofriday  

Chico practicing patience

"What’s for dinner I’m waiting for food
Do I sing for my supper, I wonder if I should,
But she hates my singing, so I’ll pretend to be good
Take a nap before dinner and dream of food!”

#fidofriday  ___

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2014-04-20 03:15:39 (6 comments, 10 reshares, 39 +1s)Open 

The chemistry of the "smell of old books"

+Rich Pollett  shares this interesting post about the chemicals that give off the 'old book' smell.

___The chemistry of the "smell of old books"

+Rich Pollett  shares this interesting post about the chemicals that give off the 'old book' smell.

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2014-04-14 03:43:58 (23 comments, 0 reshares, 29 +1s)Open 

May you have a peaceful and joyous “Aluth Avurudu”  (Sri Lankan New Year)

The Sinhala and Tamil New Year dawns today and is celebrated throughout  Sri Lanka.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinhalese_New_Year

Some of the traditional sweetmeats:
Kavum:  Oil cake, made with rice flour, treacle and coconut milk, fried in oil. http://goo.gl/1cMT0W

Kokis: A crispy and sweet food made from rice flour and coconut milk, believed to have been introduced by the Dutch. The batter is first poured into molds and then deep fried in coconut oil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kokis

Aluwa: (White rectangular pieces in the photo) made with treacle, sugar, rice flour and added spices.

Mung Kevum: Made with a mixture of rice flour and Mung flour, with treacle and deep fried in coconut oil.
http://goo.gl/yMTuDs

Delicious food!

May you have a peaceful and joyous “Aluth Avurudu”  (Sri Lankan New Year)

The Sinhala and Tamil New Year dawns today and is celebrated throughout  Sri Lanka.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinhalese_New_Year

Some of the traditional sweetmeats:
Kavum:  Oil cake, made with rice flour, treacle and coconut milk, fried in oil. http://goo.gl/1cMT0W

Kokis: A crispy and sweet food made from rice flour and coconut milk, believed to have been introduced by the Dutch. The batter is first poured into molds and then deep fried in coconut oil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kokis

Aluwa: (White rectangular pieces in the photo) made with treacle, sugar, rice flour and added spices.

Mung Kevum: Made with a mixture of rice flour and Mung flour, with treacle and deep fried in coconut oil.
http://goo.gl/yMTuDs

Delicious food!___

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2014-04-12 01:59:54 (0 comments, 7 reshares, 22 +1s)Open 

On The Shoulders of Giants

♀ A sepia print of an Indian woman, a Japanese woman and a woman from Syria, dated 1885. What do they have in common? Extraordinarily, each was the first licensed female medical doctor in their country of origin. They were trained at the Women's Medical College in Pennsylvania, the first of its kind in the country. This was a time before women had the right to vote. If they did attend college at all, it was at the risk of contracting "neuralgia, uterine disease, hysteria, and other derangements of the nervous system” (according to Harvard gynecologist Edward H. Clarke). 

An all-woman medical school was first proposed in 1846, supported by the Quakers and the feminist movement. Dr. Ellwood Harvey, one of the early teaching faculty, daringly smuggled out a slave, Ann Maria Weems, dressed as a male buggy driver, from rightoutsid... more »

On The Shoulders of Giants

♀ A sepia print of an Indian woman, a Japanese woman and a woman from Syria, dated 1885. What do they have in common? Extraordinarily, each was the first licensed female medical doctor in their country of origin. They were trained at the Women's Medical College in Pennsylvania, the first of its kind in the country. This was a time before women had the right to vote. If they did attend college at all, it was at the risk of contracting "neuralgia, uterine disease, hysteria, and other derangements of the nervous system” (according to Harvard gynecologist Edward H. Clarke). 

An all-woman medical school was first proposed in 1846, supported by the Quakers and the feminist movement. Dr. Ellwood Harvey, one of the early teaching faculty, daringly smuggled out a slave, Ann Maria Weems, dressed as a male buggy driver, from right outside the White House. With his reward money, he bought his students a  papier maché dissection mannequin. Eventually, poverty forced him to quit teaching, but he still helped out with odd jobs. What a magnificent man!  

Fate and fortune were to buffet Ms. Joshi's life. Married at age 9 to a man 11 years older, her husband turned out to be surprisingly progressive. After she lost her first child at age 14, she vowed to render to her "poor suffering country women the true medical aid they so sadly stand in need of and which they would rather die than accept at the hands of a male physician". She was first offered a scholarship by a missionary on condition that she converted to Christianity. When she demurred, a wealthy socialite from New Jersey stepped in and financed her education. She is believed to be the first Hindu woman to set foot on American soil. I didn't arrive until 1983 ;)

Times were tough then. The fate of these three intrepid pioneers was a sad one. Joshi died of tuberculosis in India at the age of 21, without ever practicing. Fittingly, her husband sent her ashes back to America. Islambouli was not heard of again, likely because she was never allowed to practice in her home country. Although Okami rose to the position of head of gynecology at a Tokyo hospital, she resigned two years later when the Emperor of Japan refused to meet her because she was a woman. 

Times have changed. My own mother was married at the age of 13 to a man also 11 years her senior. My father recalls helping my mother with her geography homework in high school. She never did attend college, despite being a charismatic woman with quicksilver wit and efficiency. Little wonder then, when I was accepted into graduate school in the US, unmarried and 21 years young, my parents staunchly stood behind me against the dire predictions of friends and relatives ("She'll come back with a yellow haired American!" "Haven't you read Cosmopolitan magazine? They are all perverts there!"). Happily, I escaped perversion, earned my doctoral degree and even gained a supportive spouse of my own. In 2004, I became only the 103rd woman to be promoted to Professor in the 111-year history of the Johns Hopkins medical school, and the first in my department, the oldest Physiology department in the country. If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. 

#STEMwomen   #ScienceEveryday  

More reading: http://www.pri.org/stories/2013-07-15/historical-photos-circulating-depict-women-medical-pioneers___

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2014-04-09 01:32:44 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

#wordlessonwednesday  

#wordlessonwednesday  ___

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2014-04-06 02:35:19 (5 comments, 1 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

The Beauty of Frangipani

Nestled in white clusters in a canopy of green
They greet me every morning with a fragrance so sweet
Known as Frangipani, ‘Araliya’ or Plumeria
Beautiful maidens wear them in their hair
Golden yellow centers blending into white
Nature’s gift, what an inspiring sight!

The Beauty of Frangipani

Nestled in white clusters in a canopy of green
They greet me every morning with a fragrance so sweet
Known as Frangipani, ‘Araliya’ or Plumeria
Beautiful maidens wear them in their hair
Golden yellow centers blending into white
Nature’s gift, what an inspiring sight!___

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2014-03-30 16:10:14 (4 comments, 2 reshares, 27 +1s)Open 

Chemistry of Coconut

✿ The coconut tree is considered as a great gift of Nature to mankind, especially in the tropical Asian Pacific countries where people have been reaping its benefits throughout the ages.

What is so special about the Coconut tree is that almost all parts of the tree are utilized by humans for their basic needs – food, shelter and medicine.

✿ In Sri Lanka, it is traditionally used in religious ceremonies, in cultural events and festivals. Coconut oil is used as a fuel to light lamps by dipping a wick in the oil. The young leaves or fronds are used as decoration for festivals, and the inflorescence ('flower') is used in cultural ceremonies, at traditional weddings to bring good luck to the couple.

✿ Many health benefits are attributed to the unique composition of the oil obtained from the coconut kernel.
more »

Chemistry of Coconut

✿ The coconut tree is considered as a great gift of Nature to mankind, especially in the tropical Asian Pacific countries where people have been reaping its benefits throughout the ages.

What is so special about the Coconut tree is that almost all parts of the tree are utilized by humans for their basic needs – food, shelter and medicine.

✿ In Sri Lanka, it is traditionally used in religious ceremonies, in cultural events and festivals. Coconut oil is used as a fuel to light lamps by dipping a wick in the oil. The young leaves or fronds are used as decoration for festivals, and the inflorescence ('flower') is used in cultural ceremonies, at traditional weddings to bring good luck to the couple.

✿ Many health benefits are attributed to the unique composition of the oil obtained from the coconut kernel.

✿ Coconut oil is a liquid at temperatures around 25C and above.  Refined coconut oil is almost colourless whereas crude unrefined oil is a golden yellow.  It has a long shelf life, stable to atmospheric oxidation, due to its low degree of unsaturation.

✿ More than 90% of fat in coconut is saturated fat. Therefore it has earned a bad image as being an oil which is harmful to health, since saturated fats are known to contribute to cardiovascular disease. However, this same property of  high saturation is responsible for its health benefits, because the saturated fats that are present in coconut are made up of mostly Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) rather than Long Chain Fatty Acids.

✿ What are saturated medium chain fatty acids?
Carboxylic acids having 8 to 10 carbon atoms,  without any double bonds between carbon atoms are known as saturated medium chain fatty acids. The MCFA in coconut oil are  Caprylic acid, Capric acid and Lauric acid.
Coconut oil has more MCFA than other vegetable oils such as olive oil, soyabean oil, palm oil, groundnut oil  and sunflower oil.

✿ Of the MCFA,  Lauric acid is the major component, (48.9%) in coconut oil. Monolaurin, a derivative of lauric acid has antibacterial properties and is used in food and cosmetics.

✿Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel of the coconut. Commercial method is  by mechanical extraction from copra (dried kernel) . Domestic extraction is mostly by boiling coconut milk (water extract of kernel) and separating the oil.
We come across two main types of coconut oil in the market, based on its processing. RBD coconut oil is “Refined, Bleached and Deodorized” The other type is Virgin Coconut oil which is made by wet processing, without any drastic heat treatment as with the other types of extraction.

✿ Coconut oil is used in margarine manufacture by blending with other vegetable oils and by the  chemical modification of its components. The melting point of vegetable oils is raised by a process called hydrogenation, or 'hardening' resulting in a semisolid product. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarine

✿ Hydrogenation converts unsaturated fatty acids in the oil to saturated fatty acids thereby elevating the melting point of the oil. Partial hydrogenation results in the formation of trans fatty acids by altering the natural configuration of some of the unsaturated fatty acids in the oil. The negative aspect of the process of hardening oils to semisolid fats is the formation of trans fats. Trans fats are known to  increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, coconut oil has a very low chance of producing trans fatty acids than some other vegetable oils, e.g. sunflower oil and canola oil,  which contain poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). This is because coconut oil has a lower amount of unsaturated fatty acids (the components that produce trans fats when partially hydrogenated).

✿ Another important industrial application of coconut oil is in the production of biodiesel. The process involves a method known as transesterification which converts the oil (esters of glycerol) into methyl or ethyl esters of the fatty acids (‘biodiesel’).  http://ljs.academicdirect.org/A16/095_104.htm

Coconut water too has many uses. It is consumed as a beverage, the water of the King Coconut being a refreshing drink in the hot weather of the tropics. It is used as a re hydrating drink due to its  unique balance of electrolytes.

✿The inflorescence of the coconut tree contains a sap which is rich in sugars. The sap is collected and allowed to ferment resulting in an alcoholic beverage  - Toddy. The fermented sap is distilled to produce Arrack, a spirit with a taste usually described as "somewhere between whisky and rum". It is generally distilled to between 33% and 50% alcohol by volume (ABV) or 66 to 100 proof). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrack

✿The fermented  sap from the inflorescence is used to produce coconut vinegar. Under aerobic conditions the ethanol  in Toddy is converted to acetic acid by Acetobactor spp (acetic acid bacteria).

Coconut shells are used to produce charcoal which is used in industry as an adsorbant. In this process shells are burned in a limited supply of air and are carbonized. (Destructive distillation)
Shells contain lignin (29.4%), Cellulose (26.6%) Pentosans (27.7%), which break down at high temperatures, yielding charcoal, pyroligneous acid, tar and gas. Compared to hardwoods, coconut shells are lower in cellulose, higher in lignin.

✿ A great gift of Nature to mankind, the coconut tree is unique in its composition.

Knowing the chemistry of its component parts and the application of chemistry in its utilization makes us appreciate the coconut tree more and more as the Tree of Life

Useful link for chemistry of coconut oil: http://coconutboard.nic.in/English-Article-Gopalakrishna-CFTRI.pdf___

posted image

2014-03-30 09:30:10 (11 comments, 13 reshares, 48 +1s)Open 

Chemistry of Coconut

✿ The coconut tree is considered as a great gift of Nature to mankind, especially in the tropical Asian Pacific countries where people have been reaping its benefits throughout the ages.

What is so special about the Coconut tree is that almost all parts of the tree are utilized by humans for their basic needs – food, shelter and medicine.

✿ In Sri Lanka, it is traditionally used in religious ceremonies, in cultural events and festivals. Coconut oil is used as a fuel to light lamps by dipping a wick in the oil. The young leaves or fronds are used as decoration for festivals, and the inflorescence ('flower') is used in cultural ceremonies, at traditional weddings to bring good luck to the couple.

✿ Many health benefits are attributed to the unique composition of the oil obtained from the coconut kernel.
more »

Chemistry of Coconut

✿ The coconut tree is considered as a great gift of Nature to mankind, especially in the tropical Asian Pacific countries where people have been reaping its benefits throughout the ages.

What is so special about the Coconut tree is that almost all parts of the tree are utilized by humans for their basic needs – food, shelter and medicine.

✿ In Sri Lanka, it is traditionally used in religious ceremonies, in cultural events and festivals. Coconut oil is used as a fuel to light lamps by dipping a wick in the oil. The young leaves or fronds are used as decoration for festivals, and the inflorescence ('flower') is used in cultural ceremonies, at traditional weddings to bring good luck to the couple.

✿ Many health benefits are attributed to the unique composition of the oil obtained from the coconut kernel.

✿ Coconut oil is a liquid at temperatures around 25C and above.  Refined coconut oil is almost colourless whereas crude unrefined oil is a golden yellow.  It has a long shelf life, stable to atmospheric oxidation, due to its low degree of unsaturation.

✿ More than 90% of fat in coconut is saturated fat. Therefore it has earned a bad image as being an oil which is harmful to health, since saturated fats are known to contribute to cardiovascular disease. However, this same property of  high saturation is responsible for its health benefits, because the saturated fats that are present in coconut are made up of mostly Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) rather than Long Chain Fatty Acids.

✿ What are saturated medium chain fatty acids?
Carboxylic acids having 8 to 10 carbon atoms,  without any double bonds between carbon atoms are known as saturated medium chain fatty acids. The MCFA in coconut oil are  Caprylic acid, Capric acid and Lauric acid.
Coconut oil has more MCFA than other vegetable oils such as olive oil, soyabean oil, palm oil, groundnut oil  and sunflower oil.

✿ Of the MCFA,  Lauric acid is the major component, (48.9%) in coconut oil. Monolaurin, a derivative of lauric acid has antibacterial properties and is used in food and cosmetics.

✿Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel of the coconut. Commercial method is  by mechanical extraction from copra (dried kernel) . Domestic extraction is mostly by boiling coconut milk (water extract of kernel) and separating the oil.
We come across two main types of coconut oil in the market, based on its processing. RBD coconut oil is “Refined, Bleached and Deodorized” The other type is Virgin Coconut oil which is made by wet processing, without any drastic heat treatment as with the other types of extraction.

✿ Coconut oil is used in margarine manufacture by blending with other vegetable oils and by the  chemical modification of its components. The melting point of vegetable oils is raised by a process called hydrogenation, or 'hardening' resulting in a semisolid product. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarine

✿ Hydrogenation converts unsaturated fatty acids in the oil to saturated fatty acids thereby elevating the melting point of the oil. Partial hydrogenation results in the formation of trans fatty acids by altering the natural configuration of some of the unsaturated fatty acids in the oil. The negative aspect of the process of hardening oils to semisolid fats is the formation of trans fats. Trans fats are known to  increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, coconut oil has a very low chance of producing trans fatty acids than some other vegetable oils, e.g. sunflower oil and canola oil,  which contain poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). This is because coconut oil has a lower amount of unsaturated fatty acids (the components that produce trans fats when partially hydrogenated).

✿ Another important industrial application of coconut oil is in the production of biodiesel. The process involves a method known as transesterification which converts the oil (esters of glycerol) into methyl or ethyl esters of the fatty acids (‘biodiesel’).  http://ljs.academicdirect.org/A16/095_104.htm

Coconut water too has many uses. It is consumed as a beverage, the water of the King Coconut being a refreshing drink in the hot weather of the tropics. It is used as a re hydrating drink due to its  unique balance of electrolytes.

✿The inflorescence of the coconut tree contains a sap which is rich in sugars. The sap is collected and allowed to ferment resulting in an alcoholic beverage  - Toddy. The fermented sap is distilled to produce Arrack, a spirit with a taste usually described as "somewhere between whisky and rum". It is generally distilled to between 33% and 50% alcohol by volume (ABV) or 66 to 100 proof). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrack

✿The fermented  sap from the inflorescence is used to produce coconut vinegar. Under aerobic conditions the ethanol  in Toddy is converted to acetic acid by Acetobactor spp (acetic acid bacteria).

Coconut shells are used to produce charcoal which is used in industry as an adsorbant. In this process shells are burned in a limited supply of air and are carbonized. (Destructive distillation)
Shells contain lignin (29.4%), Cellulose (26.6%) Pentosans (27.7%), which break down at high temperatures, yielding charcoal, pyroligneous acid, tar and gas. Compared to hardwoods, coconut shells are lower in cellulose, higher in lignin.

✿ A great gift of Nature to mankind, the coconut tree is unique in its composition.

Knowing the chemistry of its component parts and the application of chemistry in its utilization makes us appreciate the coconut tree more and more as the Tree of Life

Useful link for chemistry of coconut oil: http://coconutboard.nic.in/English-Article-Gopalakrishna-CFTRI.pdf
#sciencesunday #scienceeveryday___

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2014-03-26 13:55:42 (8 comments, 2 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

#wordlessonwednesday #wordlesswednesday  

#wordlessonwednesday #wordlesswednesday  ___

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2014-03-21 02:40:50 (4 comments, 1 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

Mesua ferrea (Ceylon ironwood)

The young leaves of the Ironwood ("Na tree" in Sinhalese), which is the National tree of Sri Lanka.
#naturephotography

Mesua ferrea (Ceylon ironwood)

The young leaves of the Ironwood ("Na tree" in Sinhalese), which is the National tree of Sri Lanka.
#naturephotography___

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2014-03-19 13:57:10 (3 comments, 1 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

#wordlesswednesday #wordlessonwednesday #flowerphotography  

#wordlesswednesday #wordlessonwednesday #flowerphotography  ___

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2014-03-18 03:07:22 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Keep smiling...

Keep smiling...___

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2014-03-16 01:49:00 (0 comments, 5 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

Don't give up...
https://plus.google.com/108535584317102432580/posts/66kThk8egvT

Don't give up...
https://plus.google.com/108535584317102432580/posts/66kThk8egvT___

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2014-03-15 17:12:00 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

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