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Fred Sullivan
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Attended University of Iowa
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Fred Sullivan

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An uber-rare BONUS COLUMN for today on the #RaisingAsianAmericanDaughters blog! This one's about young men who are upholding the dignity of women, and who could teach the NFL a thing or two.
Some of you are still upset that Arizona State University's football team came into the L.A. Coliseum last weekend and upset the University of Southern California on a last-second, "Hail Mary" touchdown pass. You have to admit, what ASU pulled off was impressive.
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A google hash tag is not like a twitter hash tag. Get some great insight with this post.
Do you want to reach more people with Google+ hashtags? This article shows how to find hashtags to reach the right people on Google+.
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We don't ask you for financial help to often in stopping violence gender based violence but want to expand our efforts in LA and are bringing a great guy Eugene Hung help us accomplish this!
One in five. One of every five college women experiences rape, sexual assault, or harassment during her undergraduate years. That means 2.4 million women currently enrolled in American colleges and universities either will endure, or have already endured, such horrors while away at school. If thi...
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Red as blood

Why is blood red?  It contains heme, a molecule very similar to chlorophyll... but with iron instead of magnesium at its heart! 

Like chlorophyll, heme is a porphyrin.  That means it's made of four pentagons of carbon and nitrogen joined together by bridges of carbon.   In chlorophyll, almost all the carbons connected by alternating single and double bonds.   In heme, they all are. 

These alternating single and double bonds let electrons roam around in a smeared-out, quantum way... and when light hits the molecule, it's like a kid jumping on a trampoline!   It makes these smeared-out electrons vibrate back and forth.   But unlike the kid, the light gets absorbed if it's vibrating at the right frequency: it transfers all its energy to the molecule.

Chemists have a really sexy way of talking.  Listen to how they say what I just said:

Heme and chlorophyll are porphyrins.  Porphyrins are heterocyclic macrocycles composed of four modified pyrrole subunits interconnected at their α carbon atoms via methine bridges (=CH−). Porphyrins are aromatic. That is, they obey Hückel's rule for aromaticity, possessing 4n+2 π electrons delocalized over the macrocycle. Thus porphyrins are highly conjugated systems. As a consequence, they typically have intense absorption bands in the visible region.

Nothing about kids jumping on trampolines...

But I've got some questions.  It's important that chlorophyll absorbs light - that's how plants get energy.  It doesn't seem important that heme absorbs light.  What heme does is grab oxygen, carry it to where it needs to go, and then let it go.   So:

Puzzle 1: is it just a 'coincidence' that blood is red, or is its color somehow a necessary aspect of its biological function?

Puzzle 2: did heme evolve from chlorophyll?   Did chlorophyll evolve from heme?  Did they both evolve from a common molecule?  Or in each case did nature arrive separately at the idea of using a porphyrin with a metal ion in the middle?

I can give you some hints for Puzzle 2.   Hemoglobin and hemoglobin-like molecules are also found in many invertebrates, fungi, and plants.  These molecules can carry oxygen, or transport and regulate other things such as carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, hydrogen sulfide and sulfide ions. 

There are also porphyrins containing other metals!   The blood of crabs contains copper instead of iron:

Other porphyrins contain zinc.  In fact, if you get lead poisoning, your body has trouble making heme and starts making a very similar compound with zinc at its center:

For more, check out:

The molecule shown here is heme b, the most common form in humans.  Heme a is a lot like chlorophyll a, which I showed you earlier - they both have a long chain of carbons attached to the porphyrin:

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Fascinating look at the Antarctic glacial changes due to climate change. Slow but massive destruction of the ice sheet for a 10 foot rise in sea level. 
In case you missed it: A large section of the West Antarctic ice sheet has gone into an irreversible retreat. An in depth look:
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Automated Discovery = Data Smashing sounds like a big data technique that will work well for some types of big data set problems but you have to apply it to the right set of problems.
A new data analysis technique called "data smashing" has been invented by researchers at Cornell. They say it is a problem that a human expert has to tell a machine what "features" are relevant to look for in data for machine learning, and that they have invented a technique that can "estimate the similarity between the sources of arbitrary data streams" using "neither domain knowledge nor learning." Then they issue a press release that doesn't really explain how it works but says:

"Data smashing is based on a new way to compare data streams. The process involves two steps. First, the data streams are algorithmically 'smashed' to 'annihilate' the information in each other. Then, the process measures what information remained after the collision. The more information remained, the less likely the streams originated in the same source."

They say it works on electro-encephalograph (EEG) patterns pertaining to epileptic seizures, detection of anomalous cardiac activity from heart sound recordings, and classification of astronomical objects from raw photometry.
ITHACA, N.Y. – A little known secret in data mining is that simply feeding raw data into a data analysis algorithm is unlikely to produce meaningful results, say the authors of a new Cornell University study. From recognizing speech to identifying unusual stars, new discoveries often begin with ...
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A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth casts a shadow that blocks sunlight that normally reflects off of the moon. A total lunar eclipse can only happen when the sun, Earth and moon are perfectly aligned. During the time of total eclipse, the moon will often look reddish due to red and orange light being scattered by the atmosphere. This eerie, harmless effect has earned the tongue-in-cheek nickname "blood moon." #LunarEclipse #BloodMoon #Eclipse
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Interesting story and the text editor ICE they open sourced is linked here also.
This is an interesting glimpse into Scoop, the content management system used by the NYTimes. Enjoy! 
A look at Scoop, the CMS that powers and its mobile apps.
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It would be cool if we needed this somewhere in the New York City area!
How the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland raises boats from one water level to another.
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They say music is the only true universal language, and now we have the science to prove it.
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Evolutionary biologists say they have figured exactly which dance moves catch a woman's eye.
Igor Polk's profile photoMarkus Laumann's profile photo
In other news. Riverdancing classes have become extremely popular on college campuses....
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