Friday, October 07, 2005

hindsight

I realise now, after 11 hours of sleep, how incredibly inane that last post was.

I remember now what I orignially intended to post, since I did have an interesting day (a tiring one no doubt). During physio lab we were introduced to these lil buggers called sea fireflies (and Abs thought I'd caught a fever when I raved about them).

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Cypridina hilgendorfii are a class of crustaceans called ostracods that live in the deep sea of Japan. These tiny buggers (they measure about 1-3mm across) emit an amazing blue luminescent glow in the night time.

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Researchers think it could be a mating signal, sometimes they emit large bursts of light (also known as a "light bomb") to scare off predators, or just in response to changes in salinity. It's still very much a mystery actually. But still, a spectacular sight to behold.

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Feeding

These organisms are typically harvested from the wild, freeze-dried and sold, mostly to schools for demonstrations on bioluminescence. A gram of these sea fireflies cost USD50!! They are also used by researchers to isolate the enzyme luciferase (responsible for the reaction that produces the luminescent glow) for further study.

*Trivia: During World War II, soldiers used C. hilgendorfii to produce light for reading maps at night, as these dried sea fireflies produce blue luminescence when crushed in sand and water.

Later for developmental lab, we were studying embryology, and were made to watch this. The video is called "Life's Greatest Miracle" by NOVA, the much awaited sequel to NOVA's first "Miracle of Life". It featured Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson's incredible "microimagery" (which lets you take on the life of say, a sperm, as you are expelled from the penis. Creepy.) that made it an Emmy Award-winning film.

If you're truly interested in what I was greatly disturbed by, check out the last clip about "the pain of childbirth" and you'll see what I mean. At the risk of sounding juvenile, I have to admit that the scene on childbirth seemed like something out of a bad sci-fi movie and reminded me once again, why I never want to have babies.

More videos on advances in health science here. It's quite interesting really, first clip's about 18 ways to make a baby. (And here we thought there were at least 40 positions. NOVA is out of date la.)

Off to torture more spiders.

2 comments:

quin said...

why are you in love with those spiders?! aren't they gross? #_#

quin

kungfubunny said...

of course i'm not in love with them you katoeeeey. haha.