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Stefan-CoA

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About Stefan-CoA

  • Birthday 02/03/1989

Profile Information

  • Location
    Cape Town
  • Interests
    Science, all of it. Books, music and movies. Video games, debate and procrastination. Travel, education and set theory.
  • College Major/Degree
    Stellenbosch University, Western Cape, South Africa
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Biochemistry,Genetics
  • Biography
    Take an imidazole, remove the imido group and replace it with Arsenic, that's about a picture of me
  • Occupation
    Student and bookseller

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  1. As was mentioned before, it really depends on what your main interest is, if it's biology; then biochemistry is a very good option (although I may be biased, having had biochem as my major). If however you are more chemically oriented, what hypervalent_iodine said. But it is possible to even switch between departments, one of the researchers in our department did a full-on chemistry phd, but is now involved in our department. It's a lot broader than most of the other molecular biology courses, but you will also get a lot more exposure since you will be dealing with genetic and microbial techniques (cloning, expressing etc), more mathematical stuff (modelling) and even more chemical things (active-site studies, mechanism of action, enzyme evolution etc etc). I also think you get exposed to a lot more techniques than in most courses (except maybe biotech). Personal opinion remains, biochemistry is pretty darn awesome.
  2. Und auch sehr wenig Vokabular. Es heisst, "Sprechen sie Deutsch?". My background is German although I've never been there I am the grand-son of emmigrants (to the then South-West Africa, now Namibia). My parents and myself as well as the few German friends I have discuss this very-same topic rather often. Our perception of Germany is a sad one. Germany was once a proud nation, years ago being German meant something. Nowadays Germans are so cowed by the specter of naziism that they are a nation very much afraid of anything. Even on a personal level, this specter is there. Sure, English folk think it's a big joke accusing us of being nazis at every turn, but being associated with such a horrid period in history is not really the greatest. What irks me though is that people can't let go of it. It's been nearly 70 years and people are still afraid that somehow Germany will rise up again. It feels sometimes that those Germans not born in Germany are more proud of the fact than the natives. If Germany does even the slightest thing untoward, nations rise up claiming naziism again. Fair enough, there may be a lot of problems, and going into them would require a thread each. But the general perception is that yeah Germans are an industrious, resilient folk with a knack for engineering and manufacturing. Yet they are also a cowed people, afraid to do anything spectacular. I doubt that if, for example; Germany went around the world crusading for "freedom and democracy" as America currently is, they would be perceived as favourably. I'm not quite sure if I'm getting my point across as this topic cuts quite close to the mark.
  3. Uh, the oil price is dependent on market speculations in Western countries. The East doesn't ask for the West's interference. It's funny how the petrol price really started spiking with the West's economic meltdown and the invasion of Iraq. My friend's mom recently traveled to Qatar, where she said the petrol price is about 2 Rand a liter, that's roughly 5 times cheaper than it currently is here in South Africa. How is the West helping people reach democracy in a swifter fashion? Somalia has failed after US intervention, (Ok, technically not East, but still). Iraq and Afghanistan are still in shambles, even after the murder of their dictators, North Korea is still giving you the middle finger. Egypt's revolution was over in what, like one or two months? That was without Western intervention. Libya on the other hand, with American bombs trashing up the place is still fighting. Nine times out of ten, people don't want Western intervention. Especially if that intervention comes in the form of smart bombs and tanks. But I digress. The oil price is fairly constant in Eastern countries, it's just that as soon as there is some trouble, the stock markets all over the world go crazy and artificially inflate the oil price. The greed of the West is the only thing shooting it in the foot.
  4. I think about 15m/s if you go by how fast nerves conduct signals.
  5. Essentially it is the separation of DNA, RNA and proteins according to their size. The molecules are loaded at the (-) electrode and when switched on (running the gel) the migrate towards the (+) electrode. The molecules move through a medium (agarose or polyacrylamide etc) which acts as a sieve. This allows the separation of molecules according to size, as the larger molecules will get stuck earlier on in the medium whereas the smaller ones will travel further. Higher percentage (concentration) gels will separate smaller molecules. The general process is as follows: Make up gel Cast gel and add the comb (this creates the wells where you load your sample) Wait for it to dry Remove comb and place gel into apparatus (wells closest to (-) electrode) Add the appropriate buffer Load samples, molecular marker Add stain(some protocols do this after the whole process) Run the gel (add the current at x Volt for y time) Visualise (UV camera etc) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gel_electrophoresis Or check out the Sigma-Aldrich website, I think they have a few protocols too
  6. I don't think it's a geographical problem. It's more of an educational one. A lot of these countries were severely battered by colonialism. Some of them even have rather temperate climates and a lot of water. Giant space mirrors won't do much except piss people off when they hear how much they cost. Plus, who's going to maintain them? There's a bunch of debris flying around the earth at velocities enough to shatter steel, nevermind glass. And if we remove space mirrors? What are you going to do with mirrors large enough to deflect sunlight off of half the world? Maybe then the poor people could admire their poverty? It's an education thing. And a political one.
  7. By that logic it should be the brother who wrote Genesis of the bible. It depends on what you define as top. The person who contributed most to the field of biology? Or simply the most well paid? Or most intelligent? Or the guy who publishes the most? I vote Kerry Mullis as one of the main contributors. Maybe Linnaeus next. Van Leeuwenhoek, but chances are that the microscope would've come into being without him too. Darwin only gets the credit because he published first. Does the person have to be alive? I guess so. Not Dawkins, sorry. He's made contributions to the popular understanding of science and biology, but as far as I know he hasn't really "done" much in the way of biology itself. Maybe some recognition to the engineers who build all the fancy machines biologists like to use? Personally I'd vote for some or other systems biologist, seeing as biological systems can't be wholly understood as merely a sum of their parts. And the parts being what most biologists (molecular) focus on. Which raises another quandary, what field of biology? There are many different ones and in each there are a multitude of outstanding researchers doing their utmost to unravel life. I think this question may be unanswerable without more detailed guidelines.
  8. America! Hah. No. I'm quite happy in South Africa, so I'd stay here. Furthest I'd go is Norway or Sweden maybe, free tertiary education and all, for my future kids. Otherwise SA is pretty awesome to live in.
  9. Point 3 assumes that nothing can exist outside of the universe. How do you know this? But point one and two are sound. Maybe if you split point 3 into two separate points it would follow a bit better, but it still stands on the assumption that nothing exists outside of the known universe.
  10. Actually medicine and cancer treatments are about saving lives. It's just that the amount of research and money that goes into developing and testing a new medicine is insane. You can't expect companies to just give the stuff away for free. These people also have families to feed. Would you rather for every person saved from cancer, a family of four is forced into poverty just because you were to stingy to save your life?
  11. Evolution is a bit like playing detective. Except you're trying to find several billion murderers over the course of 3.2 billion years from only one point in time where most of the murderers have already been dead for a few hundred million years. So, you tell me if we will ever be able to prove evolution 100% correct. Of course not; barring the usual scientific paradigm of a theory is held as true until proven otherwise, evolution proves most difficult to prove. Yet despite that we have millions of pieces of evidence ranging from paleontology, geology and pretty much all the biological sciences that say, "yeah, this pretty much happened". Evolution can explain the origins of most things biological, except you won't be able to prove this since you're looking at a puzzle 3.2 billion years in the making. So you will have lost a lot of information of the years. But, for those things that we can and have observed, evolution provides a wonderful, simple explanation which one can use to explain other things as well. When trying to define a theory, please don't use a dictionary full of colloquial English, use a scientific dictionary. Because we are using the scientific definition of theory, not the every-day theory.
  12. I really, really wish there could be some sort of ban against discussions like this. No matter what you do, the nutters from the "invisible friend" side will ALWAYS misunderstand evolution. No matter how hard you try to explain it to them, how eloquent you may be, it is their mission in life to misunderstand the theory of evolution. I mean, the have contested the meaning of theory and lost, they have contested evolution and lost, what next are you going to debate the meaning of 'of'? They will cry for proof of intermediate forms, but then they will want intermediates of the intermediates and so forth. So, let's stop all this nonsense, agree that creationists will always moan about how there is no evidence, that people came from monkey-rocks and that god is the bestest and greatest thing in the world. Evolution has provided more for humanity than superstitious ideology.
  13. I would have to go with "your mom", because I put her in a freezer. Incidentally, you might not want to go home today.
  14. Research has shown that knowing more languages can stave off Alzheimer's. It doesn't really matter what you learn, English is pretty much everywhere. I'm a native German speaker living in South Africa and I can speak English, German and Afrikaans, but I find that English is the one that I used most no matter where I am. So as far as that is concerned, go with whatever tickles your fancy. If you're planning on going off to live somewhere else, I'd suggest learning the local language (or in some cases the appropriate dialect)
  15. Really? This is how you contribute? Really? Race and genetics are two related yet different concepts. There are different types of intelligence, IQ is not the absolute measure thereof. But, it is influenced by genes, pretty much everything is. But since IQ has got a distinctive *brain* flavour to it, nurture plays a huge role, possibly even greater than nature. So, whilst your genes may give you a basic foundation or layout, it's up to you and your environment to choose how you build the house.
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