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What to test for DNA?

So, I don’t know how accurate this website is, because it is a giant ad for DNA testing materials. However, it’s fun, so I’m posting it anyway.

This is a chart of all the possible ways to get DNA from someone who doesn’t want to cooperate. I’ll give you a hint. Hero walks into the bad guys office and gets a chance to snag cigarette butts or an envelope he just licked, smoking works for the hero’s advantage here. :D

On that same note, the heroine doesn’t need to try to get semen from the bad guy if the bad guy happens to have a cold.


A new frontier in detecting crimminals

I’ll admit, this is a tad scary. And I wonder, if it is detecting stress, can it tell the difference between the kind of stress that a would-be bomber has and a guy who just lost his job, his child is in the hospital and might die and he knows that this plane trip is going to drain the rest of his savings?

US crime predicting technology tests draw Minority Report comparisons

Land formation and drawing maps.

As I start another fun summer of roleplaying (figured out that I’m excited about that yet), I find myself drawing a map. For the longest time, Alyssa and I have used the same world, Isrlan, but now we are moving on and creating another.

Since she is much more busy than I am, I drew the map. But instead of drawing random things, I did a few specific details. In order to explain why this matters to you, I need to explain South Dakota to you first.

See the pretty river?

South Dakota is literally divided by the river, namely, the Missouri River, but since we abbreviate everything, we just call it the River. That makes East River and West River. For a traveler, that means mainly that when you cross the river you change time zones. For us in South Dakota, East River is mainly farming and baseball caps and West River is mainly cattle and cowboy hats.

But why?

In general, our weather moves from west to east. All our storms come from the west. To the farthest west point is the Black Hills (were Mtn Rushmore is). Mountains cause the clouds to rise, rain on the mountains, and give all the prettiness found there.

However, the clouds run out of water as soon as they over the mountains, so then they hit the Badlands. Personally, I find the Badlands incredible, because the dirt there is basically clay and there are many, many ridges, valleys and storm formations. I could spend a whole day there. (Or hide there with my secret organization that is taking down the government.)

Before too long, however, the clouds hit the River.  This is where it is important, because the river fuels the clouds. The clouds suck up all the water, then move along across South Dakota, raining from the river onward and giving us our lush farmland. However, since we don’t get that much rain, we typically have hot, dry summers. (Expect for last year, but last year we broke record rainfalls.)

With that in mind, I made my map, keeping a river near the mountains to fuel the clouds, so my country doesn’t become a desert. See?

On another note, and I don’t know how this really plays into things, but if you look at my map, you can see a little river about half way between the border and the Missouri River. Besides the fact that “river” floods every year, a lot of weather alerts are determined merely by whether it’ll happen west or east of the James River (Or, since we abbreviate everything, The Jim.)

A little bit more about metal.

My chemistry teacher has some awesome stories.

Potassium is highly reactive with water and air, as I discussed last week, a scientist must conduct experiments in a highly controlled environment. Well, he knows someone who took a can of potassium, tossed into the lake, and then shot it with a gun.

This caused a bunch of repeat explosions, for lack of better words, because the little bit of potassium would react with the air, explode, and show more potassium and that would explode, and so on and so forth.

Another experiment that they would show is  take a cube of potassium and I’m not sure how they did this exactly, but the cube is probably covered with potassium oxide of sorts. They would take this cube of potassium, cut all six sides of it very quickly, and then wait a few minutes. After a few minutes, they would snip off the corner of the cube and pour out liquid potassium. This would happen because the reaction of the air with the fresh potassium would cause it to heat up so much, it melted the potassium on the inside.

Yeah. Wow.

Now, we can discuss magnesium. Magnesium isn’t reactive, and it’s light, so it makes perfect sense to make ships out of in. In fact, that is exactly what Britain did during a war with Argentina. This didn’t go too well however, since fires on the ships could not be put out once started.

Strontium is another fun metal. A certain isotope of strontium, Sr-90, is used in atomic bombs. Well, Strontium can also be used to replace calcium in our bones. Our body needs calcium though, not strontium so this leads to anemia,  and leukemia. If it can replace the calcium in our muscles as well, then we are in serious trouble, because our muscles need calcium to contract.

Every spaceship is made out of metal.

I’m going to discuss some characteristics of metals and gases, based on the periodic table. One thing you must understand about the periodic table is that as you go down each row, the elements share common characteristics. This discussion will actually be a two part series, as next week I will share with you some interesting stories related to specific metals.

Yes, this actually makes sense.

We’ll start with Row 1A

1A metals are called the Alkaline metals.

This is the gray row on my table. These metals are generally shiny when fresh, but quickly tarnish when exposed to air. All of these metals react violently with water to produce hydrogen gas. These metals are so reactive that they are never found in pure forms in nature.

2A Elements: Alkaline Earth:

This is the green row. They are less reactive than Alkali metals (1A). The metallic character increases from top to bottom. Their reactivity in water varies a lot. Berylium (Be) does not react in water. Magnesium (Mg) reacts slowly with steam. Calcium (Ca), Strontium (Sr), and Barium (Ba) are reactive enough to attack cold water.

Group 3A:

Here we are jumping across to the column with one blue and the rest as pink. We’ll skip the yellow transition metals because they are funky. Boron (B) is actually a metalloid, meaning that it has characteristics of a metal and a nonmetal.  Boron is unreactive  towards oxygen and water. Aluminum is a fun metal however because when it reacts with air (namely oxygen), it forms aluminum oxide, which covers the rest of the aluminum metal with a sticky layer and prevents further breakdown. That is why aluminum doesn’t rust.


The only thing worth mentioning here is that lead and tin do not react with water, but they do react with acids.


There is nothing of particular interest in this group.


The only thing of interesting is we are now getting to the point where it is difficult to study Po, At and Rn, because they are so rare that it is difficult to find enough of it to study.

7A: Halogens.

All of these are generally found in a diatomic form, meaning that the two elements are joined together to get X2 naturally . They are also highly reactive and as such, never found in elementally form.

These also look pretty. Fluorine (F) is a green gas. Chlorine (Cl) is a yellow gas and it is also yellow as a liquid. Bromine (Br) is a red gas with a dark red liquid. Lastly Iodine (I) will condense without passing through the liquid phase and looks brownish. You can easily buy iodine actually. (At least, we have almost always had it on hand.)

8A: Noble Gases

All of these are gases. Most of them almost hardly react at all. Helium (He), Neon (Ne) and Argon (Ar) have not been induced to react with anything. The rest of them have reacted, but the product is oftentimes unstable. The number of compounds formed thus far can also be counted, whereas many other compounds formed from other elements cannot be.

The other fun things with these gases is that if you send energy through them, they produce light in many pretty colors, which should probably be a separate post completely.


As a side note: You guys are awesome! We broke 4000 views last night. Thanks everyone for that.

Some random possibilities.

I’m just throwing out some random things that you may find useful when writing.

Excessive yawning can be a symptom of a brain tumor.

A side effect of hypothyroidism in babies is they become very small and mentally retarded. (I’m not sure why I thought that to be of note, but I wrote it down when I heard it.)

When a plant exploded, what happened was that the water erupted from wherever it was stored, flash-vaporized into steam, and then reacted with the metal to cause the whole building to come down.

People with Aspergers have problems with overstimulation.

People’s short term memory lasts about thirty seconds. After that, it goes into the long term memory. We don’t always remember it because some memories become little deer trails in words and others become superhighways, based on how often we’ve accessed the information. But, theoretically, if someone could speed up their short term memory, could they then have a better memory?

Cultural crossovers almost always start with food. And therefore, food is the backbone of cultural diversity.

Calcium is the means by which all muscles in the body contract, from the finger muscles for typing to the heart. So if someone removes all calcium from a body, or inhibits all the calcium, that person dies. (I know, morbid. Sorry.)

Drunk or Dead?

Diabetes is common and getting all the more common all the time. It also causes a lot of stress on the body.

One of the many stresses involve something called DKA, diabetic ketoacidosis. I’m going to take about this for a few minutes just so you get the background.

DKA happens when a diabetic’s sugar gets too high. Now, this generally only happens in type 1 diabetics. It can be caused by quite a few things.

  • Illness
  • Stress: And I mean any type of stress, from the dog dying to illness.
  • Missed insulin

Basically, anything that doesn’t cause it to go down, which is exercise, and taking too much insulin.

What happens is the sugar gets so high that the person starts having some serious symptoms and, without hospitalization, will most likely die. Once they get to a certain point, and I can’t remember that point, they can’t just take insulin to bring it down.

They also end up getting very dehydrated.

So the treatment for this is to give them fluids, watch their sugar, and when it starts getting to about 200 or so, give them some food so they don’t go down too quickly.

So why am I telling you all this? Because someone who is having this starts to act like they are drunk, since there is just too much sugar on board. They smell like they are drunk. So they can easily be confused with someone who is drunk, and put to bed, when in reality, they really need to go to the hospital.

Another interesting fact about diabetics is that they cannot just drink alcohol. (Or shouldn’t is more correct.) If they are going to drink something alcoholic, then they need to eat something, because otherwise their blood sugar will drop.

So they take two cups of beer or whatever down, and suddenly pass out, that is not because they’ve been at it for so long, but because their blood sugar got too low.

A way to treat that, in a non-emergency setting, is to give them some icing n their cheek. The way to treat it in an emergency setting is to give them sugar or glucagon, which will make their liver release sugar.

Oh, one more thing: Happy birthday to me today. I’m now 22 years old. O.o

Global flooding.

We always talk about how the cities will be wiped out in global warming. What about how the tall ships will pass under bridges?

Ship barely passes under a bridge because of weather conditions and swells.


During many movies and TV shows, we see a patient goes flatline, he’s basically dead, and the doctor and rescue team swoops in, grabs the paddles, shock him a few times and he walks out of the hospital in two hours.

In movies and TV shows. Generally speaking, in ONLY movies and TV shows.

Why is that?

Because if the person is in a true flatline, meaning there is no electrical activity in the heart, paddles, or defibrillation as it is known in the medical world, will do nothing.

So, a few comments on this, so your stories are a bit more accurate.

1) If a patient is flatline (asystole), the patient needs two drugs. A) Epinephrine. B) Vasopressin. With epinephrine, you can give that as many times as you want, spaced about every three minutes I think it is. With Vasopressin, you can only give that once and that is all. Keep in mind that this i when the heart has completely stopped.

2) If you really want to shock a patient, they need to be in ventricular fibrillation (V-Fib) or Ventricular tachycardia without a pulse, otherwise known as V-tach without a pulse. In common language, the ventriculers are going really, really fast, which will manifest as a fast heart rate.

3) There are these things called automatic defibrillators in many public locations. With these things, anyone can shock a patient, because it’s all automatic. You attach the pads, run the read cycle, and then the machine will tell you whether or not you can shock the patient. I’m sure there’s a video out there if you are very curious.

The fancy becomes unfancy.

A nice marble lobby that is just waiting for terrorists or vandals. :D

Now, I’m not fully sure what you can do with this information, but I learned that if you pour an acid on marble, you will start to breakdown the marble. That’s how people test to see if a rock is marble or not; they put some HCl on it and if the rock fizzes, it’s marble.

One thought I had, not that I’d endorse this in real life, is that would be one way to get a message across. If you spray enough strong acids against a marble wall, that message is never coming out.