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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

MUSCLES...they help you get all the ladies

Muscles are cool, and by extension people who have nice muscles are cool...and hottt. Why else would I have wasted my time going to see Thor? Did you see Thor's abs? I'd worship a god with a six pack like that...

...What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, muscles. I figured since I am currently thinking about the muscles and skeletons of worms, I'd give all ten of my loyal readers a little background into what muscle is, how it works, how it changes, and why you need to go to the gym more often.

So basically muscle is tissue that can contract and make force. And the more force you can make, the more manly you are. It's a simple proportion.

All muscle in made up of muscle fibers aka muscle cells which are arranged in bundles. In these muscles cells are pairs of contractile proteins that grip and can ratchet past each other to make force and contract your muscle. Yes, like when you flex your massive biceps.

biology,cells,close-ups,healthcare,heart muscle,hearts,medicine,micrographs,micrography,muscles,Photographs,science,sciences
Muscle cells look cool. Scientific fact.

The amount of force you can make with your muscles depends on how large your muscle cross sectional area is and in turn how many force producing proteins are in parallel to each other... more muscles acting in parallel means more force being applied directly to the load. Basically, if the cross-sectional area of your muscle is big, you have larger muscle cells in parallel and you can generate more force and validate grunting like a gorilla in heat when you do barbell chest presses using a ton of weight:

There are also different kinds of muscle cells, depending on whether or not you do aerobic exercise or short intense bursts of exercise like weight lifting. Type I muscle fibers are 'slow twitch' fibers which just means they contract slowly. Basically it takes a while to get this muscle going, but once it does it can use oxygen and food to make energy and keep going for a long time. If you do a lot of cardio, this is what you have. This is 'red' muscle like what you see in cows because this muscle has hemoglobin inside of it to get max oxygen delivery to power the cells. So you have cow-like muscle. Moo.

Red meat= Type I Muscle

Type II fibers are the opposite case. This muscle can contract quickly because it has tons of nerve fibers firing on it, but the tradeoff is it can't use oxygen and food to make energy. Instead it has to rely on the energy reserves it has and what little energy you make without oxygen just before you cramp up, so it fatigues quickly. Since it can't use oxygen, it doesn't have hemoglobin in it to get oxygen from the blood and is white in color like white chicken meat (the dark meat is type 1 muscle fibers). Yep, I just called you a chicken, Mr. Weight lifter.
White meat= Type II Muscle

The punchline: MUSCLES ARE GOOD, SO GO TO THE GYM ALREADY. And no, shaking a shake weight does NOT count:

Yes, I know working out is hard...BUT... muscle is sexy... You know you are totally jealous of my chiseled arms...

You don't have to pay to watch this gun show!

Plus, muscle cells just look cooler than fat cells. Just sayin'

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The most picked on cells in the body.

Your gym buddy,

The 'Dirty' Scientist

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Worms...They are Kind of Like A Penis

I'm making this blog to document the strange field that is science and my thesis on how earthworms and other squishy burrowing animals (such as sea cucumbers, clams, sea anemones, and marine worms) work as organisms. Earthworm burrowing is considered super important because it aerates the soil which helps plant roots grow and it helps the soil retain water among other things. Worms are also great composters, their poop is coveted and sold as garden fertilizer. I've never seen so many blogs and web forums dedicated to how to get the most poop fastest. So I want to know what life is like as a squishy animal in a stiff coarse environment (wow that sounds like the trailer one of those inspirational movies, huh?)
cape daisies,dirt,environmental conservation,fragility,gardening,giving,greens,growths,holding,iStockphoto,leaves,nurseries,planting,seedlings,soils
Dirt. It's what's for dinner.

Am I putting you to sleep already? But earthworms are cool! Wake up! I have cake! Okay not really...

So I thought I'd start my first blog post explaining why earthworms are pretty awesome since I'm probably going to spend the next few years of my PhD life thinking about them and other soft-bodied burrowing critters. Yes, yes, I'll get to your genitalia in a minute, that is one of many reasons. To begin with:

1.For my fellow science nerds, I'll have you know Charles Darwin wrote a whole book on them (see

2. They are job creators...we should elect them into Congress. Yes, people have dedicated careers to breeding/harvesting and selling worms for composting, agriculture, and bait. For example, see

3.They are a cheap, low maintenance pet when your dad refuses to get you a dog

Yes, my dog's tongue really does stick out all the time!

4. They sell them at Walmart. Can't beat one stop shopping. Razors..? Check. Apples...? Check. Animals for thesis project...? Check.

5. There live friggin' everywhere. They can be found on remote islands, deserts, tundras... all over

6. They are hermaphrodites and have a bizarre sex life:

7. The babies are as small as 0.1g, yet some worms are as big as 1.3kg/ 1.4 meters long:

8. They have no brain!

9. They live in a place that very few people do (besides mole people)... underground
Underground. Homey.

10. They have blood, but I don't think you're considered a vampire if you eat them

11. They don't have eyes but can detect light using cells all over their body

These worms are mad because I was digging and screwed up their perfectly fine burrows.

12. Their poo or 'casts' are coveted like gold for fertilizer. You will never see so many articles on how to get a critter to take a dump.

13. Their genitals are near in their 'head' region. The place where you eat and mate are close by, handy!

14. They reproduce by making cocoons, how cute!

I know, the cocoons are adorable!

15. Some worms can hibernate, so they will survive the nuclear zombie apocalypse.
Do zombies eat worms?

16. You can eat them! Bear Grylls and Jake Gyllenhaal did on Man vs Wild, nom nom nom.

17. Many can regenerate body parts, particularly if their tail gets cut off. Luke Skywalker is jealous.

18. They are kind like your penis... Worms have a fluid filled body cavity called the coelom surrounded by muscle/flesh. This skeleton gets stiff by pressurizing the fluid, aka a 'hydrostatic skeleton'.

When a penis gets engorged with blood ...assuming you don't have erectile dysfunction... it also fits the description of a hydrostatic skeleton

And neither worms nor weiners have a brain yet seem to have a mind of their own... They aren't the exact same, though. The membrane surrounding the fluid sac in worms is arranged in a so-called cross-helical pattern (basically in left and right handed helices) in worms which is good because it allows the worm to lengthen and WISH you could do that with your penis!. On the other hand, this arrangement lets the worm bend easily, and if a penis were bendy...well...things could get tricky. So penises have membrane fibers that run around the circumference of the penis and along the length of the penis... a so called 'orthogonal' arrangement . Sorry, you can't change the dimensions of your penis, but at least it's not floppy either!

Hope you enjoyed my first post, more squishy science soon :)

-The 'Dirty' Scientist