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Synthetic biology technology could lead to new antibiotics, modified protein-generators

Sarah Ostman
Synthetic biology researchers at Northwestern and Harvard Medical School synthesized cell ribosomes from scratch in a test tube.

Synthetic biology researchers at Northwestern University, working with partners at Harvard Medical School, have for the first time synthesized ribosomes – cell structures responsible for generating all proteins and enzymes in our bodies – from scratch in a test tube.

Others have previously tried to synthesize ribosomes from their constituent parts, but the efforts have yielded poorly functional ribosomes under conditions that do not replicate the environment of a living cell. In addition, attempts to combine ribosome synthesis and assembly in a single process have failed for decades.

Michael C. Jewett , a synthetic biologist at Northwestern, George M. Church, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School, and colleagues recently took another approach: they mimicked the natural synthesis of a ribosome, allowing natural enzymes of a cell to help facilitate the man-made construction.

Mike Jewett

“We can mimic nature and create ribosomes the way nature has evolved to do it, where all the processes are co-activated at the same time,” said Jewett, who led the research along with Church. “Our approach is a one-pot synthesis scheme in which we toss genes encoding ribosomal RNA, natural ribosomal proteins, and additional enzymes of an E. coli cell together in a test tube, and this leads to the construction of a ribosome.”

Jewett is an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern’s M c Cormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The in vitro construction of ribosomes, as demonstrated in this study, is of great interest to the synthetic biology field, which seeks to transform the ability to engineer new or novel life forms and biocatalytic ensembles for useful purposes.

The findings of the four-year research project were published June 25 in the Nature journal Molecular Systems Biology .

Comprising 57 parts — three strands of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and 54 proteins — ribosomes carry out the translation of messenger RNA into proteins, a core process of the cell. The thousands of proteins per cell, in turn, carry out a vast array of functions, from digestion to the creation of antibodies. Cells require ribosomes to live.

Branson .com

The Official Branson Website

1-800-785-1610 Web Code JSZ9CS
Posted on by Branson.com

by Linda Burlingame

As I was watching the Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai , I knew that when I wrote my article I would be using the Thesaurus frequently, to find synonyms for the word “amazing.” Every act was a new reaction of “Wow!” “Unbelievable.” That’s a good one. “Astonishing!” Yes. And did you know “amazingness” is a word. Yes, it is. And this show is packed with amazingness!

I often found myself mesmerized by the magic-like maneuvers and realizing I was not taking notes. Some of the acts feature solo acrobats, while others feature several. In some ways it’s even more astounding when a dozen young people are executing such incredible feats with so much precision. They’re like a perfect chorus line — arms, legs, and hands all in sync.

“Timing is everything.” True in many aspects of our lives and certainly true when these acrobats are performing in tandem. When all the boys have three hats each and they’re twirling, tossing the toppers not only on their own heads but also to each other. Or when they’re hoop diving, hurling themselves through the hoop; the hoop gets higher, and they touch their toes in the air as they go through. Then they fly through, stack themselves, and toss each other back through. (Make sense?!) It’s “mind-boggling.” (That’s at least four of my synonyms!)

I’ve been writing about shows in Branson for almost three decades. I’ve sometimes thought it would be fun to do a Popcorn Rating for each show. “Five Kernels” would be equal to a Five Star rating. The popcorn at the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre would get a “Five Kernels” rating. It’s delicious! The kernels are all the same size, delectably popped to crunchy perfection with coconut oil. It’s even healthy! So when you say to yourself before the show or at intermission, “Do I really want popcorn?” Yes, you do. Big box. (You’re welcome.)

Some narration with the show reveals some of the history and culture behind the routines the acrobats do. Festivals and ancient customs influence many of the acts. Women would use household items when performing — like plate spinning, and in this show a young lady rides a unicycle while balancing bowls on her head, flipping one bowl after another onto the stack! A young boy balances on pieces of pipe, first three … then five. Jumping rope and twirling yo-yos — but nothing like we did as kids! (Do kids still jump rope?)

The costumes are a colorful addition to the show, and the background music often creates a mood. It’s a love song when lovers take flight on intertwined lengths of satin, soaring high above the stage. Again I wonder at the skill … and strength … that it takes to master all theses acrobatic feats. I think about practice when they first started learning the acrobatics. I’m sure they had their fair share of “Oops!” and “Ouch!”

The Observer
Art and design
An enterprising New York cartoonist has started a bespoke pencil-sharpening service – at $12 a pop

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Would you pay twelve dollars to get your pencil sharpened? Hand-sharpened, admittedly; lovingly so, and it comes posted back (including overseas) with a certificate, and its own shavings in a bag, and careful little rubber protectors. But, still … that's something like £8.40 in Limey-money.

If you do David Rees, a Fara Ribbed Cashmerepaneled Leather Chelsea Boots Black The Row GsvXhxh5
state-based cartoonist for, among others the Nation and Rolling Stone , is your guy, blade at the ready. He describes himself as a "craftsman" who "practices the age-old art of manual pencil sharpening". We called him to check if he was for real.

A pencil-sharpening business. You'll have to excuse this, but … what's the point?

I forgive you. Well, in late spring of this year I had a temporary position with the US Census, and on the first day we all had to pull out our No 2 pencils and have them hand-sharpened. I had such a good time, I wondered if there wasn't a way to make money by sharpening pencils. I've had a great deal of encouragement and enjoyment, and while it might not be entirely serious, it's not done at all as a joke, and I'm delighted to answer any questions on it.

Obviously, I want to ask: 2B or not 2B? But I should probably change that to: is it making money?

Oh God, no. I've sold about 100. But that's around the world. And it is, slowly, taking off. Someone heard about it in Germany recently, and I've had a sudden run of orders from there. Anecdotally, I hear people don't like to use them: often they're given as a present, and just sit there, sharp forever. 2B? Well, I'll do pencils sent me, but more often now I'll prepare my own, which are the standard yellow No 2 – I think that's HB2 over there – with the metal band, the iconic childhood pencil. And I do do it lovingly. Sometimes with a box-cutter, but I've been given a nice German single-blade hand-sharpener, and take great care with the packaging, and it comes with a poster. And it gives me happiness, because at that stage life had just become a little bit …

Leaden?

Something like that indeed. And since then I have, honestly, had satisfaction, and people have said good things about artisanship, and individuality. Is it art or is it stationery? Bang in the middle, I would hope.

And no one accuses you of sharp practice?

The reaction has said, I think, more about the US than about me. The LA Times ran a piece recently and the reaction, the many comments, were split completely along the lines of what it means to be an American now. Half of them celebrated the fact that, in their words, anyone could have the inventiveness to make a go of anything, and thus they should abolish the welfare state. The otherhalf professed despair that there are people rich enough to spend 12 bucks getting their pencil sharpened.

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October 2, 2017
Sarah Turbin

Feeling creatively bankrupt this Halloween? Can’t stand the idea of donning another generic witch cap, ghost sheet, or sexy pizza rat costume? You’ve come to the right place.

If you, like me, have been accused of suffering from witzelsucht , or any other such judgment leveled against your innocent penchant for puns, then let it be known: Halloween is the costumed arena where we shall have our revenge. What follows below is a list of pun -based costumes for Halloween, each of which assuredly consists of a very long walk to a very short punchline. Let the groans begin.

Sarah Turbin

1. Dress as a Jungle goddess and cover yourself in numbers that can’t be divided. You’re Amazon Prime .

Amazon Prime

2. Dress as a many-pronged garden tool and rap all night. You’re d’rake .

d’rake

3. Dress as a zombie boxer and say you’re there to kill a doppelganger. You’re a dead ringer .

dead ringer

4. If you’re just single and looking for love, put on a coal worker’s hat and a headlight. You can flirt by saying you’re an unaccompanied miner .

unaccompanied miner

5. Dress as a bloodsucking bug and act jittery all night. You’re just a nervous tick .

nervous tick
Sarah Turbin

6. Create an electrical socket out of cardboard and then doodle, collage and scrapbook all over it. You’re a creative outlet .

creative outlet

7. Dress as a jar of Jif peanut butter and cover yourself in gold flowers. When people ask, say you’re Jif Gold-bloom .

© 2018 James Allen. All Rights Reserved.