So, let’s talk about fear, baby.
I write this because yesterday, I attempted to go trapezeing (trapezing? Trapzing?) and I proceeded to shit myself and freak the hell out. (acrophobia: fear of heights)My heart raced, I clung to a pole, and I proceeded to word salad – spouting random words and phrases that meant nothing and is a symptom of many mental disorders. Good fucking times.
But instead of crying about it and swearing off heights, I am going to fucking address it and get the fuck over it like an adult. And the enemy of all fear is knowledge. And because I am scared of something, all of you are going to fucking hear about it and accompany me on my wondrous journey to telling my fear to go fuck itself, and you are going to come and it is going to be a magical fucking journey.
Let’s get the fuck on with it.
WHAT IS IT?
Fear is a an emotion for an evolutionary purpose, about things happening or going to happen. It is the part of you that tells you you are about to get your face eaten off, and it would probably be good to avoid that. It also tells you that being really high up on a rocky outcrop with spikes at the bottom is not the best plan you have ever had. Essentially, it is the part of you that responds to pain and threats.
Fear forces you to confront what is happening, or run the fuck away. This is called the flight-or-fight response. When this happens, your system floods with a bunch of white-fucking-hot hormones, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline. These are used to prep your entire squishy body for some violent R+ rated action. This prepping includes but isn’t limited to:
- Making your heart and lungs speed the fuck up.
- Either making you go ALABASTER WHITE or FIRE ENGINE RED on your skin parts.
- Telling your not immediate systems to slow the fuck down or hit the showers. This is mostly your stomach and upper intestine. Digestion can slow or stop entirely.
- All of your sphincters tighten. And for those of you being fucking idiots and already priming yourselves to send me stupid fucking messages about “WELL ACTUALLY LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT SCIENCE…” you can fuck right off. You have at least 12 sphincters, not including the ones that control blood flow and also you can stop reading right now because I fucking hate you.
- Some blood vessels constrict.
- A fuckton of nutrients get released from fat and glucose to help with that whole energy thing.
- Blood vessels for the muscle dilate.
- The lacrimal gland, which causes you to leak water from your sad parts and salivate, tightens it’s ship so you don’t cry yourself to death.
- Your pupils get all big.
- Your bladder gets all soft.
- Same with your cock, should you have one.
- Your hearing decides to fuck off, same with peripheral vision.
- Your spinal reflexes are a little looser.
- And you shake like a motherfucking scaredy cat leaf. (hylophobia: fear of trees, forests, or wood).
The funny thing is, is that this stress response has gotten pretty liberal. It triggers when you are anxious about, say, an assignment that is overdue because you spent all of your fucking time writing a stupid fucking science blog. Over long times, this response stops you from shitting, eating, fucking, pissing, and caring about fucking. Basically, all of the fun things in life.
Not to mention because your body has evolved to prioritise not being eaten over getting over a cold, if you are stressed all the fucking time your immune system is going to be a crapshoot, despite the fact that your immune system got doped as all fuck right after the response has been activated. This is real great if you have only momentary stress, but when you are anxious for weeks on end it doesn’t really work too great.
So, fight-or-flight is your normal, regular response. Go a step more than that, like when you are forty feet up and some skinny motherfucker is holding onto a belt around your waist and telling you to jump while holding onto a tiny metal bar attached to tiny fucking ropes, and we’re getting into horror and terror response. This is when you freeze up, when your brain is so completely fucking addled by panic that it can’t really decide on any course of action.
Fear is one of the basest fucking human emotions that you have. It is the primal, lizard (herpetophobia: fear of lizards and reptiles) part of you that got your ancestors going. It is really important here to separate from anxiety, where nothing is actually wrong but you are scared all the time anyway. Fear makes you run away or fight a threat, anxiety makes you believe your threat is out of your power. And that fucking sucks and you should go and see a doctor because that is no way to live your life and you deserve better than that and if you ever tell anyone I was just kind to you I will come to your house and cut off your feet motherfucker.
So, I looked at some motherfucking data because this is a goddamn science blog after all, and hear are your most common fears.
- Small spaces.
- People hating you.
- Talking in front of other people.
Are. You. For. Fucking. Real.
Of those, maybe four are likely to cause you serious harm. Two might hurt you. A couple may impact your life pretty negatively.
But cockroaches?! FUCKING SERIOUSLY?!
In entomology circles, there is a saying “cockroaches are only as dirty as whatever they are standing on.” They are clean as fuck! And needles?! And people hating you?! WHAT. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK. WHO THE FUCK CARES IF PEOPLE HATE YOU?! PEOPLE ARE FUCKING IDIOTS. YOU DON’T WANT THOSE DOUCHEBAGS TO LIKE YOU ANYWAY. PEOPLE ARE SCARED OF FUCKING COCKROACHES ARE YOU FOR FUCKING…
Okay, okay, it’s fine. I’m fine. My blood slave person has cleaned up the boiling hot blood that just shot out of my eyes and throat and coated everything I own and then I lay down and drank an entire bottle of scotch and now I can finish the fucking blog.
fucking cockroaches I swear to fucking god
Causes of Fear.
Most rational, not fucking idiots develop fear as a result of learning. In psychology, the dickheads in white coats called it “fear conditioning,” as of John B. Watson’s “Little Albert” Experiment.
Because professional ethics didn’t exist in the past, scientists were allowed to take children and make them frightened of things. The Little Albert experiment involved making a kid scared of white rats (murophobia: fear of rats). Over time, the kid got scared of fucking everything remotely close to a white rat – rabbits, dogs, and a ball of cotton. That boy grew into a real winner, I’m sure.
Generally, fears come from traumatic experiences. The same way as your fucking idiot self discovered that touching the stove caused pain was to be avoided, or playing with your Dad’s rifle ended in you having three of your fingers lopped off and the doctor’s assured your parents you would never play drums again but who should them motherfuckers what’s what and then you didn’t fuck around with guns anymore.
Say, when you were a small and especially stupid child, you saw your friend fall out of tree and bones stuck out of her arm and in an attempt to help you tried to put them back in but you made it worse and was covered in your friend’s blood and had bone shards stuck in your fingers, you would learn to fear it. Perhaps a fear of blood (haemophobia), or fear of no one coming to help you (agoraphobia - also means fear of open spaces, public places, or places you can’t escape from). It often doesn’t matter if you yourself observed it or experienced it; the fear gets programmed into you either way. The same effect is observed with social experiences and cultural influences – if you are in a country where all of the women on TV are scared of spiders, you, as a woman, may develop a fear of them for no fucking good reason.
A better example. Remember polio? Of course you fucking don’t, you past nostalgic weirdo. Polio was fucking awful. It was a virus that fucked up the juicy lovely inside of your spine. 90% of people who had it swimming in their blood streams didn’t show symptoms, and could still spread it. It destroyed motor neurons, fucked up limbs. It was fucking horrible. People were terrified of getting it, of their children getting it. Then we got vaccines, and we’ve almost eradicated it. These days, people don’t even know what polio is, and if they did, they wouldn’t be scared. It’s gone now. How can something be so scary ninety years ago, but no one bats an eyelid now?
Fear is a part of nature, it’s innate, it is the part of you that also reminds you to eat and sleep and to congregate with other humans, but it’s still a learned behaviour. It’s both.
The best way to explain it is to see what fears you can induce in others. For instance, at work I decided to tell everyone that a lot of moths can puncture your skin and lead to cysts growing in your flesh full of tiny wriggly moth babies (mottephobia: fear of moths or entomophobia: fear of insects). Pretty soon, I had people screaming, hiding, and then we all got a week off for fumigation. I spent it drinking and doing vast quantities of hard drugs.
When I tried to make everyone afraid of clouds, it didn’t go so well. Some fears are easier to induce that others. Your squishy, weak human brain is already prepped to fear some things more than others. Bad experiences, hearing about bad experiences, our imaginations, wanting to fit in, extrapolations, and a desire to feel can all influence your fear response.
Now, I could get all evo-psych on your arse, but I won’t because I fucking hate most evo-psych bullshit because so often it tends to fit perfectly with people wanting to be dickbags but not wanting to take responsibility for it. You can spend your time reading about evo-psych if you want, but this is a goddamn science blog and we are talking about observable fact, and unless you have a fucking time machine you can bite me and run your own goddamn science blog.
Fear in the Brain.
All right, let’s get some science into this motherfucker.
The amygdala is a chunk of your brain behind another chunk of brain called the pituitary gland. Your amygdala is the part of your brain that deals with most of your fear, but fucks around with stress, emotional learning and memory. And we’re not talking “I can’t watch the beginning of UP because that is the saddest ten minutes in the history of fucking anything” we’re talking “Oh my fucking god I almost died jesus fuck not doing that again.” (necrophobia: fear of dying or of death)
When something threatens you, be it a creepy guy in a nightclub or a wobbly platform twenty feet up, your amygdala gets its shit into gear. We’re talking a heavy dose of hormones that make you scared, and get you fucking pissed. More hormones are released to get you ready for whatever shit you need to, the aforementioned fight-or-flight response, which is kept in check by your hypothalamus.
Your amygdala will keep your shit in high gear until you feel safe again. At this point, your amygdala will process what just fucking happened, and make sure the medial prefrontal cortex has a solid report on it. This is the part of you that reminds you that last time you climbed on the roof, it did not go well.
All right, so. These fuckton of hormones that your amygdala is sortin’ out. I could go into them but quite frankly I am already fucking bored of this so look them up in your time you lazy arse-pansy. You heard me. Arse-pansy.
After this shit has done down, your amygdala and hippocampus start writing a motherfuckin’ report using synaptic plasticity. Your hippocampus is the chunk of brain that makes short term memories into long ones, and reminds you how to walk through your house when you are drunk and need the bathroom in the middle of the night. Your hippocampus will note down every fucking detail about what just went down, which is what makes everything very sharp when you’re scared.
Too Much Fear.
The threat that stimulates your amygdala also stimulates the neurons all around it. Now, if you know anything about memory formation, which I hope you fuckin’ do because you are reading a goddamn science blog instead of watching terrible reality shows about orange people, you’ll know this constant stimulation will form permanent responses that are difficult to break, like the one you have whenever you smell cheese toast and suddenly need to eat cheese toast. Mmm. Cheese toast.
In this case though, the neurons around your amygdala are not ones you want to get their shit together. This is how people end up with post traumatic stress disorder, or a phobia. Post traumatic stress disorder is fucking brutal, and I hate the fact that so many poor motherfuckers have to deal with that shit. In people with bipolar and panic disorders, their amygdala is roughly the size of a small whale, hence the brain-fuckery. Bummer.
Now, this wouldn’t be a science blog unless we talked about how fucking excellent science is. One of the ways you can get your brain unfucked is treating it with glucocorticoids. It’s a fancy name for a steroid hormone that binds to the glucocorticoid receptor (clever namin’ there, scientists). Now, I could explain glucocorticoids to you, but quite frankly I am fucking done writing that word out. Jesus fucking Christ that word is horrible. It does a fuckton of things, and one of those things is disrupting the nucleus of the amygdala, which stopped some mice it was tested on from behaving in the way their fear conditioned brains told them was a good plan. In humans, it gets taken as a pill or rubbed all over your oily skin to deal with your brain fuckery.
I recommend checking out the wiki article on glu-fuck-whatever-oid’s actually. Interesting fucking shit. SCIENCE.
That’s too much fucking fear. What about not enough fucking fear?
Some people don’t have an amygdala. And we should pity them and donate ours. Wait. No, wrong thing.
There are a couple of different reasons someone might not have an amygdala. One particular case that scientists fell head over heels for was the case of a woman whose amygdala just rotted out when she was a child. Scientists would have fucked this idea if they could. In animals, when the amygdala was removed, animals simply didn’t have fear, and didn’t learn from pain. Mice subjected to repeated electric shocks after a certain sound could not learn to avoid the shocks.
Another cause could be Williams syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder where kids have elfin features, a cheerful demeanour, a shitty cardiovascular system, being shit at some things but good with words, and really trusting strangers. I give you ten fucking minutes before attention-starved teenagers start claiming to have it, or some motherfucker writes to me and tells me it’s because they contain elf DNA or some bullshit. Williams syndrome is actually a deletion of twenty six genes from chromosome seven and so help me god if any of you fuckers writes to me about elf DNA I will come to your house and I will KILL YOU.
While people with Williams syndrome do have high levels of anxiety and develop phobias rather well, they lack social fear. Social fear isn’t just being nervous about asking someone out so you go home and write big wanky blogs about why women won’t date nice guys like you, social fear includes things like “not getting into an unmarked van” and “not taking pills from a stranger wearing rave pants.”
Also, in case any of you special snowflakes decide that “OH MAYBE I HAVE WILLIAMS SYNDROME BECAUSE I AM AN ELF AND I LIKE PEOPLE” it is probably worth mentioning people with Williams syndrome have an average IQ of 69.32.
Another reason someone might not have fear is because they are a motherfucking psychopath, that may or may not actually fuck their mother. Let’s hope not. Gross. The shallow emotions felt by psychopaths includes all emotions, including fear.
GETTING THE FUCK OVER IT.
Aside from the gluco-whatever mentioned before, there are other treatments of fear. Neuroscientists and psychologists earn their bread and butter this way.
One of the most used is exposure therapy – exposing yourself (not in a dirty way) to whatever your scared of, but in a way where it can’t harm you. It’s learning a new conditioning to overcome the old fear one. It’s somewhat related to systematic desensitization, where you learn meditation or some other relaxation whatever to have kick in when you’re scared of something.
Other methods, to be prevented in list form because I am so fucking bored.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy, used to challenge thoughts and realise that you are being completely fucking irrational.
- Eye movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
- Hypnotherapy (fucking really?! Ugh. Whatever works, I guess even though there is no scientific basis of….I’m fine. I’m fine.)
- Some other new age bullshit that I am not talking about on my science blog. YOU DON’T HAVE ANY REAL PROOF, FUCKERS.
Good. Are we fucking done here? I have to climb a church.
WHY SPIDERS ARE NOT SCARY AND YOU ARE A FUCKING IDIOT IF YOU THINK OTHERWISE.
OH YES I FUCKING WENT THERE
(EDIT: Hey! Just wanted to give a massive fucking shout out to all the fucking excellent motherfuckers who have wrote in saying they are now working on dealing with their fears of spiders. I fucking salute you! Conquering your fears are fucking amazing, and you are fucking amazing, and if I could I would come to your house and drink some fucking 90% ethanol with you, you fucking excellent badass you.)
So, on one of my many other unrelated blogs, I recieved this letter:
Wah, I am a big honking baby who can’t deal with things being scary and tiny creatures which don’t want to hurt me, are frightened of me and are incredibly unlikely to hurt me make my stomach hurt can you please shield my tiny bitty feelings from the universe and protect me from a single picture on the internet because I am a big baby.
Yep. That’s exactly how it went.
Look, okay, I fucking get trigger warnings, I do. Things like discussions and pictures of really fucking horrible things that flash back you to horrible things are fucking shit, and you deserve to be able to avoid that. However, if a goddamn picture on the internet of a goddamn creature that can not bring you harm actually freaks you out that much, you need to see a fucking therapist or you need to grow the fuck up. Unless a giant spider ate your parents in front of you, then cut your legs off. In which case, you know, sorry about that. If you are seeing a therapist for it, awesome! You have realised a personal weakness and are fighting it. You are a goddamn American Hero.
I can see I am going to make a lot of friends with this post.
Here’s the thing with fear: If you are scared of something that cannot actually hurt you, and you make absolutely no effort to not be afraid of that thing, then you are an idiot and a giant baby. Do you know what badasses do? They find something they are scared of, and they learn about it because knowledge is the enemy of fear.
And I am about to cram some white-hot, steamy knowledge into your eye holes.
What are spiders?
Yer Fucking Basic:
Specifically, spiders arein the order “Aranae” and have more species than any other order of arachnids. They breathe air, have eight legs and have fangs they can inject venom with. Good times! They are everywhere except Antarctica. So, if you have chosen to be scared of spiders, good luck! They are fucking everywhere. Maybe next time you can be scared of fucking lawn chairs! (Incidentally, I worked this out, if you live in America, you are just over 10 times more likely to die falling out of a chair than by a spider bite. Yeah.)
Spiders limbs operate on hydraulic pressure, much like those fucking annoying weight/pressure machines they have in those fucking ridiculous gyms for old ladies with stupid adjective names. God, those places are the fucking worst. They have two body segments, the spider, not the gym, (the cephalthorax and abdomen) and joined by a pedicel.
One of the obvious things about spiders is their ability to make a goddamn fucking web which you can then waltz through on your morning run, and proceed to the “OH GOD THERE IS SOMETHING ON ME WHERE IS IT” dance. It is the dance of my people. They extrude that silk from six different glands. Thrilling. So thrilling.
Diet: (And not your fucking pansy-ass “Oooh, I’m cutting out carbs” shut the fuck up I am talking about spiders here.)
All species of spider, except for this fucking adorable pansy:
Are carnivores. This is the Bagheera kiplingi, by the way. I want to say “meat eater” here, but do you class flies as meat? I didn’t think so. Well, most eat insects and other spiders, but some of them eatgoddamn birds and lizards.I don’t even fucking lizards! Yeesh! That is fucking badass.
Sorry bird, you are fucked. That golden orb spider is going to fuck your shit up.
Spiders do a lot of fucking crazy shit to bring down prey. Think of what we humans do: shooting, agriculture, maybe fishing. Yeah. Aren’t we totally fucking excellent. Spiders can trap it in webs, lasso it, sneaking up on it pretending to be friends, and fucking tackling. Imagine if you fucking tackled a pig. That’s what fucking spiders do every goddamn day. God. That is fucking awesome.
Hey, so, you know how you eat things and digest them internally? Yeah, well, spiders decided that totally fucking sucked and decided to digest their food by smothering it in enzymes and then grinding that into a paste and eating that.
Their mating is actually pretty awesome:
Many spiders will decide to fuck around with courtship rituals, and no, we aren’t talking about buying a boy a forty and hinting that your parents have gone out. We’re talking dancing, gifts and sometimes little songs. Aw yeah. Those are some classy gentlemen right there. After mating goes on, the male has two choices. He can fuck off, and try and mate again, or hang out with his lover and baby mama. She will sometimes eat him like the cold hearted sassy bitch she is. This is actually evolutionary advantageous, as female spiders are less likely to want to mate when they are full, and it means that more of his sperm gets inside her, one way or the other.
Okay, that was actually kind of fucking gross. If I am indulging in some good, old-fashioned cannibalism, I do not want to be thinking of that. Gross.
Ah fuck, I just stepped in a massive puddle of blood. I am not even fucking kidding for the sake of the blog. I actually just stepped in a fucking puddle of blood. Where the fuck did that even come from. Oh gross, it’s under my toenails now. Jesus fuck.
Lady Spiders can have hundreds of eggs, and care for their young. They carry them around, share food, it is fucking beautiful and fucking wonderful. Some spiders even fucking form colonies with their young and friends, ranging to thousands of individuals.
So, wait, why are spiders so fucking great?
Shut the fuck up. I’m talking. Also, what, making webs, elaborate courtship rituals and being fucking badass isn’t good enough for you?
First off: Spiders don’t fucking give a shit about you. Or at least, not enough of a shit to care about biting you.
Hey, remember that time you went to a bar and punched a dude way bigger than you just for kicks? No, of course not, because that is a fucking stupid thing to do.So, why is it that so many fucking idiot people seem to think a spider is going to bite you?
You are fucking enormous. You are fucking huge! And spiders are crazy aware that picking a fight with you is not going to end well for them.They aren’t fucking stupid.
Spiders can only carry really fucking tiny amounts of venom at a time. Do you really think they are going to waste that shit on you? They can’t even eat you! You are fucking useless! You are a goddamn, lumbering pasty mountain that booms a lot. They want to save their venom for something to paralyse and eat.
Most spiders will only ever bite you if you are harassing them (because you are a giant fucking asshole giving them a hard time when they are just trying to live their lives, you fucking jerk) or because you are squishing them to death. Just like you wouldn’t punch the giant dude without a reason, they aren’t going to bite you unless they absolutely have to.
That said, this is a science blog, and I would be lying to you if I didn’t give you all the facts. I present to you:
The Brazilian Wandering Spider! They are highly venomous, really aggressive, and they really fucking hate people. They are about four to five inches long, and are the most venomous spider in the world. I can’t fucking blame it. If someone had entire fucking businesses devoted to killing my relatives, I would be pretty fucking pissed too. They’re found in Brazil, South America, Guana and Uruguay, and if any of those overlap, please tell me, and by that I meanshut the fuck up and go and read geography blogs if you love geography so much.
Not to mention the fact that of the 40,000 spider species that we currently know of, only 200 fucking species can actually hurt you.And of those (except for the Brazilian Wandering Jerkface up there), most of them don’t care enough about you to hurt you!
Most spider bites are only on par with a mosquito bites in terms of pain and annoyance. Between 1901 and 2000, there were 100 confirmed deaths from a spider bite. 100. 100 goddamn fucking deaths. That is just over 1 a year.
Let me show you something fun. This is a table of deaths cause by animals in Australia, from 2000 to 2010, sorted by gender and age-group:
This is fucking Australia. Over ten fucking years. SPIDERS AREN’T EVEN IN THE GODDAMN TOP FUCKING TEN.
SO, HERE’S MY FUCKING ADVICE: Leave spiders the fuck alone, and they won’t bother you. Check under things and in crevices when you are lifting things and sticking your hands into dark holes. Unless you live in Brazil. Then you are fucked.
I have just realised this post is a bit light on the science. Hrm. We’ll do some hard physics in the next one maybe. Maybe something on quantum physics. Oh yes I like this idea.
MOVING THE FUCK ON.
Spiders are crazy fucking useful.
At the moment, lots of way smart scientist types are working on making funnel web spider venom in pesticides because most insects haven’t fucking bothered to make a tolerance. Spider venom is also researched and will possibly be used for treatment into cardiac dysrythmia (where your hearts electrics are fucked), Alzheimer’s (your cortex is fucked), strokes (gettin’ a bunch o’ blood in your brain), and erectile dysfunction (your cock is a shitcock).
Also, spider silk is fucking awesome. It is light, and way fucking strong. You may not recognise this when you have tramped through it without noticing until you can feel it sticking to your eyeballs, but it is really strong considering its thinness. At the moment, we’re engineering fucking goats to make it in their milk to use in goddamn communication. Argh science is awesome. It’s like playing telephone cans but while playing GOD.
I find inevitably that the fucking jackasses I know who kill spiders will inevitably get pissed off with flies, mosquitoes, other spiders and other pests.
Guess what, moron? You just got rid of the one thing controlling those other populations because you thought it was icky and you were busy protecting your children from reality. Now your kids have Ross River virus! Solid work, moron. *slow clap* You are that idiot who doesn’t vaccinate their kids and is surprised when they get measles.
True story, actually.
Spiders eat other insects and other spiders, when they aren’t eating birds. If we didn’t have spiders, we would be completely overwhelmed by insects trying to find food for their ever increasing populations. We are talking Biblical Levels of plagues, here. Flies and mosquitoes are known disease vectors, and spiders eat them. Take the spiders out of the equation, and suddenly you have a hell of lot more diseased motherfuckers flying around.
Not to mention the fact that one spider sitting unobtrusively in the corner is a hell of a lot less annoying than a giant house fly hanging around. As I speak a Daddy Long-Legs spider (a cellar spider, to you yanks) is currently wrapping a housefly that tried to crawl into my ear earlier. Solid work spider friend!
So, listen the fuck up:
If you are scared of spiders and don’t live in Brazil, you are an idiot. We are talking about an animal that won’t hurt you, doesn’t even want to hurt you, is advancing science and keeping pests out of your home. That is a pretty damn excellent creature right there, and you are afraid because it looks strange. Shame on you.
Any fear can be fought. Know it is foundless, know you have nothing to fear, and recognise the good.
And stop being a fucking moron already. Fuckingchrist.
But hey, you know what? I ain’t your fucking Dad (probably). Keep being scared of things. Keep living in fear. The rest of us badasses are going to drink port and do awesome stuff while you hide in your house and cry into your can of insect poison.
Because this post is pretty light on the science, I’ll give you guys a choice of what you want me to write on for next post:
- Quantum physics.
- Science of Spiders (How venom works, composition of spider webs, nervous systems, etc)
- Genetic engineering
SEND ME A MESSAGE. I’MA GO WASH THIS BLOOD OFF AND GET DRUNK.
THE SCIENCE OF DEATH (NOW WITH A GRAPH)
LOOK THERE ARE 100 OF YOU NOW
WHERE THE FUCK DID YOU EVEN COME FROM?
Congratulations on being a pretty solid bunch of fuckers, and not making me want to shoot myself in the face. I am filled with some kind of emotion that I can only describe as “not boiling fucking hatred.”
So, I would like to open up the dick-floor as it were. Is there anything you need me to hold your hand and explain to you, using simple words and short sentences? Or something you think someone else might need explained to them because they are a miserable, moronic bag of dicks who can’t tie their own shoes?
Send me a message, let me know, and include a decent amount of pandering and/or cussing.
OXYTOCIN - LEARN ABOUT FUCKING HORMONES
Haven’t posted for sometime, because I have been running a blog where I pretend to be a goddamn sea animal for some goddamn reason. Why do I do it? WHO THE FUCK KNOWS.
TIME TO LEARN ABOUT OXYTOCIN.
Am I going to finish that post about ants?
PROBABLY NOT BECAUSE FUCK YOU I AM NOT A CIRCUS ANIMAL.
If you don’t already know what oxytocin is, you should be ashamed of yourself because it is one of the most well known hormones we have. It is super important and basically means THAT LOVE IS A LIE. You heard me. YOUR LOVE IS JUST A SERIES OF CHEMICAL SIGNALS. IT MEANS NOTHING.
Oxytocin is a hormone that regulates neurons and neurotransmitters. It’s produced only by mammals (hot-blooded motherfuckers like you). The reason you should be ashamed for not knowing what it is is because it is used in sexual reproduction. You know, sex. That thing you think about when you are alone all the time.
It is a super fucking important hormone, linked to social bonding, sex, orgasm, childbirth, bonding (I can say it twice if I want. you aren’t my fucking mother), and some other shit. If you can’t produce oxytocin, chances are you are a motherfucking sociopath. Solid! Being a sociopath is fucking rad. Stops you from worrying about other people’s itty bitty baby feelings. Next thing you know you are dealing with love, and human emotion’s and oh dear god someone is going to cry, and I am busy please fuck off.
If you want to get all technical and shit, and of course you do because this is a motherfucking science blog, the systematic name is: “cysteine-tyrosine-isoleucine-glutamine-asparagine-cysteine-proline-leucine-glycine-amine” I double dog dare you to say it.
Shit that oxytocin does:
- Let’s milk come out of boobs, if milk is present.
- Causes contractions during labour. (I’m spelling it with a “U” because that is the correct way, you goddamn Yanks with your incredibly love of simplicity). You wouldn’t think so, because oxytocin is the funtimes hormone, but nope. IT WILL CAUSE YOUR UTERUS TO CURL IN ON ITSELF LIKE A MILLIPEDE AND IT WILL HURT.
- Wound healing. Oxytocin prevents some cytokines from building up, so wounds heal faster. Remember this next time you are dicking around and you fall on a fence post and give yourself a massive heaping chest wound. Get someone hot to go down on you or something. That will help apparently. Then again, the increased breathing probably won’t help. I’m not your fucking doctor.
- We’re fairly fucking certain that oxytocin has something to do with sex. I don’t know.
- Makes you feel nice
- Makes you less anxious ABOUT HOW EVERYTHING ELSE IN YOUR LIFE IS CONSTANTLY GOING WRONG.
- Makes you feel calm and safe around the person your boning. This isn’t a long term fucking solution. It’s like methadone. Sure, you feel like peaches and cream now, but I will take that shit away from you and step on it IN FRONT OF YOU and then you will be ALONE.
- Inhibits the part of the brain that controls a need for control and fear. That sounds real fucking safe doesn’t it.
- Can reduce the excretion of urine. BET YOU DIDN’T THINK OF THAT WHEN YOU THINK OF SEXY HORMONES DO YOU. You know what that leads to? Motherfucking hypnotraemia. It is way less pleasant than this motherfucker:
- And that guy is motherfucking creepy.
- Look at that thing
- It is going to get all Dream Eater up in your shit.
- I had one of these motherfuckers in Pokemon Blue.
- Beat motherfucking Team Rocket with that shit.
- Hypnotraemia can cause vomiting, headaches, being a lazy bag of dicks, not eating, being a weak bag of dicks, being a rude bag of dicks, and MOTHERFUCKING COMA.
- Oxytocin is serious fucking business.
- Oxytocin might be able to treat autism behaviours. This does mean that people with an autism spectrum disease should just go out and get laid. They can if they want, I’m not the boss of them, but that is not a long term solution and if any of you suggest that to them I will personally come to your house and set your body hair on fire.
- It increases trust. So if you wanted someone to mindlessly follow you around, do stupid shit for your amusement and vaccuum your house, dosing them with oxytocin might be the way to do it.
- Oh my god I am going to vomit everywhere.
- Not relevant, I just wanted to tell you.
- Oxytocin injected directly into the spine can cause spontaneous erection in rats. I’m really fucking hoping that means male rats, because it means it causes spontaneous penis growth and erections in female mice and aw fuckballs I think I am actually going to vomit.
- Inhibits tolerance to all the fun drugs you could be taking RIGHT NOW instead of learning shit!
- It does something with romantic attatchment, to the point of inducing anxiety through withdrawal. So when your fuckbuddy or husband or whatever goes away and you feel all shitty about it, it’s probably because you are having oxytocin withdrawal. SUCKS TO BE YOU.
SO. MOVING THE FUCK ON.
You can get man-made (or woman made, I ain’t no sexist douchebag) oxytocin as medicine, but you have to inject it or shove it the fuck up your nose because let’s face it, you aren’t doing anything productive with those holes. Smelling? Fuck you.
If you want a woman or uterus-owning person to give birth to a baby they are presumably carrying around in their goddamn internal flesh sack, apparently you aren’t supposed to feel them copious amounts of curry or hit them. But an injection of motherfucking oxytocin ought to sort that shit out. Then a million hours and screams later, you have a baby and a person who probably fucking wants to rip off your head and boot it over the English Channel. I don’t know.
Back to my previous point. Oxytocin is known as the bonding hormone for a reason. When you feel like you are in love, or happy socially, remember that is just one fucking hormone streaming out of your pituary gland and fucking with your neurons. And that is all it ever has been.
Does it still count as being worth something? Guess that’s up to you.
All right! I’m going to go and drink some motherfucking ginger beer and find cheap Hawaiin shirts. GET OUT.
ALL RIGHT MOTHERFUCKERS - IT IS TIME FOR ANTS (PART FUCKING ONE)
DO YOU KNOW ABOUT ANTS?!
DO YOU WANT TO?!
TOO BAD BECAUSE I’VE ALREADY STARTED TALKING.
I fucking love ants. But there is A LOT to talk about with ants, so I’m breaking this into two fucking parts. This is PART MOTHERFUCKING ONE.
Ants are everything in the family Formicidae. Unlike many things, the Latin root is kind of shit. It comes from the latin word “formica” meaning ant. Well done scientists. Not boring at all. *slow clap.*
Ants are related to wasps and bees, all belonging to the order Hymenoptera. They evolved from sort-of-wasps in the goddamn Mid-Creta…Mid-Cretae….oh fucking balls shit. In the Mid-Creta-fucking-ceous period, around 110 and 130 million years ago. That is way fucking older than you, so show some goddamn respect. And before any of you fuckers start talking about termites, they are more closely related to GODDAMN COCKROACHES than ANTS. CHRIST.
Ants form fucking colonies, because they are co-operative sons-of-bitches. Or should that be daughters-of-bitches, as the majority of ants in large colonies consist of sterile females who are workers, soldiers or whatever-fucking-else specialised groups are needed. The fertile males are called “drones,” and essentially sit around being lazy as fuck and fucking their mothers and sisters (basically whoever is queen at the time). Yeah. Nature is gross.
Ants can solve complex problems, communicate with other and divide labour lead to a pretty put together society. Showing us fuckers up.
These colonies range from a couple’a dozen motherfuckers to goddamn millions. Ants are on almost every fucking landmass on Earth. If you want to get away from ants, your options are essentially Antarctica, or a handful of unlivable islands. I would recommend remote islands, but it isn’t a matter of not, it is a matter of when.
Ants form approximately 15 to 15% of the terrestrial animal biomass. To put that in perspective for you (because you can’t do percentages you pansy ass), humans make up about 30%. And that is with our massive fucking bodies, several million times bigger than a fucking ant. Those ladies have us outnumbered. Be glad they’re fucking tiny.
Because there are so many of them and they have a tendency to get shit done, they have relationships with lots of other plant, animal, bacterial and fungal species. Unlike you, sitting at home reading science blogs by yourself.
As I was mother-fucking-saying, ants are fucking everywhere because they are TENACIOUS and they can eat almost FUCKING ANYTHING. Most of them are OMNIVOROUS, meaning they can eat PLANTS and MEAT. Unlike vegans and raptors. Some are picky dickbags, but most will eat anything made of carbon they can chew through. Except maybe styrofoam. Would you eat styrofoam? I did once. Brother told me it was cereal. What a bag of dicks.
The smallest ants are around 0.52 millimetres. But who gives a shit about them. That’s tiny as fuck. It gets real FUCKING INTERESTING when you get down to Titanomyrma giganteum, which has no common name. As it does not have a common name, I will be referring to it as BAD-ASS-PINCER-FACE. The queen was about six centimetres long. That’s just under two and half inches for you Yanks. Luckily for any of you babies with an ant phobia (called Myrmecophobia), it’s been extinct for quite some time.
Ants come in different colours - like off food. Who the fuck cares. If you care about colours, go to a hipster blog. There are over 12000 fucking species of ant, with an estimated 10000 still undiscovered. So if you want to discover a species and name it something awesome (not BAD-ASS-PINCER-FACE ‘cause I called dibs), ants are the way to go.
Ants have antennae, metaplural glands and a….wait, wait, wait, what the fuck?! Who wants to know this shit? They’ve got anteenae, some glands, an itty bitty waist with a round thing in your face and I don’t think petiole is even a real word. They’ve got distinct body sections, as you would fucking like in a bug and a lot of them have MASSIVE FUCKING MANDIBLES. CHECK OUT THIS FUCKING CARPENTER ANT:
FUCK. In some cultures I can’t be fucked looking up because we are talking about ants not humans, bull ant heads are used to close stitches due to the automatic response where they close their manidbles with a fuckton of pressure. FUCK.
THEY HAVE EYES, A BADASS EXOSKELETON AND NO FUCKING LUNGS. Can you imagine if you didn’t have lungs? Of course you fucking can’t. You would be dead, motherfucker. They don’t have blood vessels either, preferring a fucking tube down their backs which is basically the ant equivalent of a heart and veins and shit. You fucking heard me. Ants are heartless motherfuckers.
A single nerve cord runs through the body, letting it feel shit. Shit like strokes from fellow ants are using to communicate, and the feeling of HATE.
Ants sense shit with their heads, kind of like you. However, unlike you and your little squishy eyeballs, they have motherfucking COMPOUND EYES with MANY TINY LENSES. It ain’t all puppies and sunshine - they’re good for movement, but fucking shit for a high resolution image. So use ants to guard your property, but not for watching the Avengers. How the fuck did you even rig that thing?!
And in case having LOTS OF TINY LENSES WASN’T SUFFICIENT they also have three tiny fucking eyes on top of their head. That’s right: more eyes! These detect light levels and what have you. That said, their eyesight is kind of shit. Some live underground and don’t even bother with eyes at all. Why? Because fuck you that’s why.
In case you’re all comforted, guess what? The Australian bull ant has fucking excellent vision. Aw yeah. Let’s start talking about these fuckers:
See those eyes? They are full of excellent vision and murder. They are as aggressive as all fucking get out and are deadly from all ends. They have a powerful bite and a painful sting capable of inducing anaphylactic shock. They can track prey from a METRE AWAY. Considering they are 1.6 inches long at most, that is fucking badass. They are also one of the few ants that have female workers who can mate, should the unthinkable happen and their queen gets eaten or fucks off or whatever it is queens do. They are also pretty fucking special in that unlike other ants which, when separated from their colony, basically search until they starve to death, bull ants go off and live their own goddamn lives. They dig themselves a little hole, hunt their own prey and live the rest of their lives in solitude. Maybe they ponder nature and the universe, or maybe they’ll come into your home and BITE YOUR FACE.
Back to ants as a whole.
While most ants can’t see shit, their antennae can sense chemicals, air-fucking-currents, vibrations, and are used to communicate with their sisters. I imagine these conversations go along the lines of:
“Wouldn’t it be fucking rad to go into that house and eat all of their cat’s food?”
I draw these conclusions from the fucking ridiculous little black ant invasion at my parent’s house. I’m not kidding, that’s actually what they’re called. If you have little black ants invading your house, you are pretty much fucked. They form alliances between colonies, sometimes have several queens and take ten days to mature from pupa to adult. This is basically the equivalent of the axis of evil growing new soldiers in ten days and also forming alliances with EVERY OTHER HUMAN ON THE PLANET and having EIGHT HITLERS.
What the fuck was I talking about?
END OF PART FUCKING ONE.
I do not have lactose intolerance (or I do have lactose tolerance, if you want to skirt around the double negative) but is is PRETTY FUCKING FASCINATING.
Lactose tolerance is TECHNICALLY the abnormality. Lactose intolerance is the norm among humans, apes, and the majority of mammals really.
Lactose is broken down by an enzyme called LACTASE. In a lactose intolerant organism, it is present in most babies, but then it stops being produced when children get older. BUT some human populations KEPT FUCKING EATING DAIRY ANYWAY and found it WASN’T MAKING THEM SICK. Which is FUCKING RAD. This is due to the autosomal dominant allelle (the gene, basically) which lets us KEEP PRODUCING LACTASE like FUCKING BADASSES.
It is a recent evolution, as in the last 10000 years, and the mutation is most common in European populations, where they were like THIS MILK IS MAKING ME SICK AS ALL GET OUT BUT I AM GOING TO DRINK IT ANYWAY THEN I’M GOING TO GO START A FUCKING REVOLUTION AND INVENT THE CANNON AND WEAR A RIDICULOUS WIG. (That is my given knowledge of European history. ALL European history.)
The majority of people are LACTOSE INTOLERANT. Lactose tolerance is most common among Europeans and European descendents, but are the minority. This isn’t known because the Western media makes shit that says “LACTOSE INTOLERANCE IS FOR ASIANS AND DORKS LOL” and they make it because they are MORONS.
So, what happens if you don’t produce lactase? Basically, your stomach and small intestine enzymes for digesting all the other shit you eat (protein, carbohydrates, gummi worms) are like “WTF is this shit? This doesn’t fit into my shiny fancy charged amino acid panel. You can fuck right off.”
SO. The lactose moves into your colon, where the bacteria there (E. coli mostly. I need to do a post about how much I fucking love e.coli) are like “WHOA! CHECK THIS OUT! LOOK AT ALL THIS STUFF WE CAN EAT!” So the e. coli are eating and processing that shit, and they produce copious amounts of hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane (THOSE JERKS!). This causes the most common lactose intolerance symptoms - you know what they are.
The sugars left over because the bacteria don’t want ‘em and the gas produced by the bacteria raises the osmotic pressure of the colon, meaning the water in the body isn’t being kept out of the colon, and it immediately rushes inwards which causes more grossness.
YOU LEARNED SOMETHING TODAY!
GOOD FOR YOU!
Let’s learn about MOTHERFUCKING CELLS
EVERYTHING IS MADE OF CELLS
IT IS TIME YOU LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT THEM!
Let’s do this!
At the most basic level, cells can be divided into two categories:
Prokaryotes: They are simple as. We are talking simple. These are bacteria, the little dudes you are covered with RIGHT NOW.
If you feel like you need to go have a shower, I do not blame you. But it will not help. Those dudes are on you, in you. Think real hard about it.
(EDIT: A kind badass science motherfucker had pointed out I forgot Archaea! THANKS. They are single celled microorganisms with no nucleus or organelles. FUCKING GROSS. They should not be classed as bacteria, but used to be. Because I can’t be fucked holding your hand, you can read about them here.)
Eukaryotes are larger. They’re more complex. They have a nucleus! These are everything else: animal cells, plant cells, fungi.
A simple way to remember is from my friend Vicky: pro means no. Prokaryotes ahve no nucleus. (Also, technically, pro is Latin for “before.” But let’s not get in the way of a good mnemonic.)
All cells have got some shit in common, despite being crazy fucking tiny:
- They’ve got a selectively permeable mebrane (means shit can get in and out. And when I say “shit,” I literally mean by-products from eating. And food. And other things!)
- Ribosomes. They synthesise proteins. Like a boss.
- And they all have double stranded DNA as genetic information.
Got it, got it, good?
Now, let’s talk about the different kinds of cells. Startin’ with animal ones! They’re the ones you’re made of. You are made of TRILLIONS of cells. TRILLIONS. And all of them are moving and excreting and processing ALL THE TIME.
- Cell membrane (holds everything in)
- Nucleus (holds your DNA, so ti can replicate itself and you can have EVEN MORE CELLS)
- Organelles (Structures that do shit. They aren’t always membrane bound.)
- Cytosol (Laced with the cytoskeleton.)
Let’s get into this a little deeper SHALL WE?!
That’s a selectively permeable motherfucking barrier. Like a condom. That is broken. And lets in food.
It’s about 8-10 nm thick. It’s a liquid bilayer with protein pores. The phoslipid layer molecule has a polar head and two non-polar tiles.
Plasma Membrane: It’s a fluid mosaic structure! Doesn’t that sound pretty? Membrane proteins are interspersed through the lipid layer.
It is involved in cell to cell interaction, which is the equivalent of:
“HEY FELLOW SKIN CELL HOW YOU DOIN’?”
“YEAH YEAH I’M GOOD BRAH. JUST DIVIDING LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER YO.”
“HA HA HA YEAH I’M GONNA DO THAT SHIT LATER.”
It responds to external stimuli, like other cells getting all up in it’s business (“OH HEY SWEAT MOLECULE HOW YOU DOIN’”), things damaging it (“HA HA HA HA OH HEY BRO IT IS KIND OF HOT OVER HERE OH NO WAIT WHAT IS GOING ON OH GOD I AM BURNING OH GOD WHAT DO I DO I GOTTA HIT THE NERVE CELL WE GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH *dies* *is dead*) and other stimuli. It also generates signals, that are far less complex than “HEY BRO HOW’RE YOU DOIN’”
The plasma membrane is what does the process of endocytosis (importing molecules, like how you would eat a bagel. Only not because it is tiny) and the process of exocytosis (exporting molecules. Like going to the bathroom, or to a bush if you were around before we had toilets!)
The organelles inside a cell are suspended in the semi-fluid cytoplasm. It is the gooey stuff that stops your organelles from touching. And if the organs don’t touch, it’s not gay. Or it is. Actually, it’s not as cells divide and do not produce sexuality, and thus cannot have a sexuality or gender.
Got your chromosomes (DNA and proteins) all up in here!
The nucleus is enclosed in a nuclear envelope (not that kind of nuclear. Otherwise we would all be dead. Or we would all be Spiderman. I’m not sure how that works). This envelope is a DOUBLE MEMBRANE. It also has NUCLEAR PORES. How badass! These pores are the channels which ribsomes, mRNA and enzymes can move in and out of the nucleus.
Inside the nucleus we’ve got heterochromatin and euchromatin. They are distinguished by how intensely they stained. The difference in staining is caused by how densely packed the DNA is.
Heterochromatin (dear god I HATE writing that word. It is SO LONG) is the tighter packed form of DNA which usually looks darker when represented in diagrams and stained cells. It’s transcriptionally inactive. It regulates genes and protects the integrity of chromsomes. It does some other stuff too, but I don’t care enough about it at this point in time. Perhaps there will be another post about heterochromatins? PROBABLY NOT BECAUSE I HATE THEM.
Euchromatins are a “lightly packed” form of chromatin and is actively being transcribed. That is what is in my notes, but it is a SHIT way of describing it. It’s found in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes and is the most active portion of the genome.
Inside the nucleus is the nucleolus. I had to practice spelling that word. It is the site of synthesis of RNA, and the components to form ribosomes. It is tiny, and it gets shit done.
Now that we’re done talking about heterochromatins (GOOD BECAUSE I HATE THEM) let’s talk about my favourite part of the cell. MITOCHONDRIA. I love these dudes. They are the best dudes. I fell in love with them when my brother told me they actually have THEIR OWN DNA (called mtDNA) which implies they were separate organisms, minding their own business, then were like “Hey, maybe I’ll join up with this cell and we’ll have a mutually beneficial relationship.” AND NOW THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!
BIOLOGY IS PRETTY AWESOME SOMETIMES.
It’s a large organelle surrounded by a double membrane, distinguished as the inner and outer membranes. The inner membrane folds into…folds. They’re called cristae! This surface is where ATP is generated. We need ATP for basically EVERYTHING. It is also the site of aerobic respiration!
(Side note: If you don’t know, ATP is adenosine triphosphate and transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism. It’s used as a source of chemical energy. Caught up? Good.)
Depending on what kind of cell the mitochondria is in, they do lots of other shenanigans too! Such as:
- Regulation of the voltage in and out of a cell (membrane potential).
- Calcium signaling.
- Cell division regulation
- Apoptosis-programmed cell death
- Synthesis of steroids
- Some heme synthesis reactions.
Gosh, I am going to have to do a post just on mitochondria. I love those guys!
The mitochondria houses many of the reactions of energy regeneration that produce ATP, eg: TCA cycle, fat oxidation.
The enzymes that are involved in the electron transport are found in the cristae membrane.
These dudes are bit less exciting. But they are okay.
Ribosomes don’t have a membrane! They’ve got two subunits, one small and one large. I wish I had thought to include pictures, because it kind of looks like two sea pigs humping each other. Awesome? Awesome. If that mental image doesn’t make this stick with you, well, then I’m sorry. You’re beyond my help.
The large subunit (the humping sea pig on top) binds the ribosome to the endoplasmic reticulum.
The fucking seapigs, I mean, ribosmes, are the site of protein synthesis - the place where RNA is translated into proteins. They move stepwise (which I believe is supposed to mean “linear”) along a strand of mRNA to form a new protein.
Ribsomes hanging out on their lonesome are called free-ribsomes, and are called polyribsomes when they are in groups up to 30. Which really does not take the wind out of my “humping seapigs” theory.
It’s a big hot mesh of an interconnected single membrane. The internal space in the endoplasmic reticulum is called the lumen.
It’s a continuous structure with the outer membrane of the nuclear envelope (the thing the nucleus is enveloped in, remember?)
Surprise surprise, the endoplasmic reticulum synthesises stuff. I for one am SHOCKED. SHOCKED.
The reticulum synthesises protein on the RER site, and lipids and steroids on the SER site.
The RER is the Rough ER. IT is called “rough” because it appears that way, due to being studded with ribosomes.
The SER is the smooth ER. It is not covered in ribosomes. It synthesises lipids and steroids, but it does something else that is less boring! IT INACTIVATES AND DETOXIFIES DRUGS AND HARMFUL COMPOUNDS. It is the equivalent of a unicorn horn in the town well. Or your liver!
Let’s get some motherfucking tubes up in here.
The golgi complexes are flattened stacks of single membranes. They are like a tiny processing station in the cell. They package up secretory proteins and other substances, and they toss that shit out of the cell like a drunk at 2am. It’s vesicles move them from the golgi region to the cell membrane, then fuse with the cell membrane and eject that shit (Vesicles fuse and arise from the golgi complex, and that sentence sounds FUCKING BADASS). It also works in the synthesis of complex polysaccharides.
Also known as SUICIDE SACS. They’ve got a single membrane, and are important to the turnover of cell contents. They take hydrolase enzymes, which break down waste materials and cellular debris. These are things like old organelles, food particles and engulfed viruses and bacteria.
This would be like if you had your appendix removed and you ate it, then ate a sandwich, then hugged the school bully until you absorbed them through your skin, murdering them and breaking them down to feed yourself for a week. BAD ASS.
These are ONLY found in animal cells. In plant cells and yeast, this function is taken up by lytic vacuoles.
Are you ready for some hocus pocus buzzwords? I hope not because in this case they are actually true! Not like bullshit “natural” remedies. You know what else is natural? Poison ivy.
Another single membrane fucker, and they hold Hydrogen peroxide in the cell. They protect the cell from oxygen free radicals. Boring. Let’s move on.
Let’s get on to motherfucking plant cells. I don’t know about you, but plant cells are one of the funnier things to study. Mostly due to the word “turgid.”
They’ve got many of the same structures as an animal cell, but with a couple of unique features all their own:
- Single central large vacuole
- Cell wall
All right! so that cell wall is external to the plasma membrane. That is rigid as fuck. It contains cellulose fibres and hardening substances such as lignin. Get ready to use the words “turgid” and “flaccid” to describe cell walls because that is what you will be doing. Dick jokes are the backbone of biology.
Some other dudes unique to plant cells. They are membrane bound organelles that occur in plants and photsynthetic eukaryotes (so not technically “unique to plant cells.”) Usually they have a double membrane, but sometimes they don’t. Good for them! Plastids ain’t lettin’ anyone tell them what to do!
The different types of plastid are:
- Chloroplasts (for photosynthesis)
- Chromoplasts (For pigment synthesis and storage that give plants and fruits their pretty colours)
- Gerontoplasts (For dismantling photosynthesis apparatus when senescence occurs)
- Leukoplasts (For monoterpene synthesis, and storing starch, fat and proteins)
Let’s get a little more in depth shall we?
Chloroplasts are a large organelle with a double membrane, containing cpDNA. They are full of flattened, membranous sacks called thylakoids. These thylakoids form a “granum.” The connections between these are called stromules.
They contain chlorophyll, the pigment needed for photosynthesis to occur. They also contain other light absorbing pigments, like cartenoids and xantophylls.
These is where photosynthesis occurs, where CO2 and H2O are used to manufacture sugars, the process being driven by light. Think about that for a second. AIR IS TURNED INTO SUGAR.
Plant cells are taken up by vacuoles, which often taken up 30 to 80% of the cell. Like if your organs were replaced with a big sack o’ air. Only you would be fine because you wouldn’t be a person! ANYWAY.
It maintains turgor pressure within a cell (hee hee. Say turgid a couple of times!) and stores waste. So like if that sack of air in your torso was full of air and poop and held you up right. The membrane around it is called the tonoplast.
That’s it for our little lesson on cells and cell structure. I am pretty burnt out. Time for some tea and shower.
This post is in no way comprehensive of everything you could need to know about cell. Think of it as an incomplete Cliffnotes that say FUCK a lot.