Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Earth warming slower than predicted possibly due to volcanic eruptions

Ash and Lightning above an Icelandic Volcano
Image Credit & Copyright: SigurĂ°ur Stefnisson

UK scientists have correlated the slower than expected rise in global temperatures to ash produced by volcanic activity.  The Daily Mail report suggests that the impact of volcanic emissions had been underestimated in global climate models.

Geoengineers have proposed methods of resetting the planet's thermostat. One of the proposals attempts to mimic the the effects of a volcanic eruption.  A series of volcanic eruptions are thought to have caused the little ice age from 1300 to 1500.  More than 600 million years ago volcanoes are thought to have the opposite effect, warming the planet due to production of carbon dioxide.

Using a volcano to affect climate change is part of the premise of my fiction book set in 2028, The Smell of Truthiness.

Volcanic production of carbon dioxide helps end ice age over 600 million years ago -  3 min.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Foldscope Aspergillus ochraceous image

Yellow spores are from Aspergillus ochraceous.
Tease tape samples were taken from this plate using 3M red tartan clear Scotch tape with Lacto Fuchsin stain in 85% lactic acid mounting fluid. Camera Samsung S-5.  The Foldscope was back lit with a light for a dissecting scope at an approximate distance of one foot.   Click on any of these images to enlarge.

Foldscope attached to Samsung S5 camera - side view

Magnetic pin hole strip double taped to the back of the camera

Foldscope attached to camera - front view

Foldscope image with medium pinhole magnification - image cropped with Adobe Photoshop Elements
Uncropped higher magnification pin hole Foldscope image of Aspergillus ochraceous - mature vesicle with spores

Aspergillus ochraceous image cropped with Adobe Photoshop Elements

Hospital Decontamination and Mold Remediation Course information April 14 - 15, 2015

Click image  to enlarge.   
The two day Mold Remediation course covers health effects, investigation and methods of finding and identifying mold including use of moisture meters and infrared cameras. The  second day focuses on mold remediation including a hands on demonstration setting up a containment and wearing PPE.

Update:  New Mold Remediation course available on April 13 - 14 2016. 

Registration information   Cost $400.


Thompson Center for Environmental Management
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Date: April 14, 2015 @ 8:00 am - April 15, 2015 @ 4:00 pm.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Foldscope picture: Cladosporium sphaerospermum

The photos below are from fungal growth in a walk in cooler.  I wanted to determine if the Foldscope could be used for field identification of a fungal organism.  All photos except the picture in the cold room were taken with a Samsung Galaxy S-5 smart phone camera.  Room florescent lights were used to back light the Foldscope image.

Possible fungal growth on a metal shelf in a walk in cooler

Foldscope photo using 85% lactic acid with lacto fuchsin stain and 3M scotch tape on microscope slide
Digitally enhanced Foldscope photo of Cladosporium sphaerospermum with Adobe Photoshop Elements 12
Original photo from the eyepiece of a  Olympus compound microscope at 400x

Digitally cropped Olympus microscope photo with Photoshop Elements 12.
Conclusion:  The $1 Foldscope microscope gives me enough information to field identify Cladosporium spp.  After the shot is taken with the camera it can be viewed and enlarged on the camera photo viewer.  The image will not be as sharp as the Photoshop enhanced image or that produced by a Nikon microscope but it provides enough information to make the identification.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Foldscope images - Alternaria spp.

Stanford University developed a low cost (less than $1) foldoscope microscope for field identification of microscopic particles of around 5 microns or larger.  The scope comes with an attachment that can be affixed to a cellphone camera. I received two of them in the mail in December of 2014.

The first foldoscope took about 1/2 hour to assemble based on instructions on the sheet.  The second camera took 15 minutes as I grew more familiar with the assembly procedure.

A sample can be taken and placed on a slide provided or a standard microscope slide.  The foldoscope can be held up to a room light to see the image.  

Below are photos taken with a Google Nexus 5 camera phone.  The first photo is the original.  The second photo is cropped with contrast and sharpening using Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 software.

Photo of Alternaria spp. using clear scotch tape on a microscope slide with lacto-fuchsin mounting fluid
Same image cropped, contrast improved and sharpened - click to enlarge

Conclusion: It takes a bit of work to focus the camera image and a bit of photo editing but for less than one $1 US, it is possible to identify a fungal organism down to the genus level.

Foldoscope: Manu Prakash - Stanford University - 15 min.