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In Biotechnology there is a process known as PCR. PCR, or Polumerase Chain Reaction is widely performed through a series of heating cycles that pull apart, duplicate, and fuse back together the two strands of a DNA double helix, PCR creates new copies of DNA that are identical to the original.

Traditional PCR requires the material be heated to about 95C, wherupon the DNA strands seperate, or ‘denature’. The sample is then cooled a bit  so the strands will anneal to ‘primers’, which are short DNA strands designed to bond to specific sections of the DNA strand. The sample is heated slightly more (72C) and  activates an enzyme called polymerase that attaches itself to the end of the primer. The polymerase “extends” the primer’s length based on the original DNA, thus recreating the desired sequence.

During this “extension” step, the polymerase reacts with the original copy to produce a new chain of DNA, thus the name Polymerase Chain Reaction. Since this process happens for both of the original DNA strands, the amount of DNA is doubled after one PCR cycle. Over many cycles, PCR exponentially expands the amount of DNA you were started with.

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No real blog post today. Here is a Drinking Bird in a time lapse. It drinks and drinks as the world goes by outside.

www.spectrum-scientifics.com

OK, officially summer doesn’t start for 5 more days, and local schools still have 3 more days before summer break kicks in, but still we can talk about some nify items we’ve added for summer fun! Let’s start with a classic toy:

The Aerobie Pro Ring

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Aeorbie, a nifty variation on the classic flying disc, has been around for a while now but still is a great summer toy. Unlike the more limited Flying discs the Aeorbie can fly the length of several football fields and holds the Guiness record for furthest throw at 1,333ft. Pro-Tip: When playing with an Aerobie at the beach, never throw it at someone with the ocean behind them. You may never see your Aerobie again.

This is the Aerobie Pro Ring with a 13″ diameter and retailing at $9.99.

Also from the Aeorbie company is the Aerobie Squidgy Ball

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Squishy and fun, the Aerobie Squidgie ball’s soft, rubber fins make it ideal for children learning to throw and catch, a cool pool toy for kids of all ages, and a favorite for dogs.   For ages 3+ and comes in multiple colors. Retails for just $6.99.

T-Bolt Air Rocket Launch Set

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If you can’t launch black-powder rockets, then give the T-Bolt a chance! This large (11.5″) durable plastic rocket is pumped up with the included pump and stand. It flies up to 150 feet high. Air power and the durable nose landing means you can use it again and again!

www.spectrum-scientifics.com

Today, Dobsonian Telescopes are as popular as any design of telescope on the market. Its not surprise why: They are easy to use, and they give the 3112biggest ‘bang for your buck’- the most aperture for your telescope dollar.

But it wasn’t always this way. Times were that using a Dobsonian telescope was something that only true hardcore amatuer astronomers did. Using a Dob was the equivelant of a computer gamer overclocking the chips on his computer – something most people just couldn’t do despite the benefits it may reap. So why was this the case?

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You’d think that the definition of ‘Toy’ would be pretty well understood, but actually it is quite complex, and recent events made the definition even more stringent.

Every now and then we have a customer who picks up a box holding a popular desktop toy and notice a lot of these kinds of things have these words on the box.  The usual reaction is ‘whaaa’?

THisinotatoy

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When selling a telescope to a customer, we often give advice on how to view in light polluted areas. Simple stuff such as selecting your targets, using filters, etc. Often we asked “is there anywhere I can go and get away from the light pollution?”

The answer depends on your answer to ‘How far do you want to drive?’

One thing we have in our telescope section is a version of this light pollution map on the wall:

DarkskiesPA

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Toy cars have been around for as long as there have been cars. Toy cars run the quality line from high-detail die-cast models to simple plastic frames on metal wheels. Some models are meant to be played with, other meant to just look good. Some toy cars might have a feature that makes tham more than a frame on some wheels: a steering wheel, light up lights, etc.

Now Thoughful Toys, Inc has introduced the Modarri line. A series of toy cars that kids assemble themselves and drive with their fingers. They include such details as real steering, soft gripping tires, and real suspension to smooth out bumps and jumps:

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