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Ian's Blog (11)

Raising from Spores - Zero Tech Method

I've been looking for a way to rear physarum from spores without resorting to bacterial lawns and needing autoclaves etc.

I've only done a couple of trials but this method seems to work ok, it does require a bit of patience.

I used petri dishes and filter paper but any container and a bit of tissue should work.

The idea is to let the food go off producing bacteria for the amoebal phase to feed off then slowly dry them out so they get persuaded to form…

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Added by ian on April 11, 2017 at 13:30 — No Comments

Big bang, big disappointment :)

Four weeks of crazy work,  turning the spare room into a culture lab and time lapse studio I made enough culture for two thousand people and I should be there with my friends and colleagues on the stand inspiring the next generation of scientists,  slime fans and eccentrics.  

Unfortunately I'm stuck on a hospital ward with fifty stitches in my neck waiting until I'm allowed home. So it goes I suppose but damn I was looking forward to the Big Bang Fair,  I couldn't even bring a slime…

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Added by ian on March 16, 2016 at 17:04 — No Comments

Plotting and planning....

Getting involved with several schools in my area running STEM club activities - I'm trying to design a six week course on our dear sticky friend that'll be adaptable to ages 12-17. Looks like it'll be fun ( and a lot of work ). My own cultures have been dormant for a while aside from raising the odd batch but I should start playing again soon. 

Added by ian on June 2, 2015 at 11:31 — No Comments

Raising slime again..

Blimey it's been a while, we've got the finals lab projects for the students at work on at the moment so I'm not getting time to play. I've got a session with 95 school kids booked in in June so I'm raising as much slime as I can cope with in preparation for that. 

I'm planning on getting them to make Plasticine mazes in petri dishes for their cultures so they've something to take home.

I've also got these intriguing mycena cholorophos spores ( a glowing mushroom ),…

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Added by ian on May 18, 2015 at 14:17 — No Comments

Distracted but plodding away

Having builders round with the tendency to turn off the electric several times a day has slowed me down a bit - I can't shoot timelapse so I've been working away at the 250gb of images so far adding zooms and pans to the footage. Catching spore formation still eludes me but I've hit the science journals and found out that niacin encourages spore formation so I might be spending the weekend painting rotting bits of wood with it. 

I've had a short film maker approach me over the…

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Added by ian on April 22, 2015 at 8:00 — No Comments

I'm starting to dream about slime mould, maybe I should go for a blood test - perhaps it's infected me

One aspect of the physarum life cycle is still evading the cameras - Spore formation. Normally I don't have a problem making spores but putting the organism in a natural(ish) setting and pointing multiple cameras at it seems to make it misbehave. I might have to rethink the setup to improve my chances - hard drives are getting very full now as the number of stills hits nearly 200gb. 

This means I have actually taken more photos of physarum than any other subject and I'm not…

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Added by ian on April 13, 2015 at 8:11 — 1 Comment

100gb and counting

Two cameras, and four days of shooting at 20 second intervals leads to an awful lot disc space taken up. So far I've just done a rough render - take the whole damned lot and turn it into one movie file. Now I can see the massive deficiency in using the study rather than the workshop for shooting - every time I tread on a floorboard the camera moves. 

Easy to fix by tracking a couple of points in the images but tedious and slow. 

The huge advantage of using something like an SLR…

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Added by ian on April 8, 2015 at 12:01 — No Comments

A new hope...

I've been shooting time lapses all week - all in Petri dishes and all of them have messed up due to condensation so I'm trying something different.

Somewhere in this box, amongst the moss I meant to add and the slugs, spiders and mites that just came along for the ride is a load of . 

The base is a paint tray  full of potting compost packed down hard two large colonies of  physarum on paper covered with  moss, rotting wood and grass seedlings. I'm hoping after a day in the dark…

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Added by ian on April 3, 2015 at 19:45 — 1 Comment

Having a series of failed experiments here

but then, it wouldn't be proper science if it worked straight off. Back to the soldering iron, or the gin and tonic.

Added by ian on March 31, 2015 at 18:19 — No Comments

Toys....

Just arrived, a USB sound card, an op amp, several jack plugs and a spool of platinum wire. Slime, you're gonna get probed :-) 

Added by ian on March 26, 2015 at 20:30 — No Comments

Why slime?

I started getting into Physarum last year - I've worked with the cellular slime mold dictyostelium before and I was asked to prepare some slime mold time lapse footage for some public lectures.  Seeing as we'd finished the dicty work and they're quite dull I decided to get a more entertaining organism. Once I'd finished the film footage I'd grown quite fond of them and started keeping a culture or two going in the lab, and then at home.

I work with microscopes- my day job…

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Added by ian on March 26, 2015 at 20:27 — 2 Comments

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