A Bad Day for Zebrafish
Featuring animal cartoons from our brilliant artists.
A “two-photon microscope” is a laser-powered scientific marvel, and you can use it to study brains. I learned this in a class in college called “Experimental Biology Research” where my group was tasked with building this thing and using it to study how zebrafish form memories. I’ll spare you the technical details, because I don’t understand them, but here is basically how it worked:
At one end was a powerful laser
at the other end was a zebrafish
when the laser went ZAP a green glowy thing in the zebrafish brain would light up and
out would come science.
But I don’t know, everything after ZAP went horribly wrong. And each time we messed up, we’d burn a hole in the fish’s brain.
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You’d see the burn emerge on the screen. The little zebrafish (they were all babies) (because baby brains are easier to see) (because you can see through their delicate skin) would be wiggling away in their dish, and then we’d turn the laser on. Then, blammo. Hole in head.
Remarkably, the laser-scorched fish would often show no effect whatsoever, wiggling away in its dish, happy as can be. After a few minutes, though, it inevitably died. We never did get to watch zebrafish form memories, but if we did maybe we’d know what they were thinking in those few minutes after the laser hit. Probably, “ouch.”
Do I feel bad about this? If I think about my principles, then yes. But if I don’t think about them, I feel amazing, because how cool is it to make a laser go ZAP? Very cool!! In fact it was the only cool thing that happened when I was spending those sleepless nights in the lab, trying to get the damned thing to focus properly and not kill a remarkable creature from our preciously beautiful world.
That’s a long way of saying, here are some cartoons about animals.
BIOLOGY TIME AT TWOFIFTYONEis a biologist and a cartoonist who writes over at. If you have little kids, call them over to check out this nightmare:
Recovered? Keep the kids here to check out Jack Reilly’s equally horrifying ode to the animal kingdom:
Somehow even more terrifying, is this chicken cartoon from Michael Litwak:
And so much more!:
Chris Gural made a cartoon that is also about science.
Gregg Maxwell Parker has a list of magazines he would read (LOL “Monkeys in People Clothes”).
Michael J Johnson hit us with a cartoon about roller coasters and unfairness.
Plus, another from, with another animal. But this one's chill, not terrifying in the least.
There is even more, of course, at twofiftyone.net, and twitter and instagram and it’s all brilliant and hilarious, so go check it out.
PROMPTS FOR COMMENTING
Looking to drop a comment below, but not sure how to begin? Here are some prompts related to the post for you to consider:
Do you love animals?
Do you love science?
Do you love lasers?
Have you ever burned a hole in an animal’s brain?
What did that dog do to you?
SHE DID WHAT?!
I HOPE DOGGIE FRIED.
What’s your favorite laser?
See you in the comments!
All you need to do is to change the goal of the project to: "Fry hole in zebrafish brain" and it's a huge success!
My favorite laser is Lazer Blazer 3-D Holographic Stickers!