What happens when you ask a synthetic biologist to mix you up a cocktail? You learn how to isolate strawberry DNA. (The sticky stuff on the toothpick up there.)

Wanna know how to make a strawberry DNA cocktail yourself? We’ve got you covered.

In this animated how-to video, TED Fellow / synthetic biologist Oliver Medvedik shows you how to use pineapple juice and Bacardi 151 to isolate strawberry DNA for a very nerdy adult beverage. Watch the whole thing here»

A biology lesson and a cocktail recipe in one? You’re welcome. Drink responsibly and read more about the video here.

TEDx Intern Picks: 10 great talks to watch before school starts

Things are getting dreary in the TEDx office as our summer interns gear up to leave us for the great wilds of college.

But before they leave, you get to benefit from their season of TEDx Talk watching experience by tuning in to some favorites. Below, fearless TEDx Screening Intern Henry Kaye picks 10 TEDx Talks you must watch before the summer ends:

Why All Good, and Some Bad, Research Is Improbable: Marc Abrahams at TEDxCERN
Marc Abrahams, founder of the Ig Nobel Prize, talks about this award for unexpected and humorous research. As Abrahams says, these experiments aren’t just funny, but stick with you long after the initial laugh.

Where to store big data? In DNA: Nick Goldman at TEDxPrague
As information scientist Nick Goldman tells us, if we were to use DNA to encode our data, all of the world’s information would fit in the back of a van! Through his research, Goldman has encoded an MP3 of Martin Luther King’s famous 1963 speech into a single strand of DNA.
Tactical performance — thinking theatrically for powerful protest: Larry Bogad at TEDxUCDavis
Author Larry Bogad talks on the value of the unexpected in social activism. He gives us some hilarious and thought-provoking examples, including kissing clowns and staged citizen arrests. 

How to manually change a memory: Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu at TEDxBoston
Have you ever wanted to erase a memory colored with a negative emotion? Researchers Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu do just exactly this in mice. Through shooting laser beams into the rodent’s brains, they can manipulate and erase their memories, and even create artificial ones.

The computer teaches you: Philip Parker at TEDxSeattle
Complex algorithms can now write books, which may be horrible for authors, but is great for students who cannot access books in their native language. Dr. Philip Parker shows us what these amazing supercomputers can do and exactly how they do it.

Pills that improve morality: Julian Savulescu at TEDxBarcelona
At the core of every human-made problem is a human being. So what if instead of fixing these problems externally, we made some internal changes? Philosopher Julian Savulescu talks about the prospect of using medication to boost our morals, so that we can effectively apply them to a world at the mercy of our flaws.
Love in a shoe box: Verna St. Rose Greaves at TEDxPortofSpain
Condemned to die, a severely premature baby perseveres with just a shoebox and the relentless care of her family. Verna St. Rose Greaves tells this story in a frank, yet delicate way, making this talk almost inexplicably compelling.
Installing values in children through play: Michael Bakas at TEDxJacksonHole
While holding a glass of wine, engineer Michael Bakas tells us, “Children are sociopaths.” In this talk at TEDxJacksonHole, we learn how Bakas instills questionable morals in children — told with more than a dash of irony and sarcasm — which makes this talk less about parenting and more of a caustic critique of society.
Escape from Camp 14 — Shin Dong-hyuk’s odyssey: Blaine Harden at TEDxRainier
This is the harrowing story of Shin Dong-hyuk’s, the only man who has ever escaped a North Korean concentration camp and made it out alive. Blaine Harden, a reporter for PBS, tells us the details of Shin’s life — the public massacre of his family, the day he learned the earth was round, and his dangerous escape.
Seeing with the ears, hands, and bionic eyes: Amir Amedi at TEDxJerusalem      
Seeing happens in the mind, not in the eyes. This was the idea behind Dr. Amir Amedi’s tool for the blind, which enables people to “see” their environment with sounds. Watch this talk for a brief tutorial on how to use this new device that could change life for millions.

Happy Birthday, Rosalind Franklin! To celebrate, 5 TEDx Talks on DNA

Rosalind Franklin (photo via Ladies Love Science)

Today marks the birthday of Rosalind Franklin, the pioneering scientist who contributed significantly to our understanding of the complex cellular instructions known as DNA by photographing DNA strands as early as 1952.

Now, years after Franklin’s infamous Photo 51, scientists across the globe are using DNA to do almost unbelievable things — like creating tailor-made microbes and working to resurrect mammoths.

Below, in honor of Franklin, 5 talks on the wonder of deoxyribonucleic acid.

Sex, evolution, and innovation: Frances Arnold at TEDxUSC
We all know that organisms combine genes to create offspring. But what if we could harness those self-replicating processes and make them work for us, asks scientist Frances Arnold. At TEDxUSC, Arnold takes us through a world of possibilities, from testing drugs on microbes to aiding cancer drugs with engineered cells.

What does your genome reveal about you?: Gilean McVean at TEDxWarwick
The first sequenced human genome took years of work and billions of dollars to complete. Today, a person’s genome can be sequenced overnight for a just few thousand dollars. At TEDxWarwick, geneticist Gilean McVean examines the consequences of this technological advance and what it means for our understanding of disease.

How to bring a mammoth back to life: Beth Shapiro at TEDxDeExtinction
Bringing ancient mammoths back to life is assuredly a daunting task, but a major roadblock has been the lack of a complete mammoth genetic sequence due to deterioration over time. Scientist Beth Shaprio reveals the novel approaches that she and her colleagues are taking to revive ancient mammoths.

Creating algae factories for sustainable fuel: Michiel Mathijs at TEDxGhent
In this short and sweet talk from TEDxGhent, Michiel Mathijs elaborates on his plan to take species of algae, one of the most common life forms on the planet, and biologically engineer them to produce oil for fuel. Along the way, Mathijs addresses concerns over bioengineering, describing scientists as not composers, but the “DJs of life,” mixing and matching genetic material.

Genetically evolved technology: Luke Bawazer at TEDxWarwick
Inspired by evolution in the natural world, Luke Bawazer’s work incorporates a type of “synthetic DNA” to test and improve materials like computer chips. According to Bawazer, this type of man-made evolution might one day lead to products that naturally adapt to suit the needs of consumers.

Here’s to 60 years of trying to pronounce “deoxyribonucleic acid” — 5 TEDx Talks on DNA

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(Photo credit: Flickr user Saynine)

The world recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the complex cellular instructions known as DNA. Currently, scientists across the globe are doing a lot more than showing off computer-generated spinning double helix modelsthey are using DNA to do almost unbelievable things — like create tailor-made microbes and resurrected mammoths.

Below, 5 talks on the wonder of deoxyribonucleic acid.

Sex, evolution, and innovation: Frances Arnold at TEDxUSC
We all know that organisms combine genes to create offspring. But what if we could harness those self-replicating processes and make them work for us, asks scientist Frances Arnold. At TEDxUSC, Arnold takes us through a world of possibilities, from testing drugs on microbes to aiding cancer drugs with engineered cells.

What does your genome reveal about you?: Gilean McVean at TEDxWarwick
The first sequenced human genome took years of work and billions of dollars to complete. Today, a person’s genome can be sequenced overnight for a just few thousand dollars. At TEDxWarwick, geneticist Gilean McVean examines the consequences of this technological advance and what it means for our understanding of disease.

How to bring a mammoth back to life: Beth Shapiro at TEDxDeExtinction
Bringing ancient mammoths back to life is assuredly a daunting task, but a major roadblock has been the lack of a complete mammoth genetic sequence due to deterioration over time. Scientist Beth Shaprio reveals the novel approaches that she and her colleagues are taking to revive ancient mammoths.

Creating algae factories for sustainable fuel: Michiel Mathijs at TEDxGhent
In this short and sweet talk from TEDxGhent, Michiel Mathijs elaborates on his plan to take species of algae, one of the most common life forms on the planet, and biologically engineer them to produce oil for fuel. Along the way, Mathijs addresses concerns over bioengineering, describing scientists as not composers, but the “DJs of life,” mixing and matching genetic material.

Genetically evolved technology: Luke Bawazer at TEDxWarwick
Inspired by evolution in the natural world, Luke Bawazer’s work incorporates a type of “synthetic DNA” to test and improve materials like computer chips. According to Bawazer, this type of man-made evolution might one day lead to products that naturally adapt to suit the needs of consumers.