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Screw your DNA

Helicky
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If DNA is famous for anything, it's for being helical.

The phosphate backbone of DNA carries the main charge on a DNA molecule, and allows DNA to be dragged along by an electric field.

However, since the four bases are not identical, it follows that all DNA molecules must have some minuscule asymmetry in their charge distribution, around their axis.

Therehence, a suitably rotating and powerful electromagnetic field ought to be able to rotate the molecule around its long axis.

Now, a helix rotating around its long axis is a screw, and this opens up uninnumerable possibilities. For example, suitably aligned DNA could be screwed through a gel rather than simply dragged kicking and screaming by a linear field gradient. Suitable DNA molecules could also be used to uncork very, very small bottles of wine.

Forensic applications are also evident. In particular, a suitable field generator at the entrance to a building could be used to simply screw a burglar's DNA right out of his feet, through the soles of his shoes and into a softwood floor panel. When the investigation begins, a contrarotating field will unscrew said molecules right out of the panel and into a collection tube.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 22 2012

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       I really wish you had said "a suitable collection tube". (Can you edit that in?)
tatterdemalion, Jul 22 2012
  

       We do not wish to unduly restrict the patent claims.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 22 2012
  

       //We do not wish to unduly restrict the patent claims.//
I think you have absolutely no worries in that regard.
sqeaketh the wheel, Jul 22 2012
  

       // We do not wish to unduly restrict the patent claims //   

       1. Use of the First Person Plural is our trademark, at least on the HB. To our knowledge, H.M. Q. E. the II does not yet have an account (although Jutta may correct us on this).   

       2. "unduly restrict the patent claims"   

       This from a man who screams "Prior Art" at any patent claim incorporating the words "aqueous solution" ... somewhat disingenuous, to sat the least.
8th of 7, Jul 22 2012
  

       We do not scream.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 22 2012
  

       Yes, you do. You screamed when Sturton showed you "that" picture on his cameraphone. We're not blaming you for it, far from it.   

       Then again, perhaps you have blotted the incident from your memory. It would make sense. Trauma will do that.
8th of 7, Jul 22 2012
  

       I have blotted many incidents from my memory but, to be honest, Sturton's exploits are, at worst, surprising in an amoral way. If you're referring to the incident with the roller blind, the only emotion I recall was sympathy for the iguana.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 22 2012
  

       Nothing for the lemur? Heartless cur!
UnaBubba, Jul 22 2012
  

       It's hard to feel sorry for something when you don't know what happened to it. I mean, we searched for weeks, and found no trace of the little bugger. Not a hair. Not even a helix of DNA screwed neatly into the doorsill (and from what I'm told, reconfiguring the Contrarotational DNA Recovery Extractor to target lemur DNA was no easy task, so don't say we didn't try).   

       For all we know, the l'il guy got away clean. The fact that our search never turned up Sturton's unusual tooth collection may also correlate to the lemur's suspected culpability in the entire affair.
Alterother, Jul 23 2012
  

       A suitable lemur.
tatterdemalion, Jul 23 2012
  

       You can prevaricate all you like [Maxwell], but once the lemur fell into the Buchanans' hands it was screwed - DNA and all.
AusCan531, Jul 23 2012
  

       I have a voice recording that sounds remarkably like [MaxwellBuchanan]'s voice, clearly saying:   

       "Look, I'm fucking this lemur, Sturton, you're just holding the tail out of the way."
UnaBubba, Jul 23 2012
  

       Ah, [Ubie]. I hadn't realized the ears were going, as well as the mind. The lemur was sick, and needed both hydration and a high-protein diet. What I actually said was "Look, I'm for keeping this lemur, Sturton, you just go get some ale and some whey."
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 23 2012
  

       That doesn't explain the next comment on the tape, after the aforementioned "imaginary" screaming:   

       "Ow, shit! The nasty little bugger just clawed a hole in my scrotum. Shoot the fucking thing, Sturton. If I can't kill it after I've screwed it then I'll happily kill it during."
UnaBubba, Jul 23 2012
  

       Why wasn't any of this in the case file? The Institute's consultation policies are very clear: if we are called on to provide expertise or specialized assistance under any circumstances, our people rely upon full disclosure in order to complete the assignment to the best of their abilities. MaxCo. could be facing a serious breach-of-contract issue here!
Alterother, Jul 23 2012
  

       // the next comment on the tape//   

       Ah, I see what's happened here. Let me guess - the surveillance guy you hired was about five-ten, five-eleven? Slightly portly? Rather shortsighted in his left ear? Went by the name of "Hugh Janus"? Yes, it's all coming back now, isn't it, [Ubie]?   

       I only hope you paid the Intercalary (a.k.a. Hugh Janus, a.k.a. Joanna Coffey, a.k.a. Lars Släv, a.k.a. Mbwana Matika, former minister for oil of Shaqir) well, because I shall be sure to pummel the cash out of him when next we meet.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 23 2012
  

       // sounds remarkably like [MaxwellBuchanan]'s voice //   

       Yes, that's the Twin's doing, no doubt of it. He does have a certain talent for mimicry. Sadly, it doesn't extend so far as being able to mimic a normal human being in any meaningful way.
8th of 7, Jul 23 2012
  

       The Intercalary has honed his skills in the field. He has a remarkable ability to mimic almost any creatures, to the extent that he can attract animals searching for mates, or predators in search of prey. He has been recruited (and even, surprisingly, paid; technically this equates to funding terrorism, but that's another matter) by several wildlife documentary makers, both for attracting animals toward the cameras and for dubbing.   

       This ability nearly cost him his life when, whilst doing some research in Pukapuka, he was rudely awoken one night by seventeen female leatherback turtles trying to mate with his sleeping-bagged form. It should be noted that a gravid female loggerhead can weigh over half a ton, and is quite enthusiastic.   

       Of course, if he'd only asked Sturton or myself, we could have told him that he talks in his sleep. We probably wouldn't have, but we could have.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 23 2012
  

       Now I remember why I refuse to hire staff.
UnaBubba, Jul 23 2012
  

       Don't feel bad, [Ubie]. He's even fooled smart people.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 23 2012
  

       There's a long bridge between clever and smart, [Max].
UnaBubba, Jul 24 2012
  

       Surely, if you put a reverse charge on this device it would work as levitation device?   

       Handy for getting things from high shelves, or replacing light bulbs.
not_morrison_rm, Jul 24 2012
  

       Well it's official... we're all screwed.   

       //There's a long bridge between clever and smart, [Max].// There certainly is, [Ubie]. Have you considered buying a boat?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 24 2012
  

       I've no desire to return to your dismal, grey land of idiots and anarchists, [Max]. You may believe you're clever and it may be the case but the smart ones got out of Britain and have no intention of returning.
UnaBubba, Jul 24 2012
  

       Oh, the jocularity.
AusCan531, Jul 25 2012
  

       //...but the smart ones got out of Britain and have no intention of returning.   

       Hang on, I'm out of Britain too, so that does tend to disprove that idea.   

       But anyway, most people presumably left the sacred isles due to fear that their descendants would have started the long slide in amphibianhood-ness and eventual Dagon worship. Didn't happen, but we did get "Britain's Got Talent" on tv, which is roughly as diabolical.
not_morrison_rm, Jul 25 2012
  

       //the smart ones got out of Britain// - I suppose they may have been smart at the time they got out of Britain...
hippo, Jul 25 2012
  

       //the smart ones got out of Britain //   

       We know. As I have mentioned before, Britain bemoans the loss of so many great culturalists, writers, scientists and other noble figures to Australia, and we gaze in awe at the sophistication of your land.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 25 2012
  

       More, please, [Max]. The ferrous metal content of your annotation could be the basis of a whole new industry.
8th of 7, Jul 25 2012
  

       Come now, [8th], I would never stoop to irony in conversations with my esteemed colleague [Ubie].   

       Just think of all the great English scientists who have been lost to the nation, and have instead made their greatest discoveries in the Antipodean Elysium.   

       Think, for example, of Earnest Rutherford. Ah, hang on - apparently he was a New Zealander and came _to_ England. Bad example.   

       OK, think, for example, of, ah, think for example of all the others.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 25 2012
  
      
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