Tag Archives: Science

Bomb-Sniffing Plants

Botanists have figured out how to design plants sensitive to bomb materials. Once these plants pick up on the offending chemicals, their leaves change the type of radiation they emit under infrared light, so that nearby smartphone sensors can pick up on it. This is neat, but in my opinion, pretty worthless compared to a read more »

Scientists Teleport a Photon Six Kilometers

We now must ask ourselves: if scientists can teleport stuff in kilometers, could they someday teleport stuff in miles? There’s no way of knowing, but my gut tells me: yes. Also apparently in physics there’s a term called “spooky action at a distance” (I’m guessing they let somebody’s intern name that one) which yields all sorts of read more »

Researchers Name New Parasite after Barrack Obama

I assume you, like me, regularly peruse the Journal of Parisitology (for the centerfolds). If you missed the latest issue, a researcher named Thomas R. Platt has named a new parasite Baracktrema obamai. When I read the headline I assumed that Platt knew enough about politicians to start naming useless bloodsuckers after them, but it turns read more »

Controversial Study Aims to “Reanimate” the Brain Dead

We’re a long way from bringing dead people back to life, although the science of brain death is fascinating. A hundred years ago if your heart stopped, you were dead. Period. Then we realized we could jump-start hearts with CPR, and later using those nifty shock panels. Death isn’t a hard line. Brains are similar, read more »

NASA Invests in Cryogenic Sleep Chamber

NASA has greenlighted several super futuristic research and development proposals in hopes of aiding our eventual trip to Mars. This includes among other things cryogenic chambers—like in Interstellar—wherein astronauts would be fed intravenously for nine months while their body temperature rests at ten degrees Fahrenheit. I’d be curious as to if you would be dreaming read more »

We’re Not Entirely Human

Scientists have now confirmed that all non-African humans are part Neanderthal. (And some Pacific Islanders have a third species lingering around their genome called Denisovans.) Africans are 100% homo sapien, but everyone else is descended from a migration out of Africa that occurred when our Neanderthal cousins were still roaming the Earth. At some point read more »

St. Darwin Day

  Today is Charles Darwin’s 203rd birthday, so I wish to extend holiday greetings to any devout atheists or agnostics planning to attend services. There are services, incidentally. They’re called “Phylum Feasts,” and hearken back to Darwin’s days at Cambridge where he and like-minded members of the Gourmet Club met weekly to devour whatever novel read more »

Seven BILLION? I’m Not Worried.

Last week Earth reached seven billion occupants, its highest total yet. I recall in middle school being told this forecast in an ominous tone which very much communicated “you are doomed.” How could the world possibly support seven billion people? Surely we will all starve, or choke in smog, or at least fowl up the read more »

Particle Smashing

I think we can all say it’s a good thing that CERN hasn’t blown up the planet yet. I realize that anyone who knows anything about quantum mechanics will roll their eyes and say that I’m a moron, but the little factoids I know about physics make the news trickling out from the Large Hydron read more »

The 250 Miles Up Club

One great thing about getting to meet the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour is that for the first time in my life I used the phrase “Commander, can I get your autograph?” while not wearing a Star Trek uniform. For someone who spent his formative summers in a blue jumpsuit at Space Camp, meeting an astronaut read more »