It's Science!

The Rats Among Us

On Tuesday, Dr. Lipkin and his colleagues published their initial results in the journal mBio. Although the scientists examined just 133 rats, they found plenty of pathogens. Some caused food-borne illnesses. Others, like Seoul hantavirus, had never before been found in New York. Others were altogether new to science…So far, they have identified 18 unknown species related to viruses already shown to cause diseases in humans. Two of the new species were similar to the virus that causes hepatitis C.

One scientist told the Times that the discovery of these brand new, never-before-seen viruses in New York City rats is not "a call to wage war on rats [...]


Whitest White People Got Whiter: Report

"European humans have become 'whiter' in the past 5,000 years, undergoing a distinct change in their DNA due to natural selection, according to scientists."


To Be Good At Math, Electrocute Your Brain

"In a lab in Oxford University's experimental psychology department, researcher Roi Cohen Kadosh is testing an intriguing treatment: He is sending low-dose electric current through the brains of adults and children as young as 8 to make them better at math. A relatively new brain-stimulation technique called transcranial electrical stimulation may help people learn and improve their understanding of math concepts."


I Have An Evaporated Vodka Message For You

"Two researchers at York University have worked out a way to communicate between two points using vodka evaporated into the air. They used their system to message the lyrics of 'O Canada' between two points, leading them to conclude that in times of need, when there is no cellular reception, it would be possible to text-message using this system."


Are Ladies Dumb Enough To Trust Dudes About Birth Control?

"Now the chemical snip! Male pill works like a vasectomy – but will girls trust men to take it?"


Pretty People Are Better: Science

"None of this absolutely proves Dr Elia’s hypothesis. But it looks plausible. If she is right, facial beauty ceases to be an arbitrary characteristic and instead becomes a reliable marker of underlying desirable behaviour. It is selected for both in the ways beautiful children are brought up, and in the number of children the beautiful have."


Chinese Kindergarteners Leading World In Cigarette Logo Awareness Too

Will we ever win a race against the children of China? 86% of a group of 5- and 6-year-olds in China were able to identify at least one brand of cigarettes, compared to only 50% of Russian children. But children in India were most likely to want to grow up to be smokers—a full 30% of them. This according to a new study in Pediatrics, which didn't bother to study lazy American children, who just choose brands willy-nilly.


If You Are Too Bleary-Eyed To Watch This You Need More Caffeine

Do you know how much coffee will kill you? I think this video will tell you, but I am about to find out through personal experimentation. I AM SO TIRED THIS MORNING. Anyway, here is some learning for you to do about caffeine.


Here Is Why It Might Not Be Cold For The Rest Of Our Lives

"On March 20th, this year's equinox, the northern hemisphere—our part of the Earth—starts tilting close to the sun. That fact alone means it has to warm up." —It is horrifying on every level that we need to have a "news" story like this, but perhaps the most horrifying part of all is just how comforting I'm finding it.


Science: It's Going To Get Brr-ier

Is a mini Ice Age on the way? Sure, why the hell not.


'Kamikaze Fighter Sperm' Would Be A Good Name For A Band

I have to say I find this clip and its explanation of the sperm produced by jealousy to be absolutely delightful and not a little transfixing. (It turns out that it comes from this [...]


Everyone Knows What Bitchiness Is

"[McMaster University psychology professor Tracy] Vaillancourt has studied women’s aggression techniques for several years; in a 2011 study hilariously titled 'Intolerance of Sexy Peers,' she and her research partner Anachal Sharma recorded college-aged women’s reactions when they unexpectedly encountered a thin, blond woman in khakis and a plain t-shirt and then again when the same woman wore a mini-skirt, low-cut top, and tall black boots. Then they showed the footage to a group of other women and asked them to rate the level of 'bitchiness' in each reaction. (The term 'bitchy' is used in the study.) As Vaillancourt explains, 'when we called it "indirect aggression," none of our subjects knew [...]


Piss Bouncy

"In analyzing their results, the researchers found that sitting on a toilet, as most men well know, results in the least amount of splash-back (the contact point is much closer). They also discovered something likely few men have considered—that urine follows what is known as the Plateau-Rayleigh instability—where a pee stream breaks up into drops before striking something else. That's the worst thing that can happen, the team reports, because each drop creates splash-back. To avoid that, men should stand as close to the urinal as possible they advise. Also helpful is directing the stream to hit the back of the urinal at a downward angle. That creates less splash-back [...]


Let Me Get Your Natural Painkillers Flowing

You suck, you're ugly and no one likes you, not least because of your repellent personality. You're welcome.


What Time Is "Primordial Gravitational Waves"?

Later today, science-type people are going to make an announcement that they promise is super-exciting and also possibly intelligible to the non-science community. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the rumors have it, will be talking about evidence for "primordial gravitational waves." Now is the time to bone up on your weird science, so that you can have an opinion about it, or what else is the point of living?

Here's an explanation from a few years back: So-called gravitational waves are a prediction of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity—moving objects perturb spacetime, generating waves like a boat moving across a lake….Such primordial waves might offer [...]


Sriracha, Why Is It?

This is mostly an experiment on my part to see if the Internet's devotion to Sriracha is so strong that it will click through on pretty much anything about the beloved "hipster ketchup," but you may as well watch this video anyway, it is a decent primer on chile pepper heat. My personal addiction remains Huy Fong's chili garlic sauce, but as far as sweet and spicy stuff you squeeze out of a bottle I cannot really argue with the Sriracha, and theirs is the best of its kind.


Are You Dumber Than A Plant?

I can't figure out where I left my goddamn keys, but plants can both learn and remember, so which one of us is the idiot? Me, clearly.


Hurry Up And Get That Adderall Prescription Filled Before They Figure Out Your ADHD Is Bullshit

"A new brain imaging technique that provides a noninvasive, indirect measure of the neurotransmitter dopamine may be a new tool to help psychiatrists and other medical professionals determine if an individual has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)."


Why Men Are Uglier Than Women

"Men may have larger noses than women because they generally have more muscle, demanding larger noses to breathe in more oxygen, researchers say."


Call Me When You Teach The Rats To Play Baccarat

"Drug Reduces Gambling Behavior In Slot Machine-Loving Rats" is the headline, and I am not going to click through because there is nothing the article can possibly tell me that will be more amusing than the little story about slot machine-loving rats I have going on in my head right now.