Posts Tagged: It’s Science!

Science Running Out Of Stupid Experiments

"Could picking your nose and eating it actually be good for you?"


The Great Nobel Prize Cash-In Begins With A Big Bang

What is the current market value of a Nobel Prize? Until yesterday, that question would have been virtually impossible to answer, which proved to be advantageous to the family of Francis Crick. Heritage Auctions, the entity that conducted the sale of Crick’s 23-carat gold medal in New York this week, declared it a "historic moment."

As such, bidding started at $250,000.

1 Niels Bohr offered his own Nobel Prize to benefit the Finland Relief in 1940. It was purchased by an anonymous bidder who donated it to the Frederiksborg Museum. Son Aage Niels Bohr, a nuclear physicist, also won the prize. The younger Bohr died in 2009, and whoever [...]

Walking Better For You Than Running, And You Also Don't Need That Running Costume

"Brisk walking reduces the risk of heart disease more effectively than running when the energy expenditure of both activities is balanced out, a study has found. Running reduced the risk of heart disease by 4.5% while walking reduced it by 9.3%. Calorie for calorie, walking also had a stronger impact on heart disease risk factors. The risk of first-time high blood pressure was reduced by 4.2% by running and 7.2% by walking." —Taking a nice, brisk walk is better for you than running! It even reduces your high cholesterol more than running. Best of all, you don't have to run around sweating and huffing like an idiot, wearing those [...]


Sex And Lies! The Iffy Science Of Measuring Calories

As you may have heard, sex doesn't burn nearly as many calories as you might have been led to believe. But this is far from the only finding in obesity research that wilts under intense scrutiny, as the rest of this paper in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed. Each piece of received wisdom about weight-loss and dieting the study took on (eat fruits and vegetables! eat breakfast! etc.)—was found wanting. Conclusions: "False and scientifically unsupported beliefs about obesity are pervasive in both scientific literature and the popular press." What we think of as hard science can, it turns out, be pretty soft.

One example as [...]


The Future According To 1981: An 'Omni' Appreciation

In May of 1981, a draft-dodging ex-pat American published his first story in Omni magazine. The event went largely unremarked. After all, Ronald Reagan was just a few months in office then, and that was either awesome or terrible, depending on your viewpoint, plus that was the same month the Pope got shot! Which is why we now have a Popemobile! But there at your local newsstand, or, if you were lucky (or your parents were generous), there in your mailbox in the plain brown wrapper, William Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic" saw print.

And as you may have heard, the Internet Archive has done the world a service by maintaining an [...]


Bay Area Man Keeps Same Media Job For 63 Years

Who says there's no job security in media? Everyone says that, because it's true. But there are inspirational exceptions. Meet 94-year-old San Francisco Chronicle science reporter David Perlman, who cranked out 111 articles last year and continues to work full-time at the paper. He still loves his beat and his desk is in a sunny corner of the Chronicle newsroom, so there's no reason to quit working now.

After all, he said over a burger at a South of Market dive near Chronicle headquarters, "I'm doing exactly what I wanted to do all my life, be a reporter."

He "majored in the Spectator," the Columbia student paper, [...]


No Point In Having Sex

"In fact, having sex burns calories at about the same rate as walking at a pace of 2.5 mph. 'Given that the average bout of sexual activity lasts about 6 minutes,' the authors write, a man in his early to mid-30s might burn 21 calories. But wait, it gets worse: Considering that this man could burn 7 calories just watching TV, the true benefit of having sex is only 14 additional calories burned." —Many common beliefs about dieting and exercise, such as the one about how sexual intercourse burns 300 calories, are not at all true. So go ahead and take the night off.


What We Say To Ourselves When We're Out Walking

"As a side project, [anthropologist Andrew Irving] decided to record the inner dialogues of people walking in New York City—to map part of the city’s thoughtscape, layered beneath its audible soundscape. He approached strangers at different points in the city [and asked them] to wear a microphone headset attached to a digital recorder and speak aloud their thoughts as he followed closely behind with a camera. He would not be able to hear what they were saying, Irving explained, and they would be free to walk wherever they liked and continue their business as usual. 'I was surprised by how many said Yes,' Irving says—about 100 in all. By [...]


Skin Cancer Survivors Still Enjoy Tanning Beds

Researchers cannot even believe what they're hearing from melanoma survivors these days, because a shocking 27.7% of survivors of the horrible skin cancer still aren't wearing sunscreen when they're out in the sun. But the ultimate thrill seekers are the 2% of melanoma survivors who continue to use tanning beds. There is something kind of fantastic about a melanoma patient paying money to a tanning salon—it's like those old dudes who smoke through the hole in their throat.

"That blew my mind," study author Dr. Anees Chagpar of Yale University told the Los Angeles Times. We hope he writes his science research papers like that, too.

Photo by [...]


New Race of Sexually Mature Children Not Really Having Much Sex

Because of hormone-injected factory chicken corpses, radiation, gamma rays, vaccines, TV violence, Angry Birds, gay marriage, the Internet, Batman, sexting, the abandonment of religion, suburbs, diabetes and "writing for free," many children of 10 or 11 years old are gigantic sexually mature super-humans. These terrifying creatures try to sit at child-sized desks in elementary schools, but they're already taller than the teachers and also have bigger boobs. What to make of this new race of sex monsters?

Not much, experts say. We should just back away and let them do what they want— and "what they want" appears to not really be a lot of sex-humping, according to a [...]


Jurassic Park Frog Monster Vomits Up Babies

Mad scientists have recreated an extinct frog known for puking up its own babies, hooray for science! The gastric-brooding frog, or Rheobatrachus silus, is described by the Daily Mail as being "long extinct" because the last one died in … 1983. That was a long time ago! Luckily, early forms of refrigeration existed in 1983, so one of the last of these extinct frogs was kept in a freezer all this time.

'We are watching Lazarus arise from the dead, step by exciting step,' said Mike Archer, a professor at the University of New South Wales and the leader of the Lazarus Project team. 'We’ve reactivated dead cells into [...]


Scientists Still Talking About How Hot It Is As If We Might Actually Do Something About It

"Global temperatures are warmer than at any time in at least 4,000 years, scientists reported Thursday, and over the coming decades are likely to surpass levels not seen on the planet since before the last ice age."


Beyond Nemo: The Buffalo Weather Service's Odd, Delightful Way With Storm Names

A little backstory on how snow storm Nemo came to have a name: the practice of naming snow storms came out of the National Weather Service's Buffalo, NY office, where they've been doing it for years as a way of distinguishing between storms. Western New York gets multiple blizzards per year, so you can't just call them "The Blizzard of [Year]"* when there was probably more than one blizzard that year. It's the infamous Lake Effect; cold winds whip across the Midwest, pick up water vapor rising off of the warmer-by-comparison Lake Erie, and dump it as fluffy, snowball-perfect snow as soon as it hits land. Upstate gets so much [...]


Maybe Earth Won't Completely Become Waterworld, After All?

Good news, maybe, about our challenging situation here on the only available habitable planet: Today's climate change study (from Norway) says maybe the 1990s were worse for global warming than the 2000s, which means …. we can go back to five steaks a day, and McMansions, and Hummers?

New estimates from a Norwegian research project show meeting targets for minimizing global warming may be more achievable than previously thought. After the planet’s average surface temperature rose through the 1990s, the increase has almost leveled off at the level of 2000, while ocean water temperature has also stabilized, the Research Council of Norway said in a statement on its website.


11 Impotence Cures Through The Ages

• In Impotence: A Cultural History, Angus McLaren, and leave it to a scholar named Angus, found a 17th century French midwife with a suggestion: "An enchanted husband should drink water from the mouth of a 'young stone horse.'" (To be performed, apparently, while the horse himself is drinking.) My new favorite euphemism for horny and limp is now "enchanted," but better yet: try "due benevolence" for sex. In the same study, "Nicholas Culpeper and midwife Jane Sharp recommended that a man, who due to magic could not give his wife 'due benevolence,' should piss through her wedding ring." That can’t be good for the ring. Culpeper’s Complete Herbal [...]


Keep Your Child Fashionably Thin By Putting Meals On Teeny Tiny Plates

Researchers have come up with a hilarious new way to keep Junior from getting larger: Just put your child's meals on very little plates, so the child cannot figure out she is getting a few spoonfuls of blanched kale for dinner, again.

The medical journal Pediatrics just released an exciting new study that proves kids can't tell the difference between plate sizes. Give them gigantic plates, like prop plates from movies about giants, and the youngster will eat enough for a week without noticing. Giving children small plates, like those used in popular Brooklyn restaurants, is an easy way to fake out the minds of our littlest ones.

"Researchers [...]


Americans Write Like This, and the British Write Like That

"The authors found that, despite the overall decline, emotion words have become relatively more frequent in US texts than in British books since about 1980. Conversely, before then, any differences between books from the two sides of the Atlantic had been minor. Such changes were not seen for general words selected at random. 'Our results … support the popular notion that American authors express more emotion than the British,' they write." —If you think British literary fiction is coolly understated while American literary fiction is mostly hysterical overwriting about nothing important, new research suggests you are correct.


No Wonder You Smoke So Much: Your Parents Are Divorced!

"Both daughters and sons from divorced families are significantly more likely to initiate smoking in comparison to their peers from intact families, shows a new analysis of 19,000 Americans. Men who experienced parental divorce before they turned 18 had 48-per-cent higher odds of ever smoking 100 or more cigarettes than men whose parents did not divorce. Women from divorced families were also at risk, with 39-per-cent higher odds of smoking in comparison to women from intact families." —Smoking is terrible and kills everyone, but don't be so hard on yourself. This habit, like so many other poor choices in life, can ultimately be blamed on your parents getting married [...]


Did You Accidentally Fertilize An Egg During Hurricane Sandy, Thereby Bringing About The End Times?

Are you pregnant now, and in your second trimester? Then you are obviously the most selfish human in the world, and your terribleness will bring forth a child of great evil, who will shower devastation upon the country and usher in a new dark era of rising tides and a catastrophe of the climate.

Oh, wait, that was happening anyway? Cause and effect is so COMPLICATED. Sorry, no, your baby is fine! As you were! I'll buy it a nice cashmere blanket that it can barf on.

But apparently people were traipsing up and down stairs with buckets of water, people were watching their kitty cats float away, [...]


Evolution Has Voted Against TV-Watching Slobs

If you enjoyed the usual American male weekend of constant television viewing while sunk deep in the pizza-crush folds of your sofa, evolution has already decided it doesn't want your kind in the generations to come. That's why low-activity men who watch lots of television have dramatically lower sperm counts than those who get some exercise.

The subjects of the study were college-aged men in New York state, aged 18-22. The first group did 15 hours of "moderate to vigorous physical activity per week," about 2 hours daily. The second group just slobbed out in front of the flat screen for 20 or more hours weekly. Besides being incredibly [...]