Are you stupid about science and things? I am! I can barely do math. So after several years of study, I can tell you, fellow dingbat, what you need to know about space before seeing terrifying and wonderful space movie Gravity. It really is as good as everyone says. Here's one tip about seeing this film: when you can, keep your eyes on the horizon line. I was worried I was gonna heave a little, in part from visual orientation problems but also from anxiety. Throwing up in a movie theater is the third worst place to throw up. The second worst is the subway. We'll get to the [...]
Somehow Still-Alive Guy is not a doctor, and he does not provide medical advice. But he has seen all the doctors! And is currently still alive, and here to answer questions from you. Remember, there are no stupid medical questions—only answers that can get you killed.
Dear Somehow Still-Alive Guy,
I'm 34 and I just got health insurance for the first time since being on my parents' plan after college. I never go to the doctor. I actually don't even have a doctor. But all kinds of things could be wrong with me. I feel pretty normal but I started noticing some stuff. I think I might be depressed. [...]
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 [...]
"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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
In 2002, RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan told a reporter from Blender about his post-9/11 health routine: drinking colloidal silver daily. "During the Black Plague, a lot of rich people didn't get sick… because of the metal intake—the silver in their bodies from their silverware and dishes," he said. Blender published the article under the excellent headline "IS THE RZA TURNING BLUE?" He has not, as far as we know.
Recently I sent an email to Silver List, a listserv of colloidal silver enthusiasts who share their experiences and advice about making and taking the liquid, asking for people who would talk to a journalist. I included a [...]
You know, I already have enough people in my life hassling me to get my shit together, I don't need a fruit bowl on my ass to boot.
"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 [...]
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 [...]
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?
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 [...]
"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."
We didn't learn that much from the massive "Economic Impacts of Tax Expenditures" study that gets a big spread in the Times today, except: if you want them to be rich, have your children in Seattle, Salt Lake City or New York City, and don't have them in Atlanta, Miami or Memphis. But we already knew that.
On June 11th, 1993, I had my one and only "religious experience." It began, as is tradition, by staring into the cold hard eye of a raptor. It lasted for 127 minutes, in which I was in a complete state of raptor—sorry, rapture (these words are synonyms to me). I emerged from the movie theatre a changed person. I was like Saint Paul after he fell off his horse and realized, "Holy crap, Jesus is a god-man-thing!" Only my revelation was about dinosaurs, and so is obviously superior.
I had borne witness to the birth of Jurassic Park. I had seen it bite through the fence of public anticipation and [...]
• 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 [...]
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.
"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.
"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 [...]