Unintended consequences: Exploding pianos
Sep10

Unintended consequences: Exploding pianos

From Periodic Videos, an old story about pianos, theatrical “flash pots,” and flour. “It was a really dumb idea,” says Martyn Poliakoff, a chemistry professor at the University of...

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Farewell, Newscripts blog!
Jun23

Farewell, Newscripts blog!

Dear Readers, The time has come for the Newscripts gang to bid readers of this blog adieu. We’d like to thank everyone who has visited this humble site over the years. Whether you were looking for silly samplings of science news, a bonus to our popular print column, a chemistry-themed holiday gift, or an in-depth look on what happens when you pee in the ocean, we’ve been happy to have your attention. Thanks also to everyone who has braved our commenting system to offer your thoughts on the content (a special shout-out goes to frequent commenter qvxb). We have had a blast. Although this blog will be going dark at the end of the month, you can still find the occasional silly sampling of science news plus other 140 character or less thoughts of wisdom by following us on twitter: @sophialcai, @beth_halford, @healthyrut, and @laurenkwolf. Here’s the final installment of Amusing News Aliquots: A stray cat has been added to the lynx exhibit at a Russian zoo. And in future news, a stray cat has been eaten by lynx at a Russian zoo. [Gawker] A video the Newscripts gang likes to think of as “Love in the MRI,” which accompanies the British Medical Journal’s most popular paper (by a large margin), hits three million views. [Annals of Improbable Research] Add this to the list of labs we’d like to work in: An experimental warehouse with different climate controlled cells for studying how to make the best bourbon. [The Whiskey Reviewer] Paul returns from his blogging hiatus with a hilarious tale of teaching, Facebook, and his wife’s naughty sense of humor. [ChemBark] A study finds that talking on a cell phone during meals is a dating no-no. The study was sponsored by the Association of Has It Really Come To This? [Daily Mail] Why wheels of moving cars sometimes appear to be spinning backwards is easily explained when on TV, but why we see this phenomenon in real life is still debated. [iO9] In other optical illusion news, this disappearing pastel picture has been making the Internet rounds. See it for yourself, before it disappears. [Sploid] A group wants to use cloning to bring back extinct birds known for their ability to cheaply disseminate messages. And no, that group isn’t the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service. [International Business Times] The World Cup is a fierce battle and a matter of national pride. Who will be crowned Team Oracle is also a fierce battle and a matter of species pride. [FP]  ...

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Amusing News Aliquots
Jun13

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings of this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai and Jeff Huber. This week, the world’s oldest cat, Poppy, passed away at the age of 24. Family and friends of the feline say that Poppy will miss doing her favorite pastime: not dying. [ABC News] Researchers report last month that sleep deprivation is often the result of “bedtime procrastination.” The research team said that they had hoped to release their findings sooner but they totally got sucked into watching more episodes of “Orange is the New Black.” [Newser] World Cup of Soccer/Futbol started yesterday, but what about the World Cup of Everything Else? Leave it to the statisticians. [WSJ] And for American sports fans who think soccer is too slow of a game, try watching it in microgravity. “World Cup?” astronauts ask. “Try Outta-This-World-Cup.” [Time] A couple in Western Pennsylvania has started a company that allows customers to rent chickens. Because sometimes you want a chicken to poop all over the yard, but you only want the chicken to do it for a day or so. [Trib Total Media] For dwarf spiders, the Middle Ages aren’t over. Researchers have revealed more about how male dwarf spiders put chastity belts on female spiders after mating. [National Geographic] Travelers are avoiding a Ramada Inn in Prince George, British Columbia, because it has become overrun with bees. Owners of the hotel say they can’t wait for the bees to leave so that they can go back to doing what they do best: making up excuses for why no one is staying at their hotel. [Prince George Free Press] Rats, like humans, feel regret when it comes to making poor food choices. It’s like, “Doh, should’ve had a V8,” except the opposite. [Washington Post]          ...

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Amusing News Aliquots
May29

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber. Photographer is the lone bidder on a Russian space flight suit, giving rise to the poignant and funny “Everyday Astronaut” series. [BuzzFeed] Doctors are beginning Sci-Fi-esque human trials of cooling trauma victims to a state of “suspended animation” to buy more time to fix wounds. [The Atlantic] Is beer taking up too much space in  your fridge? Time to get one of these nifty underground beer coolers. [ShortList] A Michigan zoo is selling “loads” of its animals’ manure for $25 a pop. Sounds like you’re sitting on a gold mine, cat and dog owners. [Washington Post] With Paul the Octopus dearly departed, Europeans turn to Stephen Hawkings to analyze England’s chance of winning the World Cup. Bad news, mates: “As we say in science, England couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo.” [Time] Need proof that Canadians are the toughest around? Their bears enjoy taking naps atop power lines. [Sun News] WarkaWater towers look like some wacky art installation, but they’re actually capable of harvesting enough drinking water for a family of seven. [NPR] From the it’s-so-bizarre-it-just-might-work files: Artificial sweeteners as potential tracers of municipal landfill leachate. [Seriously, Science?] “Look, Mom, no hands!” screams a 16-year-old freshly licensed driver. Google’s new car doesn’t have a steering wheel … or gas or brakes, for that matter. [Jalopnik] According to a study, cynicism can increase the likelihood of developing dementia. Yeah, like the Newscripts gang buys that. [ScienceDaily]   ...

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Amusing News Aliquots
May16

Amusing News Aliquots

A cat named Tara will throw out the first pitch at a class-A baseball game next week in California. Tara says she can’t wait to approach the center of the infield and stand atop its giant litter box. [The Independent] Maine marriages improve as margarine consumption decreases, and other reminders that correlation does not mean causation. [Spurious Correlations] This week Dorothy Hodgkin received what is arguably the 21st century’s highest honor: a Google Doodle. [Washington Post] This little piggie went to market. This little piggie stayed home. And this little piggie was ordered by a judge to leave town. [Crushplate] Chipotle puts reading material on cups and bags to add a literary experience to your lunch. And to distract yourself from the fact that you are eating a burrito alone and are not in possession of a tablet, a book, or an imagination. [Gizmodo] What’s the difference between club soda and seltzer? Thanks to this article, now we know. [Slate] The diameter of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is shrinking rapidly–by as much as 580 miles a year–and it’s down to its smallest size ever recorded. Someone should warn the Man in the Moon! [Time] In desperate need to find a wife, mathematician creates a formula for choosing which lady to propose to. This is, of course, assuming the ladies would all say “yes” to the math geek. [NPR] YouTube users sometimes display questionable judgment. So too do some people who get tattoos. What happens when those two worlds collide? You get a video of an entomologist using a swarm of 1,000 bedbugs to give himself a tattoo....

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Amusing News Aliquots
May09

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber. Because having Siri read you walking directions wasn’t futuristic enough, you can now get haptic footwear that while gently guide you in the direction you should walk. [Springwise] Shampoos and bodywashes may contain a carcinogen. It’s bad news for those who showered today, and good news for those looking for excuse not to. [SFGate] Four lion cubs passed a swim test this week at the National Zoo. The accomplishment means the cubs are now one step closer to posing for their own swimsuit calendar. [io9]  The CEO of the Philadelphia Zoo says he is trying to turn a visit to his park into “more of a safari-like experience.” Hard to imagine anything going wrong with that idea. [New York Post] Hard to imagine? Well, we’ve got a scenario: Petting zoo brings a baby bear for college students to snuggle to ease stress of finals week. Bear bites multiple students. Bear and students tested for rabies. Students have worse things to stress about than finals. [Time] Got a decommissioned tank just rusting away in your backyard? Do what this Czech town did: Add a slide and splash of colorful paint and conquer the playground! [Inventor Spot] In other military news, keep an eye on your bananas. China has an army of trained monkeys.  [Washington Post]...

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