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Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.

This squirrel loves to horse around. Credit: Jim Zielinski/ZielinskiPhotography.com

This squirrel loves to horse around.
Credit: Jim Zielinski/ZielinskiPhotography.com

When is a squirrel not a squirrel? When it’s eating out of a squirrel feeder shaped like a horse, of course. [Washington Post]

Researchers get prairie voles soused and then study their “pairing behavior.” Anyone who’s been to a bar on a Saturday night knows how this study ends. [National Geographic]

“Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots – everybody!” Turns out, the teens who most enjoy listening to songs with alcohol-soaked lyrics are also most likely to drink and binge on alcohol. No word on whether training kids to emulate song lyrics can be traced back to Baby Mozart CDs. [NPR]

After being asked by a local radio station to name the ingredients in the chicken patty sandwich it serves students, Chicago Public Schools has responded by saying the sandwich consists of a “chicken patty” and “bun.” The evasive response has resulted in irate parents wanting to serve the school system plenty of knuckle sandwiches. [WBEZ]

Although Newscripts condones peeing in the ocean, researchers find that peeing in a swimming pool creates toxic byproducts. [Washington Post]

Oft overlooked elements get a little attention. Were you feeling taken for granted, Europium? [Mother Nature Network]

Have you checked out the Compound Interest blog? It’s pretty nifty. [Daily Mail]

Crank up that chemistry set. A $5 chemistry lab is in the making, inspired by wind-up music boxes. [C&EN]

According to researchers at the University of Louisville, three-dimensional printing may one day be used to construct a heart. The news is yet another example of the medical community putting the needs of tin woodmen ahead of the needs of scarecrows and cowardly lions. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.

The sea anemone: Plant? Animal? Vegimal? Credit: Nature

The sea anemone: Plant? Animal? Vegimal?
Credit: Nature

Scientists have characterized the sea anemone as half animal and half plant. When the sea anemone tries to pick someone up at a bar, however, it likes to say that it’s all animal. [ScienceDaily]

A Tibetan mastiff has been purchased in China for almost $2 million. Dog experts say it may be the most someone’s ever paid for the privilege of picking up poop. [NY Daily News]

Polar bear cubs at a German zoo used a photo op this week to make their first public appearance with their mother. Surprisingly, a bottle of Coca-Cola was nowhere to be found. [The Guardian]

In other zoo news, depressed man gets yet another rejection – from a tiger. [Time]

On average, Americans assume that 30% of Congress smokes pot. When asked whether they cared that their representatives get high, many said, “Nah, man, whatever. That’s totally cool, dude.” [Huffington Post]

Dr. Freddy on Five Things Synthetic Chemists Hate. The Newscripts gang heartily concurs. [Synthetic Remarks]

“Covered with more than 880 gems, the Diamond Armor suit repels both bullets and stains and even has built-in air conditioning.” But what will stop the relentless eyerolls? [Daily Mail]

Add this to the list of inventions we’re not sure we want: the Smell-o-phone. [CNN]

We journalists were going to write a story about how journalism is dying, but a robot scooped us. [iO9]

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.


This batmobile looks like it’s got a pretty bad blind spot.
Credit: James Edition/AllStar

What you really need is this street-legal Batmobile. Only $1 million. [Short List]

Secret to living a long life? Good food and good sleep, says world’s oldest woman. Secret to happiness? Sheesh, what more do you want from her? [NBC News]

New app’s technology seeks to dramatically increase people’s reading speeds. No mention on how app plans to prevent people from skipping article entirely and scrolling to the tl;dr section. [33rd Square]

Turns out your taste buds can be tricked by juicy adjectives, familiar memories, and pleasing colors. Maybe we are in the matrix after all. [Popular Science]

Researchers find that caffeine dependence can lead to emotional problems. It’s distressing news, but thankfully the Newscripts gang always keeps a cup of joe at our sides to calm us down during moments like these. [Seattle Pi]

Study finds that a community in California experienced a decline in childhood obesity after it built a casino. The finding is leading many to believe that the casino’s all-you-can-eat buffet must not be that good. [Reuters]

A 13-year-old in England has become the youngest person in the world to ever build a nuclear fusion reactor. So stop holding your kid back, and start letting him play with nuclear technology already! [Daily Mail]

We like to see science tackling tough problems: Researchers develop tricks to get rid of that song that’s been stuck in your head. [Seriously, Science?]

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, lovingly compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.

conversationheartsIt’s Valentine’s Day! What’s that – shut up?! Don’t worry, feeling lonely could be good for you and the survival of your genes. [Daily Mail]

It’s probably too late to get one of these boxes of anatomy chocolates for your sweetie, but they’re so cool we thought we’d make note of them anyway. [Visual Anatomy Ltd]

For your Valentine’s pleasure: A dozen romance-related research papers. [Seriously, Science?]

Construction workers in Seattle accidentally discovered a mammoth tusk during a digging operation. Workers said they were disappointed they didn’t discover the rest of the mammoth, as they would have been sure to compliment the mammal on its long legs. [Seattle Pi]

In other unearthed bones news, King Richard III’s remains that were found under a parking lot last year will be DNA sequenced. [Boing Boing]

Forget about tattoos and piercings. The best body modification by far has to be getting a magnet implanted in your fingertip. [Gizmodo]

Resource-strapped city bees are using cheap plastic waste to build their hives. It’s yet more proof that urban real estate costs are too damn high. [ScienceDaily]

If your cat bites the hand that feeds it, take that hand to a hospital right away. Dog people everywhere say, I told you so. [USA Today]

Finally, a chance to put to good use the knowledge gleaned from all those investigative news pieces on how to operate a black light in a hotel room: The hunt is on in Virginia for $250 worth of missing bull semen. [WTOP]

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.

Credit: Photo by Lary Reeves

Credit: Lary Reeves

Spiders are capable of building statues of themselves. Which is cool, but let’s all admit that it’s a little narcissistic as well. [Wired]

Scientists show that people can detect levels of fat in food just by smell. Everyone who has ever smelled a juicy hamburger agrees. [Science Daily]

Remember those strawberry-scented fireworks that lit up London on New Year’s? Here’s a profile of their creators. [Wired]

Study finds that more than 50% of singles have difficulty discerning whether they’re on a date or not. So the next time you see a couple hanging out, think to yourself, “There’s a good chance one of those two people has no idea what’s going on.” [Time]

MIT students learn about heavy metal. And no, we’re not talking about the elements. We’re talking about the music. Lesson #1: “Always end with an explosion.” [Slice of MIT]

Japan’s space agency, JAXA, plans to trawl for space debris with a huge electrodynamic net. George Clooney fans cry that it’s too little too late.  [New Scientist]

Mystery of sloths’ tri-weekly poop pilgrimage may be more symbiotic than once thought. [National Geographic]

And when the sloths do come down to poop, someone may be combing their fur for drugs. [PLoS One]

Pot cultivator says classical music helps his crop grow better. Given that the cultivator managed a $500,000-a-year operation, the claim is certainly nothing to … Bach at. Wait, where are you going? Come back! [Fairfax New Zealand]

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news.

Credit: Canadian Tire

Credit: Canadian Tire

This pickup truck carved from ice is one cool ride. [Daily Mail]

What’s the difference between smelling like jet fuel and smelling like new jet fuel? One carbon, apparently. Check out this table of organic compounds and their smells to see what compounds attract sperm and what compounds smell like a combination of goat and citrus. [James Kennedy/Monash University]

Scientists in Japan make small objects levitate and dance (with video!). What I really want to see though, is this technology transferred to the dance floor. [io9]

Fluorescent pigs? Could make for an interesting “Babe” sequel. [Stuff]

For Britain to get a high speed railway, 6,000 goats will have to die. Baa, say the goats, to obscure vellum laws. [Annals of Improbable Research]

And because it’s winter and snowing where I am, here is Derek Lowe’s cold weather chicken noodle soup—with grated hardboiled eggs! [In the Pipeline]

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Bethany Halford and Jeff Huber.

A crocodile lures birds by balancing twigs on its head. Credit: Vladimir Dinets

A crocodile lures birds by balancing twigs on its head. Credit: Vladimir Dinets

As if they weren’t scary enough already, crocodiles are also smart enough to set traps to catch prey. [ScienceDaily]

Finally, a color palette to help you figure out what the color of your urine really says about you. [Cleveland Clinic]

“Studies show there might be a positive correlation between intelligence and alcohol consumption.” The Newscripts gang would be smug if we didn’t think this was bunk. [New Republic]

German scientists discover the best way to get a bartender’s attention.  It’s easier than you think. [Seriously, Science?]

Feeling weighed down by all your self-esteem? Then use this online calculator to determine your “vitality age”—that is, the actual age of your body given your lifestyle choices—and feel the self-esteem melt away. [Daily Mail]

We suggest you check out this long read on insomnia drugs just before bedtime. [New Yorker]

2013 Holiday Gift Guide

The Newscripts gang prefers to digest our Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing before facing the inevitable onslaught of the holiday shopping season. But this year Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day – a rare convergence that won’t occur again until the year 79,811. So to help out the last-minute shoppers among our Jewish readers (don’t forget you’ve got an eight-day grace period), we’re putting up our chemistry-themed gift ideas a week earlier than usual.

Continue reading →

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.

Photo by Johanna Werminghausen

Photo by Johanna Werminghausen

Who says romance is dead? Colorful hermaphrodite sea slugs make love by stabbing one another in the head. [Science News]

Cold and flu season has its benefits: Researchers find that giving a battery a cold actually improves its performance. [ScienceDaily]

To promote the 2014 Winter Olympics and to demote commuters’ waistlines, Russia is now accepting 30 squats as payment for a train ticket. (With video!) [Mashable]

Study finds that eating chocolate can lead to lower body fat. If that’s the case, why is the peanut M&M so chubby then? [News.com.au]

How to reach out and touch someone when you’re an ocean apart. [Social Reader]

Why does wine cry? Turns out it’s not because you’re also crying. (With video.) [NPR]

The Weather Channel is rebranding itself as the “ESPN for weather,” so expect to see spin-off channels such as Weather Channel 2 and Weather Channel Classic coming soon. [AP]

Good clean fun the Newscripts gang can get behind: Soap made from beer. [Tennessean]

Storied for hundreds of years in Chinese traditional medicine, black bear bile now shows promise in slowing development of type 1 diabetes. [National Geographic]


Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.

Credit: U.S. PTO

Credit: U.S. PTO

Watch out, Leslie hat – you’re not the only wearable device for feeding and observing birds and insects anymore. New invention lets you clip a feeder to the brim of your hat … or even anchor it to your mouth. [Improbable Research]

Kid discovers dinosaur skeleton. Paleontologists who overlooked the skeleton await timeout. [ScienceDaily]

Flaunting long legs in an attempt to hitchhike actually works! Emu found wandering around I-75 in Sarasota, Fla., is picked up by animal services. [Tampa Tribune]

Remember how your mother told you money doesn’t grow on trees? Yeah, about that… [ABS Australia]

More than a century after the whistling kettle’s invention, scientists have finally figured how it works. [Gizmodo]

When a man loves a woman … he slows down his walking pace to match hers, study finds. [News.com.au]

Chocolate: It’s the new black. [NPR]

Coming soon to the moon: Netflix, cat videos, and the eternal frustration of waiting for the Internet to load. [NPR]

Check out our new favorite tumblr: That’s Not How You Pipette. [thatsnothowyoupipette]