Amusing News Aliquots
Jun05

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings of this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber. Chobani claims scientists have nothing to do with their 100-calorie yogurt. That’s a relief since science is, after all, “an adulterant known to dramatically inflate calorie count.” [Popular Science] “Finally, scientific research on kissing!” nerds everywhere cheer. Some result tidbits: Men who kiss their wives before work live 5 years longer, make 20-30% more money and are far less likely to get in a car accident. [Time] Have you ever thought your coworker was behaving like an ape? Then you’ll sympathize with the Spanish zookeeper who mistook a costumed coworker for a gorilla and shot him with a tranquilizer dart. [ShortList] More primate news! Caltech scientists have observed that chimpanzees outperform humans in hide-and-seek. It’s the kind of news that would make humans hide in shame, if they weren’t already so bad at hiding. [ScienceDaily] Evolution not shocked that it still faces an uphill battle. Population that believes God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years: 42% of Americans, 22% of Canadians/Brits, 8% of Norwegians. [Gallup via io9] Beer actually grows on trees in India. College students, start booking your spring-break flights now. [International Business News] A sea snail’s tongue looks like a conveyer belt studded with rows and rows of pointy teeth (and other nifty science close-ups). [Humans Invent] Lemurs love pink flamingos. We hear they’re less keen on Polyester and Hairspray though. [io9]...

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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
May22

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber. A zoo in the Philippines has begun offering its patrons a snake massage, in which four pythons crawl over the bodies of their massage subjects. In related news, a zoo in the Philippines has begun feeding its pythons humans with bad backs. [Metro] Shortly after being born, a baby moose in Ontario made a trip to Tim Hortons.  It’s proof that nature’s food chain really does work. [Sun News] More Canadian animal news! A momma black bear in British Columbia was recently videotaped pulling one of her cubs away from a busy highway. [Toronto Sun] Researchers set up an exercise wheel for wild mice, and it becomes a popular local hangout for the critters. Wow, even mice are trying to get to the gym. [Guardian] Why don’t octopus arms get stuck together? Chemistry, of course. [Seriously, Science?] Stanford researcher makes origami microscope—and you thought all those origami cranes were impressive. [Humans Invent] There’s been a long-time fear of the government tapping our phones, but nah, we don’t mind the recording technology that comes with a “Like” button, a “Feeling Happy” status option, and ridiculously good-looking tagged photos of ourselves. [Valley Wag] In other social media news, perhaps you and your friends’ photos are in NASA’s #GlobalSelfie. [Time] Yelp can help you find a place to have dinner – and can also help epidemiologists track unreported cases of food poisoning. Perhaps individual users should also search for “sick,” “vomit,” “diarrhea,” and “food poisoning” when picking a date spot.  [Washington...

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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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Amusing News Aliquots
May01

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber. Praying mantises fitted with world’s tiniest 3D glasses. In other news, praying mantises swarm local movie theater hoping to see “Avatar.” [Pop Sci] Attention male researchers: Step away from the mice. Apparently men’s pheromones make mice stressed and more timid, whereas female researchers have no such effect. Time to revisit those experiments. Yes, all of them. [iO9] Taco Bell reveals the ingredients in its “Special Recipe” (which accounts for 12% of the fast food joint’s beef – the other 88% of their beef is beef). Turns out that “Special Recipe” is neither pixie dust nor crystal meth, it’s just a bunch of chemical additives. [Taco Bell] Owners of a Pennsylvania hair salon were surprised this week when a bear cub walked up to their store. Even more surprising, the cub asked for “the Rachel.” [ABC27] Calls to the Scottsdale, Ariz., fire department about meddlesome snakes are on the rise. Also on the rise? The number of annoyed Scottsdale, Ariz., firefighters. [AZFamily.com] Can’t tell whether that Italian soccer player is faking anguish to get the call? Turns out, we’re all pretty bad at discerning between real and feigned emotion. But computers are much better. [New York Times] Speaking of faces, a study shows men’s preference for women with more feminine features depends on the health index of their home country. Harsher conditions might make those buff, manly ladies seem more attractive … [Science] A Los Angeles-based comedy troupe has begun serving hamsters tiny burritos while they sit at dinner tables. It’s proof that no waitstaff job is too degrading when you’re trying to make it in Hollywood. [YouTube] Fox News: They report; you decide. In this case you get to decide which of five wacky ways to open a corked bottle of wine. [Fox News] Not for the faint of heart. The link says it all. [Has the Whale Exploded...

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Flame Challenge’s Competitive Field Narrows

Yesterday, the Flame Challenge announced via Twitter their finalists for this year’s contest to answer the question “What is color?” And science enthusiasts everywhere are tickled pink. The Flame Challenge is an annual competition sponsored by Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. As the center’s name suggests, the purpose of the Flame Challenge is to improve science literacy by asking scientists to explain seemingly simple phenomena in a way that an 11-year-old can understand. The competition’s inaugural year in 2012 sought to answer the question “What is a flame?” Last year’s competition focused on “What is time?” Entries seeking to explain this year’s question of “What is color?” (a topic C&EN recently explored) have been whittled down to three written and three video explanations. To crown an ultimate champion in each of these categories, a collection of preselected children’s science classes will vote on which entries they like best, with the final winners announced on June 1. Until then, be sure to check out the video finalists, which are all posted below. And also check out the Flame Challenge website today at noon EST to watch Alan Alda discuss this year’s final entries with students from 10 different classes from around the...

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