Amusing News Aliquots
Sep13

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber. One giant leap for mankind, one giant--er leap for frogkind. [NBCNews] Food firm attempts to make artificial eggs. Chickens everywhere squawk, “You try laying an egg, buddy.” [Daily Mail] Discarded food is responsible for more carbon dioxide emissions than any country, except the U.S. and China. So you better eat that food that just fell out of your mouth in disbelief. [Mother Nature Network] Step 1: Get spider silk. Step 2: Make carbon nanotubes. Step 3: Smash them together to create ultrastrong electronics. [Txchnologist] Study finds that the likelihood of hangovers decreases with age. Finally! The excuse you needed to take your grandmother out clubbing. [Mother Nature Network] Sleep-deprived college students tired of chugging pumpkin spice lattes; one slightly more awake student invents bottle of caffeine to spray on the skin. [NPR] Cool science story alert: It’s got camouflage, squid, and graphene. [Telegraph] Aluminum bubble wrap, titanium foam, and graphene aerogels. Gizmodo rounds up this year’s must-have materials. [Gizmodo] According to new research, bullying is more likely to occur at schools that have anti-bullying programs. Sounds like there are some principals out there that deserve a wedgie....

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This Week on CENtral Science: Mona Lisas, Spider Sex, Stimulant of the Gods, and More
Feb15

This Week on CENtral Science: Mona Lisas, Spider Sex, Stimulant of the Gods, and More

Tweet of the week: Using activated carbon on Ash Wednesday. #appropriate— Nessa Carson (@SuperScienceGrl) February 13, 2013 To the network: Artful Science: The two Mona Lisas debate - Everybody take a breath now. Cleantech Chemistry: There’s Still Hope for Energy & Materials Start-ups Just Another Electron Pusher: Work, Coworkers, and Love Newscripts: Amusing News Aliquots Terra Sigillata: Why Isn’t Caffeine Called “Theoanaleptine”? The Safety Zone: More details emerge on UC Davis explosives case and Friday chemical safety round-up And now in my roundup as of this week-- The Watchglass (Tumblrs are blogs too!!): Science/Art Interface and The Path to Crest toothpaste and Spiders Seeking Sex and Life Aboard...

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Amusing News Aliquots
Mar08

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week's science news. Compiled by Bethany Halford and Lauren Wolf. Why were dinosaurs so angry? Perhaps it was the giant fleas. [NY Times] Spiderwebs overtake town. Newscripts gang going home, locking door, and staying there. [iO9] Amateur astronomy group flashes space station … with a laser. Get your minds out of the gutter. [Air And Space Smithsonian] Same genes activated by exercise are activated by large doses of caffeine. We’d like eight espressos to go, please. [Gizmodo] Got water, salt, dish soap, alcohol, and food coloring? Then you can extract your own DNA. [NOVA on YouTube] Think your favorite watering hole is swapping your Coke for discount cola? Just take a sample to the NMR to find out. [J. Ag. Food Chem.] Thinking of splurging on a $90 bottle of wine? Scientists say you’re probably wasting your money. [NPR]...

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Extra Info For Instant Coffee
Sep25

Extra Info For Instant Coffee

What's That Stuff?s are pretty fun to write—you get to look at an everyday item in your pantry, on the road, or in your hair in a completely different light. I just finished my first What’s That Stuff? article, about the history and production of instant coffee. It is freely available here. It does not, however, include any information about the health benefits of coffee. Although the common idea is that coffee causes dehydration, says Roger Cook, director of the Coffee Science Information Centre, some studies suggest that coffee is an important source of fluid in the diet and that coffee’s caffeine is no more of a diuretic than water is—it increases the frequency of urination, but not the volume of fluid that is expelled over a period of time. Thousands of studies have also been published proposing that coffee provides alertness, delays degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and slows down cognitive decline in the elderly. Many studies use fresh-brewed coffee, but don’t rule out instant coffee in offering such health benefits, Cook says. “The physiological effects of coffee are primarily due to the caffeine content and not to the manufacturing or brewing method,” he adds. In a study looking at sleep-related accidents, researchers compared 30-minute naps, caffeinated coffee, and decaffeinated coffee to see how caffeine affects alertness during nighttime driving (Ann. Internal Med. 2006, 144, 785). The coffee these researchers provided their subjects with was—you guessed it—instant! Nestlé instant coffee packets were used for both the caffeinated (4.25% caffeine) and decaffeinated (0.03% caffeine) coffees. The result? A 30-minute nap at 1 AM or a cup of coffee with 200 mg of caffeine has pretty much the same alertness-boosting effect for nighttime driving, but decaffeinated coffee will leave you swerving in the road. I wondered, however, if the beneficial effects of caffeine cross over to sodas, teas, and other caffeinated wonders. One study looking at Chinese adults suggests this is true for tea (Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2008, 88, 224), but, personally, I think that sodas are almost like cigarettes, which can also contain caffeine. Malic acid, one of the thousands of compounds used in cigarettes, can help boost immunity and metabolism. But in combination with the multitude of other ingredients, the total health benefit is probably outweighed by the negatives. That goes for what you put in your coffee, too—these studies don’t include added cream or...

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