August 2011 Archives

On Tennis' 'Hawk-Eye,' Science is a Buzz-Kill

In 2006, tennis fans were awed by a new technology that would help officials judge disputed line calls. The system, called "Hawk-Eye," added an incredible new facet to the sport. Players could now challenge questionable line calls. No more would players be...

It's Not the 'What' That Matters, It's the 'How'

Two days before the release of her seventh Harry Potter novel, J.K. Rowling lashed out at the New York Times and other publications for publishing plot details as part of their book reviews."I am staggered that some American newspapers have decided to publish...

DARPA Brings 'James Bond' Ingenuity to Life

James Bond flicks are a blast to watch. The cheeky one-liners, the eccentric villains, and the explosive action sequences make these movies first-class entertainment. But perhaps one of the coolest aspects of the Bond franchise is the secret agent's regular...

Fear Junkies Get High on Hormones

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions in existence. It is also one of the most analyzed. A quick Google search reveals a bounty of studies on fear. Here's a sampling of what is out there:Scientists have discovered that fear is spread by body language....

Getting Off the Couch...Eventually: The Science of Laziness

It is often with little thought that you might flip on the television and plop yourself down onto the couch. As the time slides by, the welcoming folds of the sofa seem like quicksand as you sink into their comforting caress. Your heart rate slows to a crawl....

Disputes in Science: The Five-Second Rule

A laundry list of contentious issues litters the annals of science. Topics such as evolution, climate change, the beginning of human life, and heliocentrism have all spurred vehement and occasionally violent disputes. Now, it is time to add another issue to...

Sea Otters: Cute Critters, Big Effects

They make us laugh. They make us cry. They make us, "Awwwwwwwww." You can't deny. "Just who are they?"I heard you say.Sea otters, of course. It isn't a lie.This corny limerick aside, sea otters are incredibly fascinating mammals. Oceanic kelp forests are...

We Must Irradiate Food Supply

Dr. Michael Osterholm believes there are three pillars of public health: Pasteurization, immunization, and chlorination. To these, he has suggested adding a fourth: irradiation.Food irradiation uses electromagnetic radiation to kill bacteria in the food. It...

Going to the Doctor Like Visiting the Auto Mechanic?

Another doctor's appointment... Sitting on the examination table, you twiddle your thumbs and wonder if those succulent hospital lollipops might be hidden away in a cupboard. Maybe I'll take a quick glance... Dismissing the thought as childish, you instead...

Failed Hypersonic Plane Flight: Risk is Part of the Game

Six days ago, the Pentagon "lost contact" with its HTV-2 hypersonic plane, nine minutes into its twenty-minute test flight. ("Lost contact" being a euphemistic way of saying that the plane probably exploded into more pieces than are in that jigsaw puzzle you...

Science Versus Religion: A Feud of the Few

Sometimes, it seems like science and religion can never get along; just check the news.To some religious people, the teaching of evolution in schools is a travesty and their quest to purge Darwin from the classroom continues.On the other side, some scientists...

When You're Drunk... Dance!

"I only dance when I'm drunk." Most of us have heard this one before. Heck, you might have even said it yourself.  Whatever social constraints prevent us from bustin' a move when sober, our inebriation is actually doing us favor by kicking those...

With Liberty and Science For All

The preteen years were mischievous times for most of us. We all can probably remember when we did something that... well... we probably shouldn't have done.  I can remember when my friends and I, in violation of school rules, downloaded a certain piece...

The Likeliest Animals to Take Over the World

Humans are undoubtedly the dominant species on planet Earth and have been for an estimated 200,000 years. Not bad. How's that Homo sapiens pride doing? Pretty good. It feels good to be the superior species, doesn't it? You bet it does!Now hear this: dinosaurs...

Recapturing "We Can" With a Manned Misson to Mars

This week, NASA scientists revealed the strongest evidence yet of flowing water on Mars. The ramifications of this information are enormous, given that running water is widely considered to be a key requirement for the development of life. If water is indeed...

Science Says: Do These Things in the Morning

Most people would agree that a sunrise is a beautiful thing to behold, with only one minor drawback: It occurs in the morning.In the morning, most of us are too busy fumbling with alarm clocks or dazedly stumbling around to gaze outside and appreciate the...

Ford's View on Transportation a Refreshing Look Forward

"Ive been involved with the auto industry my entire life... And for most of those years, I've worried about, how am I going to sell more cars and trucks? But today I worry about, what if all we do is sell more cars and trucks? What happens when the number of...

Exercise & Nutrition Better Than Drugs for Many Conditions

Afflicted with an ailment? It may be wiser to seek savior in a squat in lieu of popping a pill.A wide array of studies has shown exercise and nutrition to be better than or on par with prescription drugs for treating or preventing ADHD, depression, high blood...

The End of "Moore's" is Not the End of the World

In 1965, Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel, made a bold prediction that would shape the technology industry for years to come:"The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year... Certainly over the...