January 2012 Archives

More Anti-Science Blather from 'The Atlantic'

Something really weird is happening at The Atlantic. A couple weeks ago, they published what could charitably be described as a pseudoscientific rant against genetically modified food. The article was so bad, that Scientific American and Slate ran rebuttals...

Benjamin Franklin: Founding Father, Citizen Scientist

Across the country, everyday citizens are engaged in scientific and technological pursuits. They do this in many ways: by inventing in backyards and garages, by taking part in large citizen science projects or by conducting self-experimentation.Defined by...

Will 'Finding Nemo 3D' Kill More Clownfish?

Earlier this month, Pixar announced that their Academy Award-Winning film, Finding Nemo, will soon come to theaters in 3D. Pixar is excited about the film's transition to 3D, saying that the ocean scenes are perfect for the new medium.Hopefully the 3D...

Learn to Love Your Landfill

A mountain of rotting garbage silhouetted on the horizon. Noxious plumes of vile gas stream from its husk and rise like a haze against the setting sun. Plastic bags blow in the wind while flocks of seagulls scavenge amongst the waste.This scene may represent...

Are Americans Addicted to Addiction?

He shambled through the door and slouched into a chair at the dining table. With the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his brow, he placed his elbows on the table, leaned over and began to massage his temples."Ugggghhhhh," my friend groaned. "My head... is...

Mad Climate Science?

Over the past decade, China has built roughly 100 coal-fired power plants every year. Even the US, which has the wealth to voluntarily curb some emissions, is unable to reduce them much, with reduction partially due to economic...

Scientists Have Learned from Cases of Animal Cruelty

"Science is an imaginative adventure of the mind seeking truth in a world of mystery."-Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood, winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1956One of the primary goals of science is the betterment of mankind, and we would all like to...

Green Tech Supporters and Their Trouble with Math

Everybody likes clean energy. Everybody wants to get rid of dirty sources of energy and replace them with cheap, renewable energy from the sun and wind. The problem, though, is that enthusiastic green technology supporters seem to have a bit of trouble with...

How to Beef Up Your Hippocampus

by Katherine J. DickinsonHaving a brawny hippocampus might not get you a whole lot of wolf-whistles or cat-calls on the beach, but it can improve your memory. The good news is that if you're physically fit, you are already on your way to being mentally fit....

Study: Vision Training Improves Batting Average

Over the past two decades, many baseball players have turned to anabolic steroids to enhance their performance. This trend has tarnished the sport and negatively affected players' health. There simply must be a better way for players to improve their baseball...

The Positive Side of Pornography

In the preceding decades, there have been few social issues as contentiously debated as pornography.Opponents provide a plethora of justifiable arguments against pornography. For example, they say that it objectifies women and fosters a market that allows for...

So Many Planets!

Did you ever learn how many planets there were in the universe when you were in school? Chances are that if you are in your twenties or older, you learned that nine planets existed. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were...

The Importance of Good Building Design

Buildings - the places where we live, learn, eat, sleep, and work - greatly effect our lives and how we live them. Consider how much of your time each day is spent inside. 80 percent? 90 percent? Even more? This simple revelation reveals how important a...

Singin' in the Shower: 'What a Glorious Feeling'

You arrive home. It's been a long day; one you'd rather forget. You're beaten, battered, and not exactly smelling like roses.You've been through days like this before, and you know there's only one solution to cleansing the stain of a day like this: a...

The Science Behind Microscopic Food Art

by Katherine J. DickinsonIf you mix science, art and food, you are bound to come up with something interesting (and tasty). But who knew it could also be so stunning?

Artist Caren Alpert has united these disciplines in her series "terra cibbus," a...

More Women in Congress, Less Government Spending?

"The perception that women are scarce leads men to become impulsive, save less, and increase borrowing."That's the finding of a new study out from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. From the study's press release:The researchers...

Amaze Your Friends With Easy-To-Do Science Tricks

Are your normal party gags just not cutting it anymore? Have your friends and family seen that cheeky card trick one (or ten) too many times? Do you need some new material? Well, the Newton Blog has got you covered with some science-centered suggestions that...

Solar Tree Idea Leaves Something to be Desired

News sources the world over are trumpeting the news: a 13 year old boy has discovered a new world-changing way to better harness energy from the sun!Aidan Dwyer with his invention (Wall Street Journal)Aidan Dwyer is obviously very smart and very...

What's Causing the 'Snow Drought'?

It's January, and it's 40 degrees in the Midwest: T-shirt weather.In the Twin Cities, one can look left and look right. But there's no white to be found.Mild temperatures and a lack of snowfall have defined the United States' 'faux' winter thus far. In the...

DNA Analysis Catches Owners Who Don't Scoop Poop

In 1984, Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys stumbled upon a DNA-based method for biological identification. He instantly knew that he had something big on his hands. Two years later, Jeffrey's technique, termed "DNA profiling," was used for the first time in a...

Pen, Paper Can Promote Your Health

During the all too commonplace frantic day, clarity can be hard to come by. There are times when we wrack our brains, grit our teeth, close our eyes, and clench our fists... grasping for a Eureka moment. But, solutions, novel ideas, and comforting thoughts...

How Can We Tell What the Moon Is Made Of?

Is the moon made out of green cheese? What's more, how can we possibly figure out what the moon looks like inside? We have plenty of pretty pictures of the outside of the moon. We also know roughly what the Earth is like inside. It has a central core of metal...

Your Gut Has a Mind of Its Own... Literally

Tummies talk to us. Whether it is from pangs of hunger or a sensation of satiety, our guts like to keep in contact. For the longest time, I considered this "communication" to be no more than intelligible mumbling. But a somewhat recent discovery has got me...

How Peter Jackson Turns Grown Men into Hobbits

In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, cinematic eye candies like gigantic ents, epic battles, and immense landscapes unleashed the story's massive scale and truly brought Middle Earth to life. Most of these spectacular effects were rendered using tools...