April 2012 Archives

Does Earwax Type Indicate Breast Cancer Risk?

Throughout history, people have found interesting uses for earwax. Seamstresses used it to keep their thread from fraying and medieval scribes used it to illuminate their manuscripts. Now, scientists are questioning whether a person's earwax type could...

Will Rising Obesity Drive Cultural Change?

Last year, a gradually growing collection of statistics and studies demonstrating weight prejudice in the workplace and in medical settings briefly sparked some penetrating discussions on whether or not legislation should be crafted to protect the obese.These...

Bliss, Brainpower, & Other Obscure Benefits of Exercise

Many of us know that we should probably exercise more than we currently do, but all too often, when push comes to shove, we let the opportunity float on by. "There's always next week," we might say, or, "There's just not enough time," or, "My gut hasn't...

Human Health- IN SPACE

What happens to people who spend time in space? Roughly 530 humans have logged hours outside of the earth's atmosphere and gravity, and research is ongoing to determine the effects this weightless time may have on our physiology. Gathering information on the...

Don't Just Eat Like a Caveman, Live Like One

Diets which call for severely limiting carbohydrate intake don't ever seem to go away, they just roll in and out on the tide of popularity. One such diet that's currently riding high is the "Paleolithic Diet." Currently promoted by such individuals as Dr....

A Skeptic's Glance: Is Sugar Really Toxic?

On April 1st, 60 Minutes shined a spotlight on the dangers of sugar intake, broadcasting a report from Dr. Sanjay Gupta questioning whether or not the ubiquitous sweetener is actually "toxic."If "toxic" is taken in the dictionary sense -- an adjective meaning...

Six Reasons Why Blue Should Be Your Favorite Color

Scientists have noticed that all cultures developed names for colors in a certain order: black, white, red, green, yellow, and blue. Basically this means that the colors later in this list weren't identified with names until the colors at the beginning of the...

When a Dolphin Loves a Woman

Humans, for the most part, love animals. We fawn over viral videos of adorable infants. We flock to zoos by the hundreds of millions each year. We dutifully dote over our pets with more affection and care than we grant ourselves. We look at them face-to-face,...

The Breathtaking World of Plankton

Our oceans contain an unfathomably large menagerie of strange, alien creatures invisible to the naked human eye. Many of these miniscule organisms convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into energy and in the process of doing so, provide much of the oxygen in...

Your Bones Come from Star Dust

When the famous Neil deGrasse Tyson says:"We are not figuratively, but literally made of stardust."What does he mean?Like naturalists producing wildlife documentaries, astronomers have keenly watched millions of stars through their very powerful...

Hilarious Homeopathic Remedies

Last week, I found myself in a local food co-op. After ogling the assortment of delectable produce (ooh kumquats!), I wandered past the store's selection of homeopathic remedies. Curious, I stopped to check it out -- not to buy, of course, just to peruse. In...

Please Stop Using Cancer as a Plot Device

Is it just me or does cancer seem to crop up in every movie lately? I know that I've become hyper-aware of cancer's prevalence since my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer a few years ago, but seriously--it's almost laughable how often I start a perfectly...

Amino Acids, Sugars, Chirality, and Dinosaurs from Space

A new paper from noted American chemist Ronald Breslow was recently accepted by the Journal of the American Chemical Society. It's titled, "Evidence for the Likely Origin of Homochirality in Amino Acids, Sugars, and Nucleosides on Prebiotic Earth," but you...

Human Carrying Capacity: Few Answers, Lots of Questions

Last year, the world population reached 7,000,000,000. At the time, the media and blogosphere briefly erupted in a war of editorials arguing overpopulation, but for most of Earth's citizens, life went on as it did before humans became seven billion strong....

How to Improve your MPG

High gas prices got you down? Would you sell your car and start hitchhiking to work to save money? Would you organize your own 'segwaypool' if you didn't have to pick the kids up on the way home? Here are some practical (and a few not so practical) ways...

College Students Should Ditch Adderall for Chewing Gum

It's the day of Ted's big exam. For the past 48 hours, note cards and study aids have been his fare. A tedium punctured only by the occasional fifteen-minute Facebook perusal and the quick errand to restock on caffeine. As Ted walks into the lecture hall, the...

How Hypnosis Actually Affects Your Brain

Are you sitting comfortably? Yes? Good. Now, I want you to relax... That's it; deeper and deeper. Rest your hands in your lap... Feel your shoulders loosen as your troubles melt away... If you're reading this at work, tune out your noisy co-workers... Now,...

The Fruitless Debate over Tomato Classification

Source: FIR0002/FlagstaffotosDon't worry--I'm not going to drag you though yet another debate about whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. I've had that conversation way too many times, and each time it ends up, well, fruitless.Instead I'll talk about...

A Difficult Choice: Which Light Bulb to Buy?

When you walk into a cafeteria, schoolroom, or grocery store, are your eyes offended by the sickly pale fluorescent light? Does it flash and give you headaches? While traditional bulbs don't suffer as much from these drawbacks, they are much less efficient,...

Gone Fishing...

...ON MARS!I'll let you know if I catch anything when I return to blogging next week.-Ross