"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Monkey Misogyny 

There's all kinds of real science out there happening, but I'm too distracted right now to write about it. So what catches my interest enough to blog, you ask? Monkey sex, of course!

Kenyan farmers (who are generally women) are complaining that monkeys, who've always been crop-stealers, are now sexually harassing them. Like, full-on crotch grabbing, breast oggling harassment. So I guess straight men can blame phylogeny more effectively now. Wow.

Speaking of uncomfortable sexual topics, a survey found that many old folks are still getting busy. While I suppose that this is academically very interesting, I would really not like to have been involved in actually collecting the data. At all.

On the upside, and having less to do with sex, coffee is even better for you than I thought: women who drink a few cups a day have a slower cognitive decline with age. Awesome!

And finally, mahjong appears to be causing epilepsy. WHAT????

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Starting in Space, Ending in Gas 

Cardiff researchers claim that they've found strong evidence to support the panspermia theory of life's origins on Earth. They say that comets contain all kinds of hydrocarbons and organic compounds necessary to life, and also lots of radiation and clay particles to catalyze reactions and keep everything 'warm' enough to survive. I'm inclined to buy into panspermia, as it makes the probability math of life's beginning on earth just that much less terrifying. But who knows?

Having come in to this life, one way or another, all organisms (especially humans) are rather keen on staying alive longer. One way to do that, according to Japanese researchers, may be to drink more coffee. They found that women who drank three or more cups a day had half the risk of developing colon cancer as did non-drinkers. They did not find an effect in men, but I'm still calling it one more excuse for me!

And for those with joint problems, help may be on the horizon. Canadian researchers claim that injections with hyaluronic acid speed and improve sprained ankle recoveries. The stuff is also supposed to slow aging and make life better in general, and until it's approved in medicinal form, you can get it by eating huge quantities of sweet potatoes.

Life has to end, so it may as well go up in smoke, right? A biotech startup in the US claims that they've convinced bacteria to produce hydrocarbons which could be used to make gasoline. The upside? No more oil crisis. The down side? Unending smog, global warming, and, yeah, gasoline-producing bacteria.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Space Case 

Obvious lesson #2568987986: It's harder to blog when you have a job that's ... engaging.

This little piece from Slate explains the science around a no-spacesuit spacewalk. Assuming it's accurate (it mostly seems plausible to me, though I'd have thought air embolisms would happen almost instantaneously), that's pretty darn cool. Not something I ever want to attempt, but cool that now I know I maybe could if I had to.

Also, you might want to consider a booster for your Hepatitis B vaccine.

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