I didn’t think it was possible for me to love Neil deGrasse Tyson more than I already do, but then the “Cosmos”‘ host went dropped some real talk in a discussion about whether genetics — specifically difference between the sexes — is to blame for there being so few women in STEM fields. “I’ve never been female. But I have been black my whole life,” he begins, before drawing parallels between the ways societal forces have long created barriers based on race and gender that have prevented equal opportunity. This is just perfect. [The Mary Sue]
According to a research team at Simon Fraser University, your brain hits a major peak at 24. Think about that for a moment: your cognitive motor performance is all downhill after your early-20s. Keep reading »
See, girls, science is really fun: vaginas can now be grown in laboratories and implanted in the human crotch.
In a pilot study on regenerative medicine, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina grew vaginal organs for four teenaged girls missing a vagina or uterus, using their own cells. All the girls suffer from a rare condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, in which the vagina is “underdeveloped or absent.” (The only good news about this syndrome? No uterus, no periods!)
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One of the weirder bits of news making headlines this week was that our beloved Red on “Orange Is The New Black” may be a little bit kooky in real life. Why would I say such a thing? Because the actress Kate Mulgrew has narrated a documentary with some pretty kooky beliefs about science: namely, the idea the Earth does not actually revolve around the sun but instead the sun revolves around the Earth. Geocentricism what what?!? In a new documentary called “The Principle” narrated by Mulgrew, she intones, “Everything we think we know about our universe is wrong.”
Considering this is the woman, Amelia reminds me, that played Captain Janeway on “Star Trek: Voyager,” it seemed a little odd that Mulgrew would be so ill-informed. Turns out, Mulgrew is now saying she was misled into doing the narration for the documentary and that she was simply a voice for hire who should have done more research. Um, no kidding? Didn’t Mulgrew realize she was narrating junk science as the junk science narration was spilling out of her mouth? [Raw Story; AV Club]
Kate Mulgrew, inadvertent or not, isn’t the first celeb to spew interesting beliefs about science. There are actually quite a few celebrities who have made comments about science that gave us a double take. Let’s take a walk through a couple celebs who we think should keep their day jobs…
The race to find a silver bullet to solve the “Where are all the girls in science and engineering?” puzzle is fast and furious. And as someone who works to encourage and support women studying in science and engineering fields, I worry our efforts often end up pitting the “pink sparkly girls” against the “digging for worms on a rainy day” ones.
I was one of the girls digging for worms. Rainy days were awesome when I was a kid: I would throw a swimsuit under my play clothes and hit the street. My mom use to talk about her horror of finding me building a mud dam in the street, trying to keep the river of storm water from getting to the sewer system. (Of course, that is also one of my favorite memories from childhood.) For me, science has always had a hold on my brain and heart. From archeology to the space program, I loved it all. Okay, maybe not genetics. Fruit flies were sooooo boring. And with my gift to kill plants, botany was a huge failure for me. But as a biology major, I had to take it all. Keep reading »
Amelia’s dream or nightmare? Researchers say a new species of dinosaur unearthed in the US was a bit like a chicken—a 10-foot tall, 550-pound chicken that could rip your head off. Read more on Newser…
“Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” Neil deGrasse Tyson’s reboot of Carl Sagan’s 1980s’ television documentary series, “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” is, so far, one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring shows I’ve ever watched. (Seriously, watching it I was more excited and moved than this little girl.) Jetting around in Tyson’s “Ship of the Imagination” — “free from the shackles of space and time” — “Cosmos” explores the origins of the universe and life itself, explained in a way that is both comprehensible and absolutely mind-blowing, alongside visuals that stun. As Tyson has said, “The universe is in us … Many people look up at the sky and they feel small. But I feel big. Because my atoms came from those stars.” Click on for just 15 of the most profound quotes from “Cosmos” first two episodes and then actually watch them in full on Hulu. You won’t regret it. Keep reading »
I want to leave the planet. In particular, I’d like to live on Mars.
Is that a strange goal? It’s my job to convince people that it’s not, because if everything goes according to plan, I could be saying goodbye to Earth as soon as 2024. As an astronaut candidate for a manned mission to Mars, I’m prepared to spend the next ten years training for a new reality. Read more on Huffington Post…
The Tyrannosaurus Rex is the most popular dinosaur for good reason: it was huge, ferocious, had comically tiny arms, and ate a lawyer off a toilet (LOL) in “Jurassic Park.” What’s not to love? But what if I told you that paleontologists in Alaska just discovered a new relative of T-Rex that they’ve dubbed “Pygmy T-Rex”? That would instantly be your new favorite dinosaur, right? Nanuqsaurus hoglundi is the (much less catchy) official name for this newly discovered creature, which was half as big as a full-sized T-Rex and roamed the arctic 70 million years ago. As much as I wish Pygmy T-Rex was the size of, say, a chihuahua, Nanuqsaurus was actually a huge, terrifying beast: 25 feet long, with sharp teeth and a taste for meat (no word on if it shares its larger cousin’s craving for lawyers). Still, any fearsome dinosaur with “pygmy” in its name is automatically qualified as “adorable” in my eyes. [Discover]
The 5-second rule has been providing a comforting layer of germ security to anyone who doesn’t mind picking dustbunnies off their peanut butter toast for generations. While the theory has generally been dismissed by mature adults and the lamestream media (sorry, I’ve just always wanted an excuse to type, “lamestream media”), a new study suggests the 5-second rule might actually be backed up by real science. Well, kinda. A group of researchers at Aston University in Birmingham, England conducted a study to see how germs like E.Coli and Staphylococcus transfer from floor surfaces to food. They found that picking your food up right away may help thwart contamination, as “time is a significant factor in the transfer of bacteria from a floor surface to a piece of food.” While the researchers were careful to clarify that it really always depends on what type of bacteria are lurking on the floor at any given time, this is still heartening news for floor toast enthusiasts. No word on whether “dibs!” and “shotgun!” are any closer to becoming legally binding verbal contracts, but hey, anything’s possible. [Neatorama]