Yvonne Brill, 88, died last week in New Jersey. According to her New York Times obituary, which ran on Saturday, her standout accomplishments were the eight years she took off from work to raise her three children, the way she followed her husband from job to job, and her “mean beef stroganoff” recipe.
Oh, yeah, and she was also a pioneering rocket scientist for NASA who invented the jet propulsion system that keeps satellites orbiting properly. In 2011, Brill received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama. You know, no biggie. Keep reading »
Science, always out there doing things like landing car-sized robots on the moon and then making twitter accounts for them, or discovering the particle responsible for matter having mass and then shutting down for “upgrades.” What has it ever done for you, personally these days?
It’s good to see some scientists tackling the important issues, like how to get rid of a song that’s been stuck in your head.
Unsurprisingly, researchers have found that the most effective way to get a song out of your head is to perform a mental task like solving a puzzle. Specifically, they used anagrams and Sudoku. You’ve got to hit something of a sweet spot, though. Read more…
Daisy Morris, a nine-year-old girl from Whitwell, England, has been interested in fossil-hunting since she was just a toddler. Back in 2009, while walking along the beach on the Isle of Wight with her family, Daisy, then just four years-old, noticed a tiny black bone protruding from the sand. “I saw [the bone] poking out of the ground, so I dug it up,” she explains. The family presented Daisy’s find to a fossil expert at Southampton University, who knew instantly it was something special. Keep reading »
Yesterday, doctors announced that they had, for the first time, cured a baby who was born with HIV, an incredible achievement that could lead to more aggressive treatments used on babies born with HIV and a reduction of the number of children living with the virus that causes AIDS. Dr. Deborah Persaud, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and lead author of the report on the baby, said, “It’s proof of principle that we can cure HIV infection if we can replicate this case.’’ Once the doctors’ report has been confirmed, the baby would be only the second documented case of an HIV patient being cured. (The first was a middle-aged man with leukemia named Timothy Brown, who received a bone-marrow transplant from a donor genetically resistant to H.I.V. infection.) Keep reading »
Women, we are difficult, fickle creatures. In our tabloids we body shame famous ladies, and in our magazines we gawk at every slim model body demonstrating the latest fashion trends. But when it comes to advertising? We don’t want skinny models or famous women. A new study from the Warwick Business School found that women are actually turned off by advertising featuring products set alongside models and celebrities.
That’s because, say researchers, skinny minnies and beautiful celebrities make us feel bad about ourselves.
Duh. Keep reading »
God bless British programming for keeping us informed of all the things we need to fear in life. BBC Four’s “The Brain: A Secret History – Broken Brains” features a woman who suffers from a rare disorder known as Alien Hand Syndrome.
After receiving a special operation to control her epilepsy in which the band of nervous fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the brain is cut, Karen Byrne found that her left hand and sometimes her left leg, behaved on it’s own, as if it were possessed. The very brief explanation is that Alien Hand Syndrome is caused by a war going on in her head between the two hemispheres of her brain. Sometimes, Byrne can’t stop slapping herself in the face, to the point of injury, with her possessed hand. Sometimes, her hand does other naughty things. Keep reading »
Look, we don’t want to take all of the magic out of life. After all, can “science” and “mathematics” quantify something as mysterious as the beauty of music, or the evil of the human spirit, or the madness of a panicked mob?
Yeah, pretty much. Get enough data, create the best algorithm, and you can get some nice pretty graphs that tell you. Read more …
How do I get this job?!?! There appears to be a whole field of neuroscience focused on studying why certain animals are cute (aka Cute Studies) and, as NPR helpfully recapped for my pleasure, one of the animals they have explored is baby pandas.
Strap on your squee-belt, because it’s about the get adorable up in here. Keep reading »
I’m a big fan of Slate’s “Explainer” column, which enlists experts to answer those questions that boggle the mind. Oh, how this appeals to my inner science geek. Like when they explained why the rich and famous sunbathe topless. The answer: Because they can. Ha! OK, back to the question that caught my attention: How did humans figure out that sex makes babies? Ooh, good one! An abridged version of the answer after the jump. Keep reading »
Last week, NASA scientists predicted that they would discover Earth’s universal twin within a year. Well, they made good on that promise and way early. Wednesday, the Kepler telescope found KOI, short for Kepler Object Interest, a very promising candidate for Earth twindom. Not the name I would have chosen, but I’m not complaining. We have a twin!
There are some minor differences between Earth and KOI. (It’s more of a fraternal twin than an identical one.) While it has a sun that it orbits, far away enough to be fit for human life, it’s about 50 percent larger than Earth and circles its sun in about 242 days instead of 365. Yikes, that means you would age faster. Keep reading »