Prescription for an Aggressive Man: Look at More Meat

Even the sight of the reddest, rawest steak won't get your blood boiling. Surprising new research has found that staring at pictures of meat actually makes people less aggressive. The insight comes from McGill University undergraduate Frank Kachanoff. He wondered if the sight of food would incite men's defensive desires, much like a dog aggressively protecting its food bowl, he explained in a press release: “I was inspired by research on priming and aggression, that has shown that just looking

How the cat that got the cream then drank it

Cats have been our companions for almost 10,000 years. They have been worshipped by Egyptians, killed (or not) by physicists, and captioned by geeks. And in all that time, no one has quite appreciated how impressively they drink. Using high-speed videos, Pedro Reis and Roman Stocker from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has shown that lapping cats are masters of physics. Every flick of their tongues finely balances a pair of forces, at high speed, to draw a column of water into their

Stem Cell Injections Give Mice Mighty Muscles

Injecting stem cells into injured mouse muscle not only helped the muscle heal, but gave the mice enhanced muscle mass for years to come. The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, used skeletal muscle stem cells from young donor mice and injected them into injured muscles of mature mice. Researchers figured that the stem cells would be able to create new muscle cells in the recipient mouse, but the question was: could these new cells be incorporated into the existing muscle on an

Making Contact

This piece of advice from Rex at Savage Minds pretty much holds true for all of life: There is just nothing like meeting someone in person to assess, in flash, whether or not they are actually The Shit. But he's speaking specifically about how to navigate the whirlwind of conferences. And he's spot on, which is why you see so many people lounging in lobbies at conferences, even during panel sessions.

NASA Woes: Hubble's Replacement Behind Schedule; Shuttle Cracks Found

Hubble's successor will be late, and over-budget. So concluded a NASA panel this week that investigate the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's next big thing, intended to survey the skies in infrared light with its 18-segment mirror. The word all along has been that James Webb would launch in 2014 at a cost of $5 billion, but the independent review (pdf) concluded that the earliest possible launch would be September 2015, and at a cost of more like $6.5 billion. The report raised fear that other

Bad Astronomy audio book now available

My first book, Bad Astronomy, came out in 2002. It's enjoyed a few printings since then, and still sells nicely. I get a lot of requests for an audio version, and I'm happy to announce that has made one! It's narrated by Kevin Scullin, a nice guy who contacted me a while back about it. We had some interesting email exchanges, mostly involving pronunciations. That's something that hadn't occurred to me! When you write a book, mispronouncing a word in your head is no big deal, but I i

Your Next Sponge Bath May Come From a Robot Named Cody

A team at Georgia Tech is looking to replace your sponge bath nurse with this sexy beast to the right. No, not the girl. The sponge bath robot next to her, named Cody. He's the one that wants to wipe you down with his delicate towel hands. The robot was developed by researcher Charles Kemp's team at the Healthcare Robotics Lab, and was described in a presentation and accompanying paper (pdf) at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. The robot uses cameras and lasers to


Over at The Star: U.S. Representative John Shimkus, possible future chairman of the Congressional committee that deals with energy and its attendant environmental concerns, believes that climate change should not concern us since God has already promised not to destroy the Earth. -- Shimkus already serves on the committee. During a hearing in 2009, he dismissed the dangers of climate change and the warnings of the scientific community by quoting the Bible. First, he noted God’s post-Flood

Ancient Rocks Show Oxygen Was Abundant Long Before Complex Life Arose

A huge spike in the Earth's atmospheric oxygen about 800 million years ago, the story goes, paved the way for the Cambrian explosion a couple hundred million years later, and with it the rise of complex life. But a new study out in Nature says that picture is incomplete. Researchers found evidence of substantial oxygen 1.2 billion years ago, meaning that the conditions needed for complex life appeared much earlier than scientists knew, and that perhaps something else was required to set off the

More bad news about the Congressional Energy Committee

Remember yesterday when I pointed out the Republican Congressman Joe Barton who wants to be head of the Energy and Commerce Committee? Well, there are other Republicans vying for it. One of them is John Shimkus from Illinois. You need to understand that this Committee has a lot of overlap with the issue of global warming, as oil, gas, and coal are major contributors to the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere. Having said that, gird your loins to hear what Representative Shimkus had to say last yea

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