Category Archives: Science

Intolerant

I am going to be short and to the point regarding a recent Reuters article about the latest findings on Lactose Intolerance:

People who think they must avoid all dairy products may not need to, the researchers said in their report.

“The available evidence suggests that adults and adolescents who have been diagnosed with lactose malabsorption could ingest at least 12 grams of lactose (equivalent to the lactose content found in 1 cup of milk or 1 cup of yogurt) with no or minor symptoms,” the report reads.

I would like to invite the researchers that worked on this report to stay with me for a few days after I have consumed 1 cup of milk to experience the disastrous toll it takes on my life.

Eclipses

I know that it’s stereotypical that wolves (and sometimes dogs) howl at the full moon. But I’ve never heard of anything about dogs and eclipses. I think I need to start taking note, because (in case you didn’t know this) last night was the last Eclipse until 2010 that could be visible in North America.

It was too cloudy to see most of it here, though Miss Possible and I were able to sneak out and see the earth’s shadow for a few minutes during a brief break in the cloud cover. What’s strange, though, is that Bogart was acting ever so bizarre last night. Incessantly barking at us, jumping all over the place, digging much more than normal and he seemed to have endless energy. It was very strange — he was very out of character.

Miss Possible later pointed out that maybe the Eclipse had something to do with it.. and you know what, I think she might be onto something. I wanted to post about it, so that I might (perhaps) remember in 2010 to take notice of Bogart’s behavior the next time this happens. Who knows, maybe I can submit my findings to a Science Journal.

Greenwashing

If you happened to catch this week’s episode of NPR’s , you’ll find this all very familiar.

In their leading piece this week, they investigated companies that have focused their advertising efforts on demonstrating their corporate responsibility to the environment. The British Oil Company, British Petroleum also known as BP, is an example of one such company. For the past five years or so, BP has been running regular television advertisements in an effort to re-brand themselves as “BP, Beyond Petroleum.”

While I’m very familiar with the concept of Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware), I always felt as though there needed to be truth in advertising. Otherwise it would be deemed false-advertising, right?

According to the piece, and I found this to be particularly insightful, there are currently no laws on the books that prohibit companies from making partially-false claims about environmental efforts. False advertising is more geared towards competitive statements implying that your product is better than your advertisers, or statements of fact about what your product can or cannot do — not what the company itself is doing behind closed doors.

According to the trusted source of Wikipedia, BP alone was responsible for 104 oil spills between January 1997 and March 1998. Additionally, due to corrosive piplines in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in August 2006 the company spilled over 1 million litres (~264,000 Gallons) of oil on Alaska’s North Slope.

In July of 2006, BP admitted, after the news was leaked to journalists, that it was facing criminal charges for allowing 270,000 gallons of crude oil to seep across the Alaskan tundra, one of the world’s most sensitive habitats. Environmental advocates pointed to the relative lack of press coverage about the spill as evidence that BP had successfully “greenwashed” its image while continuing environmentally unsound practices.

Now, if this doesn’t get your goat, I don’t know what will. Call me a sucker, Prior to this report, I had always believed that BP was trying to do the right thing. Now, I’m not so sure. The next time I see a BP, Beyond Petroleum, Advertisement. I’ll likely have to throw something.

So Long Mr. Wizard

I remember the days, as a kid, that I would get up early in the morning to watch Mr. Wizard perform his marvelous science tricks on Nickelodeon’s “Mr. Wizard’s World”. I loved his show. I remember watching episodes that I had seen time-and-time again, as if I was expecting his experiments to have a different outcome.

One thing I always wondered, though, was how strange the kids always seemed to be. I wonder where they are today, and if they’re troubled by their brief brush with fame.

It’s funny. I can even recall my father telling me several times about how he used to watch the very same Mr. Wizard perform very similar experiments when he was a kid. Don Herbert stood the test of time. But, as I found out earlier today, Don Herbert (aka. Mr. Wizard) has passed away at the ripe age of 89. I just have to keep telling myself — he’s in a better place.

That being said, I leave with you the YouTube clip of the Show’s opening sequence for a little nostalgia. You can watch the clip after the jump.
Continue reading So Long Mr. Wizard

Hello Pot? This is Kettle.

If you followed the news today about our dear President, you’d likely have noticed his sudden concern for the environment. He came out today insisting that 15 nations need to start to curb their greenhouse gas emissions over the next decare or so in order to help protect the environment.

In the same speech, he came out and said that the United States “takes this issue very seriously,” and that “…The way to meet this challenge of energy and global climate change is through technology, and the United States is in the lead.” This is news to me.

Considering that the rest of the world has been working to reduce carbon emissions since the 1997 Kyoto Agreement. President Bush has stated that he does not support the Kyoto agreement due to the exceptions granted to China (the second-largest producer of carbon emissions). The catch, is that both China and India have ratified the proposal but are not forced to comply in order to encourage the development of their emerging economies.

Today, he comes out and criticizes other country’s efforts in reducing emissions, but what has the United States done? President Bush has skirted the issue every which way, and his statements today are just another way get out of accepting the stricter German-led initiative that will be discussed at next week’s G8 Summit.

These 599 days can’t come quick enough.

Global Warming

If you haven’t yet read it, there’s a great piece in today’s New York Times about Global Warming. The Bush Administration finally admits that there is some truth to the claim. The latest report on Global Warming has shown unequivocal evidence of the presence of global temperatures rising as a direct result of human behavior.

There’s still some holdouts, of course. Take this idiot form Oaklahoma:

Senator James M. Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who has called the idea of dangerous human-driven warming a hoax, issued a news release headed “Corruption of Science” that rejected the report as “a political document.”

And while the majority of people in this country (and the world) believe that this is the case, some are still stuck in their ways. What is the worst that could possibly happen if we react to these Global Warming reports and start reducing CO2 emissions? It’s not like we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place here. It’s a win-win situation if we do it, and a lose-lose if we don’t.

Let’s just hope that it’s not too late. According to the report,

"…There is a more than a 1-in-10 chance of much greater warming, a risk that many experts say is far too high to ignore."

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About time..

I’ve been waiting for this technology to take off, and it’s finally starting to come around. According to a Reuters Story on CNN.com today:

Beaming people in “Star Trek” fashion is still in the realms of science fiction, but physicists in Denmark have teleported information from light to matter bringing quantum communication and computing closer to reality.

Until now scientists have teleported similar objects such as light or single atoms over short distances from one spot to another in a split second.

But Professor Eugene Polzik and his team at the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University in Denmark have made a breakthrough by using both light and matter.

The article goes on to get a little more techy than I’d like.. but basically they transported a “macroscopic atomic object containing thousands of billions of atoms.” It’s not exactly a human being (or even a rat for that matter) but it’s still a work in progress. Now, if they come up with a to help further the development of this technology.. I’d buy 3 new computers to help the project along.

Just think how easy it would make commuting for the holidays.

Hold the ice, please

Leave it to a seventh-grade science project to take all the fun out of going to a fast food restaurant. According to Jasmine Roberts, a seventh grader at Benito Middle School in New Tampa, FL — 70-percent of the time, the ice used in drinks at fast food restaurants contain more bacteria than the fast food restaurant’s toilet water.

Roberts also collected ice from soda fountains inside the five fast food restaurants. She also asked for cups of ice at the same restaurant’s drive thru windows.

She tested the samples at a lab at the Moffitt Cancer Center where she volunteers with a USF professor. Roberts says the results did not surprise her.

Now that’s disgusting.