Category Archives: science

Rare gorilla caught on film

In the deep, sticky jungles of Cameroon lives a rare type of gorilla — one which has been hunted nearly to extinction by indigenous peoples and has never been placed on film.

Until recently, when a camera crew spotted the gorillas hanging out high off the ground in its natural habitat:

“These gorillas are extremely wary of humans and are very difficult to photograph or film,” said Roger Fotso, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Cameroon Program. “Eventually, we identified and staked out some of the gorillas’ favorite fig trees, which is where we finally achieved our goal.”

While the video footage of the great apes is comforting to those who thought they may already be extinct, scientists still worry for the future of these beasts. Not because of encroachment on their habitat, but because these gorillas appear to be knuckledraggers in more ways than one. Witness the video:

As you can see, this rare species is in mortal peril thanks to a lack of basic self-awareness and common sense. Some researchers predict the entire species will choke to death on potted meat sandwiches. Others predict they will be electrocuted by peeing on high voltage transformer stations. Either way, the world may soon lose the last of its rarest — and most retarded — primate groups.

Most Elusive Gorilla Caught on Video [LiveScience]

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Friday Random 10: Moons Over Mars Edition

Last month we brought you the sad news that our brave Mars robot — Spirit — was stuck in some deep sand on the surface of Mars with little hope of escape. The poor guy is still trapped there, but was recently able to make even more history by taking this photograph of the twin moons of Phobos and Deimos orbiting the red planet:

As you can see from these images — the first time these moons have ever been photographed from the surface of Mars — Phobos and Deimos are plainly not made of cheese. Rather they are giant floating skulls — the remnants of a once-proud civilization of 5,000 foot tall space aliens. Just kidding. They were faked in a sound stage in Burbank.

The songs:

Brackett, WI — Bon Iver
Dominos — The Big Pink
Twilight Galaxy — Metric
Holidays in the Sun — Sex Pistols
I Won’t Be Found — The Tallest Man on Earth
On A Plain — Nirvana
Omaha — Counting Crows
Hank — Jay Bennett
Lines — Tapes N Tapes
Together — The Raconteurs

Bonus Video:

Out of the Blue — Julian Casablancas (Live at Le Grand Journal)

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

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In Soviet Russia, gum blows YOU into bubble!

A 25-year-old chemistry student from the Ukraine (OK so technically not Russia, but still with the Bond villain accents) died recently after lacing his own chewing gum with an explosive compound. He was working in his room when his parents heard a “loud pop” and rushed in to find him disfigured and near death:

It was reported that the student used to dip chewing gum into citric acid. Police also found another substance near the body.

The news agency said investigators believe the student may have confused the two substances and began chewing on gum that had been treated with the unidentified substance.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times — if you’re going to dip your chewing gum into chemicals before chewing it, you really have to be sure those chemicals aren’t going to blow your jaw clean off of your head. It’s like my advice just goes in one ear and out the other. Which reminds me — you should also refrain from putting explosive chemicals in your ears.

Student killed by exploding chewing gum [Telegraph]

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Tiger gave everyone AIDS

OK, not that one.

Researchers say they may have traced the origins of the AIDS virus to an ancient tiger that lived either thousands or millions of years ago:

It appears the virus took on a bit of a tiger’s genetic material, scientists say, and a remnant of that cat remains in the virus to this day. That tiger, in fact, may have bitten a monkey, setting off an evolution of the virus that ultimately led to its infection of humans.

If true, these findings should do much to exonerate the monkeys we’ve been blaming for AIDS this whole time. When reached for comment, one monkey said “I told you it wasn’t our fault you hairless assholes, now throw some more bananas in this cage before I throw shit at you. By the way, what exactly is a medical testing lab? Do I have to fill out a survey or something? What are you doing with that dentist drill?”

AIDS May Date Back to Ancient Tiger [HeathDay]

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Plastic surgery finally starts making sense

It’s a conundrum I’ve pondered many times, most recently in Volume 3 of my series entitled Musings On Science, The Human Body, And the Failures Contained Therein Which I Have Seen At The Shopping Mall:

Since half of cosmetic surgery is taking stuff out of people, and the other half is putting stuff into people, shouldn’t we just put the stuff we take out of some parts into other parts?

According to the New York Times, the medical community is finally thinking along those same lines:

THE latest kind of recycling has nothing to do with soda bottles. It entails liposuctioning fat from, say, thighs or buttocks and injecting it into breasts to augment them. After being condemned in the early ’90s, this procedure is generating newfound excitement among the handful of doctors nationwide who offer it and patients keen to enlarge their breasts without resorting to implants.

The practice was condemned because doctors worried that injecting fat into peoples’ boobies would hamper mammograms. But since our communist death panel librul mooozlim president says women shouldn’t get those anymore, it’s time to reconsider. Or something:

But this year, the plastic surgery society reversed its former position. A report from its task force reviewed the limited research on fat grafting to the breast and concluded that it “can be considered a safe method of augmentation.” On the issue of mammography, the report said fat grafting “could potentially interfere with breast cancer detection; however no evidence was found that strongly suggests this interference.” Thus, the task force’s statement turned a red stoplight into a yellow one, signaling to plastic surgeons: Proceed with caution.

I know there are a lot of people out there who look down on those who opt for cosmetic procedures, and I think that’s pretty sad. On the other hand, this new “relocation” technique could make it a lot more difficult to tell who has been enhanced and who hasn’t. I think you should be required to disclose whether you’ve had this particular procedure done. That way your office mates can make up funny nicknames for you, like “Ol’ Butt Tits” and “Belly Boobs.” Look, I never said your office mates were funny. Jeez, get a new job already.

Your Own Fat, Relocated [NYT]

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Science is drunk and horny

The conventional wisdom holds that the average scientist is a sweaty, heaving nerd in a lab coat — a sticky, awkward, bearded trekkie with oversized square glasses and a piece of an onion bagel lodged in his hair.

That’s true, but he’s also drunk and horny.

The proof is in the extraordinary lengths science will go to in order to

1) Prove that drinking is good for you

and

2) Check out the sexxy lay-dayys

Witness:

A team of Spanish researchers studied the habits of more than 15,000 men and 26,000 women and discovered that boozing — and I mean really BOOZING — is good for your heart. If you’re a man, that is. YAY MEN!

The researchers, led by the Basque Public Health Department, placed the participants into six categories – from never having drunk to drinking more than 90g of alcohol each day. This would be the equivalent of consuming about eight bottles of wine a week, or 28 pints of lager.

For those drinking little – less than a shot of vodka a day for instance – the risk was reduced by 35%. And for those who drank anything from three shots to more than 11 shots each day, the risk worked out an average of 50% less.

WHOOHOOO PASS ME THE FOWTY OWNZE!!

But not before we prove — with the science — that ladies are hotter when they’re not all bundled in mom jeans and bulky flannel shirts (damn you 1990s!!). Let’s go to England, where science took a big ass notebook into some nightclubs and just sat there, staring:

Using tape recorders hidden in their handbags, the researchers took note of what female clubbers were wearing and how many times they were approached by men asking them to dance.

For the purposes of the study, each arm accounted for 10 per cent of the body, each leg for 15 per cent and the torso for 50 per cent.

Women who revealed around 40 per cent of their skin attracted twice as many men as those who covered up.

The researchers did find, however, that exposing more than 40% reduced women’s chances of being mobbed by sweaty douchebags in nightclubs. The lesson — as always — is that science is staring at your ass. And drinking.

Alcohol ‘protects men’s hearts’ [BBC]
Women ‘should bare 40 per cent of their bodies to attract men’ [Telegraph]

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Friday Random 10: Fading Spirits Edition

mars_spirit

Sad news from Mars this week as NASA officials are openly questioning the future of the Spirit rover, which has been cruising the surface of the red planet for six years. It’s not out of batteries or anything. It’s just kind of, well, stuck:

In April, Spirit’s wheels broke through a hard crust on the Martian surface and encountered loosely packed fine sand beneath. Initial attempts to drive the rover out ended up with it instead sinking deeper into the trap.

Engineers set up a sand box at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and positioned a sister rover inside to try to figure out a way for Spirit to free itself.

“We’ve pretty much exhausted all the possibilities, all the things that we can do on the ground,” rover project manager John Callas told Discovery News.

With the cold Martian winter on its way, the Spirit could be in danger of dying if it can’t get out of the soft sand and toward the sun — where its solar panels could collect enough energy to keep it alive during the winter. I think I speak for all robot enthusiasts when I say “Beeeep boop, brave Spirit. Beep boop beeeeeep.”

The songs:

Save us S.O.S. — Hot Hot Heat
My Little Corner of the World — Yo La Tengo
Naked as a Window — Josh Ritter
Everybody Knows that You Are Insane — Queens of the Stone Age
Hold Time — M. Ward
Bright Lights — Pete and the Pirates
Dominos — The Big Pink
How To Fight Loneliness — Wilco
Your Southern Can is Mine — The White Stripes
Let’s Not Shit Ourselves — Bright Eyes

Bonus video:

Brooklyn Zoo — Ol’ Dirty Bastard (Kind of a requiem on the 5-year anniversary of his death)

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

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