Yvonne Carts-Powell

Archive for the ‘hilarious’ Category

Students show Wallace and Gromit ‘Wrong Trousers’ are scientifically possible for a short period of time

In hilarious, Science on August 19, 2014 at 7:55 am

In a classic example of physicists at play, students published a paper on the feasibility of the Wrong Trousers from a Wallace & Gromit film of the same name. Turns out that the vacuum generation to hold Wallace to the ceiling? Not so difficult to create.

See the press release: Students show Wallace and Gromit 'Wrong Trousers' are scientifically possible for a short period of time.

Or read the PDF of the journal paper: “It’s the wrong trousers Gromit!” Part 1


12 delightful resources for word nerds everywhere

In hilarious, writing on August 5, 2014 at 7:52 am

Words are the tools of my trade (okay, numbers, too, sometimes), and they’re a lot of fun to play with. Bonnie Swoger put together 12 delightful resources for word nerds everywhere.

Holograms on your candy

In beautiful, hilarious, technology on July 22, 2014 at 7:55 am

I knew it was just a matter of time before the edible holograms story re-appeared in the media! New Scientist reports that Chocolate gets a rainbowy holographic makeover.

About Noise

In hilarious, Science, technology on July 15, 2014 at 7:50 am

Statue wearing headphones

Photo by Noboru, from Morguefile.

I didn’t think noise was all that interesting, but Jonathon Keats at Discover Magazine piqued my interest with 20 Things You Didn't Know About… Noise.

Extreme hygiene: Cleaning a hippo’s mighty molars

In hilarious, technology on June 17, 2014 at 7:08 am

I once wrote an article about whales with toothaches at SeaWorld. The keepers used an IR camera to check for hotspots in the whales’ gums (which could indicate infected areas before they become apparent to the naked eye). The sooner a grumpy whale’s source of pain can be diagnosed, the sooner it can be addressed. In this photo from New Scientist, another big mammal is getting some dental care:
Extreme hygiene: Cleaning a hippo's mighty molars.

Special post: Which bacteria are in my poop?

In hilarious, Science on May 22, 2014 at 7:19 am

Oh wonderful! A biologist who is even more interested in the microbes in poop than I am — and who ran an interesting experiment on two testing services, which (among other interesting results) shows that perhaps all pieces of a single “log” of poop are not bacterially equal, a term that author Tami Lieberman, PhD, terms “spatial heterogeneity”. It’s a good read! Which bacteria are in my poop? It depends where you look… | Oscillator, Scientific American Blog Network.

Play with your food!

In beautiful, hilarious, technology on April 15, 2014 at 7:16 am


Two of my favorite things! Cooking and 3D printers! NPR’s “The Salt” discusses the confluence of the two. Spinach Dinosaurs To Sugar Diamonds: 3-D Printers Hit The Kitchen.

By the way, years ago I was promised that I’d soon be offered breakfast cereal encrusted with sugar holograms… I suspect the plan was brought low by either a price point or a humidity calculation. So sad, I was looking forward to the view of a cheery breakfast bowl of diffraction gratings, if not the super-sweetness that would be involved.

Whimsy in your Cocktail

In beautiful, hilarious, technology on April 1, 2014 at 7:50 am

Ridiculous and whimsical, but real:

Chefs and Scientists Design Bioinspired Cocktail Gadgets – Scientific American.

An in honor of April Fool’s Day, The American Chemical Society has a released a short video with a lot of element jokes. A *lot* of element jokes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5RZRkhk0OM

Beatrice the Biologist: Forgotten Diseases

In hilarious, Science on December 31, 2013 at 7:21 am
Mumps virus. Detail from Beatrice the Biologist's "Forgotten Diseases" artwork.

Mumps virus. Detail from Beatrice the Biologist’s “Forgotten Diseases” artwork.

My new favorite science blogger online is Beatrice the Biologist, a cartooning biologist (or biologist cartoonist?). Here’s her take on mumps, measles, and rubella (and why vaccinating is a really good idea): Forgotten Diseases.

I had a close encounter with measles recently. I was freaked out to discover that the rate of infection is 90%, which is insanely high. In other words, if 10 people (who are not immune) breath the same air as someone with measles (because it spreads through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing), then 9 of them will likely catch the disease. And 2 of those people will likely also come down with pneumonia. If, god forbid, any of those people are pregnant, then their chances of miscarrying go way up. And, although the chances are lower than 1 in 10, you can also get encephalitis (brain swelling that can cause brain damage) or die because of the disease. Worldwide, 164,000 people die from measles every year.

The easiest and safest way to get immunity? Get vaccinated, if you are not already. That would be a really good 2014 New Year’s Resolution (and much easier to keep than, say, losing weight).

A dump (excuse the expression) of poo stories

In hilarious, Science on December 17, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Solid manure being field applied with side slinging spreader. (From EPA page on beef production)

While an Australian scientist is urging his company to use “biosolids” (ie, human poo) to fertilize crops (Using poo to combat climate change ), in the US organic farmers are spitting mad over a proposed FDA regulation that would require waiting nine months after spreading manure (animal poo) on a field and harvesting food from that field. (Organic farmers bash FDA restrictions on manure use) That effectively takes a field out of commission for a year. At the moment, farmers wait four months between spreading uncomposted poo and harvesting food.

Why do I not have a poo tag?

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