Making Monday “Funday” with Science (Reading)!

I’m really enjoying a lot of my recent (or not so recent) science reading; I feel like it’s been a long while since I took the time to really catch up on a lot of it. And some of it is really cute! Or neat! Or both.

First, I have heard of knuckleballs in baseball, but never knew what they were. Now, not only do I know that they’re a slower pitch with no spin put on the ball, but that they can happen in other sports! I also now know that we aren’t sure what the physics behind them is! Over on Science News, they report that it might be due to a phenomenon called drag crisis, but also that previously it had been attributed to the seams on the baseball.… Continue reading →

Science to Start Your Week!

Walking trees. In all serious, trees that can move a couple centimeters a day ON THEIR OWN. That is all.

As a beer geek, I almost exclusively think of barley in terms of what it takes to brew beer. I rarely consider that it is and has been a staple food for a number of people. That, however, is a big part of the impact of finding ways to breed drought-resistant barley. While this is kind of the opposite of what U.S. barley growers needed last year, I am confident it will matter in the long term.

A tealight candle nestled into a jar half-filled with barley, for stability.

Ever heard of zonulin? I hadn’t, until I’d read this NPR “The Salt” piece about it and gluten sensitivity. I also didn’t know that “no human being completely digests gluten” according to gastroenterologist Alessio Fasano (quote from the story).… Continue reading →

Science Links

Retraction Watch, which you will see over on the right as one of the blogs I enjoy, recently retracted their advice for going to editors of scientific literature regarding misconduct. Editors will often first suggest contacting authors, which is a problem. “Contacting authors before anyone else knows about potential issues in their work, only serves to give unethical scientists time to hide their tracks – and let’s face it, those who are actually guilty of misconduct probably don’t have any scruples about covering up the evidence of that misconduct.”

I love the phrase “a bit of a goth parrot,” and it’s fascinating to read about this relatively oddball-looking parrot also being rare in behaviors by using tools. Grinding down seashells, eh? Possibly for the calcium!… Continue reading →

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 Part II – Science and Blather!

My last post was all about some gifts you could get for the beer and/or food geeks in your life. This list is my other passion, science, and then a bunch of other things that have made my life better over the past year in some way or another. Or, like the last post, a few things I might pick up in the future (holidays make it hard to buy for oneself).

In any case, these are usually things that have made me or someone I love happy, with an occasional thing I’m just dying to buy (for me or someone else).


First and foremost, let me reiterate “the single best suggestion/idea I can give you is to go shop for your entire list at your favorite local museum, aquarium, planetarium, or zoo.”… Continue reading →

Your Monday Science Reading!

Sexism in science isn’t new in the slightest. I was strongly reminded of this recently at The Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, where I was at the DevOps Days Silicon Valley conference. The rarity of women in highly-paid positions documented in the museum, for example. Or learning from a new friend that an image they showed, one that’s used often for printing tests, is a scan of a photo from Playboy. Every time sexism in science comes up, it’s a lot to take in. But maybe 2015 is the start of something new? Sarah Zang argues so in WIRED. “[T]aken together, so many and in succession, they suggest something bigger. A conversation about sexism in science broke open this year.” So many sexist battles fought and, for once, won.… Continue reading →