Boing Boing 

Watch these plants explode

Violets, touch me nots, and squirting cucumbers employ an impressive ballistic seed dispersal mechanism. (Smithsonian)

vb2EA2

Boy, 15, discovered a planet

screenshot

Scientists have confirmed that Tom Wagg, now 17, discovered a new planet in a solar system 1000 light years away.

Read the rest

How to cook turmeric chicken, rice, and peas. In space.

Amazing astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti shows us how she cooks one of her favorite meals aboard the International Space Station, whole red rice with peas and turmeric chicken. From the European Space Agency:

Food is an important item in space, also on the psychological side; that's why astronauts are allowed a certain quantity of the so-called "bonus food" of their choice that reminds them of their home cooking tastes. We asked Samantha to show us how she manages to cook one of her bonus food recipes in microgravity.

(via The Kid Should See This)

astrosamantha-food-preparation-ISS

Chimpanzees enjoy getting drunk on wine

Chimpanzees in Guinea, West Africa drink naturally fermented palm wine from raffia palm trees, sometimes enough to exhibit "visible signs of inebriation," according to a new scientific study. From BBC News:

_83493147_83493140

The chimps used drinking tools called leaf sponges - handfuls of leaves that they chew and crush into absorbent sponges, dip into the liquid and suck out the contents.

To work out the extent of the animals' indulging, the scientists measured the alcohol content of the wine in the containers and filmed the chimps' "drinking sessions".

The research team, led by Dr Kimberley Hockings from Oxford Brookes University and the Centre for Research in Anthropology in Portugal, worked out that the sap was about 3% alcohol by volume.

"Some individuals were estimated to have consumed about 85ml of alcohol," she said, "the equivalent to 8.5 UK units [approximately equal to a bottle of wine]".

"[They] displayed behavioural signs of inebriation, including falling asleep shortly after drinking.

"Chimpanzees found to drink alcoholic plant sap in wild" (BBC News)

Tools to tipple: ethanol ingestion by wild chimpanzees using leaf-sponges (Royal Society Open Science)

Solar-powered spinning Mars globe

It's 4.5" in diameter and spins slowly so long as there's light for the solar cells: $140 on Thinkgeek.

On sexism in science

timhunt

Julie Beck reports on the resignation of Tim Hunt, the Nobel-winning biochemist whose sexist conference remarks sparked an international outcry.

It would be easy to think these people are outliers.

In so thinking, “we miss the bigger problem and tend to want to scapegoat,” says Heather Metcalf, the director of research and analysis for the Association for Women in Science. Instances like this are part of a bigger systemic problem—“really entrenched biases against women in the sciences that have shifted over time but are still very present,” she says.

In other words, it would be a mistake to listen to the foghorn of Hunt’s comments and ignore the boat it’s signaling.

The scientist who studied whether dreamers could be telepathic

In my friend Ronni Thomas's latest short documentary, meet parapsychologist Dr. Stanley Krippner, who in the 1960s ran the sleep lab at Brooklyn's Maimonides Hospital where he tested whether sleeping subjects could experience a form of dream telepathy.

screenshot

Krippner is loved by paranormal researchers, believers, and skeptics alike. He's been honored with lifetime achievement awards from the mainstream American Psychological Association yet ESP researcher Charles Tart says "Stan belongs on the Mount Rushmore of parapsychology. Krippner famously conducted experiments with Timothy Leary and the Grateful Dead. In fact, in 1971, he enlisted the help of the Dead's audience in trying to mentally transmit an image to a sleeping psychic 45 miles away. Irvin Child, the late former chair of Yale's psychology department, wrote in the American Psychologist journal that he believed "many psychologists would, like myself, consider the ESP hypothesis to merit serious consideration and continued research if they read the Maimonides reports for themselves." Krippner's career is mind-bendingly weird and amazing.

"Transmitting Thought: The Maimonides Dream Lab: A New Film by Ronni Thomas for Morbid Anatomy Museum Presents!"

Sexist scientist "apologizes" for conference remarks, says he was being "honest"

hunt

After mocking female scientists ("girls") as too emotional and suggesting they be segregated in the lab, Nobel-winning biochemist Tim Hunt is now "sorry"—but insists that he "just meant to be honest".

British Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt has apologised for suggesting "girls" should stay out of the laboratory because they distract men.

Discussing women in science, he told a conference in South Korea: "Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”

He told Today: "I did mean the part about having trouble with girls, I mean it is true that I have fallen in love with people in the lab and that people in the lab have fallen in love with me."

"It's very disruptive to science."

"I'm really really sorry that I caused any offence, that's awful. I just meant to be honest, actually."

The Royal Society, of which he is a Fellow, repudiated his remarks, which became more widely known after attendee Connie St. Louis and others publicized them on Twitter.

timhunt

"Nobody was laughing, everybody was stony-faced," she told the BBC News Channel.

"The Korean female scientists who hosted us looked aghast and he just ploughed on for about five to seven minutes.

"It was just really shocking. It was culturally insensitive and it was very sexist. I just thought, 'Where in the world do you think you are that you can be making these kind of comments in 2015?'"

An embarrassing and revealing end to an illustrious career.

Monkey head transplants coming soon in China?

head-transplants

Surgeon Xiaoping Ren at China's Harbin Medical University are planing to transplant the heads of long-tailed macaque monkeys. They've apparently tried it on hundreds of mice with at least some of the animals surviving for a few hours.

Read the rest

Why people don't like the word "moist"

When I was younger, I had a friend who frequently expressed her hatred for the word "moist." It wasn't until the Internet that I understood this to be a commonly-despised word.

Read the rest

Flexible circuit injected into living animals' brains

lieber_pressfigure2.jpg__800x600_q85_crop

This is a flexible mesh circuitry that Harvard nanotechnologists have injected via syringe into the heads of live mice to test a new way of monitoring brain signals from the inside.

Read the rest

Why we can't remember ubiquitous logos, even Apple's

F1506B_CASTEL_NOTQUITE

UCLA psychology professor Alan Castel ran an experiment where more than 100 students drew the Apple logo from memory, and the results were surprisingly terrible. Why?

Read the rest

Mapping the disciplined ranks of anti-vax Twitter


Anti-vax Twitter consists of several thousand vaccine denialists whose present project is stopping California's mandatory vaccine bill, through campaigns of lockstep tweeting to lawmakers, workplace and home-based harassment of dissenters, and coordinated SEO campaigns that muddy the waters for concerned parents who try to research the subject.

Read the rest

Good news for high-frequency masturbators


"After controlling for potential confounders, higher monthly ejaculation frequency was associated with a statistically significant decreased risk of total prostate cancer compared to the reference group at every time period."

Read the rest

Man plays Beatles song "Yesterday" on guitar while undergoing surgery for brain cancer

Translated roughly from Portuguese report in Diario do Sul: Neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Ghizoni last week performed surgery to extract a brain tumor extract in which the patient was kept awake.

Read the rest

It's pretty darned easy to pull off a nutritional "science" hoax

John Bohannon teamed up with a German documentary crew to undertake a crappy junk-science study on the effects of bitter chocolate on weight loss, and managed to push their hoax to major media outlets all over the world -- here's how.

Read the rest