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Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.

Credit: Stuart Laycock (via The Telegraph)

Credit: Stuart Laycock (via The Telegraph)

Maps to help navigate a cocktail party: Map of the Only 22 Countries in the World Britain Has Not Invaded (shown); Map of the Number of Researchers per Million Inhabitants Around the World; Map of Where 29,000 Rubber Duckies Made Landfall After Falling off a Cargo Ship in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean. [Twisted Sifter]

Studies find that drivers of BMWs are often rude and inconsiderate. It’s the kind of sweeping generalization that could really hurt BMW drivers’ feelings … you know, if they had feelings. [Yahoo! Autos]

Florida is considering using drones to launch search-and-destroy missions on mosquito breeding grounds. But without the buzz of mosquitoes, what will we have to blame our bad hearing on? wonder Florida residents. [SmartPlanet]

Researchers program a robot to love, but then are somehow shocked when he becomes violently obsessed with a young female intern. [TNF] Update: Or this story is a hoax. [Reality Pod] (Thanks Chemjobber!)

NASA has mapped all known “potentially hazardous asteroids.” Good news: No asteroids seem poised to hit Earth in the next 100 years. Bad news: Asteroids were deemed “hazardous” only if they were greater than 460 feet wide. [Space.com]

Breaking Bad cupcakes: Because cupcakes are addictive but they won’t ruin your life. [Sweet Things]

Cat helps authorities solve murder. It was nearly a purr-fect crime. [National Journal]

Watchdog group finds that apparatuses for restraining pets in automobiles do very little to prevent injury or death. That’s a good finding, watchdog group. Who’s a good watchdog group? Who’s a good watchdog group? [USA Today]

Amusing News Aliquots

Credit: Guardian

Credit: Guardian

No, I’m not feeling you up with my eyes, I’m looking at the ad on your leg! Thighs: the final advertising frontier. [Guardian]

Mad scientists at it again. This time they’ve made—gasp—durian wine. [The Daily Meal]

Invisibility cloaks are finally here (sort of). Put the patch on, and mosquitoes have no idea you’re there. [iO9]

Bummer for nanotech coating enthusiasts – NeverWet turns out to be a dud. [Slate]

Hippos can do a “bellow wave” down a river at 120 mph. Humans can do a stadium wave at about 27 mph. Honeybees take the cake, though–watch them do a spiraling shimmer wave when hornets approach. [NPR]

It’s the Fish & Wildlife Service’s job to protect owls. That’s why it’s recommending that owls be killed. [Nature World News]

Black bear sneaks into the back of a Rocky Mountain bar. Bear’s Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor is … bear-y disappointed [with video!]. [Fox31 Denver]

Man arrested for dropping skunk off in a public restroom. But how else was the animal supposed to get to its job as a bathroom attendant?? [WYMT TV]

Humans hunted WHAT to extinction? CNN newsman makes a hilarious blooper. [YouTube via BoingBoing]

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.

"Loch Ness Imposter" by Ross Zietz

“Loch Ness Imposter” by Ross Zietz

A new theory posits that the Loch Ness Monster is really just Scotland’s Great Glen Fault. But if you ask the Newscripts gang, that claim sounds a little … faulty. Wait! Where are you going? Come back! [Yahoo! News]

Buttercup the amputee duck gets a shiny new, 3-D printed foot (with video). [iO9]

Consumption of toxic cane toads is killing off a large number of Australian dwarf crocodiles. “Eating toads?!” exclaimed the French populace. “That’s disgusting. Everyone knows that frogs are where it’s at.” [Australian Broadcasting Corp.]

Pinch those baby cheeks, squeeze that puppy. You can’t help it, so why try? [Scientific American]

Sharks generate their own electricity, leaving open the possibility for shark cyberattacks. [Physics Central]

Be the envy of well-dressed geeks everywhere with the playable Tetris tie. [Topless Robot]

Or, if you’re going to barbeque this July 4, why not use a pair of narwhal skewers? Want! [Sly Oyster]

Dopamine: love, lust, addiction, and so much more. [Slate]

Butler University’s bulldog mascot trains for upcoming athletic events in a video montage. Attorneys for the movie “Rocky” prep their copyright infringement case. [For The Win]

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Bethany Halford and Jeff Huber.

Credit: Ren Netherland/Barcroft Media/Landov

Credit: Ren Netherland/Barcroft Media/Landov

Dog owners get their pets all dolled up for creative dog-grooming contest. “I really am a good boy for putting up with this,” canine entrants quietly think to themselves. [BBC]

It’s getting hot out there. Perfect time to debunk some myths about ice in cocktails. [Serious Eats]

North American spider dies after it mates for the first time. And no, that’s not the pitch for an animated version of “Fatal Attraction.” [Science News]

Watch how your used glass bottles get recycled into new ones. [NPR]

Scientist estimates the death toll of Superman’s fight scenes in “Man of Steel” because that’s what you want to think about when watching a fun summer blockbuster. [BuzzFeed]

The scoop on ecofriendly diaper chemistry. [Slate]

Manufacturer of human-waste-based fertilizer has received a “nuisance odor violation.” Wait! You can do that?! exclaims those living downwind of the Bonnaroo music festival. [KHOU-TV]

Hey scientists, help the media get it right. Just like Paul did while correcting reports that a “poisonous gas” was produced when some fools threw liquid nitrogen into a swimming pool. [ChemBark]

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.

Credit: The New Institute on Flickr

Credit: The New Institute on Flickr

In an alternate universe, we all live in houses built from Heineken bottles. [Gizmodo]

A quadrotor helicopter deftly navigates a 3-D obstacle course. It’s controller? A human brain (with video). [iO9]

Abbotsford, British Columbia, has an answer for its homeless problem: chicken poop. [Sun News]

Finally, something Justin Bieber’s fans and non-Beliebers can both be excited about—he’s registered for a trip to space. [NBC News]

Just as Justin Bieber feels prepared for space, astronaut Buzz Aldrin feels prepared for rocking out on stage (with video). [iO9]

A patent for thwarting the paparazzi with technology. [Guardian]

Researchers find evidence that fetuses practice crying in the womb, lending credence to all those older siblings who have been wrongfully punished for their younger siblings’ fake tears. [BBC]

Dark “hole” appeared in the sun last week, finally legitimizing the prophecy made by Soundgarden’s “Back Hole Sun” in 1994. [The Atlantic]

Our bridges and highways are crumbling, but the Romans made concrete that’s lasted more than 2,000 years. These folks think they know the secret to the ancients’ success. [UC Berkeley]

South Korean firm starts contest to find the U.K. dog that most deserves to be cloned. The competition brings to light ethica—look, cute puppies!!!! [LiveScience]

Here’s a shocker: eHarmony’s scientific adviser finds that couples who meet online have happier marriages. [iO9]

 

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.

Credit: Disney

Credit: Disney

Forget mouse ears. The best souvenir of your Disney vacation is your face on a 7.5-inch Stormtrooper figurine (or a figurine of yourself locked in carbonite after you have to pay for said vacation). [iO9]

Super geek dad builds 7-foot tall Transformer costumes in his spare time (with video). [Geeks Are Sexy]

The Newscripts gang loves irony. Like the burglary researcher whose work keeps getting plagiarized. [Improbable Research]

Tap … tap tap tap tap … tap tap tap tappp tap … It’s “Call Me Maybe,” why can’t you get that?! My fault?! No, you’re bad at communicating! [iO9]

Secret to hearing other galaxies? Be really, really quiet. Like, turn-off-your-cellphone-and-radio quiet. [NBC News]

Malaria parasites not only make mosquitoes more harmful, but also more hungry for human blood. Great. [BBC]

Kangaroo attacks an Australian politician during his jog, which is scary but also kind of adorable. [ABC News]

Also in Australia: It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a hot-air balloon in the shape of a mammal with several nipples that’s supposed to make us reflect on our place in the world called Skywhale! [The Australian]

What’s the secret to living a long, healthy life? Well, it helps if you’re a woman. [BBC]

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.

Astronaut demonstrates what happens when a wet towel is wrung out in space. His cabinmates remind him of their spaceship’s strict “Clean up after yourself” rule. [Huffington Post]

The Pew Research Center and Smithsonian magazine release an online quiz to evaluate how your knowledge of science and technology compares with others’. Beat your grandfather to the punch, and forward him the link before he sends it to you. [Pew Research Center]

Newest loot for Mexico-to-China smugglers: giant bladders from endangered fish. [Washington Post]

And you thought medical marijuana had a hard time – researchers now looking into ecstasy as a possible treatment for serious stress disorders. [USA Today]

Happy 50th issue, Nature Chemistry. It’s good to know we’re not the only ones who have goofed up and published left-handed DNA. [The Sceptical Chymist]

Turns out the “cinnamon challenge” dare isn’t as innocuous as it sounds. Some attempters have wound up with long-term breathing problems or collapsed lungs. [Time]

Supposed extraterrestrial skeleton turns out to be a mummified human. Hunt for real-life Alf continues. [Metro]

Mars rovers – so immature. [io9]

 

#ChemMovieCarnival: Dramatic Acid-Base Chemistry in Fight Club

This week, friend of the blog See Arr Oh is hosting a blog carnival devoted to chemistry in film. I’m a big fan of the silver screen, so in honor of the #chemmoviecarnival, I’m going to break a couple of rules and talk about one of my favorite films: “Fight Club.”

Living in a world where casual violence has become far too commonplace, I confess that it feels peculiar to be so fond of this film. After all, there are some alarming acts of violence in David Fincher’s adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel about, well, many things, but in particular life in our consumer-driven world.

I first saw this movie when it came out in theaters, back in 1999, and one of my companions commented as we left, “I hate everyone who liked that movie.” For me, however, the film’s violence is just an unusual way to get at a theme that might otherwise come off as cheesy: Appreciate every moment of your precious life.

To that end, there is this chemistry-related cinematic moment, in which one of the film’s central characters (Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt) gives the other (played by Edward Norton) a chemical burn with lye. Be forewarned it’s pretty graphic.

Please, please, please do not do this. It is not cool to give yourself or your friends chemical burns. That said, note the accuracy of the chemistry here: “you can run water over your hand and make it worse, or you can use vinegar to neutralize the burn.” Also, I am always amused at how Durden is so careful to put on gloves and safety glasses, but then rips them off for dramatic effect. It’s certainly not the most positive depiction of chemistry in film, but does drive home the movie’s point.