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    Christmas Science 2.0
    By Hank Campbell | December 24th 2010 10:37 AM | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0® and co-author of "Science Left Behind".

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone...

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    What do you get when you cross Science 2.0, the cultural buzzterm that really took off in 2010 (and brought with it a whole host of colloquial meanings veering into 'web 2.0-ish, it means whatever you want it to mean' jargon) with a western world Christmas season?

    You get an excuse to do a compilation of science articles, that's what.

    So once again this year I have compiled topical articles from this year and seasons past.

    First, you need to think about gifts because, as we learned in that important holiday work "A Johnny Bravo Christmas", Christmas is about free stuff.    If you're stumped about what to get the little scientist in your life, try stuffed versions of cuddly killers like flesh-eating bacteria, ebola, gonorrhea and bubonic plague.



    If you're less on the Christianity side and more on the...well, some other side, you'll be disappointed to know that this UFO Religion Was Forced To Its Cancel Mega-Orgy.

    Snow is not just the framework for the holiday season, it's a chance to teach some chemistry.    

    Some Christmas advice you won't be using again this year.  From Esquire magazine, 1949:
    A word to the wives is sufficient. And the word is NO. When you have serious shopping to do, leave the pretty things at home. They can call in a few harpies from the neighborhood, set up a Kaffee-klatsch, tear a few reputations to ribbons, and be as happy as birds.
    If only they were serious, that would still be America's most influential magazine.

    Before I forget, and you get busy watching "A Christmas Story" for the eighth time, please remember that Non-Flying Reindeer Deserve A Science Article Too - give them a little magic.


    "The last kid who asked if I was Blitzen got kicked."  Credit:Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska

    Whose Christmas Story?

    It wouldn't be science if no one didn't try to optimize their Christmas tree.    In ordinary circumstances, we would only use a double negative but this holiday you get a triple negative.  That's giving, folks.

    Gifts make people happier but more gifts do not make people more happier, including your kids.   The Happiness-Income paradox applies at Christmas also so teach your kids reasonable expectations and they will be just as pleased.

    6 Medical Myths Debunked For Christmas

    Save Your Money - Flame Retardants On Fresh Cut Christmas Trees Don't Help

    In Time For Christmas, A Celestial Ornament



    Christmas is about a birth but there's a star that lets everyone know where it happens.   So first go take a look at  this astronomer's explanation for the Star Of Bethlehem - planetary conjunction or Christmas miracle? Yes.  Bonus: it's sure to enrage all the left wing atheists you know.

    If you're not the religious type and have no atheist friends to wind up with Christmas stars, Christmas can just be about getting good stuff.  That's okay too, but use some caution.   One in Three Women Would End a Relationship Over an 'Inadequate' Christmas Gift and the last thing you want on Christmas is to be stuck with no girlfriend and an extra bowling ball you thought she would love.    

    However, great presents and the right outfit can take you a long way at Christmas, since 20% of women harbor a Santa fantasy.  I am wearing a Santa hat right now, just in case.  


    Hats can't save you from the laws of physics, unless they happen to be in rhyming verse.  Then anything is possible.    Take this snippet, for example:

    So let's look at the atom and all that free space
    It will help us decide how to win the big race
    Think of atoms like apples, but we just need the stem
    Maybe C squared's no problem when you're E without M.


    You'll just have to go read the rest yourself in A Quantum Mechanics Explanation For Santa Claus




    Someone's going to complain about your tree, no matter which kind you have.   We have the definite answer in The Great Debate: Real vs. Artificial Christmas Trees - there's a good reason to go organic in your choice of trees.

    If you're spending the holidays with family and having thought about presents so you still Need A Christmas Gift For That Special Left-Leaning Chick? Try Ethical Underwear - because apparently companies think you'll believe anything.

    If, like me, you were  in the garage until 11PM putting together a pre-school Prius, you didn't  have a lot of time for wrapping.   Like anything else, you can get scientific about it and save the environment.   See what we mean in The Science Of Eco-Friendly Christmas Wrapping - it's mathematically terrific.

    It was rainy and cold last night yet I still got a knock on the door from someone out on Christmas Eve raising money for a homeless shelter.   The response he was getting was not great, which seems odd on Christmas Eve of all times, but I made up for my neighbors.   Christmas Charitable Giving; Which Of These Personality Types Are You? - if you recognize which you are, and it isn't good, here are some alternatives.

    If you like that twinkle in the eye the kids have when they see all their presents, be assured cynicism is just around the corner.   What Happens To Santa When Kids Reach The Age Of Reason?  You have to read to find out.

    On Christmas morning I intend to start a nice blaze.  Firelogs vs. Wood Fires - What's The Right Choice For A Cozy Winter Fire?  As always, Science Mom has the answers.

    Once the fire is built and some presents are opened, it's time to start eating.   Here are some hints on Sensible Christmas Snacking that I intend to ignore.

    If  you're off visiting other people, you know it can be really great or it can be really uncomfortable.   Here's our handy guide on how to Survive Christmas at the In-Laws

    Finally, since we began this with astronomy lets end it that way as well.   But the more secular kind, namely NGC 2264 - The Cosmic Christmas Tree Star Cluster Gets A New Image.

    And it's pretty spectacular.


    Merry Christmas everyone!