Science & Society

In honor of my daughter's first birthday, today I thought I'd write about ray weaponry.

With only a quick stop at your local box store, you can be ready to pop a conventional cap in someone’s ass; however, charring said ass to a crisp using a laser or other ray weapon is not so easy. This is because—despite many decades of government promises—laser weapons do not currently exist (despite the ubiquity of industrial cutting lasers and promises by high school tech ed teachers that one false move with a pointer will render your lab partner a cyclops).
Is Facebook that addictive or is a new pilot study correlating Facebook use to lower grades simple picking on the big gorilla of social media?   75 Percent of Facebook users claimed that their use of the social networking site didn't interfere with their studies but college students who use Facebook have lower grade point averages than students who have not signed up.

Don't get too alarmed.    This was a small, exploratory study but it did find that Facebook users in the study had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5, while non-users had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0.  And that will get some attention.   In addition, users said they averaged one to five hours a week studying, while non-users studied 11 to 15 hours per week.


If it happened once, can it happen again? Yes, it can but we would still desire pistachio nuts sans Salmonella. Beyond our poetic pistachio passion, these tasty nuts are good for us. Last year, researchers at Penn State concluded pistachios reduce inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Surprisingly, the reduction in LDL cholesterol was seven times greater than what could be expected from only the fatty acid content of pistachios. Perhaps other bioactive compounds, such as phytosterols and fiber, are responsible for the observed heart-healthiness of pistachios.
Aspirations of winning the Nobel? Maybe a purchase at this shop will help you along your journey. Or at least you can say you knew the shop back when it was just a little shop in Philadelphia, instead of a famous retail laureate.

On a science site, we can make anything about science, including religious holidays.    Of course, there are some things that we can never know, because they involve the subjective nature of people and a history that's necessarily muddled.    We can't get people to agree on what happened during the Bush presidency despite millions of monkeys writing about it on the internet so deciphering what happened and why some 2,000 years ago is a special sort of impossible.(1)
Every once in a while people ask me about various features or functionality so, since it's a Saturday on a holiday weekend and there won't be as many people reading as usual (who want good science and not rubbish from me) I figure this is a good time.

1) The comment tracker in the upper right is my default way to know what is going on.   Why?  Because I have a lot of people on my friend list so if one of you has commented on an article, the comment tracker tells me; that basically means the community has already done the work telling me what is worth talking about.
Eggs and rabbits were common fertility symbols of the ancient world. Today come the spring equinox, we continue to worship the pagan, egg-laying bunny (with a massive display of consumerism).


Saint Nicolas of Myra presented three impoverished girls with dowries so they would not have to become prostitutes. His modern incarnation was created and popularized by the 18th century cartoonist Thomas Nast. Come winter solstice, it’s time to worship the jolly old elf (with a massive display of consumerism).
Earthstock, Stony Brook University’s 8th annual week long awareness-raising celebration of Earth Day, kicks off at 10 am on Friday, April 17 with a full day of entertainment, food, refreshments, environmentally-oriented activities and visual displays situated all around the Academic Mall. 
The skills learned while raising a family are readily transferable into the knowledge work environment, according to a study published in the International Journal of Knowledge and Learning.

Researchers in Spain suggest that breaching the boundary between parenting skills and conventional work skills represents not only an untapped human resource but could improve work-life balance for working parents.
Now, I'm not going to declare myself to be a children's art expert, but my mother might be, and her PhD adviser was undoubtedly one.  If only by association, I feel very comfortable distinguishing between the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Terry Ard's science inspired work is pure geek chic and definitely the good.