Stop eating your pet's food

Apparently people are eating their pet's food, and they're getting salmonella poisoning in return...

A scientific reference manual for US judges

Science and our legal system intersect frequently and everywhere - climate, health care, intellectual...

Rainbow connection

On the way to work this morning, I noticed people pointing out the train window and smiling. From...

Neutrinos on espresso

Maybe they stopped by Starbucks for a little faster-than-the-speed-of-light pick me up....

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Becky JungbauerRSS Feed of this column.

A scientist and journalist by training, I enjoy all things science, especially science-related humor. My column title is a throwback to Jane Austen's famous first line in Pride and Prejudice

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A new bill, sponsored by Alabama Congresswoman Martha Roby, is going up before Congress - HR 205, The Geometric Simplification Act, which declares the Euclidean mathematical constant of pi to be precisely 3. Here's a blurb from the article:
"That long-held empirical value of pi, I am not saying it should be necessarily viewed as wrong, but 3 is a lot better," said Roby, the 34-year old legislator representing Alabama's second congressional district, ushered into office in the historic 2010 Republican mid-term bonanza.
The weather is a formidable foe for all, save one - the United States Postal Service. Herodotus' words on the New York General Post Office near Penn Station often stand in as the unofficial USPS motto, and for the most part ring true regarding mail delivery. Anyone with a cell phone, on the other hand, is at the mercy of wireless towers. What do you get when you cross mail delivery with intermittent cell service? Text message stamps.

To join the craze in putting everything in the entire world on our cell phones, Denmark (and possibly Sweden) is launching a system to allow people to exchange a text message for a stamp. The person sends a message to the postal service, which replies with a code, and the person writes that code on the envelope. Postage paid.
And I thought my to-do list was long... For those not suffering from feline-induced insomnia and trolling the InterGoogles for news,1 NASA has its marching orders thanks to a new report, "Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022."
Around the pink- and red-hued madness of overpriced flowers and heart-shaped everything that is Valentine's Day, even a rocket man1 needs a little love.2 Unfortunately for NASA, the Stardust spacecraft beamed down an unexpected photo of its intended Valentine, the potato-shaped comet Tempel 1. (And no wonder - what girl wants to be photographed if she's told she has the figure of a potato?)

Instead of a space age love song3, scientists received the a photo of a tiny speck:

A few science-related chuckles for the day...

This is how professors should talk...

For all of you new parents out there...

Technology lets us exist in the winter, even today when the temp is about -30 degrees F in Minnesota...
I think I can safely assume that when it comes to feeding newborns, people have heard that if possible breastfeeding is best - immune system, bonding, etc etc. But when do you wean? Ten years ago, the World Health Organization recommended that mothers "exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of their infants' lives," and this recommendation was picked up by governments around the world.

Now, a study in the British Medical Journal says perhaps that can be adjusted down to four months, based on information including more recent research. Naturally, there are caveats and controversies.

Pros and Cons