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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If the coming Olympic games handed out gold medals for news coverage of medical topics, the coveted podium in a winner-takes-all contest would likely be a lonely place. Not that there aren't worthy contestants, but like figure skating's Michelle Kwan in 1998 and 2002, the hopefuls need a few tweaks before they can triple-axel their way to success.

The latest and greatest miracles, break-throughs, and fads are trumpeted in the news, and the newsroom's dwindling coffers combined with a "have to beat the other guys to it" 24-hour news cycle means consumers are often shortchanged.
That's right, my love for the periodic table can now be extended to my phone! My sweet Palm Pre features the periodic table in its app catalog, with such data as:

  • Oxidation Status

  • Boiling Point

  • Melting Point

  • Electron Configuration

  • Electron Negativity

  • Atomic Radius

  • Atomic Volume

  • Specific Heat Capacity

  • Ionization Potential

  • Atomic Number

  • Symbol

  • Name

After Top Gun, the number of fighter pilot recruits exploded. After CSI took over the country, more people went into forensic science. The lesson? Media definitely makes a difference in the level of interest of a topic - An Inconvenient Truth, anyone? - so perhaps getting authentic, real-life science out in front of viewers could inspire a whole new flock of scientists and engineers to fill the growing deficit in our workforce.
"Physicists who want to protect traditional Christmas realize that the only way to keep from changing Christmas is not to observe it."

Who is the president of physics? Hawking, maybe?

"I mean, what's more likely -- that I have uncovered fundamental flaws in this field that no one in it has ever thought about, or that I need to read a little more?  Hint: it's the one that involves less work."

More at xkcd.
If Darth Vader friend-requested you and you clicked "Ignore," do you think he would know? I don't think I'd take that chance...