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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Big news, school lunch eaters - your rectangle-shaped pizza will soon be burned and served up cold1 with less sodium! Schwan's Food Service, based in the lovely state of Minnesota, is ahead of schedule by a year on reducing the sodium content of its Big Daddy line of school lunch pizzas, and by a larger percent than originally planned.
It really isn't necessary for me to have an opinion on any topic at hand - it's so much easier to consult the latest poll to know how my fellow humans feel about an issue (and by extension, how I should feel about it too). Hermann Hesse writes that the bourgeoisie "substitute majority for power, law for force, and the polling booth for responsibility," so I should be able to substitute the results of an online poll for the firing of my own synapses.1
Watch out, Jayson Blair - there's a new sheriff in town, and it's going to cross-reference your work to make sure you haven't plagiarized your material.

Plagiarism, using others' work but putting it forth as your own, has been a problem since folks started putting pen to paper (or chisel to stone). Even stalwart heroes like Helen Keller and Martin Luther King, Jr. have been accused of the big P. But pretend you're an editor at a scientific journal - how are you supposed to know, without spending a lot of time, if the submitted article you're reviewing has taken chunks from an article published in a competing journal? Enter CrossRef's CrossCheck, a service that uses iParadigms' iThenticate plagiarism software.
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project and the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University, the Internet will do more social good than harm over the next decade.
In fact, 85% of the 895 Internet experts and users polled agreed that, "In 2020, when I look at the big picture and consider my personal friendships, marriage, and other relationships, I see that the Internet has mostly been a positive force on my social world. And this will only grow more true in the future."
The fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood has been interpreted in myriad ways, particularly as sexual awakening or sexual coming of age (either biologically or socially, depending on which bath-house you pray in). Perhaps if the crimson-caped interloper existed today, she'd wear fire-engine red circle lenses to accent her childlike, doe-eyed innocence.
1. It's probably a good thing Avogadro wasn't around after the telephone was invented. I bet he'd get real sick of this...

2. Also see: Josh Witten.

3. Seriously, who f'ing cares??