Amusing Science

We are the Borg.
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

https://i.imgur.com/pL2zj2W.gifv
Anaxagoras
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Anaxagoras »

https://phet.colorado.edu/sims/html/gas ... es_en.html

(Found while watching this video)
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

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Witness
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Obese politicians signal corruption, study finds

Post-Soviet nations with the biggest corruption problem have the biggest politicians.

Measuring corruption is an imperfect science. By its very nature, corruption is out of sight; politicians who steal and otherwise misbehave go to great lengths – including legal maneuvers – to hide their activities.

But there is something they cannot hide.

The most corrupt countries in the post-Soviet world tend to have the most overweight politicians, according to research published this month by Pavlo Blavatskyy of the University of Montpellier in France. Average body mass can be a “convenient proxy variable” for political corruption, he writes.

Blavatskyy does not have access to health records, so he employs machine learning to examine photos and estimate the body mass of 299 cabinet ministers from the 15 post-Soviet republics in 2017, ranking them according to the median body mass.

He then compares this body-mass index with five established measures of perceived corruption, such as Transparency International’s annual index and the World Bank’s corruption indicators. “Our median estimated ministers’ body-mass index is highly correlated with all five conventional measures of perceived corruption. […] Latent grand political corruption is literally visible from the photographs of top public officials.”

The countries conventionally rated least corrupt in the post-Soviet world are the three Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – and Georgia. Ministers from these four have the lowest median body mass, according to Blavatskyy’s study. The conventionally most corrupt are Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Ministers in these countries are some of the fleshiest. But Ukraine is an exception: Ministers there are on average stouter than in Tajikistan, the study found, suggesting that Tajikistan may be getting a raw deal from conventional ratings and that Ukraine is getting off too easily.

https://i.imgur.com/yImanCM.png
https://eurasianet.org/obese-politician ... tudy-finds

Probably doesn't qualify as "science", still amusing.
Anaxagoras
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Anaxagoras »

Wait, does a high number on the corruption scale mean more corrupt or less?
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

https://i.imgur.com/FHn3EcN.jpg
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

https://i.imgur.com/bjcZJsb.jpg

Spoiler:
Striped cuckoo chick.
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

The World’s Most Valuable Parasite Is in Trouble

And so are the livelihoods of the people who depend on it.

https://i.imgur.com/senYUe8.jpg

Ten years ago, Kelly Hopping was driving through a Tibetan mountain pass when her Chinese colleague stopped the car, hopped out, walked to a roadside stall, and returned with what looked like a bag of Cheetos on sticks. Each orange lump was, in fact, a dead caterpillar whose body had been overrun by a fungus (the stick). Hopping’s colleague, whose mother had cancer, had bought them for their medicinal value—and he had parted with an astonishing $1,000 for about 250 pieces. “My mind was blown,” says Hopping, an ecologist at Boise State University.

The caterpillar fungus, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, is the world’s most valuable parasite. It’s a relative of the tropical fungus that turns ants into zombies, but unlike its infamous cousin, it is found only on the Tibetan plateau, where it infects the larvae of ghost moths. It has long been part of traditional Chinese medicine, and demand for it has risen so sharply in recent decades that in Beijing it is now worth three times its weight in gold. In Bhutan, one of the countries where the fungus is harvested, it accounts for a significant slice of the gross domestic product.

That’s good news for the people of the Tibetan plateau, hundreds of thousands of whom harvest the fungus as their main source of income. It pays for food, clothes, medical bills, and education. It allows them to eke out a living on the roof of the world, where a living is increasingly hard to eke out.

But tough times lie ahead. By interviewing hundreds of collectors, and analyzing the local climate, Hopping has conclusively shown what others have suspected: The precious fungus is disappearing, as a result of a double whammy of overharvesting and warming weather. The caterpillar-fungus bubble is ready to burst, and an entire way of life could vanish with it. “I asked them, ‘Would you do something different if you could?’” Hopping says. “A lot of people said, ‘Yes, if there was another way to make money. But I don’t have any other options.’”
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/arc ... le/573607/ for the rest.
robinson
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by robinson »

Oh great

One more thing to lose sleep over
ceptimus
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by ceptimus »

Does the fungus actually have any medicinal value? Or is it just over-hyped and over-priced bullshit snake oil, like most other "traditional medicines" and "alternative therapies"?
robinson
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by robinson »

I can’t believe an ounce of the fungus is worth $6000
Witness
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ceptimus wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:26 pm Does the fungus actually have any medicinal value? Or is it just over-hyped and over-priced bullshit snake oil, like most other "traditional medicines" and "alternative therapies"?
Here's a quote:
Development & Modification of Bioactivity

Examples of other drug leads

Numerous examples of new wonder drugs regularly hit the media. It is unlikely that they stand up to such claims, and they regularly highlight the problems associated with poorly defined and characterized starting material. Two examples highlight the core issues.

Cordyceps sinensis104 is a medicinal fungus of TCM. It is a parasite on the larvae of moths (Lepidoptera) of the genera Hepialus and Thitarodes endemic to alpine habitats (3600–5000 m in elevation) on the Tibetan plateau in southwestern China. In China, C. sinensis has a long history of medicinal use. It is thought to have been discovered 2000 years ago with the first formally documented use coming from the Bencao Congxin (New Compilation of Materia Medica) in the Qing dynasty in 1757. Overall, little primary ethnomedical data describing the medical uses of C. sinensis exist in the literature. Current ethnomedical reports are limited to the use as a general tonic in China and as an aphrodisiac in Nepal. Cordyceps sinensis first gained worldwide attention when it was revealed that several Chinese runners who broke world records in 1993 had included this fungus as part of their training program.
On this page: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/ag ... s-sinensis

From another paper:
Over 30 different bioactivities have been reported for O. sinensis, including (1) immunomodulatory, (2) immunosuppressive, (3) anticomplementary, (4) antitumor, (5) anti-inflammatory, (6) antioxidant, (7) antibacterial, (8) hepatoprotection, (9) kidney benefitting, (10) antidiabetes, (11) hypocholesterolemia, (12) antiarteriosclerosis, (13) antithrombus, (14) hypotension and vasorelaxant, (15) lung benefitting, (16) photoprotection, (17) antidepression, (18) antiosteoporosis, (19) anticerebral ischemia, (20) antifatigue, (21) antiasthma, (22) steroidogenesis, (23) erythropoiesis, (24) antiarrhythmia, (25) antiaging, (26) testosterone production, (27) sedation, and (28) adjunction, as well as the ability to do the following: (29) prevent and treat injury to the bowel, (30) promote endurance capacity, (31) improve learning-memory, (32) prevent allograft rejection, and (33) attenuate lupus.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3924981/

So broad an activity, I'd say placebo.

The fungus craze has also a deep effect on the populations harvesting it, on the landscapes (apparently they don't manage it too well), and as it happens that's where the snow leopard lives…
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

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Scientists rename human genes to stop Microsoft Excel from misreading them as dates

There are tens of thousands of genes in the human genome: minuscule twists of DNA and RNA that combine to express all of the traits and characteristics that make each of us unique. Each gene is given a name and alphanumeric code, known as a symbol, which scientists use to coordinate research. But over the past year or so, some 27 human genes have been renamed, all because Microsoft Excel kept misreading their symbols as dates.

The problem isn’t as unexpected as it first sounds. Excel is a behemoth in the spreadsheet world and is regularly used by scientists to track their work and even conduct clinical trials. But its default settings were designed with more mundane applications in mind, so when a user inputs a gene’s alphanumeric symbol into a spreadsheet, like MARCH1 — short for “Membrane Associated Ring-CH-Type Finger 1” — Excel converts that into a date: 1-Mar.
"Studies found a fifth of genetic data in papers was affected by Excel errors"

This is extremely frustrating, even dangerous, corrupting data that scientists have to sort through by hand to restore. It’s also surprisingly widespread and affects even peer-reviewed scientific work. One study from 2016 examined genetic data shared alongside 3,597 published papers and found that roughly one-fifth had been affected by Excel errors.
https://www.reporter.am/scientists-rena ... -as-dates/
Anaxagoras
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Anaxagoras »

Just learned an interesting factoid. Seems pretty solid. The answer is in the following video, but try to guess the answer to the following question before watching, and then you can watch and see how close your answer was to the right answer:

How many dead skin cells do you shed per hour?

And here's the video with the answer:

Rob Lister
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Rob Lister »

6
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

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https://old.reddit.com/r/oddlysatisfyin ... cant_stop/
robinson
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by robinson »

That’s the architectural design used to create a listening spot in a room

People talking at the one point can be heard if you are at the other point

Even in a big crowded noisy room
robinson
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by robinson »

There is a room like that in a Casino in the Bahamas

I remember how freaky it was

People talking thirty feet away and it was like you were right next to them
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

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Bruce
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Bruce »

Abdul Alhazred wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:36 pm Why not implement a "genome" custom data type that could applied as an attribute to any range of (data) cells?

After all, you can have number or dates as "text".
Or simply set all the cell formatting to numeric.

Honestly, if the top scientists in this field can't figure out something so simple, doesn't it scare you to think what else we might be fucking up in the humane genome over the next few decades?
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Re: Amusing Science

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Witness wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:55 pm
This video makes me want to play Katamari Damaci, starting at the Planck length scale and ending with the observable universe. Father would be so proud. He might even unlock the non-observable universe as a reward.
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

How about playing with black holes, Bruce?

Anaxagoras
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Anaxagoras »

How cold was the ice age? Researchers now know
A University of Arizona-led team has nailed down the temperature of the last ice age—the Last Glacial Maximum of 20,000 years ago—to about 46 degrees Fahrenheit (7.8 C).
Only 20,000 years ago. Well, that's sort of a long time ago, but sort of very recent too.
Their findings allow climate scientists to better understand the relationship between today's rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide—a major greenhouse gas—and average global temperature.

The Last Glacial Maximum, or LGM, was a frigid period when huge glaciers covered about half of North America, Europe and South America and many parts of Asia, while flora and fauna that were adapted to the cold thrived.

"We have a lot of data about this time period because it has been studied for so long," said Jessica Tierney, associate professor in the UArizona Department of Geosciences. "But one question science has long wanted answers to is simple: How cold was the ice age?"

Tracking Temperature

Tierney is lead author of a paper published today in Nature that found that the average global temperature of the ice age was 6 degrees Celsius (11 F) cooler than today. For context, the average global temperature of the 20th century was 14 C (57 F).

"In your own personal experience that might not sound like a big difference, but, in fact, it's a huge change," Tierney said.

She and her team also created maps to illustrate how temperature differences varied in specific regions across the globe.
Just 6 degrees Celsius (11 F) is the difference between most of North America being covered in glaciers and the 20th century climate. And we're probably in for at least another few degrees of warming.
robinson
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by robinson »

Or a mini ice age
robinson
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Witness
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Whatever floats your boat? Scientists defy gravity with levitating liquid

Researchers use vibrations to make toy vessels bob about under floating layer of liquid

Scientists have turned the world upside down with a curious quirk of physics that allowed them to float toy boats the wrong way up beneath a levitating body of liquid.

In a striking demonstration of the mind-bending effect, the boats seem to defy the laws of gravity as they bob about on the water above them with their sails pointing down.

The bizarre phenomenon makes for a nifty trick, but researchers say the finding may have practical implications, from mineral processing to separating waste and pollutants from water and other liquids.

“We were playing around,” said Emmanuel Fort, a researcher on the team that discovered the effect at the Higher School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry in Paris. “We had no idea it would work.”

The scientists made their finding while studying the curious impact vibrations can have on the behaviour of liquids. Researchers already knew that, given the right kind of vibrations, bubbles can plunge downwards in liquids, while heavy particles that would normally settle out float to the surface instead.

Another strange effect of vibrations allows a layer of liquid to float in air, provided it is in a closed container. The explanation lies in the ability of vibrations to stabilise what are otherwise unstable systems.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/202 ... ing-liquid for the rest.

Witness
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Post by Witness »

Track your location through geological epochs: https://dinosaurpictures.org/ancient-earth#220
Witness
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Ancient humans had extremely complicated sex lives, evidence shows

Even today's digitally expanded world of modern dating has nothing on the ancient world.

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, there were roughly four species of ancient hominids getting it on with their contemporaries. Thanks to new genetic analysis algorithms, scientists have identified the vestiges of this free-wheeling ancient hookup scene, which lives on inside our DNA.

This includes material from a mysterious "super archaic" ancestor.

Analysis of two Neanderthal genomes, one Denisovan genome, and four modern human genomes revealed new evidence of gene flow between these species, further confirming previous work that suggests that they mated with one another.

The team found that three percent of the Neanderthal genome came from interbreeding with ancient humans. They estimate this intermixing happened between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago — far earlier than previous estimates indicated.

They also found that one percent of the Denisovan genome contained genetic material that came from an unexpected source – an "archaic human ancestor" that was neither human, nor Neanderthal, nor Denisovan.

The authors suggest that 15 percent of genetic regions that came from that archaic ancestor have been passed on to humans today, and there are a few theories as to who it came from and how it got baked into our genetic code.
https://www.inverse.com/science/super-a ... tics-study

The paper: https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/ ... en.1008895
robinson
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Bookmarked
Witness
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Post by Witness »

↑ Depends on how exactly you define "human". :mrgreen: (Sadly we are kinda orphans nowadays.)





https://i.imgur.com/IR0JLHG.jpg
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

Yes. Throughout Eastern Europe & Siberia they built their huts with the remains:

https://i.imgur.com/9fueloa.jpg
The mammoth bone huts at Mezhirich near Kiev are ~15,000 years old. The base of each dwelling is a circle of interlocking woolly mammoth jaw bones. The bones for each dwelling weighed about 20 tonnes.
https://twitter.com/Jamie_Woodward_/sta ... 03/photo/1
Anaxagoras
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Anaxagoras »

Is there any doubt that humans are why the mammoths are extinct?
Anaxagoras
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Witness
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Finnish researchers believe they’ve found a real hangover cure

The results of a new study from the University of Helsinki and the University of Eastern Finland suggest that the semi-essential amino acid, L-cysteine, can ease hangover symptoms. L-cysteine, representing a single chemical molecule, is produced in the human body. The researchers recruited 19 men for the study, and they drank cranberry juice and the 10% proof Finnish grain alcohol, Koskenkorva, with the number of drinks each participant received based on his body weight. Each man was given either a placebo, a pill containing 600mg of L-cysteine, or a 1200mg dose of L-cysteine.

The study found that the men who received the 1200mg pill experienced less severe headaches and nausea the following morning, while those who had the smaller dose felt less anxious overall. "The fact of the matter is that higher degree of alcohol-related hangover and stress symptoms lead to more effort ‘curing’ the after-effects by drinking alcohol," they concluded. "L-cysteine would reduce the need of drinking the next day with no or less hangover symptoms: nausea, headache, stress and anxiety. Altogether, these effects of L-cysteine are unique and seem to have a future in preventing or alleviating these harmful symptoms as well as reducing the risk of alcohol addiction."
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/f ... gover-cure

Finland, of course. :mrgreen:
Rob Lister
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Rob Lister »

Witness wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:10 am
Finnish researchers believe they’ve found a real hangover cure
...
Altogether, these effects of L-cysteine are unique and seem to have a future in preventing or alleviating these harmful symptomsas well as reducing the risk of alcohol addiction."
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/f ... gover-cure
Finland, of course. :mrgreen:
I'm not sure what is amusing about this but ...

'Hair of the dog that bit you' is a significant part of becoming an alcoholic, so yea, I can see that as being true.
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

Weird, I'd never drink more because I've drunk too much.





As we're into alcohol:
Thank The Simple Wasp For That Complex Glass Of Wine

The next time you take a sip of your favorite wine, you might want to make your first toast to hornets. Or, more precisely, European hornets and paper wasps.

That's because those big scary flying insects whose stings can be especially painful may be the secret to the wonderful complex aroma and flavor of wine. "Wasps are indeed one of wine lovers' best friends," says Duccio Cavalieri, a professor of microbiology at the University of Florence in Italy.

Cavalieri and his colleagues discovered that these hornets and wasps bite the grapes and help start the fermentation while grapes are still on the vines. They do that by spreading a yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae — commonly known as brewer's yeast and responsible for wine, beer and bread fermentation — in their guts. When the wasps bite into the fruit, they leave some of that yeast behind.

Cavalieri says one of the reasons the discovery is so exciting for him is that it's an example of just how connected the natural world is and how humans rely on this interconnection in ways we simply cannot perceive.

"It's important because it's telling to me it's crucial to look at conservation and the study of biodiversity," says Cavalieri, one of the authors who published his findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently.
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/20 ... ss-of-wine

Save our burgundies, protect the wasps! :x
Witness
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Wroclove doc wins international prize for kissing research

A Wrocław scientist has bagged an international prize for her ‘improbable’ research into kissing.

Dr Agnieszka Żelaźniewicz from the University of Wrocław won the Ig Nobel prize as part of an international team after looking into how inequalities in national incomes affect how people kiss.

https://i.imgur.com/1SO3XZU.jpg

Entitled ‘National income inequality predicts cultural variation in mouth-to-mouth kissing’, the research published in Nature’s Scientific Reports found that in poorer countries, romantic mouth-to-mouth kissing is more important in long-term relationships.

According to the researchers, mouth-to-mouth kissing is an effective way to check your partner for pathogens, to see if they are healthy and it helps maintain a monogamous relationship which can help survival in harsh environments.
https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/wr ... jEYW7RSVsc

OK, it's an Ig Nobel, but I like it. :)
Anaxagoras
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Anaxagoras »

"According to the researchers, mouth-to-mouth kissing is an effective way to check your partner for pathogens"

How romantic!
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Post by DJ »

I went to an Ig Nobel award ceremony once many years ago. It was lots of fun with many paper airplanes flying about. I can’t quite recall the details, but one group won for creating a program to allow communication with your pet. The venue was fantastic with lots of carved wood. There was much laughter from the crowd and the guests.
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

Anaxagoras wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:10 am How romantic!
All the ethereal love stuff is just evolution's way of ensuring that humans procreate.