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Science/Nature

Wise Words for Whitewater from Steak-umm

There’s a thread on Twitter from Steak-umm (an American brand of thin-sliced frozen steaks) that does a better job (truly) discussing the role of science and skepticism about the pandemic than much of what’s published online. The full thread is available at Twitter, and excerpts are imediately below. It’s spot-on for Whitewater. (Note: the thread…

From Comic-Con@Home 2021: The Science of Art

How is STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) used to inspire and create our most beloved popular arts? What do portrayals of science and scientists in popular media get right and wrong? From world-building to special effects and cosplay, IF/THEN ambassadors (www.ifthenshecan.org) Sydney Hamilton (aerospace engineer), Myria Perez (paleontologist), Dr. Samantha Thi Porter (archaeologist), and Dr.…

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Science

It seemed reasonable, months ago, to wait until the end of the 2020-2021 school year to assess how well the Whitewater Unified School District managed the pandemic. It doesn’t seem so reasonable now, for reasons of culture as much as public health. Generally – and sensibly – one has reason to be skeptical of lay…

Friday Catblogging: A Study on Cats & Milk Prebiotics

Lauren Quinn reports Milk prebiotics are the cat’s meow, research shows: If you haven’t been the parent or caregiver of an infant in recent years, you’d be forgiven for missing the human milk oligosaccharide trend in infant formulas. These complex carbohydrate supplements mimic human breast milk and act like prebiotics, boosting beneficial microbes in babies’ guts.…

Friday Catblogging: ‘Nip

[Leonora Enking, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.] Inverse has an article on The science behind catnip’s potent powers: Catnip’s pungent odor comes from a chemical called nepetalactone. It helps the plant repel insects. But this research takes us further into the evolution of nepetalactone using genetic analysis. According to study co-author Benjamin Lichman, a…

Attorney General William Barr Fails Chemistry (and Trial Advocacy)

On CBS’s Face the Nation, United States Attorney General William Barr offered his scientific assessment of the use of pepper spray, by contending that “pepper spray is not a chemical irritant…it’s not a chemical.” (See transcript, Face the Nation, 6.7.20). As science — This is false – and wackily ignorant: of course pepper spray is…

Prudent Human Changes Concerning Exotic Animals

Karin Brulliard reports The next pandemic is already coming, unless humans change how we interact with wildlife, scientists say: The new coronavirus, which has traversed the globe to infect more than 1 million people, began like so many pandemics and outbreaks before: inside an animal. The virus’s original host was almost certainly a bat, scientists…