Thursday, May 13, 2010

Physorg Newsletter

I get this daily newsletter from physorg, and read basically none of it. It's an aggregator of press releases, and if you've read OTI for a while, you know how I feel about press releases. If not, here's a hint: grrrrr! Unfortunately, I have to remember my password to get them to stop sending the newletter and I don't. So every afternoon, I open it, skim over the headlines, and trash it. Once every week or two, I click through on an article, get angry at PR hacks all over again, and vow to never open anything else from physorg.

Today, it dawned on me I could have some fun with these... I think the links will actually take you to the articles. And while the stories behind them are most certainly real, passage through the mind and keyboards of some of the most scientifically illiterate minds known to man will often distort the story beyond recognition. Don't believe everything you read. Still, I will point out that one of my comments below is actually true. Do you know why mercury has the atomic symbol Hg?

- Nanotube transistor controlled by ATP could improve man-machine communication (Scientists still seeking techniques to improve man-woman communication)

- Building organs block by block: Tissue engineers create a new way to assemble artificial tissues (involves a lot of roadkill around the neighborhood)

- Silver tells a volatile story of Earth's origin: Water was present during its birth (today's trivia: hydro [water]+ argentum [silver]= hydrargentum= watersilver= Hg= mercury. Now you know)

- Mathematicians Solve 140-Year-Old Boltzmann Equation (answer is, unsurprisingly, 42)

- Tibetans developed genes to help them adapt to life at high elevations (Hippies developed jeans for that purpose 45 years ago)

- Aiming to cure deafness, Stanford scientists first to create functional inner-ear cells (Deaf now hear voices of convicts)

- Untangling Facebook, decoding Congress: New mathematical method may help tame big data (genomics and proteomics moved down in grants for computer science research)

- Plant and animal in direct competition for food (next up on the WWF)

- Low oxygen levels prevent X chromosome inactivation in human embryonic stem cells (New explanation for Michael Jackson)

- Why a whiff of cats or rats is scary (if you're a mouse, that is) (well, duh)

- New pathway discovered in cellular cholesterol regulation (Walking it regularly will help lower cholesterol)

- Sun's constant size surprises scientists (If they got out of their darned labs a little more, they wouldn't so frequently be surprised at stuff the rest of us take for granted)

- Feathers too weak for early bird flight (Feathers return home, rest up, get plenty of fluids, and catch later flight)

- Asteroid Caught Marching Across Tadpole Nebula (Ticket issued, and given warning to wait for the green "walk" signal)

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