Month: March 2016

Eat Plastic? Don’t Mind if I Do!

Humans do not find plastic bottles tasty. Try as we might, ingestion and digestion of an Auquafina bottle makes for a bad dinner. On the other hand, some bacteria see plastic bottles as a delicacy.

Puff, Puff, Pass the Pufferfish: Drug Use in the Animal Kingdom

Puff, Puff, Pass the Pufferfish: Drug Use in the Animal Kingdom

Drug use is a fairly common, oftentimes problematic issue among humans. However, Homo sapiens isn’t the only species that likes to experiment with mind-altering substances. In the animal world, many species use questionable substances to get a little buzz. 1. Dolphins pass the puffer (fish)…

The Massive Signaling Network in Your Skeleton

Biologists often encounter mind-bending expansion in complexity the closer they look into the details. Notable examples include the length of DNA strands in each human cell (2-3 meters per cell, and about 20 billion kilometers of DNA in an adult), the surface area of the…

Devoured: The textile chemistry behind devoré

Devoured: The textile chemistry behind devoré

With the season finale of Downton Abbey earlier this month, I know everyone is thinking, “Now, how will I get my fix of period costuming”? If you’re like me, you can scroll through hundreds of images online (when not in lab, of course), admiring all…

Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

As a huge Minnesota Twins fan, I was sad to hear that former catcher and current first baseman Joe Mauer is still reporting concussion-related vision problems. These symptoms stem from three years ago, when multiple concussions led to his full-time conversion from behind the plate…

Glass Half-Full: How Positive Thinking Promotes Success and Well-Being

Glass Half-Full: How Positive Thinking Promotes Success and Well-Being

As many young academics very well know, science can bum you out. Experiments fail, equipment breaks, and funding opportunities are few and far between. Even when experiments run smoothly, the process to publish our research can be painstakingly long. In fact, a recent article published…

Horny Frogs and the Fungal Love Potion

Horny Frogs and the Fungal Love Potion

Imagine a pathogen that makes its host more sexually active. It may not kill its host right away. It may not kill its host at all. It is easy to imagine why this might be useful. The more partners its host contacts, the more opportunities…

Why Bubbles in Guinness Sink

Why Bubbles in Guinness Sink

If you opt for a Guinness this St. Patrick’s Day, keep an eye on your pint as it settles (which, according to official Guinness standards should happen for exactly 119.5 seconds between the first pour and the top up). Fans of the Irish stout have long…

The Physics Behind the Newest OK Go Video

The Physics Behind the Newest OK Go Video

I first heard of the band OK Go when they released their music video for ‘Here It Goes Again,’ which features the band members cruising back and forth over treadmills. I soon discovered that many of their other music videos are equally captivating and involve…

Statistically significant insults for the soul: p < 0.05

Statistically significant insults for the soul: p < 0.05

Author’s forward There are days in which a scientist finds herself needing to express her “mean genes.” When an experimental control fails, when Reviewer 3 sinks a paper, when someone drinks the last cup of communal coffee and fails to make more, the time has…