News From Around The Blogosphere 12.15.08

House Resolution 847 – Proving even in an economic crisis Congress can still manage to waste more. Seriously guys, this isn’t Brewster’s Millions. Can someone please explain the point of this bullshit?

Remember the Iranian guy who recently blinded a woman by throwing acid in her face? Well his punishment is to be blinded as well. Ya gotta love the Iranian justice system, huh? Not really. As just as this punishment might seem from an safe distance, this is a preposterously barbaric and antiquated form of justice that leaves me once again wondering why that fairly accurate and still fairly accurate lyric in Disney’s Aladdin (‘where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face.’) was ever deemed “controversial.”

Teacher banned from primary school for saying Santa isn’t real? – This is the stupidest story I’ve heard all day. . .

. . .because obvious Santa is real. How else can you explain the Christmas presents, and the devoured milk and cookies?

Harry Potter sticking his broom where it doesn’t belong – I have no issue with Harry Potter. I’m not too into it but lots of other people are. And he seems to piss off a lot of religious kooks. . . and of course I love that. But one place where Harry doesn’t belong is in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

Talking religion with the kids from Children’s Scientology Pageant - I blogged about this show before here. Now the kids in the show are having a conversation about religion, which is hilarious. I’m also very happy to see how many critical thinkers there are in the group.

Have scientists finally solved the yawn? – The notion that yawning is a sign that an individual is tired is an almost universally accepted myth.  As far I’m aware, scientists have had several hypotheses regarding the purpose of yawning but have yet to reach a solid conclusion. But according to this article a new study suggests that yawning is primarily to regulate brain temperature.

Ghosts stop thief? -

A burglar in Malaysia who decided to rob a house while its owners were out of town on vacation claims his getaway was held up for three days by a ghost that took him prisoner.

Wow. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the amazing feats of these alleged ghosts are exaggerated and that the guy’s just very superstitious. But I’ll admit, it makes a good story. But of course once again, where’s the evidence? But a ghost solving crimes sounds like a mid-season replacement show you’d expect to be coming to NBC.

The other day I mentioned that the Japanese were working on capturing dreams. I didn’t realize how close they were. They can already display images from the brain.

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyPesticides In Fruit-based Drinks Outside U.S. – “In the first worldwide study of pesticides in fruit-based soft drinks, researchers in Spain are reporting relatively high levels of pesticides in drinks in some countries, especially the United Kingdom and Spain. Drinks sampled from the United States, however, had relatively low levels, the researchers note.”

Brain Genes: Obesity All In Your Head? – “Is obesity all in your head? New research suggests that genes that predispose people to obesity act in the brain and that perhaps some people are simply hardwired to overeat.

A genetic study of more than 90,000 people has identified six new genetic variants that are associated with increased Body Mass Index (BMI), the most commonly used measure of obesity. Five of the genes are known to be active in the brain, suggesting that many genetic variants implicated in obesity might affect behaviour, rather than the chemical processes of energy or fat metabolism.”

Waste Coffee Grounds: Source Of Biodiesel Fuel – “Researchers in Nevada are reporting that waste coffee grounds can provide a cheap, abundant, and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel fuel for powering cars and trucks.”

THE FUNNIES:

Science explains nothing!

The flu is here – Get vaccinated.

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