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AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Kosik, The Talking Elephant

October 18th, 2010 | 2 comments | Posted by Diana

Name: Kosik

Hails from: Gyeonggi-do Province, South Korea

Occupation: Elephant at Everland Theme Park

Known for: His ability to “speak” human words (it is unclear whether or not he can fly when holding a feather). CBS recently reported that Kosik, a captive elephant at Everland Theme Park, has developed the ability to speak seven words in Korean (which is three more words than I can say, if you don’t count food). He is the only known living elephant to do so, and even though it’s unlikely he can understand what he’s saying, scientists are dazzled by his ever-improving pronunciasian.


Continue reading AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Kosik, The Talking Elephant

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! The Oil Spill Only Gets Worse

July 30th, 2010 | 5 comments | Posted by Diana

Well, everybody, it’s been 100 Days since the BP Oil Spill and apparently there’s good news!

Apparently, BPs oil dispersants have so effectively caused oil to disappear from the surface of the Gulf that even the cleanup jobs are drying up! Hooray! Great job, BP!!!

But wait. Oh wait.

It looks like a group of scientists (hired by the lawyers suing BP) have analyzed the results from their testing of the waters. And apparently the dispersants (which include the chemical Corexit) being used to clear the water’s surface are ACTUALLY EVEN MORE TOXIC THAN THE OIL.

From today’s NYT:

“This is a management decision, to use dispersants,” College of William and Mary marine science professor Robert Diaz said yesterday. “It doesn’t make the oil go away, it just puts it from one part of the ecosystem to another.”

That dispersed oil now hovers, diluted in the water column, posing a challenge for scientists to track and measure the subsea plumes. Mapping the long-term effects of the nearly 2 million gallons of dispersant used by BP PLC may well be Continue reading DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! The Oil Spill Only Gets Worse

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R.I.P. Qian Xuesen, “Father Of Chinese Rocketry”

November 3rd, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Qian Xuesen (Tsien Hsue-shen), a pioneer of both the U.S. and Chinese missile and space programs, died in Beijing on October 31, 2009. He was 97 years-old.

qian xuesen father of chinese rocketry

The engineer was born in China, received his Master’s at MIT and his doctorate at Caltech in the 30′s, and was one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He developed missiles for the Army, consulted for the Air Force–earning a temporary rank of Colonel–and designed a space plane that served as an inspiration for the Space Shuttle.

He was obviously brillz, but also a victim of his time. After applying for U.S. citizenship in 1949, when the country was caught up in the Red Scare, he was accused of having Communist sympathies, falsely imprisoned, and put under house arrest for 5 years. Caltech rallied around Qian and appointed attorney Grant Cooper to defend him. Despite their efforts, Qian, his wife, and their two American-born children were deported in 1955 by the U.S. government back to China, where Qian went on to start the Chinese space program and where he’s regarded as a hero.

Cooper who would later say of the gross mistreatment of his client:

“That the government permitted this genius, this scientific genius, to be sent to Communist China to pick his brains is one of the tragedies of this century.”

Irony of all ironies, Qian eventually joined the Communist Party in 1958.

[via Wired]

[Wikipedia: Qian Xuesen]

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Swimming With Shark Jesus

October 14th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

After a prehistoric deep-sea frill shark, which traces back by fossils 50 million years (or six thousand years, in Sarah Palin-time), was discovered off the coast of Japan earlier this year, I’ve been convinced that sharks will be responsible for the most important, strange, mystical occurrences of our time.

Lo and behold, strange and mystical occurrences seem to be, uh, occurring! Scientists just confirmed the second “virgin birth,” or parthenogenesis, of a hammerhead shark at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center this week. DNA testing showed no genetic material from a male, meaning that the female shark reproduced a pup entirely on her own (I knew we could do it!).

This is spectacularly fascinating news, but can everyone please avoid sharing this discovery with my parents? I fear that it’ll give them too much juice to revive the ol’ “stay a virgin until you die, or we’ll kill you” mandate, and I just don’t have the energy to figure out asexual reproduction right now. Or virginity reclamasian.

Source Source Source
Thanks, KP!

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BABEWATCH: Dr. Michio Kaku

September 16th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Name: Dr. Michio Kaku

Age: 61

Occupation: Theoretical physicist, TV and radio host, professor, book author

Hails from: New York

Why He’s a Babe: Because he’s a futurist, or what we like to call a “forward thinker.” Also, after years of teaching and hosting on radio, he’s finally brought his smooth-skinned mug to television–as the host of Diana’s new favorite show, Sci Q.

Also, like Jen’s dad, he makes physics fun! He even has the gift of making the most complicated scientific theory accessible and understandable to everyman (even the right-brain-challenged).

And fun people are just better-looking. It’s a scientific fact.

Thanks, Maris!

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