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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Science Vine – Premier Issue: Surfing the Science Side

This will hopefully be the first of many Science Vine posts by me, your friendly eclectic science guy. Now, since this is the first post of this series, I hereby justify the title of this article as “premier.” It could also be considered premier as in “first in importance” or “outstanding quality” but that would depend on your point of view and I graciously grant that it might be debatable if you are not me. But I won’t go there, even if I already have! (Oh the ego of this eccentric eclectic!)
But enough of the alliterated nonsense – let’s just get right to it, shall we?
The Science Vine for July 12, 2010 (Issue 1): Surfing the Science Side of the Internet today, I found the following little grape seeds that could blossom into full blown grapes from the Science Vine should you actually choose to read more about ‘em from the links I’ve so magnanimously provided.

The Moon continues to NOT be implicated in the rise of bad behavior during full moons. Yet another study has found no correlation between full moons and crimes. See the USA Today article Full moon eclipsed as accessory to crime (By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY )for more info. Yet soooo many folks, cops and bartenders included, continue to believe that all the lunatics come out to play on nights with a full moon.
Sometimes the one thing you learn every day sets you back on your heels and makes you go “What?! I thought it was just the opposite!” And that would be because it just never occurred to you to question your concept. In this particular case, I found that the methane produced by cows is released on average every 1.5 minutes through BURPs. That’s right, folks, burps, not farts. At least that’s what a British scientist explains in a video at BBC News - How methane is measured with a 'burp gun'. That’s right, a burp gun – it looks like a handheld radar gun and you just point it at the cow’s nose.
You see, the boogs (that’s “bugs” in British and it means bacteria) in a cow are up front in it’s stomachs and that’s where the gas is produced, so of course the gas gets expelled in burps out the front end. In horses and dogs and yup, even in humans, the boogs are all at the back end in the intestines, so the gas takes the path of least resistance out past the sphincters that result in those well known Barking Spiders my dad blamed everything on.
Finally, it turns out that the amount of methane released in a cow burp is equivalent to a leaky gas pipe that normal people would give a wide berth to. So I have one question: does anybody actually smoke in cow barns anymore?
How many of you know what Newton’s Cradle is? Well, I’m NOT going to tell you! But I’ll give you a hint: check out Newton’s Cradle on Wikipedia. I know you’ll recognize it when you see it in action, but it’s known by a couple of other names that you may find more familiar. And I’m going to resist temptation to ply you with any “balls” jokes.
Have you ever had an earworm infection? I’ll bet you’ve been infected by this insidious worm many times, in sometimes quite orchestrated ways! You’re in luck though – the infection usually only lasts for a matter of minutes or hours. However, it has been reported to go on for several days at a time. I seem to be particularly susceptible to these maladies – I think my body is simply tuned for it. (puns intended, if you already know what I’m talking about)
The phe­nom­e­non oc­curs when sub­jects are usu­ally in a good mood and engaging in non-intellectual ac­ti­vi­ties such as walk­ing, which re­quires lit­tle concentration. It is during these times that people may often find themselves walking to the beat of a different drummer.
But don’t worry, be happy! The fact that Jeremiah was a bullfrog didn’t stop An­dréane McNally-Gagnon and Sylvie Hébert from doing some key research in a continuing investigation of this well known but rarely studied phenomena.
For more info, check out Hey Jude: Get that song out of my head! at World Science.
Well, that’s it for this edition of Science Vine. I do hope you’ve enjoyed! Tune in next time for more grapes off that eclectic vine.
© 2010 Gary D. Timothy

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