This tumblr's for all the great men and women of science for whom we owe our current understanding of the natural world; their achievements, their failures, and even their quirks, we celebrate them all.
For Science. For Inquiry. For Humanity.
That a chemist had poisoned his brain
The cause of his sorrow
Owl Neck Rotation
as many of you have heard owls can turn their necks 360 degrees fully around. Well I’m here to tell you that is not entirely true, as owls can only turn their head 270 degrees. But how? Well owls are special because they have fourteen different bones in their neck protecting their spinal chord, compared to the 7 bones found in humans, this excess amount of bones means more flexibility and as such owls can turn their necks farther . But why are owls the only birds that can do this? well it is obvious that owls are physiologically different than most birds especially in their heads, and owls lack the muscles in their eyes that allow them to rotate so owls cannot move their eyes without moving their heads, and if an bird cannot see behind it or to its side it is easy prey to a predator, so to prevent this these wise birds evolved an alternate method to move their field of view and look creepy in the process…
The Alphabet of Epidemiology
After watching this, I washed everything I own. There is not enough soap in the world … how are we not all dead?
(Stay for the rap at the end, it’s amazing!)
There is an universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object, those qualities, with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious. We find human faces in the moon, armies in the clouds; and by a natural propensity, if not corrected by experience and reflection, ascribe malice or good- will to every thing, that hurts or pleases us. —David Hume
Our brains are made to find faces. In fact, they’re so good at picking out human-like mugs we sometimes see them in a jumble of rocks, a bilious cloud of volcanic ash, or some craters on Moon.
Neuroscientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wanted to investigate how the brain decides exactly what is and is not a face. Earlier studies have shown that the fusiform gyrus, located on the brain’s underside, responds to face-like shapes—but how does it sort flesh from rock?
The researchers could conclude that the left side of the brain ranks images on a scale of how face-like they are. The right side makes the categorical distinction between whether or not it’s a human face.
The left side of the fusiform gyrus actually flared up before the right side supporting the hypothesis that the left side does its job first and then passes information on to the right side.
Single Replacement Reaction
A single replacement reaction occurs when two different cations switch places to combine with the same anion. One element forms a compound while another element is released from the compound.
In a single replacement reaction, or single displacement reaction, a single uncombined element replaces another in a compound. Two reactants yield two products. For example when zinc combines with hydrochloric acid, the zinc replaces hydrogen.
Cu (s) + AgNO3 (aq) → Ag(s) + Cu(NO3)2 (aq)
Today I visited the Beaty Museum of Biodiversity at the University of British Columbia, primarily to see their articulated Blue Whale. As it turns out the rest of the museum is spectacular as well, but it’s going to take a few posts just to convey the sheer size of this majestic beast. This is a must see if you’re ever in Vancouver BC, nothing can prepare you for seeing a creature this large.
These are some photos from my friend Milo — I’m so horrendously jealous that he got to visit this magnificent creature today! Did you know that the heart of a blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is roughly the size of a small compact car, and only beats around once a minute? Its arteries are so large that a small person can crawl through them. They are the largest creatures to have ever existed in the history of our planet.
It’s no lie that I love blue whales.
The Mystery of Einstein’s Last Words
On April 17th, 1955, Albert Einstein experienced internal bleeding caused by the rupture of an aneurysm, which had previously been reinforced by surgery in 1948. Einstein refused surgery, saying: “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.” He died in Princeton Hospital early the next morning at the age of 76, having continued to work until near the end.
Before Einstein passed away in his sleep that night, Einstein uttered his final words to the nurse caring for him. In a tragic loss to history, he said these words in German - a language that the nurse did not speak. At the time of his death, the physicist was writing a piece, which ended abruptly mid-sentence, “Political passions, once they have been fanned into flame, exact their victims…”
Deadliest Explosions Man Ever Made
- Atlas-Centaur rocket explosion, March 03, 1965. The liquid oxygen and kerosene fuelled Atlas LV-3C Centaur-C rocket destroyed itself and the Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
- N1 launch explosion, 3 July 1969. One of the four N1 rockets that the Soviets intended to send to the moon exploded on the launch pad. The blast of the 1,496,000 lbs (678,574 kg) of liquid oxygen and kerosene released around 29 TJ energy, comparable to the Hiroshima blast. This was the largest non-nuclear man-made explosion in history.
- The Murdock BLEVE, September 3, 1983. A tanker carrying 113,000 liters of liquid propane and isobutane explodes in an enormous BLEVE (Boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion) after a train derailment in Murdock, Illinois.
E.T. Was Basically A Medical Catastrophe
A case report in the British Medical Journal (available here for those with access) has studied the famous 1982 temporary stranding of a young alien life form in suburban southern California. After an in-depth analysis of gross anatomy and the E.T.’s forced hospitalization, the so-called “alien botanist” is determined to be essentially a medical catastrophe, presenting multiple severe pathologies and medical maladies.
Who approved this guy for spaceflight?
A list of anatomical abnormalities:
- Possible Perthe’s disease (incorrect formation of the femur)
- Lower limb lymphoedema (swelling of the stubby legs)
- Centripetal adiposity, possible metabolic syndrome (he’s basically chubby)
- Congenital dextrocardia (not only does his heart glow, it’s completely out of order)
- Functional acetaldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency (extreme intoxication and disorientation after merely one can of beer)
- Complete absence of genitalia
- Clubbed digits (the odd swelling at the tip of his remarkably luminous fingertip)
After entering a state of shock and delrium, perhaps from malnutrition due to a diet consisting solely of beer and Reese’s Pieces, he entered cardiac arrest and failed to respond to resuscitation. His body was placed in the freezer room quickly enough to prevent brain damage from lack of oxygen, however.
This preservation of brain function was key as ”ET made an exceptional functional recovery, balancing in the basket of Elliott’s bicycle and performing feats of telekinesis en route to the site of his eventual departure.”
Perhaps if extraterrestrial travelers will carry more complete medical history or medical ID bracelets, better treatment may be applied in future cases.