Entries tagged “science”

A new study has found that humans may be able to distinguish up to 1 trillion different odors.

To find out how many odors we can distinguish, researchers asked 26 participants to put their noses to the test. During each experiment, study participants were asked to smell the contents of three vials that the scientists had mixed themselves using 128 different odor molecules. Two of the vials contained the same mixture, while one did not. The participants’ task was to identify the odd mixture. Then, using the statistics obtained during the tests, the researchers were able to determine that people can distinguish two odors when their components differ by more than half.

Based on the smells of the homeless in the NYC subway, I’m guessing we can perceive much more than 1 trillion.

distancetomars.com answers the age-old question “If the Earth were 100 pixels wide, how far away would mars be?”

I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s a good amount of pixels.

The BBC investigates how many LEGO bricks would need to be stacked on top of each other to cause the bottom brick to fail.

And the load on top of the brick gets larger and larger. We reach 3,500 newtons (N) of force – the equivalent of having 350kg (770lbs) sitting on top of the brick – more than a third of a tonne.

The force climbs on, above 4,000N. And then…

Nothing.

Well, not much. There is no big bang. The brick just kind of melts.

It looks like a small square of warm camembert.

Someone (I’m looking at you Richard Branson) needs to build a LEGO tower to prove/disprove the findings.

Shaun Winterton, an entomologist, was browsing the web looking at pictures of bugs, and found a new species of lacewing on Flickr.

The moral of the story? The world is full of potential naturalists, Winterton says. More and more people using high-quality cameras that capture the kind of detail scientists need for identification, and they are sharing these photos online.

“There’s thousands of images a minute uploaded on Flickr,” he says. “I think there are many more discoveries forthcoming, particularly as more people are getting out into the field.”

Kind of an ugly looking bug, but I’m sure there’s someone out that would fed him honey and nightshade, keep him warm…love him…

The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson

A NASA scientist claims to have found evidence of alien life in a meteorite:

Though it may be hard to swallow, Hoover is convinced that his findings reveal fossil evidence of bacterial life within such meteorites, the remains of living organisms from their parent bodies — comets, moons and other astral bodies. By extension, the findings suggest we are not alone in the universe, he said.

Phil Plait, of Bad Astronomy, pens a somewhat sane analysis of the news:

Clearly, Hoover thinks terrestrial contamination is unlikely. However, contamination, no matter how unlikely, is a more mundane explanation than extraterrestrial life, and Occam’s Razor will always shave very closely here. We have to be very, very clear that contamination was impossible before seriously entertaining the idea that these structures are space-borne life.

And check out the Journal of Cosmology’s web site…it’s like they stepped into the WABAC Machine and landed in 1995.

Researchers at the University of Manchester have published a guide to the perfect handshake.

Beattie’s steps to the perfect handshake, for both men and women, are: use the right hand; a complete grip and a firm squeeze (but not too strong); a cool and dry palm; approximately three shakes, with a medium level of vigor, held for no longer than two to three seconds.

What exactly is “a medium level of vigor”?

Scientists have discovered that a protein is needed to make a shell, and this protein is only found within a chicken, thereby answering which came first.

Professor John Harding, who also took part in the research, told Metro the discovery could have other applications.

“Understanding how chickens make shells is fascinating in itself, but can also give clues towards designing new materials.” he said.

Which is good, because in spite of HECToR’s hard work and the “scientific proof” it yielded, the study offered no explanation as to how the chicken got there in the first place.

Scientists believe they’ve found the world’s oldest sex toy.  It’s 28,000 years old and may have also been used to start fires.

A high school science project has allegedly discovered a new species of cockroach in NYC.

“[Closely-related] species don’t differ [by] more than one percent, [while] this cockroach is four percent different,” agreed Professor Mark Stoeckle. “This suggests it is a new species of cockroach.”

On how they collected specimens:

To conduct this study, Ms. Tan and Mr. Cost collected a total of 217 specimens between November 2008 and March 2009. They rummaged around in supermarkets, streets and in New York apartments, including that of Professor Stoeckle, where they found the new cockroach species.

“The superintendent of the apartment building was surprised when we wanted to save rather than squash the cockroach,” remarked Ms. Tan.