Discovery of America – Columbus and Before

Science Fact: The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus is one of the few historical “facts” that sticks with most people long after they have forgotten the Magna Carta, Beowulf and the invention of the cotton gin. The stickiness of … Continue reading

Robots Imitating People: Funny? Scary?

Science Fact: Robots imitating people is a respected line of research in Japan, and the Japanese lead the world in this area. Getting a robot to do anything is challenging enough, which helps explain why there are many university programs … Continue reading

Why Diet Drinks Don’t Help You Diet

Science Fact: Diet drinks are in our diet to help us lose weight. The name is misleading, because they don’t help us diet at all. Diet drinks don’t reduce our weight, and they aren’t even very satisfying! Scientists are finding … Continue reading

Popularity, Autonomy and Growing Up

Science Fact: Popularity imposes a penalty on teenagers: it predisposes them to problems with substance abuse and criminal behavior as young adults. The conflicting demands of having friends and resisting damaging peer influences are at the heart of growing up. … Continue reading

End of Paralysis, Computers Take Over

Science Fact: The end of paralysis is the promise, a computer takeover the threat. But the news features sniping by scientists. Who’s in the right, anyway? This is a timely post, because three hours from now there may be a noteworthy public … Continue reading

STEM Education #1: Science Solves Problems

Science Fact: STEM education means science, technology, engineering and math. Different from the stem cells this blog featured last week (Part 1 & Part 2) — yet also vital to modern life and health. This post also comes in two parts: Part … Continue reading

Stem Cells #2: Innovation from Political Restrictions

Science Fact: Researchers studying stem cells have created life-saving miracles, all while working within society’s legal and ethical limits. Tuesday’s Part 1 related the discovery of stem cells and recognition of their life-saving potential. Today’s Part 2 tells how political … Continue reading

Stem Cells #1: Discovery and Promise

Science Fact: Stem cells have many stories to tell. Depending on the teller, you may hear: – a tale of politics interfering with life-saving medical research; – of babies saved because scientists were not allowed to use fetal tissue; – … Continue reading

Robot Life & the Uncanny Valley

Science Fact: Robot life. A creepy-sounding phrase, one that gives us extra reason to be wary of technology. We previously looked at how robots can assist us, specifically as servants or bartenders.  This post looks at an interesting push-pull in how … Continue reading

Babies Cry to Keep You from Having Sex

Science Fact: Babies cry at night to keep their parents from having sex. Scheming babies? That’s crazy! Isn’t it? Babies do learn remarkably quickly. Japanese psychologists observed a baby as young as seven months engage in fake crying to get … Continue reading

GMO: Science, Antiscience & Kiwifruit

Science Fact: GMO, genetically modified organisms, are a hot topic for many people. Kiwifruit grows strictly with conventional farming – totally non-GMO – yet the growers take advantage of modern genetic technology. How can this be? It’s an interesting story … Continue reading

Flight 370’s Sorry Truths

Science Fact:  Flight 370 teaches sad lessons about the limitations of science in the real world. Before the Maylasia Airlines Boeing 777-200 dropped off the map in the wee hours of March 8, 2014, it seemed that nothing could be … Continue reading

Hospital Infection: Healing May Kill You

Science Fact: Hospital infection poses a deadly risk to every patient. One in twenty-five U.S. patients acquires a hospital infection. Alarmingly, 100,000 patients per year die as a result. The longer you are under care, the greater the risk that instead of … Continue reading

Nerds, Empathy and Social Conscience

Science Fact: Nerds have graduated in recent times from being a reviled social group to an exclusive club. Nerds are certainly not “hot” (except perhaps for BBT’s Sheldon). However, their role in creating iPhone apps and their earning potential have enhanced … Continue reading