Category Archives: Real Science

Oxygen shots help you survive without breathing.

STAR TREK leads the way again, with news that a new medical compound of injectable oxygen — Tri-Ox for you nerds — is just passed a remarkable lab test in animals.

In an inspirational development, scientists may soon be able to keep suffocating people alive by injecting oxygen-filled microparticles into their bloodstreams. Led by John Kheir at Children’s Hospital Boston, a team of cardiologists choked rabbits (I know) for 15 minutes after administering the gas-laden shots. The rabbits experienced no adverse physical effects…. As George Dvorsky over at io9 points out, the breakthrough could prevent millions of deaths from suffocation every year, not to mention staving off heart attacks and brain damage induced by a lack of air.

I’m also seeing possibilities for genetically cloned armies armed with injectable oxygen and CO2 scrubbers. But then I’m a bit warped.

Source: Oxygen shots help you survive without breathing..

Review: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

I am not going to say I completely understand what this book was about, though it’s safe to say had I not read some Jasper Fforde’ s Thursday Next series or some Kurt Vonnegut, I would be completely confused. Still, the novel is clever, and often funny, filled with a lot of 20th Century ideals about science fiction.
Every day in Minor Universe 31 people get into time machines and try to change the past. That’s where Charles Yu, time travel technician, steps in. He helps save people from themselves. Literally. When he’s not taking client calls, Yu visits his mother and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. The key to locating his father may be found in a book. It’s called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and somewhere inside it is information that will help him. It may even save his life.
The novel is not linear, nor is really plotted out. But, I think, that’s the point. Charles spends most of the book hiding in his time machine, not really working, and dwelling on his childhood relationship with his father (daddy issues abound). And that is about as far as the plot goes, but by adding a sort philosophical conversations about time travel, about life, about the choices we make and don’t make, author Yu gives us a glimpse into the soul of how we see our past. Thus what we have here is an often razor-sharp satirical novel about people who try to save their own pasts to alter their future (which does not work) while a son goes in search for a father who is lost in the ether of time itself.

Nothing to See Here

There just isn’t much to the recent “announcement” of alien, bacteriological life being found in a batch of meteorites. The paper, “Fossils of Cyanobacteria in CI1 Carbonaceous Meteorites: Implications to Life on Comets, Europa, and Enceladus”, was published in a scientific journal that really isn’t a journal, but rather a website with “journal” in the url.

Checking in with other scientists (always something I do when trying to understand science reports in the media) it’s painfully clear that this journal is about a rigorous with it’s review as the Exhaust Shaft inspector was with his review of the Death Star’s plans.

It’s really a frakking shame, too. I know I’m in good company around here in wanting something like this to be true. We already know that organic molecules have been found floating in space. It’s not a stretch to think that actual simple life-forms could be found out there…. and have smashed into us at some point in the travels of our planet.

But right now, with this article, “…the “evidence” is a bunch of squiggly stuff that bears little resemblance to actual bacterial fossils unless you obscure the details by rescaling the images” as Ian Musgrave writes at The Panda’s Thumb.

So right now, no, no evidence that little squiggly bits of Bacteria From Space made it to the Earth. Which means I can continue to believe that we’re just shoggoth food that continued to evolve into the marvel and wonder that is evident every day on Fox News….

As Montana Burns, Republican Fiddles

So there are two novel bills by enlightened state Republicans for how to deal with the results of global warming. If you are like me, both will leave you wondering what the frak the proposers were smoking.

Bill number one comes to us from the great state of Montana, home to steers, queers and an increasing number of destructive wildfires. Those wildfires have been increasing in frequency, and are expected to jump 500% by 2050, according to the NAS, the end result of global climate change. Instead of proposing changes and wrestling with the tough choices involved in trying to arrest the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, State Rep. Joe Read introduced HB 549. Supposedly to ensure the economic development of Montana, the bill actually declares that global warming hasn’t been caused by man and that, in fact, the change in mean global temperatures is great for Montana.

“I’ve come to the belief about climate change,” he said, “that man is very ineffective in instigating that change except in a regional area…Our weather is not going to change drastically.”

With Glacier National Park having lost 83% of it’s size, insect outbreaks devastating Montana forests and seasons having shifted, I’ve come to a belief about something else that’s ineffective: Rep. Read’s sense of reality.

Bill number two will be along shortly.

Source: Climate Progress.

Can You Remember Everything?

For the longest time, researchers were convinced that, as great as our memory was, we were unable to remember “everything.” Every last date, detail, event, smell and happenstance was lost to us, our minds only storing the most pertinent, lasting and “memorable” moments. Until now.

In this remarkable piece from 60 Minutes, scientists have discovered a cohort of people who appear to have “endless memory”, the ability to store, retain and access every day of their lives. It’s a remarkable discovery, one that portends to rewrite everything we know about what we can achieve.

Perhaps one day soon, either through a pill, a class or with the right training, you’ll be able to remember simply everything you’ve ever seen, felt or achieved. Imagine the possibilities.

Endless Memory