YGSSOY is going to take a little time off for Christmas. Happy holidays to you and yours, see you in the new year, and here’s a little science to stuff in your stocking:
- Santa might have to move his workshop a little. Computer models suggest that the glacial and polar melting going on because of climate change is redistributing a lot of mass on the earth’s surface, which is causing the planet’s rotation to shift a little, which is moving the poles.
- The history of the last ice age is written in the genes of caribou.
- As far as ancient Chinese farmers were concerned, cats might have been man’s best friend.
- I think this headline from ScienceNOW sums it up nicely: Want to Fight Allergies? Get a Dirty Dog.
- In the future, your doctor might say, “We need to recharge your drug pump. Here, swallow this battery.”
- Everything in moderation, right? Especially caffeine and alcohol. Your DNA might depend on it. (Big thanks to reader Sheila B. for sending this in!)
- Speaking of moderation: It’s been debated for a long time whether multivitamins are just too much of a good thing. Ever more, the evidence seems to be coming down in the side of “yes.”
- Vodka’s not just for drinking. It’s for texting, too.
- Praise the lord! The FDA is finally going to look into the safety of antibacterial soaps.
- Nathan Mhyrvold is a lot of things. Former Microsoft CTO, patent protector/patent troll, biophysical chef. Now you can add paleontological private eye to the list.
- What do you get when you take peanut butter and squeeze it between two diamonds at incredibly high pressures, on the order of 50 million pounds per square inch? Another diamond.
- Anesthesia and sleep have a lot to teach us about the nature of consciousness.
- Making small drugs is easy. Making big drugs — like the ones based on proteins — is really hard. A research team in New York might — and we really do need to say “might” — have worked out a way to make erythropoietin (a blood-boosting protein drug currently made using bioreactors full of genetically engineered hamster cells) just using laboratory chemistry.