Weird Science

Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Category archives for Weird Science

Ear Protein Powered Space Suits?

NASA loves to use weird science to make useful stuff…..even proteins found in the inner ear, in the hair cells to be exact. The protein is called prestin, which is the motor protein on hair cells, which may also find a new use powering space suits. If prestin is combined with electricity-producing microbes (geobacter) in…

Earlier PZ Myers disputed the claim that the recently-notorious 4-legged duck was the product of “genetic changes” as reported by the media. Taking a look at the morphology of the poor bird’s extra legs, it much more likely that the duck suffers from a phenomenon known as “parasitic limb” or “parasitic twin” in humans. For…

A research project commissioned by Bausch and Lomb, and headed by Nathan Efron, Professor of Clinical Optometry at the University of Manchester, tried to reduce the “beer goggles effect” down to an equation. No college student is unfamiliar with beer-goggling: that regrettable effect that alcohol and dark rooms have on our ability to judge attractiveness.…

Cockroach-Controlled Robot

Talk about a cool party trick. Notice how he lovingly refers to the roach as “she.”

Beer Microscopy Project

Long nights, sitting at the microscope, slide after slide…….don’t you just wish you had a beer? Slurp slurp. Ahhhh, thats better. Wait, I wonder what *beer* would look like under the microscope! Let’s try it! I think thats what someone at Florida State thought when they decided to start this project, Molecular Expressions: The Beershots…

The Official Condom of New York

AIDS groups are complaining that Viagra promote unsafe sex, but I wonder what they’d think about these official NYC condoms? What seems like a funny concept is actually part of Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to reduce the spread of STDs by giving free condoms. And we *all* know that its the packaging that really matters in…

Some things, like Hollywood plotlines and political speeches, come in tidy little packages. But what’s more tidy than nature’s own package–the egg? The same researchers who brought you Dolly the Sheep (TM) bring you genetically-modified chickens whose eggs (specifically, the whites) carry anti-cancer proteins within them. “One of the characteristics of lots of medical treatments…

Debunking the Magic Toothpick Trick

First, watch this: I saw that on Yahoo last night and thought it would be kinda fun to try to figure out how it was done. Here’s my guess. So, first of all, it seems that there are 5 toothpicks, broken in half (but not completely in half). The wood has been compressed due to…

Money Can Buy Happiness

You’ve all heard the old adage “Money can’t buy happiness.” But honestly, money can buy a Ferrari, and when was the last time you saw someone in a Ferrari who wasn’t smiling? Now, I’m surely not saying that money is everything. Its not by a long shot. However, we live in a material world, and…

Vicious Dog, Vicious Owner?

According to a study of dog owners, people who own vicious and dangerous dogs, like pit bulls, have significantly more criminal convictions than the owners of tamer breeds. A vicious dog was defined as a breed that, without provocation, has killed or seriously injured a person, killed a dog, or was a pit bull. It…