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Bacopa Monnieri

Herbal medicine is the oldest form of medicine. When our early ancestors foraged for plants to eat, they encountered some that had benefits other than curbing hunger.

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The Healing Code

You would think it’s a Saturday Night Live skit. And it would be funny if it didn’t have a serious side.

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Weighing the benefits of tea

“Get in here and sit your ass down!” Not exactly what you expect to hear when you are peacefully walking in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

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Thomas Donaldson and cryonics

Most people would like to keep their heads. But don’t count Thomas Donaldson among them. This mathematician and computer consultant wanted his cut off.

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The new meaning of natural vanilla flavor

Vanilla is the most popular flavor in North America. But it is not that often that one gets the chance to taste the “real stuff”.

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Goat Poop in Your Hair?

Now that we’ve got your attention, let’s talk about argan oil. Don’t worry, we will get around to the poop.

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Here are the recordings:


Symposium, Day 1 - Jim Bell "Postcards from Mars: Using Rovers to Explore the Habitability of the Red Planet" & Jill Tarter - "SETI: Looking for Technosignatures"

Symposium, Day 2 - Sara Seager: "The Search for Earth 2.0" & Joe Nickell - "UFO Mythologies"


Free App!!!

We are pleased to announce that we now have an “App” both for Apple and Android devices so that the McGill Office for Science and Society’s nifty and sometimes quirky science can always be at your fingertips. The Apps are free and can be downloaded here:


For Apple devices, you can download the app here.

For Android devices, you can download the app here.

For Windows phone devices (8.0, 8.1), you can downlad the app here.


Latest OSS Blog Articles: 

Cherry Picking Cranberry Juice Data
Cranberry juice manufacturers are adept at cherry-picking data. Of course this is not a unique pursuit. Be it milk, or blueberries or pomegranates or artificial sweeteners or beef or turmeric or bottled water or virtually any other food or beverage that is on the market, its producers scour the scientific literature for any study that can be used as promotional material. Read More.

We need rational discussion about pesticides, without rhetoric
David Copperfield performed many an illusion on his television specials with his hair blowing in the wind, tussled by an offstage fan. I was reminded of that effect by an episode of the Dr. Oz show in which the hot air so often generated by the host was amplified by a fan à la Copperfield. Read More.

Leukemia Needs Chemotherapy, Not "Live Enzyme Treatment"
Do parents have a right to make a decision about how a minor’s cancer is to be treated? Or not treated? This is not just a hypothetical question, it is a very current one. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a bone marrow cancer that untreated leads to death but with appropriate chemotherapy has an over 90% cure rate. Read More.

Space molecules are branching out
In a paper published in this week’s issue of Science, astronomers from the Max Planck institute, the University of Cologne (Germany) and Cornell University (USA), announced to have for the first time detected, in interstellar space, a carbon-containing molecule with a branched structure. Read More.



Did You Know?

This may come as a shock to some people but lead pencils do not contain any lead.  Never did. The “lead” actually is a mixture of graphite and clay; the more graphite, the softer and darker the point.  The mistake in terminology can be traced back to the ancient Romans who actually used pieces of lead to draw lines on papyrus scrolls in order to guide them in writing with a tiny brush called a pencillus.  Lead is a very soft metal and pieces readily rub off.  The Romans never realized that lead was potentially toxic but today we know that even tiny amounts ingested can result in poisoning.  So it is a good thing we do not have “lead” pencils for children to chew on.

For more interesting facts, please make sure to check out our "Did You Know?" section.



Most Recent Science Links:


Pesticide use by farmers linked to high rates of depression, suicides
On his farm in Iowa, Matt Peters worked from dawn to dusk planting his 1,500 acres of fields with pesticide-treated seeds. “Every spring I worried about him,” said his wife, Ginnie. “Every spring I was glad when we were done.” Read More.

Smell Turns Up in Unexpected Places
Smell is one of the oldest human faculties, yet it was one of the last to be understood by scientists. It was not until the early 1990s that biologists first described the inner workings of olfactory receptors — the chemical sensors in our noses — in a discovery that won a Nobel Prize. Read More.

EPA approves new herbicide for Dow biotech corn, soybeans
he Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday approved a new Dow AgroSciences herbicide, allowing the sale of the controversial technology that has come under fire from critics concerned about its impact on the environment and human health. Read More.

The enigma of methane on mars
Methane, an indicator of life? Methane (CH4) is an organic molecule present in gaseous form in the Earth's atmosphere. More than 90% of methane on our home planet is produced by living organisms. The recent detection of plumes of methane in the northern hemisphere of Mars is of great interest because of its potential biological origin, though other explanations may also be possible. Read More.


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