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Latest OSS Blog Articles:
A Formula for Science
I’m not a huge fan of automobile racing, but I do admit to catching a bit of the fever when the Formula One cars roll into town. There is something captivating about these machines, capable of attaining speeds well over 300 km/hr, as they push technology, engineering and driving skills to the limit. This is not a cheap sport. The budget for a Formula One team can run upwards of $120 million a year! Just the tires cost a couple of thousand for a set, and they only last for half a race. Of course these are not ordinary tires. Read More.
Why does coffee heated up in the microwave foam up when sugar is added?
At the surface of a liquid molecules are always evaporating. If we leave a glass of water out, it will eventually disappear. If we heat the liquid, its molecules move faster, become more energetic and more molecules go into the vapour phase. As a consequence, the liquid disappears more quickly. Read More.
Joe Mercola and “Foods You Should Never Eat.”
Joe Mercola is an osteopath who runs a popular health website on which he offers all sorts of advice, mostly questionable. He also sells a huge variety of products ranging from an array of supplements to Himalayan salt, organic clothing and tanning beds. These products, like most of Mercola’s advice, are sold based on a mixture of truths, fallacies and outright absurdities, with the latter category dominating. Mercola himself is scientifically negligible, but as they say, even a blind squirrel sometimes finds an acorn. Read More.
A "majestically scientific" study casts doubt on the risks associated with Bisphenol A
I must say that I have never previously heard a study described as “majestically scientific.” But the British do have a way with words. And those were the words that Dr. Richard Sharpe of the University of Edinburgh’s Human Reproductive Sciences Unit used in his analysis of a paper entitled “24 Hour Human Urine and Serum Profiles of Bisphenol A During High Dietary Exposure.” Read more
Did You Know?
Some pathogens are much more dangerous to handle than others, which has led to their classification for laboratory purposes into categories. Category 4, the most dangerous, contains those potentially fatal viruses where no treatment is available, for example Lassa, Ebola, Marburg, smallpox. These call for total isolation and maximym security. Category 3 includes viruses such as hepatitis, HIV, rabies, bacteria like M. tuberculosis, anthrax, and plague, and some fungi and protozoa; these are handled in separate laboratories. The remaining pathogens, treatmable or easily prevented by vaccines, are worked on in safety cabinets; these are Category 2. Category 1 are non-pathogens. As a precaution against spread in the populations, most diseases in Categories 2, 3, and 4, and all zoonoses (diseases caught from animals) are notifiable, meaning that a doctor is obliged to report every case to the local healthy authority, allowing contacts to be traced.
For more interesting facts, please make sure to check out our "Did You Know?" section.
In Other Science News:
Cheating Ourselves of Sleep
Think you do just fine on five or six hours of shut-eye? Chances are, you are among the many millions who unwittingly shortchange themselves on sleep. Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health. Read more
Most people can see a pretty wide range of colours - about a million hues, according to scientists. We perceive all those gradations in colour using cells in our eyes called "cones". The majority of us have three cones, making us "trichromats". People with colour blindness have only two cones that function normally, so they're called "dichromats". Now, a scientist in Newcastle, England has apparently discovered a woman who can see 99 million more colours than the average person. Her ability to perceive all those colours is extremely rare. Read more
Eye-Tracking Software May Reveal Autism
Eye-tracking has become the tech trend du jour. Advertisers use data on where you look and when to better capture your attention. Designers employ it to improve products. Game and phone developers utilize it to offer the latest in hands-free interaction. Read more