Bunsen Bwog: Devil’s in the Details

BunsenBwog: boldly going where no humanities student has gone before

This week Zach Kagan, Bwog’s resident Research Rubbernecker has compiled tales of  mistakes, myth busting, and gut instinct for your enlightenment.

Last year physicists at CERN observed that neutrinos seem to travel faster than the speed of light. The team sent the particles from the Swiss facility to an underground laboratory in Italy and found they made the journey 60 billionths of a second faster than light would have. This caused a great deal of consternation in the physics community, and some big names—including Columbia’s Brain Greene—were openly skeptical. Well, it was reported this week that the too-quick-to-be-true measurement was most likely caused by a loose fiber optic cable. (more…)

BunsenBwog: Are you there, Vodka? It’s me, Science

Study aid

Each week Zach Kagan, Bwog’s resident Lab Rat Wrangler researches Columbia’s hottest advances in science and breaks them down for the rest of us.

  • Even to seasoned physics majors the phrase “quantum memory” sounds like something coined by Deepak Chopra. It is, however, a real thing related to quantum computation.  The Air Force has awarded a team of universities, including Columbia, 8.5 million to investigate it. The goal is to develop new techniques to store, transmit and convert quantum data.
  • Good news for students who Facebook to help them get through that torturous problem set. According to new Columbia research, distraction actually reduces the amount of pain experienced. Not only that, the pain reduced by distraction adds up with pain reduced by a placebo affect. That means that the two operate via two distinctly different neuromechanisms, so they can be done simultaneously without interfering, leading to new techniques in pain relief.
  •  While frogs, beetles, and monkeys choose partners indiscriminately, birds tend to stay true to the one they love. Or so scientists have always assumed. Until, that is, Columbia evolutionary scientists found that most common birds, from sparrows to geese, will stray when the going gets tough. When the weather gets bad our feathered friends get promiscuous but it’s for good reason: multiple partners mean more genetic diversity necessary for passing on genes in harsh conditions.
  • Both Warfarin and Aspirin are widely-used anti-clotting medications and doctors have long debated the befits of one over the other. A new study from the medical school attempted to give an answer once and for all, but in the end they found that their effects are largely the same. The results show that neither medication is statistically superior to the other.
  • At Bunsen Bwog we save the best for last, but sometimes the best comes from outside of Morningside campus. Researchers at the University of Illinois discovered that being slightly drunk improves your ability to solve problems creatively– an assertion that has been tested by many cultural icons. Subjects were asked to drink vodka with cranberry juice, watch cartoons, and then perform creative exercises. We knew Don Draper had something right.

Inspiration via Wikimedia Commons

BunsenBwog: Different Day, Same Channel

Making progress.

BunsenBwog had been stowed away in the metaphorical chemistry stock room over winter break, but science doesn’t take a holiday. Instead, Columbia’s tireless teams of professors and (let’s be honest) mostly graduate students have been toiling away during the winter months, presumably synthesizing the most chemically pure hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted. In reality though they were up to some cool stuff, and you can look forward to left brain correspondent Zach Kagan’s roundup every Saturday:

  • Dr. Kleiman’s group at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health found a connection between epilepsy medication and the development of cataracts.  Antiepileptic drugs alterthe way glutamate receptor proteins operate in the brain, but it turns out that the eye’s lens has similar glutamate receptors that are also affected. Not to be outdone, the Medical Center also had a pioneering discovery which challenges accepted knowledge about esophageal cancer. Barrett’s esophagus- which is a pretty gross disease despite sounding like a west coast sandwich shop- is strongly connected to esophageal cancer. It was believed that Barrett’s esophagus was caused by the lower esophagus, but new research using very unlucky genetically altered mice reveals it’s actually caused by stem cells frenzied up by all sorts of acidic fluids. Medicine is icky.
  • Still trying to lose that holiday season gut? Can’t resist a little extra dessert at John Jay? Well, instead of blaming yourself- and why should you, you lovely Bwog-reader you – blame your parents. After all they gave you that rotten CD36 gene that makes you predisposed to craving fat rich foods according to a new study led by Columbia professor Kathleen Keller. Her goal is to use this data to make healthy food that fools the brain into thinking it’s full of delicious fat, and while it’s a noble goal, Kathleen, we’ve just been hurt too many times.
  • There’s no doubt that NYC uses a lot of energy, but a team of Columbia engineers set out to find just how much. Professor Vijay Modi created an energy map of the city that graphically displays how big our energy bill is, and it’s a doozy: “Midtown Manhattan has more energy use than the whole country of Kenya, and New York state uses more energy than all of sub-Saharan Africa,” said Modi. Take a look at the map yourself here.
  • Every now and then Bunsenbwog salutes efforts made in the softer sciences, and this is an idea worth some sort of vigorous hand gesture.  Columbia econ professor Brenden O’Flaherty has proposed that Calgary solve its homelessness problem by paying people not to be homeless. The idea is that a stipend to everyone who rents or owns a home will reward people for keeping roofs over their heads. The money has to come from taxpayers somewhere, so it remains to be seen how much O’Flaherty  can motivate people with their own money.

Tenured Columbia faculty member via Wikimedia Commons.

BunsenBwog: Whatever Edition

"If you have to ask, you don't want to know" - a scientist

When they aren’t whispering stories in our ear, Professors enjoy cooking up knowledge in the lab. In this weekly feature, Propugnator Scientiae Zach Kagan gives the low-down on what scientists at Columbia have been up to.

  • In a new experiment neutrinos are detected to be still traveling faster than the speed of light. That’s right, the not-sure-if-trolling team of OPERA scientists from Gran Sasso, Italy have repeated their experiment and got the same results. Another Gran Sasso team have refuted the “superluminal” claims of OPERA with their own experiment. Now Bwog doesn’t know what to think, but at the very least be kind to you physics prof., that’s one hell of an existential crisis.
  • Any good professor knows that if you need something done, you can get someone to do it for you. Usually that someone is a grad student, but in this case it’s bacteria! Engineering prof Scott Banta is working on creating microbes that will eat CO2 and ammonia waste and crap out sustainable biofuels. On a related note, why not honor our monocellular friends by giving a giant microbe plushie this holiday season? I hear salmonella is popular.
  • If any of you southwesterners are nostalgic for the Dust Bowl era, it might be your lucky day. For everyone else, not so much, because according to Richard Seager of Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Dust Bowl conditions “will become the new climatology of the American Southwest.” After conducting 19 different climate simulations, the team concluded that extreme droughts will be commonplace in the coming decades. Coulmbians from the southwest, now might be good time to move, or at least brush up on your Steinbeck.
  • In past BunsenBwogs we have talked about how W. Ian. Lipkin is a stone cold pathology fightin’ badass. Well, turns out disease never sleeps and neither does Professor Lipkin. This time he’s got Kawasaki disease in his sights. Kawasaki affects young children and causes inflammation of blood vessels, but the origins of the disease are a mystery. The latest theory is that particles of dust in the wind carry the infectious agent across Asia, so Lipkin and his team are sequencing dust samples from all over Japan to find the culprit.
  • If you’re from outside the tri-state area then you are well aware of the TSA and its shenanigans in the name of safety. Well, if you’re heading out on a plane back home this holiday season you better pack an extra set of lead underpants: Columbia’s Dr. David Brenner believes that X-Ray body scanners not only let TSA agents see you in the buff, but also may cause up to 300 extra cases of cancer a year.
Devious device via wikimedia.
Bunsenbwog: Everything is Illuminated

When they’re not headbanging or falling for our anecdote baiting, Columbia faculty enjoy getting dirty in the lab. Bwog takes a moment to look back on this week in science. Headlines were compiled by pillow talk specialist Zach Kagan.

Just getting the creative joules flowing

A pair of Columbia graduates have designed a solar-powered pillow lamp for areas of the world where electricity is scarce. The LuminAID packs flat but can be inflated to provide 360 degree light for up to six hours. If you think that’s a bright idea, you can buy one for 25 bucks, or support their efforts to illuminate the developing world.

While Global warming might be a drag, ever so often there’s a silver lining. A new study by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has found that white spruce trees along the Alaskan tundra soak up sunlight and proliferate faster at higher temperatures. This is especially good news since trees absorb a third of our industrial CO2 emissions, though we must not forget that trees are still in trouble.

In case you are nostalgic for the Dust Bowl era, it may be your lucky day. Richard Seager of the Earth Observatory believes that is exactly what “will become the new climatology of the American Southwest.” After conducting 19 different climate simulations, his team concluded that such extreme droughts will be commonplace in the coming decades.

Antarctica produces more than just ice and cute penguin animations. The massive Gamburtsev Mountains, located just off the south pole, have a tumultuous history according to a new survey. Data from ice-penetrating radar, gravity meters and magnetometers reveal that the mountains were created by a tectonic collision a billion years ago and weathered over time, only to be renewed by a massive continental fissure. Columbia’s Robin Bell commented on the findings, “This work shows that very old mountains can rise again, like a Phoenix from the ashes.”

It seems if there’s one thing neuroscientists are good at, it’s fiddling with rodent brains. A group of Columbia researchers disabled ion channels in rat grid cells, observing that it prevents them from focusing on small visual details. The researchers believe these ion channels allow the brain to enhance images, zooming in and increasing overall resolution.

David Bowie as Tesla via Wikimedia

BunsenBwog: Brave Blue World

In this weekly feature, Man about Science Zach Kagan takes a close look at some of the fascinating things Columbia scientists are brewing in the labs.

In the last 50 years, scientists have found the universe is more wobbly then we ever imagined! (click this image to see it shake, shake, shake that hydrogen)

Last week Columbia’s own Brian Greene sermonized science across the nation in his latest PBS special “Fabric of the Cosmos“, where many a blue, shiny spinning thing appeared inside his hands. The first part of the special was screened in the Miller theater to an audience of eager physics fanboys and fangirls. Greene held an amusing Q&A session afterward, which is well worth a watch just to see how Greene handles awkward questions about UFOs.

  • But while some physicists are hobnobbing with the public television elite, others are in the lab, building stuff out of lasers ‘n shit. Professor Szabolcs Márka shows us all how science really gets done by building a light barrier that repels mosquitos. Márka has received over a million dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue his research to fight malaria. What does he do with that money? Raise an army of mosquitos in the basement of Pupin, of course! Saving lives has never so close to mad science.
  • new Columbia study shows the power that a gateway drug can have on facilitating addiction, but not the one you think. Nicotine is the nogoodnik here: mice that were primed with nicotine saw a much greater reaction to cocaine then regular mice. Nicotine reprograms gene expression so that mice are much more likely to become dependent on addictive substances. Science is important, but it’s a shame that these mice went to Columbia University just to get hooked on coke.
  • Here’s one for the com-sci majors! A team of Columbia engineers have developed a solution to the problem of ‘data races’ created in multithreaded programming. For the uninitiated, a data race is when a program’s success is dependent on what order things are completed by program. If the wrong thread finishes first the program could crash. The team’s new system fixes this by analyzing and planning the order that threads need to be executed. The breakthrough is important for the stability of multithread systems, whatever that means.
BunsenBwog: Varieties of Apocalypse

Just about every week, Bwog collects stories about some of the ground-breaking research being done here at Columbia or by Columbians around the world. For this edition of BunsenBwog, Zach Kagan collects all of the best holiday-themed research our scientific community has to offer. 

The Ebola virus

Bwog has been watching a bunch of scary movies in preperation for Halloween. Did you know that the virus in 28 Days Later was a mutated version of Ebola, which is already pretty much the most horrific virus ever? Oh, and the first filovirus, the family that Ebola belongs to, was just discovered by doctors from the Mailman School in Europe. It’s not turning people in rage zombies just yet, instead infecting Spanish bats… oh no, we can see where this is going.

When robots inevitably rise up and enslave the human race, we can at least take some solace in the fact that they will be pretty easy to mislead. After all, robots are notoriously bad at lying, so how hard could it… Oh, great. Comp Sci professor Julia Hirschberg has taught computers how to detect whether you are lying or not with 70% accuracy (while humans only guess correctly 58% of the time). If they can detect lies, how long until they can tell lies? Who’s side are you on Prof. Hirschberg?

More science!

Bunsenbwog: Saving Lives Edition

Stick out your tongue and say "acquired immune deficiency"

When they’re not headbanging or falling for our anecdote baiting, Columbia faculty enjoy getting dirty in the lab. Bwog takes a moment to look back on this week in science. Headlines were compiled by infectious disease specialist Zach Kagan.

Columbia anesthesiologist and Med school Professor Stephen Shafer took the stand Thursday in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the personal physician of Michael Jackson. Shafer ultimately dismissed Murray’s claim the Jackson woke up and self-administered the lethal dose of propofol, arguing “people don’t just wake up from anesthesia like that.”

As it turns out, genetics is even more complicated than Moshowitz makes it out to be. A team of Columbia researchers have discovered a new mechanism for gene regulation in which mRNA from one gene can influence the expression of completely different genes. The interaction might explain why some cells become cancerous, but let’s face it, if we had to handle this many biological interactions we’d be confused too.

A cream initially developed by Columbia researchers to stem the HIV endemic in Africa proved to be more effective in preventing the transmission of genital herpes. While it’s estimated that twenty percent of sexually active adults have herpes, the cream’s developers are confident they can bring that rate down.

Speaking of HIV, a new mathematical model developed by the Mailman School of Public Health predicts that targeting discordant couples for treatment could dramatically curb the spread of AIDS by up to 96 percent. Columbia researchers weren’t through with AIDS just yet. Another study showed that simultaneously treating HIV and tuberculosis decreased patient mortality rates. This is especially relevant since 70 percent of Africans with TB are also HIV-positive.

Finally a different team of Columbia researchers showed that the chance of having a stroke is significantly greater if you’ve had diabetes for 10 or more years. How Wilford Brimley survives, though, remains a medical mystery.

BunsenBwog: Yesteryear’s Science of Tomorrow Today!

Hey check out the science I found in this tube!

When they’re not headbanging or falling for our anecdote baiting, Columbia faculty enjoy getting dirty in the lab. Bwog takes a moment to look back on this week in science. Headlines were compiled by test-tube enthusiast Zach Kagan.

CSI is real—Columbia’s nanoscience brainboxes have created a device that can sequence DNA at the speed of a primetime crime drama. By dragging DNA through a nanopore, the individual nucleic acids create an electric potential that is analyzed by a computer. And at under $1000 dollars, it makes finding the father all that more affordable. Now if only the labs can find a way to enhance it.

What’s your poison? Chances are you didn’t say arsenic, but if you are drinking from a shallow well you might be swigging the unpopular chemical. A new Columbia study says that minerals in wells dug below 500 feet purify water from deadly arsenic, so remember to dig deep before you get your sip on.

Women of Columbia and Barnard: do you want to make $8000? That’s what Columbia researchers are offering for the donation of human eggs to create patient-specific stem cells (research that got a shout out on last week’s BunsenBwog). This has caused a bit of a controversy as some have described the incentive system as a slippery slope that leads to selling organs. But while the bioethicists wrestle with the issue there’s time for you to put your student debt in a headlock.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure-trove of alternative energy. Columbia’s Earth Engineering Center claims that, if recycled using current technology, all the plastics thrown away annually could fuel 6 million cars or power 5.2 million homes for a whole year. Bwog has one word for you: plastics.

Don’t listen to what that guy down the hall with the Bob Marley poster says: a new study at the Mailman School claims that marijuana use doubles the chance of getting into a car accident.

Tubetouchers via wikimedia commons.

BunsenBwog: Nobel Prize Edition

"I'd like to thank the academy"

When they’re not jamming or answering our inane questions, Columbia faculty enjoy getting dirty in the lab. Bwog takes a moment to look back on this week in science…but first, we bring you some exciting news from Stockholm. Headlines were compiled by our strictly-hands-off correspondent Zach Kagan.

The Royal Swedish Academy of the Sciences recently announced the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize awards.

  • The Nobel Prize in Physics went to astrophysicists Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riessfor for discovering that the universe is expanding at an increasing rate.
  • The Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to Dan Shechtman for his discovery of quasicrystals for which he was initially mocked by his peers.
  • The Nobel Prize in Medicine went to Bruce A. Beutler and Jules A. Hoffmann for discovering the activation mechanism behind innate immunity and to the late Ralph M. Steinman for his discovery of the dendritic cell.

Just because no prizes were awarded to Columbia faculty doesn’t mean they aren’t working hard. Columbia does its science from scratch, no hand holding involved. Here are some highlights from the week:

A team of Columbia scientists has successfully created the world’s first embryonic stem cell, which represents a huge step towards better matching implanted tissue with an individual’s genome. It doesn’t stop there! First embryonic stem cells, then a discovery of flu-fighting immune cells in the lungs, and finally a new treatment for retinitis pigmentosa. Can you say Nobel Prize in Medicine for 2038?

According to a new study from the business school, people who exhibit anti-social and “Machiavellian” behavior tend to make more utilitarian moral choices. The authors claim that their research reveals a fundamental flaw in they way we examine moral dilemmas, but let’s be honest: someone has to do John Stewart Mill’s dirty work.

Oversized bank note via Wikimedia Commons

Faster Than The Speed of BunsenBwog

Liquid nitrogen: it's like getting iced, but... much worse.

The physics community’s collective world was recently rocked by the latest results from CERN, with some now claiming that they have measured neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. While the discrepancy is small (only 60 nanoseconds), it could force physicists to reconsider Einstein’s theory of relativity. Columbia’s go-to physics rock star, Brain Greene, remains skeptical: “I would bet just about everything I hold dear that this won’t hold up to scrutiny.” Ouch.

One million Americans suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but researchers have yet to understand its causes. Earlier studies suggested that the condition might stem from the XMRV virus or one of the related mouse leukemia viruses. However, recent data from patient blood work finds no correlation between XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome. Mailman School of Public Health Professor W. Ian Lipkin is conducting his own study, though other faculty members such as Vincent Racaniello agree that “it’s clearly time to move on.”

The blood-brain barrier makes it impossible for doctors to intravenously deliver drugs to the brain. Or at least it was impossible until Columbia professor Elisa Konofagou developed a method using short ultra sound pulses to safely open the blood-brain barrier. Konfagou believes this method will lead to treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Cue an updated Frontiers curriculum.

Graphene has already established a reputation as an incredibly versatile material, but things might just get even better—a new paper published by a large collaboration of Columbia professors and graduate students hints at an unplumbed frontier in the nitrogen doping of graphene. The embedded nitrogen atoms profoundly change the electrical properties of the graphene, albeit only in a two-atom radius, making it highly tunable and useful for electronics. That’s all well and good, but could it possibly be worth all those Girl Scout cookies?

IcyHawt image via Wikimedia Commons.

BunsenBwog: Science is Fiction

Doing science.

Science is back! Bwog’s resident test tube aficionado Zach Kagan reports.

After an exhaustive series of tests at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, Scientists have ruled out all possible masses for the elusive Higgs Boson between 145 and 466 GeV with 95% certainty. Professor Peter Woit vented his frustration, saying “a malicious deity has carefully chosen the Higgs mass to make it as hard as possible for physicists to study it.” Come on, Higgs Boson, be a team player.

Speaking of illusive matter, some physicists are beginning to doubt dark matter’s existence. Columbia’s XENON100 lab in Gran Sasso, Italy has found no evidence of the particles that theoretically make up dark matter. However, the dark matter detector next door, Gran Sasso National Laboratory’s CRESST-II, has published data suggesting that WIMPS are indeed out there. XENON100 physicists doubt CRESST-II’s data, so the fate of dark matter is unsure, baring some sort of decisive cage match between the labs.

World War II may have seen the greatest generation, but ours certainly knows how to party harder, or so says a new Columbia study. Those born in the past half of the century are more likely go on binges and develop drinking problems. While the jury is still out over the cause of the spike in drinking, but the past year’s Billboard top 40 hits certainly aren’t helping.

The freighting plausible and star-studded epidemic thriller “Contagion” is winning praise with critics and audiences alike partially due to efforts of Columbia epidemiologist W. Ian. Lipkin. Professor Lipkin designed the (thankfully fictional) virus that wrecks havoc on Minneapolis and trained the actors how to  effectively act its symptoms. His help was so appreciated that a writers created a character based off of him.

BunsenBwog: Summer of Science II


Columbia scientists take no vacations!

Defying conventional medical technology, one Columbia engineer has decided to build his way out of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. The mChip, now passing its fourth year of testing, aims to deliver the diagnostic capabilities of a full-fledged lab to patients on a hundred-dollar chip. In case that’s not impressive, the lab-on-a-chip has a 100-percent detection rate for HIV in only 15 minutes testing time. The project’s team hopes to extend the chip’s superpowers to also detecting hepatitis B or C as well as the most common sexually-transmitted diseases. The team even plans to integrate the chip with satellite or cell phone equipment in order to transmit results wirelessly to doctors—though in a post-Steve Jobs world, we can only hope that all that miniaturization doesn’t get in the way of usability.

Seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory briefly poked their heads into the media to help ease New Yorker’s concerns over this week’s earthquake. In addition to helping bump up the quake from a 5.8 to a 5.9, the scientists are going to use the collected data to learn more about the underlying rock. Who knows, maybe they’ll find an entire village buried beneath Central Park.

For the first time ever, Columbia neuroscientists were able to convert ordinary skin cells into functional forebrain neurons using direct reprogramming techniques. The recent achievement offers a glimmer of promise for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. While gene therapy has shown its success in treating “bubble boy” disease, we wonder if someone has tried their regeneration experiment on a familiar campus icon.

A new study by the university’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse has found that teenagers who use online social networking sites are more likely to engage in drug use. The risk increases fivefold for tobacco, threefold for alcohol, and twofold for marijuana. Some even say a parallel can be drawn to another cultural phenomenon involving ironic facial hair. (Just say no, 2015ers)

Scientists via Wikimedia Commons

BunsenBwog: Summer of Science

Sometimes you're just got to say to the data, "Let's science it!"

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean science isn’t happening at Columbia!

Scientists at Columbia are growing heart and bone tissue. An NPR reporter went to the lab, interviewed researchers, and made a really cool and informative video about it that includes footage of heart tissue beating like a real heart. Perhaps most amazing is the fact that the beat tempo can be controlled by altering the frequency of electrical pulses going to the muscle. It’s a little geeky, but really fun to watch. After the video was published, NPR meta-interviewed the reporter about the video.

Some Columbia researchers are working on something which may lead to The Pill—for men! They gave mice a drug which interefered with Vitamin A receptors, causing them to cease producing sperm. After being taken off the drug, the mice resumed mating and were able to reproduce. Giggity.

Lamont-Doherty was the major contributor to Google’s efforts to map an area of the ocean floor larger than North America by offering up its Global Multi-Resolution Topography database.

Complaining that much really does hurt you. According to a new study, a “positive outlook” on life can reduce chance of heart attack up to 22%. And this study was done by Columbian researchers on Canadians, so their threshold for a “negative outlook” probably has nothing on us.

Ian Lipkin is a Columbia scientist who supports “de-discovery,” which is the practice of rigorously repeating studies. Apparently this isn’t done because, hey, just repeating the work of others doesn’t get you on the front cover of Nature. So that’s no feather in Frontiers’ cap—just because studies can be repeated does not mean they are.

In happy news, Kartik Chandran, associate professor of EEE at SEAS (or CE?), won some Gates Foundation money to turn “fecal sludge” into fuel. That’s right folks: it actually says “fecal sludge” on columbia.edu. Today is a day for celebration.

Image via Wikimedia Commons


Believe it or not, Columbia scientists actually have better things to do than Frontiers. Bwog presents a review of Columbia’s week in science. Headlines were compiled by Ricky Raudales, who may or may not have submitted the hawk-themed short.

Imagine what Pixar could do with this

  • One panel of judges at last week’s Tribeca Film Festival included two familiar scientists, Stuart Firestein (Columbia) and Janna Levin (Barnard), who helped select the winners of this year’s TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund. Among the rejected pitches was Bwog’s own indie romance, Hawkma, Je T’aime, for which a release date has not yet been set. (Wired)
  • Evolutionary ecologist Dustin Rubenstein sat down with The Scientist to discuss how slime molds, also known as social amoebas, engage in a primitive form of agriculture. What he apparently didn’t mention is that the trials are being conducted inside communal fridges in Harmony (seriously, people, throw out your expired milk cartons.) (The Scientist)
  • Columbia’s own Klaus Lackner shares his latest global warming antidote, an artificial tree capable of sequestering carbon dioxide one thousand times faster than the real stuff. Shove these things in the tailpipes of every New York cab, and you’ve practically solved global warming. (Wall St Daily)
  • Findings from a recent epidemiological study suggest that frequent business travel may be bad for your health, in some cases even increasing one’s risk for cardiovascular disease. Somebody, quick! Tell that to our favorite Dean of Student Affairs by day, pop sensation by night. (Science Daily)