"I hate when petroleum-based products cover surfaces" - scientist.

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. Headlines were compiled by our Resident Scary-Number-Things Expert Ricky Raudales.

  • Using cutting-edge computer models, scientists at the Earth Observatory determined that the depletion of ozone over Antarctica has directly affected climate patterns as far north as the tropics. If you’re somehow still not convinced of global warming, here’s a time-lapse progressionillustrating the formation of the now 11.5 million square-mile hole. (CNN)
  • The Times recounts the efforts of our own Ponisseril Somasundaran, chemical engineer and a leading expert in surfactants, who developed safer alternatives to the petroleum-based dispersants used in the recent oil spill. Because fighting oil with even more oil just sounds, you know, silly. (NYTimes)
  • Bigshot, a pet project of the director of Columbia’s Computer Vision Laboratory, invites children to learn about the science behind digital cameras by providing them their own DIY kits. Bwog wonders how long it’ll take for a Brooklyn startup to start marketing the camera to hipsters. (NYTimes)
  • Thanks to data collected from the growth rings of ancient trees, Columbia researchers have pinpointed several record droughts that may have contributed to the decline of the Mayan and Toltec civilizations. So you see, real hard science can help out its cousins in the bunkum pseudosciences anthropological sciences, after all. (InsideScience)

Wrenching image via Wikimedia.