Entry 780: Can’t We Give Scientists Something Better to Do?

Guarantee: All stories in this post are true.

I think most of us assume that scientists are pretty smart. It seems obvious to us that you have to be intelligent to get people to pay you for doing science, and we certainly couldn’t do it because we only managed to get through high school chemistry because Ms. Keneally took pity on us.

But maybe that’s just me.

In any case, judging from some recent headlines I’ve encountered, we may be overestimating our scientists’ brainpower.

For instance:

Scientists Finally Confirm That Uranus Is Surrounded by Fart Clouds
This story sounds more like it’s coming from an old Mel Brooks movie than a laboratory. While it’s obvious to all of us non-scientists that a planet called Uranus simply must by surrounded by fart clouds, some scientists went to great lengths to prove it:

“. . . (they) examined sunlight bouncing off Uranus as captured by the 8-meter Gemini North telescope in Hawaii. Scientists determined what sorts of molecules were inside the atmosphere by examining the light it reflected in infrared.”

The molecules they found were hydrogen sulfide, the same molecules that makes farts smell like farts. Well, okay. But can you imagine being the person who had to write the grant proposal for fart cloud research?

Scientists Are Calling for a Worldwide Ban on Glitter
No, they are not circulating a petition demanding that the Mariah Carey movie never be shown again. They claim that the “microplastics,” as they call glitter (because scientists can’t call anything by its fun name), have been getting into the oceans where they have been consumed by fish. According to a study, glitter was found in about one-third of the fish caught in the United Kingdom, giving rise to a new dish called Sparkly Fish & Chips.

I don’t think that the types of folks who enjoy glitter are likely to give it up for the sake of the environment, so the government should probably issue a research grant to develop biodegradable glitter, perhaps made from the scales of the fish that ate the old kind of glitter.

Caltech Scientists Create World’s Smallest Mona Lisa
As you probably know, the real Mona Lisa is disappointingly small, but the Caltech version is downright teeny tiny. It was made using a process known as DNA origami, which is used in the field of nanotechnology to reduce the size of programmable materials and also to make birds by elaborately folding individual pieces of confetti.

The image at right is blown up almost as much as Donald Trump’s ego so you can see it, but the actual size of her smile is only 100nm wide. And in case you’re wondering what an “nm” is, it’s a nanometer, and in case you’re wondering how big a nanometer is, 100 of them is equal to 0.00000393701 inches, which basically means I could say, “Hey, here’s a 50nm wide perfect replica of Kendall Jenner’s last selfie.”

 

.

 

And unless you had an extremely high-powered microscope or went through the trouble of zooming the screen a few hundred times, you’d have to believe me.

Next up for the Caltech folks: a microscopic Louvre.

Scientists “Transplant Memories” Between Sea Snails via Injection
This was a multi-step process. First, scientists at the University of California in Los Angeles took some sea snails and scared the hell out of them via electric shocks, thus training them to have a defense reflex when they were touched in their siphons, which is a snail body part that, frankly, the idiot snails shouldn’t have let people touch in the first place. Then the scientists took RNA, (which is like DNA only with an R), from those snails and injected it into other, non-electrified snails. Lo and behold, the new snails didn’t like their siphons to be touched either.

This technique may have a bright future in transplanting various phobias from one human to another, so, if you’d like to be afraid of something, the University of California in Los Angeles may be looking for test subjects. Just be sure to protect your siphon.

Scientists Can Now Keep a Pig’s Brain Alive Outside of its Body
A team of scientists has revealed that they were able to keep the brain of a pig alive outside of its body for 36 hours after it was decapitated. The brain was kept alive via a connection to a closed-loop system known as “BrainEX” (which I’m assuming is something other than the product shown at right), which pumps body-temperature artificial blood to the necessary parts of the brain to keep it alive. This research has tremendous potential applications such as being able to compliment a pig on its ham.

Scientists Observe Male Dolphins Giving Gifts to Potential Mates
“He dove to the waters’ bottom,” researchers explained, describing the behavior of the smitten mammal, “dislodged a marine sponge, then used his snout to nudge the offering in the female’s direction.” The team plans further research into whether or not such efforts improve chances of mating success, or whether the female dolphin will choose the partner who nudges a Tiffany box in her direction.

See you soon.

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One Response to Entry 780: Can’t We Give Scientists Something Better to Do?

  1. Pingback: Entry 789: The Latest Space News | The Upsizers

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