Web Time

1. Never mind jokes about changing light bulbs. When spiders but their collective mind to it, they can pull down 8-foot long fluorescent light fixtures. In Baltimore, at least.   2. That’s not surprising when we consider spider silk as a prototype for synthetic muscle.   3. In fact, it turns out that the screenwriters […]

Shrinking Generation

The term “power plant” often evokes images of giant nuclear cooling towers or massive fossil fuel smoke stacks reaching skyward. People’s thoughts tend towards massive infrastructure projects that produce energy for entire cities in a single location. As was touched on in Part 1 of this series (The Grid), as the electric industry evolved from […]

Bac To The Future

Antibiotics have received a great deal of media attention in the wake of the recent discovery of teixobactin, a new soil bacterium with strong antibiotic properties. Northeasten University professor Kim Lewis and a team of scientists found teixobactin in soil samples from a grass field in Maine through the use of an iChip, a board with holes […]

Winston’s Rules

General Dwight D. Eisenhower once asked Winston Churchill to review a draft of one of Eisenhower’s speeches. Churchill’s critique? “Too many passives and too many zeds.” When asked to explain, Churchill replied, “Too many Latinate polysyllabics like ‘systematize,’ ‘prioritize,’ and ‘finalize.’” Then, to emphasize the power of simple, straightforward verbs, Churchill lambasted the General’s use […]

Nobel, Not Nobility

With the current rise of chemophobia, anti-vaccine sentiments, and attempted government bans on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we are in an interesting dichotomy of science and society. Our technology and scientific knowledge pushes new boundaries every day and is often celebrated on popular websites such as Buzzfeed and I F—ing Love Science, yet there is […]

Moon Mysteries

The early days of the Earth were violent times. Today, our solar system is relatively quiet and sedentary, presided over by an aging star that is long past its stormy youth. But 4.5 billion years ago, our sun was just forming its planetary progeny, and things were far from quiet. Huge masses of rock and […]

Narciss-omics

‘Omics’ has been a science buzzword for the past few years, as well as the butt of many jokes; a certain genomics center includes a badomics generator on its website, which puts the suffix on random words to create fake but strangely compelling journal publication titles. University of California, Davis professor Jonathan Eisen regularly announces […]

Research On Research

Every few months, the media catches wind of a new scientific discovery and headlines everywhere pronounce that the world’s problems have been solved. The cure for autism, cancer, depression, and other maladies; the proposed results sound promising and exciting, but upon reading further into the literature, implications of the data become more and more hazy. […]

Long Sorry Short

Etgar Keret has been called the “hippest Israeli writer,” but I think he is Israel’s sorriest writer. This may come as a surprise. For a long time he has been the darling of the European literati, a sweetheart of American Jewish audiences, and a favorite of students of Hebrew everywhere. His language is easy to […]

Devout Unbelief, Part 4

In the Mormon temple ceremony, Joseph Smith put forward a bold vision of what it means to be human: Men and women are gods in the making. Properly schooled and empowered, they can become anything, or, rather, everything, they can imagine. Smith’s vision for society was no less radical: With his fellow saints, he would […]