Worst Science Jobs II: Number 15
Take a 20-pound bag of mulch, dump it on a table, and sort its contents by size, down to the half millimeter. This is the mind-numbing task of the root sorter. “We know lots about the ecosystem above the ground,” says Ruth Yanai, a professor
Worst Science Jobs II: Number 6
“Asbestos, radiation, plutonium and other bad boys of the chemical realm” are PopSci reader Will Clark’s bread and butter. After reading last year’s
inaugural “Worst Jobs” countdown, Clark nominated his own work tearing down
Worst Science Jobs II: Number 16
Alfred Wegener withstood years of derision for his “preposterous” idea that continents drift. Judah Folkman was ridiculed for his theory that cancer tumors create their own blood-vessel networks. And we all remember what happened to Galileo. Today we celebrate these erstwhile crackpots, while their tormentors have faded into egg-faced obscurity.
Worst Science Jobs II: Number 11
Don’t hate them because they’re inscrutable. These are people who love the subtle power and intricacies of computers, yet who must spend their days incarcerated in windowless rooms telephonically holding the hands of 16-bit blockheads. One computer tech in Delaware recently had an urban legend spring to life when a user called to complain, apparently in all sincerity, that his computer’s “coffee cup holder” (actually the CD drive) was broken. “We should all be issued sidearms so we can vent our frustration,” she says.
Worst Science Jobs II: Number 4
If you’re interested
in researching vaginal infections, you can do scrapes or urine tests, or you can draw samples with a pipette. Or you can collect your specimens from tampons. As Australian microbiologist Suzanne Garland and her team at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Victoria discovered, tampons are best for epidemiological studies of sexually transmitted diseases in large populations, because women are more likely to cooperate with a test that is familar and self-inserted rather than one that must be administered by a doctor.
Worst Science Jobs II: Number 9
Go to remote, densely overgrown forest. Take out giant white corduroy sheet. Drag it behind you as you sing loudly to ward off bears. After 20 meters, stop. Do not tarry to smack mosquitoes, for you must immediately tweezer
several hundred tiny, potentially Lyme diseasecarrying ticks that have covered both you and your white cloth, and drop them into a jar. Repeat 50 times a day.
Worst Science Jobs II: Number 7
One hundred twenty million. As the most telling number about beautiful St. John’s Harbor, Newfoundland, this surely must be the count of resident shorebirds. No? Hmm. Then it’s certainly the number of stars visible on a pristine summer night. Strike two? Oh, got it! The number of species living vibrantly in this aquatic paradise!
Worst Science Jobs II: Number 17
In March 2001 in the northeastern U.S., the modern prophets of an angry god were in full herald mode. Wrathful Winter would strike again! They prophesied that many dozens of inches of snow would bury the people, and foretold the locations and times. Oh, what great TV it made! The weathercasters were the darlings of their bosses, as their dire warnings kept the populace glued to the tube.
Until the storm never materialized.
It's scary how much of your personal data lives on the web.
Everything I needed to stalk myself, I bought on the Internet for 65 bucks. I started with a Google search—instant background checks—and hit the first link it returned, people data.com. I entered my credit card info, and the next day
What to do when someone seems to know too much about you
Keep a log of suspicious interactions—noting dates, times and locations—and use it to discern patterns that suggest which aspects of your life are being monitored. If you’re dealing with a potential snoop, not a stalker, consider implementing the countermeasures suggested below. But be careful. If you think you may be in danger, contact the police or an advocate. And don’t add protective measures to your computer if you may want to file criminal charges, because e-mails and other digital files can serve as evidence.
Technology may be ushering in a golden age of stalking, in which predators use GPS, cellphones and other devices to track and terrorize.
They fell for each other in grade school, in the sweetest of ways. In fifth-grade music class, she played saxophone; he played the snare drum. In high school biology, she held the frog while he wielded the scalpel. It was the sort of love story immortalized endlessly in romance novels and Top 40 long-distance dedications. “I thought when I married him it really would be ’till death do us part,’ ” she says now, still surprised that the marriage ended after 19 years. Ultimately, the romance had sputtered to a close, as so many love stories do.
It's easy to hide a GPS unit in a car. Here's where to look.
“Ever wish you had a tool that could prove your suspicions were valid?” Bluewater Security Professionals asks on its Web site (bluewatersecurityprofessionals.com). "Next time you sense suspicious activity with your vehicle, make sure (the $435 PTS Tracking System) goes along for the ride. The site includes “hints” on where to put the GPS antenna—mostly in places where it wouldn't be seen. But forewarned is forearmed: Here are some of the spots where a GPS unit is likely to be stashed.
Monitoring dumps, extracting worms, lobbying politicians: science's ugly side.
Think your job´s bad? Try dragging a bedspread around tick-ridden thickets, pausing regularly in the 100-degree heat not to squeegee the sweat from your brow but to tweeze dozens of the tiny pests into a collection jar.
Three years after its Human Transporter was supposed to change the world, Dean Kamen's innovation factory unveils a successor that just wants to have fun.
I’ve just stepped onto the factory floor at Segway world headquarters in Bedford, New Hampshire, when two engineers sporting matching jeans (tapered), shirts (plaid) and hairlines (receding) glide by and shoot me matching expressions (grins). “Doesn’t anyone walk around here?” I ask, as the distinctive, almost melodic hum of the Human Transporter (HT) trails off. Segway development engineer David Robinson responds with a different expression, this one more quizzical than the one on his colleagues’ faces. “Would you?” he asks.
DARPA take note: an unassuming rodent harbors a surprisingly high-tech defense.
Pit a California ground squirrel against an ambushing rattlesnake, and you may be surprised by the defense. The rodent squares off, flails its tail, kicks up sand, even bites. But its most covert weapon has escaped the eyes of scientistsuntil now. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have discovered that the squirrel's tail actually heats up during battle, radiating an infrared signal that can send rattlers slithering.