Selected Science Stories Are Silly

But still informative

Beluga

Stan Shebs (GNU Free Documentation License)

Yes, she's still in the news. This time it's a battle over protecting beluga whales. Erstwhile VP candidate Sarah Palin has filed a notice of intent to sue the federal government over protection for the belugas of Cook Inlet. Her chief of staff wrote the fabulously titled op-ed for the Anchorage Daily News, "Protection Requirements for Cook Inlet Belugas Are Silly."

Also in today's links: lighting the earth's farts, wearing out your brain on Facebook and more.

  • I'm prone to falling in love with any interesting creature I read about, so maybe it won't carry much weight when I say this is the most fascinating ever: a fish with a transparent head. But it is.
  • British psychologists are warning that social-networking sites are "infantilizing" young people's brains. And yes, I'm sure somebody will now mock this on their Facebook wall.
  • As the Arctic temperature increases, thawing the permafrost, bubbles of methane can be released, further contributing to warming. (Be sure to watch the video -- the scientist interviewed describes lighting these escaping methane pockets on fire as fun AND informative. The holy grail!)
  • Every year I debate whether or not to get a flu shot -- I kind of like the idea of lying at home, watching a lot of TV and drinking ginger ale and eating soup. (Yes, I realize this is a luxury.) Every year, scientists debate how the flu vaccine might have mutated, and how it might appear in that season. However, researchers are closer to a universal flu vaccine, having identified an antibody that combats all strains of the virus. That doesn't necessarily help me out, though.