Category: It Must Be Science!

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Spinach leaf made into heart tissue, soon self-aware

It seems inevitable that we will go to war with plants. After we rid the planet of animal life, it will be plants that we will compete with for resources. Luckily for us, plants don’t move very fast. But thanks to science, that could change.

Researchers in Massachusetts recently announced that they turned a spinach leaf into functioning human heart tissue, making the leafy green more disgusting than ever before. They were able to remove plant cells, add in human ones. They then pumped some fluids through it to show that the veins of the leaf could be used to carry human blood one day.

That means that we’re not too far off from having living, breathing plants, if we understand science correctly. Once that happens, we’ll have people telling us that salad is murder. Mark our words.

| Filed under It Must Be Science!, War on Animals

Giant chicken presents existential threat

As humans, we think we’re in charge of the Earth. Then we see a monster to remind us that our survival has never been a guarantee. This week’s monster is that giant chicken.

The viral video of a chicken that looks, well, larger than any chicken ever should, has been making the rounds this week. A lot of people say it has to be a hoax. We’d love to tell you that it is, but the sad fact is that we do indeed live in a world where giant chickens exist. Turns out, it’s called a Brahma chicken. They can weigh up to 18 pounds, which is like a heavy cat or medium-size dog, and they look like they have enough feathers for a hotel’s worth of pillows.

We don’t know what they want from us, and we don’t know when they will strike. But we do know that spring is here, and it’s time to fire up the grill.

| Filed under Booze News, It Must Be Science!

One day we will travel to a beer planet

When scientists make a discovery, they can name that thing pretty much whatever they want. There don’t seem to be any real naming rules for stuff, and that’s how we end up with spiders being named for a hat in Harry Potter. Fortunately, a lot of researchers out there like booze.

A group of researchers at Belgium’s University of Liege are big fans of Trappist beers, so much so that they named a planetary system after them. TRAPPIST-1 is a short 40 light-years away, and has seven Earth-size planets, and three of them could even support life. And now, each of the planets bears the name of a Trappist brewery, such as Chimay, Westmalle and Spencer.

Trappist beers come from monasteries that brew their own beer as a means of financially supporting themselves. They have a certification and everything. It makes sense that a bunch of dudes hanging out for the rest of their lives would figure out how to make beer on the side.

Unfortunately, this means that it’s inevitable that some American scientist will discover the planet Budweiser.

| Filed under It Must Be Science!

Parents live longer to post more pictures of their kids

They grow up so fast and yet postpone the merciful release of death. Children are selfish.

For all the talk out there about parenthood being hard — we wouldn’t create an entire industry of blogs if it wasn’t — there are allegedly benefits. And not just for chores. New research indicates that having children may help older people live longer than those who never do.

The researchers believe there are several factors — you can guilt adult children into caring for you, older adults may live healthier lives to beat their grandchildren when their kids aren’t looking. Personally, we think childless older people are more likely to fall off their jetskis or flip their dune buggies. You know, the ones they can afford when they retire because they didn’t pay for tuition, karate gis and dowries.

Researchers also noted that when people who live longer with children are asked about that time, they agree that life does feel longer and “like, an eternity since they pooped with the door closed.”

| Filed under It Must Be Science!, War on Robots

Stephen Hawking wants a world government to fight robots

Famed physicist Stephen Hawking has warned us repeatedly that mankind will probably make robots smart enough that they will overthrow us. But it always comes off as a threat. Now we know why he’s been pushing this agenda.

According to Hawking, unless there is a more concerted, worldwide effort to avoid the rise of the machines, we are likely to fail. And that’s why we need a world government, he said, noting that such a thing could lead to tyranny. So it’s a damned-if you-do-damned-if-you-don’t scenario.

The good news is that there is no secret world government already in existence, otherwise Hawking would definitely be part of it.

| Filed under It Must Be Science!

Update: People are the worst

“Only you can stop starting forest fires. Or peeing in the pool. Seriously. Stahp.”

As a species, we humans live in a constant state of denial. We’re programmed that way. For instance, an observable phenomenon known as Dunning-Kruger effect causes us to inflate how great we are to avoid depression, resulting in not understanding why we take bad pictures or sound weird in voicemail. (It’s because that’s how everyone else hears/sees us, please stop singing.)

This level of denial also applies to things that we definitely do, but would never cop to. Well, the science is in and, yep, we’re awful.

Lest anyone tries to deny peeing in the pool: we’re busted. Everyone knows now. We all thought it was the perfect crime — everyone’s wet, bathing suits don’t show pee, anything amiss is killed by chlorine … except artificial sweeteners. And they’re in everything, not just diet soda. You’re not fooling anyone, person who hasn’t left the pool for six hours except for new beers, and the chlorine smell is only getting stronger to kill your foul excretions.

Also, we’re the ones setting most forest fires. And not like just over half of them, and the other half is droughts, wind and Jerry Bruckheimer’s production logo. Five out of six forest fires — 84 percent — are started by us. We’re doing it so much that we stretched that normal 46 days per year of nature claiming California homes to 154 days, every year. Smokey’s too busy fighting the Trump administration, people. This one’s on us.

So, yeah. It’s time to face facts: people may overwhelmingly mean well, but we don’t act that way.

| Filed under It Must Be Science!

You’re not who you were, science says

Ever wonder why people you haven’t talked to since high school seem so different on Facebook now? If you think those people changed, science says you’re right.

According to a personality study in the U.K., pretty much everyone changes over time. In 1947, researchers conducted personality tests on a bunch of 14-year-olds, grading them on self-confidence, perseverance, stability of moods, conscientiousness, originality, and desire to excel. Then a new team caught up with those same subjects 63 years later and found that basically none of them kept the same levels of those six traits as they did all those years ago.

Science just suggested that Batman wouldn’t be Batman because he would have gotten over it. Thanks for ruining our fun, science.

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#MPGA

Eat sh*t, My Very Energetic Mother who Just Served Us Nachos. This isn’t a ballgame — we demand Pizza.

Can you believe that, 10 years ago, Pluto stopped being a planet? Well, a planet planet. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) made it a dwarf planet, along with Ceres (OPA, represent!), Makemake and Eris. Yes, it’s been a decade since the only time Neil deGrasse Tyson disappointed anyone who isn’t a creationist. Everyone above a certain age beat their breasts and tore at their clothes because My Very Energetic Mother no longer Just Served Us any Pizzas, much less Nine of them.

But, the world, solar system, our universe and even the rest of us moved on. Except for some NASA scientists who allege that Pluto’s demotion has reduced interest and possibly even funding into projects like New Horizons to explore it. So, they’re proposing yet another definition for planets: any self-gravitational spheroid object that’s never undergone nuclear fusion. Or, round, but not a star.

Seems good enough, right? Let’s #MakePlutoGreatAgain!

Except … that means that we won’t have just nine planets again. The new definition will encompass moons, asteroids, balls of ice past Pluto and possibly even comets as planets. Oh, the things we’ll have to make our mothers do to memorize that list!

If these scientists think dwarf planets bore people, imagine how boring planetary exploration will become if everything’s a planet. Or, stated more simply: if everything is exciting, nothing is. Such is life.

| Filed under It Must Be Science!, War on Animals

Study: Cats not making crazy cat ladies crazy

Cats have long held us under their spell, and science has done a lot of important work trying to explain why. In recent years, researchers have linked a parasite from our feline friends to slowed reaction times and mental illness. And now none of that may actually be true.

According to researchers in the U.K., studies that have linked the parasite Toxoplasma gondii are flawed because they had a small sample size, or failed to account for other factors where exposure to the parasite was caused by having a cat in the house. Basically, they’re not saying cats do make you crazy via parasite, they just don’t have enough information to definitively say that having a cat increases your odds of exposure to T. gondii.

That sounds suspiciously like what a scientist whose brain is under the control of cats would conclude.

| Filed under It Must Be Science!, War on Animals

Woolly mammoth will return by 2019, researcher says

For years, science has been threatening us with unleashing one of our long-vanquished foes, the woolly mammoth. And luckily for humanity, it hasn’t happened yet, but it’ll be a reality by 2019.

At a conference this week, the leader of a team of  Harvard University researchers boasted that his people are just a couple years away from having a de-extinctified woolly mammoth. Much like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, the mammoth wouldn’t be 100% original parts, some of the genes would have to come from a similar creature. That creature in this case is an Asian elephant. So the thing that they make will actually be a hybrid.

We killed all the woolly mammoths thousands of years ago, and we’re pretty close to finishing off the elephant population. We need to step it up to ensure this abomination is never made.