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.
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.
Babies are sociopaths. They are concerned with nothing but their own needs and desires, and they will emotionally manipulate adults any way they can to get what they want. But what if we could manipulate them right back? Science finally has the answer.
Researchers teamed up with Grammy winner Imogen Heap to create a song that would absolutely make babies smile or laugh. From previous work, the scientists knew that babies preferred uptempo music, and a female singer, because babies are sexist. Heap recorded a few different melodies and a test group of babies clearly preferred one of them. The next step was adding the right words. This meant including words with plosive sounds (made by B’s, P’s, etc.) because that’s what the kids are into these days.
The end result got an overwhelmingly positive response from the test babies. We have now created a song that will make them laugh — or did they trick us into making music they like?
Listen if you don’t mind songs stuck in your head.
Just before Thanksgiving last year, the animals tried to end the world. Perhaps you hadn’t heard about that.
On Nov. 20, 2016, the Large Hadron Collider was under attack. Authorities say that a weasel-like animal called a marten climbed over a fence protecting the enormous particle accelerator. It was a suicide mission, an attempt to sabotage the LHC and hopefully blow up the Earth. The marten touched a transformer and was instantly killed as 18,000 volts coursed through its body. Luckily, the LHC didn’t blow up.
I’m not a Trump supporter, but I think I know what it’s like to be one. After all, I’m a New England Patriots fan. I know what it’s like to be part of a group that has clearly had the rules systematically bent in their favor, only to develop a persecution complex when things don’t go our way once or twice. Also, I’ve talked myself into believing that the leader of my team doesn’t really mean it when he supports questionable political ideas. Most of the country hates us, but we win anyway. No wonder Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are friends with this Trump guy. If you were busy this week taking weird photos to announce that you are pregnant with twins, odds are you missed it.
Trump vs. Australia
This week, President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had a phone conversation, and it did not go well. At one point, Trump criticized a refugee agreement between the U.S. and Australia, and eventually he hung up on Malcolm. Sen. John McCain called Australia Ambassador Joe Hockey (who should really be the Canadian ambassador) to smooth things over between the two countries. I don’t know if the good-cop-bad-cop routine has ever been used in international diplomacy, this should be interesting.
Attention whore gets attention in attention-grabbing move
In the most predictable news story of the week, alt-right white nationalist darling Milo Yiannopoulos was forced to cancel his speaking engagement at Berkeley due to student protests. Yiannopoulos and his supporters criticized the violence conducted by some demonstrators, including a big fire, but really, they were just upset they couldn’t throw books into it.
Don’t eat fast food packaging
And finally, scientists revealed this week that chemicals used to block grease in fast food containers are leeching into our burgers, fries and burritos. Great plan, guys, telling Americans that fast food is bad for them hasn’t worked so far, but why not try it again?
Richard Spencer, the alt-right leader who probably only watches the first half of American History X, got punched in the face at an anti-fascist protest last week. This set off a debate over whether it is OK to hit a Nazi. But that’s not really the important question. To me, it’s like videos were guys get hit in the nuts. I believe that guys have a right not to get hit in the nuts, but that doesn’t mean I don’t laugh or watch it on repeat when it happens. If you were busy winning the AFC championship this week, odds are you missed it.
Going off the path
The Trump administration banned huge swaths of the federal government from sharing scientific data this week. This lead to the Badlands National Park’s Twitter account to go rogue, tweeting out scientific facts that support that climate change is real and humans are the leading cause of it. We should have known that the rebellion would start with those rugged, high-socked trail guides who know how to live off the land.
Say, what’s science up to?
It was announced this week that scientists successfully grew pig embryos that contained human stem cells. You fools, now we’re just a step away from creating ManBearPig!
The horror, the horror
Francis Ford Coppola announced this week that he was launching a Kickstarter campaign to create a video game based on his classic Apocalypse Now. For this one, I’m going to go lightning round. Ready? I wanted a video game, and for my sins the gave me one. In one level you are forced to choose between surfing and fighting. You understand, the game does not exist, it will never exist. In the virtual reality versions of the game, you will be able to smell napalm, morning, noon or night.
Do you feel like you’re missing something in life? You’ve been living life your way for years now, and yet you’re still not happy. You try to fill the void with church, alcohol and pills, but nothing seems to work. Science says you need to take it all off.
According to a study from the University of London, walking around naked may be a key to mental health and happiness. Researchers found that British citizens were more likely to have a positive body image and be overall more content if they had spent significant amounts of time nude in public. (Warning: Naked butts.) The effects could be measured in the subjects before and after a single nude event.
Meanwhile, onlookers showed a measurable increase in nausea.
It seems like every day we hear about another major hacking, leading to exposed private information, draining of bank accounts, even the election of Donald Trump. It seems as if there’s nothing secure anymore. Turns out, the ultimate security device is in your liquor cabinet.
There is talk that the next big thing in security will be your own brainwaves. Devices will be able to read your unique brainwaves and know that it’s you. Say you have a brainwave lock on your house. The obvious flaw here is that all someone has to do is force you to be near your place in order to unlock it. The only way to keep that from happening is to alter your brainwaves, namely, by getting drunk. Researchers have found that substances like alcohol, as well as drugs, but mostly alcohol, alter your brain waves to such a degree that you would not be able to unlock your devices.
Unfortunately, this report is crap. It was conducted by undergrads, as opposed to real scientists. And the things it assumes are unrealistic. Bites are a terrible transmission method for disease, for example, rabies takes a long time to infect you. The report also leaves a lot of things out. Are they fast zombies? Are they green? How many zombies are killed by humans? Are we all infected and once we die we become undead?
Worst of all, the report doesn’t even admit that zombies are already out there, which this blog has been warning you about for years.