squirrelGot an itch? Ever wondered exactly what the hell an itch is, and why the hell scratching relieves it? Apparently even the best doctors didn’t even know why and how of itch vs. scratch until recently. Science Daily has an interesting report on research that was done to answer this very question. I think it’s funny how the simplest things sometimes are still medical mysteries.

Speaking of medical mysteries, I’ve got one for you- WHY THE HELL IS EVERYONE FREAKING OUT OVER SWINE FLU? I guess it’s actually a media mystery because they’re the ones responsible for the unnecessary freak-out. Chill the fuck out people! From what I can gather, this strain of the flu has caused about 160 deaths, and 2,500 illnesses in Mexico. Guess what? The NORMAL flu kills 36,000 people just in the U.S. every year! Do we see scaremongering about the normal flu? Nope. This is exactly the same kind of bullshit that surrounded the bird-flu. This swine-flu isn’t any more dangerous than the regular flu- basically the same symptoms and same risk of dying (you’ll only die if you have a weakened immune system due to being really old or really young, or have AIDS or other autoimmune disorder). Want more facts about the regular flu? Go to this CNN.com article.

On a happier note… if this doesn’t make you smile then you should have your head examined. A group called Playing For Change recorded the base track of the Ben E. King classic, Stand By Me, then had members of their group from all around the world hit the streets to get random musicians to add tracks to the recording.

I don’t post enough news about green technology and environmental issues on here… which is why I’m linking to this. As usual Europe is way ahead of the rest of the world in environmental legistalation and regulation. According to this report, there’s a proposal in Norway to ban the sale of any new gas-only cars starting in 2015. Even though the proposal is likely to fail because it has very little support, it’s a step in the right direction.

Tennessee, meet Dogwood Winter. Let’s face it, people, every year we get 1 or 2 cold snaps in April, and southerners usually name these “winters” based on whatever is in bloom at the time. Usually Dogwoods are in bloom when it happens so I usually call it Dogwood Winter. But seriously… SNOW tonight?

A somewhat surprise reunion happened at Radio City Music Hall over the weekend- Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr came together on stage for the first time since 2002. I don’t know how I missed hearing about this lineup until now… but it was a benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation called “Change Begins Within.” Brooklyn Vegan has several video clips posted.

In other reunion-related news, Simon & Garfunkel are going to reunite for a tour of Australia and New Zealand, Billboard.com reports.

Photo via io9.

Photo via io9.

Nerd alert!

io9 reports that Richard Dean Anderson (aka MacGyver) will make a few appearances in the opening episodes of the latest installment of the Stargate franchise, Stargate: Universe. Not only will RDA make an appearance, but several other veterans of the older series SG-1 and Atlantis are supposedly making appearances. This makes me very happy because I’ll miss those older characters. The Stargate series has easily challenged Star Trek as the most successful science-fiction television franchise in history. SG-1 alone outlasted any of the Star Trek series by reaching an impressive 10 seasons. I guess it depends on who you ask, but that figure alone is unheard of for a sci-fi series.

Speaking of Star Trek, physicist Michael Alcubierre from the University of New Mexico is known for coming up with the idea of a real-life warp drive. Yes, you heard me, a warp drive, as in the thing that allows the Enterprise to go faster than light. But unfortunately quantum physics has put a serious damper on this theory. Universe Today reports on a new set of research that concludes that Hawking Radiation would be present within the space-time “bubble,” and this radiation would literally fry anything inside the bubble. Of course, this whole thing was pretty impossible to begin with because according to U.T., the energy such a device would require is equivalent to the entire mass of Jupiter if it were converted to energy. Whoa…

I read today on Clusterflock that the Xerox Corporation is working on a special type of paper that erases itself, making it reusable. This is truly revolutionary, and I hope it gets off the ground sooner rather than later, though the article warns that it could be many years before this technology could be made commercially viable.

The “a-ha” moment came from developing compounds that change color when they absorb a certain wavelength of light but then will gradually disappear. In its present version, the paper self-erases in about 16-24 hours and can be used multiple times.

And The Relatives, a local indie rock trio featuring my friend and fellow Scene contributor Patrick Rodgers on drums, have released their first proper EP “Animals.” Their EP release show was this past friday at the 5 Spot, but I was unable to attend due to a huge conference at work. I highly recommend checking them out this thurs. Nov. 20th (I may be there- it’s my birthday afterall) at the End with The Ettes, The Howlies, and Mean Tambourines. For a couple of free mp3’s, head over to Out The Other. They are part of a new collective of bands/artists known as Holly House. I’ve heard this name a few times over the past year or so, and recently I checked out their website to find that they have quite a lineup of bands associated with them. They seem to be onto something good here- a collective of bands just trying to make good music and help each other out with booking, etc… Basically it’s like Movement Nashville, but not so focused on the commercial/business aspect. The artists/bands associated with MN are very commercial sounding (and sometimes acting), and I think that leaves a bad taste in many mouths amongst local bands who really just want to make good music, regardless of the commercial appeal. I have nothing against a band trying to make a little money doing what they love, but sometimes it’s just too blatantly obvious that they’re making their art fit into a certain formulaic mold, at which point I usually say “no thanks.”

This is slightly old news by now, but the Space Shuttle Endeavour blasted off from Kennedy Space Center Friday night at 7:55pm EST and successfully docked with the International Space Station at 5:01pm EST Sunday. You can watch live footage from the mission at NASA TV. While we’re talking about NASA, there’s a little speculation about the future of NASA under the new Obama Administration. Current NASA Administrator Michael Griffin has said that he will stick around only if Obama wants to keep things going steady on the current course of developing the new Constellation program, and retiring the Shuttle in 2010. For more info see the full story at Universe Today.

Some random links:
10 fascinating last pictures of famous people before they died.
Obama plans to begin doing weekly YouTube video updates. FDR 2.0 maybe?
Plasma plants may vaporize garbage while generating power.
Photographs of female body builders. Not for the faint of heart….

And finally I’ll leave you with this bit of inspiration, thanks to the Holly House website: