In the past 10 years or so, I’ve become more and more of a skeptic. Especially in the last 5 or so years, the American public has become increasingly susceptible to scaremongering and inflated fears about health issues, doomsday nonsense, and other junk science that has no basis in reality. The myth about cell phone radiation causing brain cancer is one example of this. The flat truth is that there had been no proven link between cell phone use and brain cancer. In fact, according to Christopher Wanjek’s column on LiveScience there has been no significant increase in brain cancer that correlates in any way with the increase of cell phone usage. We all know how much cell phone usage has risen in the last 2 decades… if they cause brain cancer, why the hell hasn’t there been a corresponding increase in the disease? Because there’s no connection. That being said, this article on NewScientist is one of many covering research into the effects of cell phone radiation on the brain, and in fact it does affect brain tissue, and there have been some hints that extremely prolonged exposure could cause some degree of tissue damage, but tissue damage is not the same thing as brain cancer. Furthermore, another recent study actually showed that cell phone radiation reversed the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in mice! (And if you look at the bottom of that article, you’ll see that the study wasn’t funded by any cell phone companies…) We might even soon be seeing cell phone radiation used as a treatment for the disease. So, the jury may still be out on whether it causes tissue damage or has therapeutic effects on memory, but with as many studies as have been done on the link between the radiation and brain cancer, it’s pretty obvious that cell phones don’t cause brain cancer. Unfortunately some companies have tried to capitalize on the scaremongering by marketing products that are supposed to “protect” you brain from the radiation. These don’t work, and several have been shut down by the FTC.

Now that I’m off my skeptic soapbox, something actually interesting:

Biologists have discovered a species of sea slug that is the first know organism to be able to produce chlorophyll. This creature actually has aspects of both plants and animals, and thus sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. But it’s real. Scientists have determined that it somehow “borrowed” the plant genes that allow chlorophyll production from the algae that it consumes. Exactly how it did that in it’s evolutionary path is still a mystery. It still can’t produce the actual chloroplasts (the cells that are responsible for the conversion of sunlight into energy) without consuming algae, but it apparently can produce chlorophyll entirely on its own.

And just for kicks: How the main LOST characters would each make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. (Via Yewknee’d)


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 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.