Science

The Genetic Basis of Type A and Type B Personalities

I'm a bit jaded by science. Yes, there's substantial evidence that life can travel from one planet to another, or at least from Mars to Earth, which strongly suggests that life on Earth came from Mars. What's more, there may be life on Mars still! Yes, but those are just microbes, so... Also, if life on Earth started on Mars, how did life on Mars start? Psychology as a field and a science is almost entirely underwhelming. Virtually every recent finding using MRI machines is deductive at best and maybe even borderline fraudulent, as, really, MRIs just track the infusion of oxygen from one region of the brain to another.

Cool article here from Popular Science, a great site if you haven't checked it out. A "friend" of the Web site decided to separate scotch whiskey into it's different components so he could taste the individual notes. Pretty cool if you ask me, but how would you do such a thing you ask? They cranked up an evaporator that "uses a process of vacuum distillation at room temperature to separate liquids based on their relative volatility."

News here out of the science world -- apparently the date of the Last Supper, the final meal Jesus took with his disciples before he was crucified, is wrong. Professor Colin Humphreys, a scientist at the University of Cambridge, claims that the actual date was the Wednesday before the crucifixion took place, not the Thursday before. Turns out that the four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have never been on the same page in the Bible about the date.

Hey there, folks. Time is short, short, short today but I don't want to deny anyone the chance to leave some comments here at podcast goodness central. Our trivia night this week has put me way behind! This week on the Stuff You Should Know podcast program, we discussed some thing pretty interesting and one that wasn't so great. Heh - sort of true.

The walls appear to be closing in more than usual on the field of psychology these days. The bad press over antidepressants -- a survey of six clinical trials found that placebos work just as well as the actual pharmaceutical -- has made psychiatry look a bit bumbling. Psychiatry is, of course, the same discipline that prescribed Ecstasy for marriage counseling in the early 1980s before it was listed at the top of the federal controlled substance schedule. This is not to say that the couples entering counseling in that era didn't have fun, but anyone who's ever made a connection with another person through synthetic chemistry can tell you those ties are fleeting and tenuous. Once the sun comes up at the party, things just aren't the same.

I wasn't so sure I could even make it past the title of this one, folks. It's hard to cleverly squeeze four podcast titles into a single line. This week brings another double dose of the podcast goodness because of our out-of-town trip last week. With that, let's get on with it.

What's that smell? Why, it's the stench of morality!

Science doesn't really have a good grasp on how a lot of things work. Like antidepressants. Neurologists can't rightly say how they work, but psychiatrists know they do, so antidepressants get prescribed. I would imagine that if you're suffering from crippling depression, you don't really care how a pill can make everything seem sunnier, just as long as it does. Much the same goes for our sense of smell. There are a number of competing theories out there on how we perceive the world through that sense, including one that covers quantum physics. Under this hypothesis, odorants unlock their designated receptors through the superposition of the quantum material that comprises them.

Smithsonian Museum Believes in Evolution!

Yesterday the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC revealed that they're set to open a wing dedicated to covering about six million years of human evolution. It'll be called the "Hall of Origins" -- a title that is sure to ruffle the feathers of the creationists of the world. The whole thing drops next March 17th, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the revered museum.

Wearing Flip-Flops Produces Dirty Feet. Fascinating.

Turns out, I am disgusting. I always assumed that I spread disease; I've found now that I carry horrible germs everywhere I go, even without any meaningful human contact. I wear flip-flops and that makes me unclean. This is, of course, supported by a New York Daily News article, as all of my most fundamental beliefs are.