It may be the ultimate symbol of human mastery over nature's power: fire. On this edition of Clever Apes, we consider why flames fascinate us. Eons of evolution have written fire into our DNA -- no wonder kids like to mess with matches. AUDIODownload this episode, or subscribe to the podcast.
Science doesn't always tell us what we want to hear, and our record of accepting unwelcome findings is less than stellar. We have been known to shoot the messenger; or at least lock him up until he concedes that the universe revolves around the earth.
"Where da Higgs at?" That is perhaps the most succinct formulation of one of the hottest questions in physics, as coined by funky49 (his hip-hop nerdcore challenge to Euro-science closes out the latest Clever Apes).
So much of science is about finding patterns -- repetitions that let us predict outcomes for given circumstances. The universe is full of these rhythms -- from the vibrating loops of string theory to the orbits of stars and planets to the pulsing of our heart.
There are certainly scarier examples of historical medical instruments out there. But somehow, this one gets me. It is not, in fact, a French soldier from Monty Python. Rather, this 19th-century helmet was designed to relieve the symptoms of certain neurological disorders.
Some intriguing news out of Northwestern yesterday: Researchers have taken a poison -- arsenic -- worked some nanotech mojo on it, and come up with a chemotherapy treatment that seems to be effective in treating an aggressive form of breast cancer. At least, in mice.