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Fireflies, luuurve and NASA

In this newest animated video from fellow Sciblogger Siouxsie Wiles (Infectious Thoughts) explains how fireflies* use bioluminescence to find love (or the firefly equivalent), and, well, food. And it then goes on to explain how the chemical reaction used to produce that light, can be exploited to help us test for bacterial presence.  In your kitchen.  On your mobile phone.  In your food. And in spacecraft assembly.  Watch the video to figure out why that’s […]

TOSP Episode 15: December 19th 2011

[Original post on the Sciblogs The Official Sciblogs Podcast site] The last TOSP before Christmas! And, because we’re daring, it _isn’t_ Christmas-themed.  Just to give y’all a break. Instead, Elf and aimee cover the winners of the Prime Minister’s Science Prize(s), how bees reach consensus (warning: headbutting), a very special new crab, Jupiter’s heart-cannibalisation, the race to create the bionic eye, and the effect that Foo Fighters concert has both on GeoNet (seismic sensors) and […]

Introducing a new blog: molecular matters

Hooray!  Adding to our already-fantastic list of new blogs, we’re proud to introduce you to molecular matters. Penned by regular guestwork contributor Michael Edmonds, it’s going to cover all sorts of interesting things: chemistry, pseudoscience/anti-science, science communication, and no doubt a wealth of other subjects. So, welcome Michael!  We’re glad to have you on board :)

Cooking: where science and art already meet

I come from an extremely foody family. I’ve always explained it to people as follows: “you know that place in their hearts where fundamentalist religious people keep their god?  That’s where my parents keep food’. So yes.  And I now find myself living in a particularly foody city (Wellington has, apparently, the highest number of eateries per capita in the world), and with a flatmate who is also, well, you get the point*.  And it’s […]

How to get sober quicker

This is great news for all of us drinkers.  And, frankly, if I was just a little better at actual chemistry, how I’d make my first couple of fortunes* And now I have the song ‘Tiny Bubbles‘ stuck, unfortunately, in my head. (When I first heard it, though, it was an Aero jingle.  Possibly) So yes.  To give it to you simply, before going into all that explanation stuff, it’s very simple – loading more […]

Hydrogels or, how to replace petroleum-based plastics

Well, wonders will never cease.  Not only is water already one of the strangest,and most interesting fluids/substances around, but clever scientists from the University of Tokyo just added another layer of WTFness. In essence, they have developed a sort of non-fluid, yet still transparent and flexible, water.  A hydrogel.  That’s flexible.  And transparent.  (That was worth repeating).  I’ve seen a reference on the web to ‘elastic water’ but thought that was pushing it a bit […]