Thursday, February 26, 2015

Now, We Finally Have A Way To Get Rid of Bedbugs

"Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite"

I had had no problem with bedbugs during my adolescence year. Thanks to my mother's continual insistence in keeping the house clean, I had never been bitten by a bedbug before, and so I never truly appreciated the quote above, until I got ravaged by bedbugs (for two bloody weeks), like literally hundreds of bedbugs, during my exchange program in India. The experience was horrible enough to recall, and one that I hope no human on this planet would have to go through. I could barely sleep at all because of the seemingly never-ending itchiness.
Image: en.wikipedia.org

I searched the web frantically looking for a quick solution and, to my horror, found no one-off solution. It's like you can't really exterminate them all at one go; you need to put your mattress out under the sun for a period of timewhich means you may need to sleep on another mattress, spray specialized insecticides repeatedly, and seek help from professionals.

Monday, January 26, 2015

为什么穿高跟鞋的女人比较吸引人?

一天晚上看完戏,我离开戏院时走在一对情侣身后。这女的穿着一对高跟鞋,突然间脚扭了一下,哎呀,扭伤了脚踝。
看着男方手忙脚乱的慌,我独自心里想:

“哎哟哟,明知道高跟鞋容易扭到脚,都下班了为什么还坚持要穿?”
“不能怪啊,大家都穿啊”
“难道不能不穿吗?看我都一副乞丐装来看戏,一定要跟从大家的品味吗?”
“这个社会对美女的定义就是女人要穿高跟鞋才漂亮,不然那些 OL 什么的做莫通通要折磨自己的脚?”
*Before you even ask,对,在下有自问自答习惯*

咦?那为什么高跟鞋 = 美女?
这荒谬的定义是谁设定的?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Is It Possible To Clone Dinosaurs?

The movie Jurassic Park, based on Michael Crichton's bestselling novel of the same name, tells the story of a theme park filled with dinosaurs resurrected from DNAs extracted from bloodsucking insects trapped in tree sap. 

The 1993 movie, directed by renown director Steven Spielberg (who later produced two more sequels of Jurassic Park, and they sucked real bad compared to the first one), became the most financially successful film for Spielberg.
Image: en.wikipedia.org

I've always admired Crichton—I've got nearly all of his books; Micro, Next, Congo, etc—because of his unique way of blending science with fiction. In fact, the science of Jurassic Park seemed plausible: bloodsucking insects flew alongside dinosaurs and fed on their blood; they then rested on a branch before unfortunately trapped by tree sap bursting out from the tree. As a result, the DNA of the dinosaurs remained in the gut of the insects. That makes sense.

If we could clone Dolly the sheep as well as producing a myriad of other creatures using the science of genetics and cloning techniques, why not dinosaurs?
So why haven't we had a Jurassic Park yet? It's been 20 years since the release of the first Jurassic Park, and the science of cloning has been steadily improving over the years.
Dolly's taxidermied remains. Image: en.wikipedia.org

Shortly after I shared the news on social media I was inundated by skeptics who asked about DNAs preserved in insects trapped in amber. They argued that since the insects are preserved by the amber, it is likely that the DNA remained intact, which means the blood that remained in the insects should still hold DNA.

That's exactly what Dr David Penney of the University of Manchester thought.
In his paper, he wrote that 

Intuitively, one might imagine that the complete and rapid engulfment in resin resulting in almost instantaneous demise, might promote the preservation of DNA in a resin entombed insect, and DNA preservation might be better within the protective environment of the resin than in an air-dried museum specimen.

Neat.
But the results of his experiment show otherwise.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

飞机超越音速会发生什么事?

声音的速度是每秒 340 公尺,也就是大约每小时 1,236 公里。

如果一架飞机的时速超过每小时 1,236 公里,那就是所谓的超音速

当然,音波的速度会因温度气压而改变,有时候 1,220 km/h, 有时候 1,240 km/h。

目前世界上能突破超音速的机械不多。大多数都是在空中飞行的,而且全部都是战斗机
其实以前也有超音速的商业机 Concorde而且是非常非常快的商业机,能以两倍的音速飞行 (Mach 2.04)。可是后来 Concorde 在飞行业低潮期的 2003 年时被撤掉了。所以大家再也没有机会体验超音速。

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Eel's Blood Is Toxic To Humans, But Electric Eel's Blood Is Not

Fact checking is an important part of journalism.

Especially when you're working for organizations like National Geographic or Discovery.

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