science news

Heat Kills Bacteria! Again…

In the December 2006 edition of Journal of Environmental Health a paper entitled “Microbial Inactivation by Microwave Radiation in the Home Environment”, by Gabriel Bitton, talks about a novel way to kill bacteria. Microwave them! Apparently, the optimum method is to microwave for 2 minutes allowing for maximum bacteria frying and minimal sponge burning.

I wonder how novel it is to exploit heat as a method for killing bacteria though. If I’m not mistaken, there was a paper last year which reported using a hot iron as a method to kill anthrax delivered via snail mail. Both methods seem to utilize the same general idea, heat kills bacteria. Off the top of my head, here are some other ideas to kill bacteria in sponges, ie future research papers.

Other useful Ideas To Kill/Remove Bacteria From Sponges

  • Submerge sponge in boiling water.
  • Submerge sponge in bleach.
  • Submerge sponge in antibacterial hand-wash.
  • Buy a new sponge.

If you have more suggestions, feel free to share them.

Note 1: Brought to my attention by Steve Ritter from this Newscripts page:


By March 6, 2007 0 comments science news

Recent Photos of Saturn, Enceladus, Hyperion, Dione, Titan

Here are some recent photos from NASA’s Cassini-Huygens satellite.

Above: Saturn

Above: Enceladus

Above: Hyperion

Above: Water geysers from Enceladus

Above: Telesto

Above: Dione

Above: Enceladus in front of Titan

Above: Titan

I was under the impression that Cassini doesn’t take color pictures, so take NASA’s color photos with a grain of salt.

Note 1: NASA’s Cassini-Huygens Photo Contest website:


By January 24, 2007 0 comments science news

Live Longer by Winning Nobel Chemistry Prize

Reuters is reporting a study indicating that winning the Nobel Prize can increase your life expectancy by almost 2 years.


LONDON (Reuters) – Winning the Nobel Prize quite literally gives scientists a new lease of life. New research at the University of Warwick in central England shows that scientists who have won the prize for their work in chemistry and physics not only get cash and kudos but they live two years longer than colleagues who have only been nominated.

“Status seems to work a kind of health-giving magic. Once we do the statistical corrections, walking across that platform in Stockholm apparently adds about two years to a scientist’s lifespan,” Professor Andrew Oswald said.

“How status does this, we just don’t know.”

Oswald and government economist Matthew Rablen compared the lifespan of 524 scientists who had been nominated for the prize between 1901 and 1950, including 135 who had won it.

The average lifespan in the group was 76 years but winners lived on average 1.4 years longer than nominees. The gap widened another two-thirds of a year when winners and losers from the same country were compared, according to the study.

The amount of prize money given to winners has changed since Alfred Nobel established the Nobel Prize which was first awarded in 1901. But Oswald said the amount of prize money did not have an impact on lifespan, nor did being nominated more than once.

The article can be found here: Reuters

Although, I’m not sure how they determined who the nominees were, I thought that was kept secret? Anyways, if you want to live longer go back to lab and give up having a life and aim for that Nobel prize!


By January 16, 2007 0 comments science news

Did Professor Steve Morris Get His Drunk-Alcoholic Elephant Theory Wrong?

Steve Morris has an interesting paper out in the Journal of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology arguing that elephants can not get drunk in the wild from eating rotting fruit from the Marula tree.


The suggestion that the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) becomes intoxicated from eating the fruit of the marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea) is an attractive, established, and persistent tale…Such tales, it seems, may result from “humanizing” elephant behavior.

He proves this with various models, and concludes an elephant would have to eat 4x their usual diet to become intoxicated.

Here is a link to a nice video from youtube apparently disproving his paper.

The image is of an elephant so drunk from Marula fruit that it walks into a tree. Click the picture above to see the whole video. Although, I could fully believe an aggressive nature cinematographer liquored up a bunch of animals for this video, I just kind of doubt it.

Link to paper:


By November 12, 2006 0 comments science news