Nicholas Galitzki joins Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS)

December 21st, 2014

Nicholas Galitzki has joined the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS). He says:

I am a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Throughout my journey in sub-millimeter experimental astrophysics, my fiery locks have been behind me, propelling me from one scientific discovery to the next. They we’re there keeping me warm when we launched our telescope, BLASTPol, from the ice sheets of Antarctica and they will be there when I go again in 2016. (Here is a recent paper I co-authored: “The Next Generation BLAST Experiment“.) The picture shows my follicles in their full flamboyant glory being reflected off of our former primary mirror. To accompany my flowing hair I have grown a full beard to reflect the rugged experimental side of my work which takes me to the field with all manner of large manly tools and equipment. I look forward to my hair and me joining this most prestigious of scientific clubs.

Nicholas Galitzki, LFHCfS [Click on the image. below, to see an enlarged version.]
Graduate student, Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Ig Nobel Prize winners supply two of the ten “weirdest” TED Talk moments

December 21st, 2014

The TED Blog lists “The 10 weirdest things that have happened in TED Talks“. Two of those “weirdest things” involve Ig Nobel Prize winners.

Kees Moeliker was awarded the 2003 Ig Nobel Prize for biology, for documenting the first scientifically recorded case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck. Here’s what TED Blog says:


3. The story of a man and his dead duck. Ornithologist Kees Moeliker won the Ig Nobel prize for inspiring future generations of scientists with a strange but serious paper about the mallard’s inclination toward homosexual necrophilia. During his talk at TED2013, Moeliker shared the odd story behind his research… and handed an audience member the stuffed dead duck that inspired it. Before leaving the stage, he politely asked for the duck back, as it is technically a museum specimen.

Bart Knols was awarded the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize for biology, for showing that the female malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae is attracted equally to the smell of limburger cheese and to the smell of human feet.. Here’s what TED Blog says:


Bart Knols gives his talk… in his underwear. What’s more annoying than a mosquito bugging you while you’re in bed? To remind us of this, malariologist Bart Knols started his TEDx talk from a bed onstage. He emerged from under the covers to share the details of his research on the spread of malaria … aaaand he never stopped to put on pants. Also notable: watching hundreds of mosquitoes feed on his arm in a metal box on stage, at the 8:09 mark.


Tinnitus, and you guzzling coffee and bread, maybe

December 21st, 2014

If you hear a ringing in your ears, and if you eat food, you may or may not be persistently or bothersomely annoyed by this study. It is yet another document that explains to people that they should or should not drink coffee:

FortnumAssociation of Dietary Factors with Presence and Severity of Tinnitus in a Middle-Aged UK Population,” Abby McCormack, Mark Edmondson-Jones, Duane Mellor, Piers Dawes, Kevin J. Munro, David R. Moore, Heather Fortnum, PLoS ONE 9(12), 2014, e114711. (Thanks to investigator Falk Fish for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, based in Nottingham and Manchester, UK and in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, report:

“Participants were asked questions specific to tinnitus (defined as noises such as ringing or buzzing in the head or ears)….

“PERSISTENT TINNITUS: Eating oily fish, or non-oily fish once a week or more, avoiding eggs, and drinking more cups of caffeinated coffee per day were associated with a lower odds ratio of reporting persistent tinnitus. Conversely greater consumption of fruit and vegetables per day, eating wholemeal/wholegrain or ‘other’ type of bread compared to white bread, and avoidance of dairy produce were associated with increased report of persistent tinnitus….

“BOTHERSOME TINNITUS: The only dietary association with reporting of bothersome persistent tinnitus was a reduction in prevalence when wholemeal/wholegrain bread was consumed rather than white or brown bread.”

A look back at the research showing kids at malls mostly don’t like Santa

December 20th, 2014

It’s nearly Christmas, a good time to look back at the research showing kids at malls mostly don’t like Santa Claus.

One way to tell a story: drunkenness + Tesla + Franklin

December 20th, 2014

The folks behind the video series Drunk History honed a particular way to tell a story, using drunkenness as a frame that makes the picture more interesting. In these episodes, they tell the basic story of Nicola Tesla: