November 13, 2008

Science Roundup: Saturn's Heat Rash, Muskrat Poop, Whale Snot, Etc.

Saturn’s heat rash - The Cassini probe has been snapping pictures of a weird aurora hovering around Saturn's north pole. From Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy blog on Discover Magazine's site: "In general, aurorae change shape as the magnetic field of a planet fluctuates and interacts with the Sun’s solar wind. But this one doesn’t really do that. It also has been seen to fill the entire polar region of Saturn’s equivalent of the Arctic...So what’s causing this weirdness? We don’t know." Awesome!

Muskrat poop makes a good antibiotic.

Fear of Climate Change Has Maldives Seeking Backup Homeland - the entire country might be under water in a few years, so they're looking for a place to relocate. The entire country.

Whale snot is a useful diagnostic tool for vets looking to assess the health of our blowhole-spouting friends. And I love this part - sometimes they gather the whale snot by flying little remote-controlled helicopters through whale blows. "The whales definitely notice the helicopter," said a researcher,
"they turn on their sides to look at it. But they don't seem bothered."

The L.A. County Sheriff's office is admitting that DNA for almost 6000 rape cases remains untested. So much for the CSI Effect. "The bad news is we have 5,635 kits in a warehouse," said a supervisor."The good news is we now know what has to be done."

Wanna serve in Obama's cabinet? In the digital age, there's a lot of potentially embarrassing information about everyone floating around, and they'd like you to provide lots of deets about your online life. "please list...each book, article, column or publication (including but not limited to any posts or comments on blogs or other websites..." Every comment or post I've ever made? That would take forever! Guess I'll have to give up my dream of being Secretary of Transportation.


Brett A. Snodgrass said...

Your link to muskrat poop is wrong, dang it. Now I'm left hanging...

Elizabeth McQuern said...


Brett A. Snodgrass said...

Thank goodness!