Category Archives: Science

The (Few) Perks of Dental Plaque: How It Has Revealed Important Clues About Diet During the Irish Famine

Recent dental plaque analysis confirms that diets were more varied than we once thought

Most people hate dental plaque. This foul-smelling film inevitably turns into hardened tartar (or calculus) in as little as 24 to 72 hours. When it isn’t removed, it can lead to tooth decay and other health issues. Truly, this is a health hindrance most of us can live without.

Who would have thought that terrible tartar can be a good thing? Continue reading

Black Don’t Crack: The Stereotype and the Science Behind It (WATCH)

black don't crack (mom & daughters)

*You?ve seen it in your family. You?ve seen it in celebrities like Pharrell Williams, Gabrielle Union and Idris Elba. You?ve seen it in that one photo on Twitter of the mother with her two daughters all looking the same age.

It?s quite evident that there is some truth to the quotable “Black Don?t Crack” adage. How about we take a scientific look at this? What?s the science behind us Black folks doing so well in the aging department? How can we do better?

The truth is we are melanin kings and queens. Melanin, for those not in the know, is a naturally occurring pigment in the skin that acts like sunscreen.

Damage to the skin caused by the harmful rays of the sun is the main reason why signs of aging occur. The kind of melanin found in Black folks is called eumelanin; the more we have of it, the more UV protection we get.

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Flat-Earther ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes Seeks To Prove Science Wrong With Home Made Rocket

Human beings have been doing brilliant and foolish things for millennia. As surely as we exist, someone will be doing something that causes us to take pause, scratch our heads, and question the cosmic truth that, somehow, we’re at the top of the evolutionary ladder. The leading species in cognitive ability, self-actualization, and universal consciousness. Heavy lies the crown, as they say. So heavy lieth the crown that, perhaps, the sheer weight has befuddled our wits and caused some to combat scientific facts laid down by human brilliance both past and present.

Enter the flat-earther. Proven false by Copernicus, Galileo, and the likes of astronomers persecuted and killed because of their scientific acumen, they led humanity out of our long-standing celestial ignorance by proving that the earth is round and that it revolves around the sun. But, you learned that in fifth grade.

Meet “Mad” Mike Hughes. Mike believes that the earth is flat and it’s been his mission to prove it to the world. How, you ask? By building his own rocket and launching himself into the atmosphere to see it for himself, triumphantly land, and tell the citizens of our flat earth “I told you so!” About 1.6 million people around the world die in car accidents every year, but the statistics on home-made rocket fatalities is decidedly inconclusive. Concerned scientists and fascinated onlookers assumed that Mad Mike would soon be part of an unfortunately newfound statistic. This didn’t deter him one bit.

You’ve probably gathered that Mad Mike isn’t a scientist, nor an engineer. Just a 61-year-old cosmically curious limousine driver (soon to be rocket pilot). “Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is. Do I know for sure? No. That’s why I want to go up in space.” Scientific inquiry breeds discovery, so he went for it. Over 50% of U.S. made products require welding. Mad Mike’s rocket was no exception, having dismantled and repurposed a mobile home, he fashioned a crude metal conglomeration that looks like a rocket. We have to applaud his panache and creative engineering.

He was also angry that people doubted him, so this past Saturday he ripped into the sky at 350 MPH, traveling almost 2,000 feet above the desert before having to pull two parachutes which alighted him not-so-gently to the earth in what NPR, dripping with sarcasm, calls “the exact same gravitational forces that give planets — including Earth — their spherical shape.”

Thankfully, Mad Mike didn’t die. He was a little banged up, but he’s got plans for another launch, the goal of which is to reach 68 miles into the atmosphere, hopefully proving his point. Nevermind surviving those conditions because he claims not to believe in science, but proceeds to use words like aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, and how things move through the air (otherwise known as physics).

All in all, Mike is going to be alright, but he’s definitely taking a break before doing it again: “Am I glad I did it? Yeah. I guess. I’ll feel it in the morning. I won’t be able to get out of bed. At least I can go home and have dinner and see my cats tonight.”

Enjoy it, Mike. Don’t let the doubters dull your shine and keep reaching for the stars.

Tah-Dah! Dude Built a Homemade Rocket, Blasted Off, and Came Down…in One Piece!

*Just call him the “Rocket Man.” As a matter of fact, I hope he was playing the once popular Elton John tune as he went up, with the smoke trailing behind in his home-made rocket!  Sick and tired of folks claiming, fool, you didn’t make no rocket! “Mad” Mike Hughes, who makes no secret that he believes the earth is flat, showed ’em!

He did build a rocket, and blasted off in it on Saturday.

He made it 1,875 feet into the air….before it came down, Hard. In the Mojave dessert.

But there’s no shame in his game. At least he came down in one piece. The Associated Press captured a photo of him being wheeled to a waiting van by paramedics.

“I’m tired of people saying I chickened out and didn’t build a rocket. I’m tired of that stuff. I manned up and did it,” said “Mad” Mike Hughes to the AP after paramedics gave him clearance.

When asked how he felt after his hard Mojave Dessert landing he said, “Relieved.” 

NBC News reports…

The launch took place near Amboy, California, a desert town ? about 200 miles east of Los Angeles. It wasn’t easy scheduling the brave (or crazy, depending on where you’re coming from) attempt. Continue reading

Study Shows Genetics Play a Hand in How We Respond to Sleep Deprivation

A genetic variation may protect some people from the cognitive effects of sleep deprivation, a new study shows. According to a new study published in Scientific Reports, a variation in the gene named DRD2 could explain why some people are capable of performing certain activities better than others when sleep deprived.

Chronic sleep deprivation has been named a public health concern by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Up to 42% of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep a night. What’s more, between 50 to 70 million Americans aged 20 years or older suffer from outrightsleep deprivation, a condition infamous for its detrimental side effects.

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GM and Black Girls CODE Celebrate Launch of Detroit Chapter (Photos)

General Motors Executive Vice President Global Manufacturing Alicia Boler Davis talks with 2nd – 6th grade students at Detroit International Academy Tuesday, September 12, 2017 during a STEM-focused activity in celebration of the GM – Black Girls Code partnership and the launch of a Detroit chapter in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)

*LOS ANGELES, CA (Sept. 18, 2017) Yes, Black girls rock, but make no mistake, they CODE too! To this end GM and Black Girls CODE celebrated their partnership at the recent launch of a Detroit Chapter where they engaged in a series of hands-on activities at the Detroit International Academy for Women (DIA), a Detroit Public Schools Community District school, and TechTownThis partnership, announced alongside four other computer science partnerships in June, aims to increase interest in STEM career fields for girls of color.

  • STEM students from area colleges and universities will attend a panel discussion with BGC CEO Kimberly Bryant and GM Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing Alicia Boler Davis, moderated by GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors
  • DIA students in second through sixth grades will work with Black Girls CODE and GM employee volunteers to operate the BGC Robot Spiro to help build and race their own toy cars.
Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors
  • DIA students in seventh through 12th grades will hear perspectives from a founding BGC member and young STEM professionals from GM and DTE Energy.

Women of color are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields, especially in technology. Only 3 percent of African-American women and less than 1 percent of Latina’s receive degrees in computer science.

According to the Detroit Regional Chamber, Detroit outpaces the nation in information technology job growth and is expected to continue the pace through 2025.

Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors

?We?re on the forefront of electric and self-driving cars and connectivity that allows our vehicles to communicate with each other ? and, with all that innovation, today?s cars have millions of lines of code,? said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. ?It?s one of the reasons that it?s our mission to help build the next generation of STEM leaders, with an emphasis on expanding opportunities to women and other underrepresented groups.? Continue reading

Hey! The Solar Eclipse is Tomorrow (Aug 21) Here’s How to Catch it Wherever YOU Live

*Tomorrow is the day that the moon will block the sun and with perfect timing, you will be able to catch it! 

The total solar eclipse happens on Aug. 21 and it will last less than a minute in some places, while a partial eclipse can be visible for an hour or more.

Depending on the weather, if you live anywhere in the USA, you’ll be able to see at least a partial eclipse. But the best time to watch depends on where you live.

So how do you know when to head outside and look up? 

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NASA Seeks Someone to ‘Protect our Planet From Aliens’…You Down? (Watch)

*This is no joke. If you’ve ever thought about saving the planet, this may be the job for you! According to reports, NASA is taking applications for its ‘Planetary Protection Officer’ position. There’s just one small catch: Whoever gets the job is expected to save life on planet earth (and planets everywhere else) from extraterrestrials.

What exactly does a Planetary Protection Officer do? Honestly, if you have to ask its probably safe to assume you shouldn’t apply. But for those of you who may just be a little rusty and need a reminder, its always good to hear from someone who’s done the job before.
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