this week in science

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This Week in Science is an excellent podcast which ably does exactly what its name implies. It was recommended to me a month or so back and I’ve gotten hooked.

Here’s an item I learned from a recent episode: Fruit bats can drink you under the table. Even with a high blood alcohol concentration, fruit bats can adroitly fly through an obstacle course.

And I have other science news to report:

Toad Landing. According to Science Daily, toads “are capable of anticipating when and how hard they’re going to land after a jump” and they prepare themselves to absorb the impact accordingly. I wonder if frogs, on the other hand, just hit the ground at random and roll to a stop, hoping that no one is watching.

Proposed NASA budget. I listened to Phil Plait expound at length on this subject on the Skepticality podcast. Like some others I’ve heard on this subject, he thinks it’s overall a pretty good new direction and budget for NASA. The proposed new plan includes scrapping the Ares rocket program, which was not going so well anyway, and trying again on a new and better heavy-lift rocket. Meanwhile, NASA will channel funds into private space industry to develop the means to ferry people into orbit and do the routine stuff the Shuttle has been doing. NASA gets a bigger budget, and much of it goes to science, science, science, and new technology. On the down side, Phil also believes that Congress may very well mess with this budget and ruin it.

My big, fat geek wedding. Never marry a science writer. She just might have your blood sampled before and after the wedding. Check out the change in oxytocin levels occurring in bride, groom and participants at the ceremony! Oxytocin is a hormone that’s closely associated with social bonding.

Finally, there’s this  video guide about destroying the world with nanobots. Thank, Scot.

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