Science Humor

XKCD comic
XKCD webcomic. Used with permission.

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Search Terms

I always find it interesting to see how people end up at my weblog. One nice feature of WordPress is that they list the search terms people use to find this site (if those keywords are contained within the URL). Don’t worry: there isn’t any identifying information attached to them. I have no idea if the user using a particular search viewed more than one page, what pages he viewed, where he is located, and so forth. I just get a list of search terms.

Here are some of the more interesting terms people have used to find my weblog:

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New Year 2007

As we approach the arbitrary point many cultures have decided to designate as the boundary between years, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. It is customary for media to publish reviews (often themed) of the past year, so I thought I would share with you some of my favorite science-related articles from The Onion, a satirical newspaper.

Mars Rover Beginning to Hate Mars

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists overseeing the ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission said Monday that the Spirit’s latest transmissions could indicate a growing resentment of the Red Planet.

Spirit has been displaying some anomalous behavior,” said Project Manager John Callas, who noted the rover’s unsuccessful attempts to flip itself over and otherwise damage its scientific instruments.” And the thousand or so daily messages of ‘STILL NO WATER’ really point to a crisis of purpose.”

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Kansas Outlaws Practice of Evolution

In response to a Nov. 7 referendum, Kansas lawmakers passed emergency legislation outlawing evolution, the highly controversial process responsible for the development and diversity of species and the continued survival of all life.

“From now on, the streets, forests, plains, and rivers of Kansas will be safe from the godless practice of evolution, and species will be able to procreate without deviating from God’s intended design,” said Bob Bethell, a member of the state House of Representatives. “This is about protecting the integrity of all creation.”

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Science News Update (30 Nov 2006)

I thought I’d share some interesting developments in the world of science.

More on polonium

CNN reports that twenty-one people have now been referred to a specialty clinic for further testing. In addition, radiation has been found on two British Airways airplanes that either Mr. Litvinenko or his contacts travelled on. The 33,000 passengers who have flown on those planes are being contacted for screening. In a column on Nature’s web site, Nicola Jones discusses the difficulty in determining the identity of a poison and why it took so long to recognize the polonium-210. (See my two previous posts on this.)

Cutting back carbon dioxide emissions

As Catherine Brahic of New Scientist reports, Europe has begun setting stricter caps for carbon dioxide emissions. This will help bring them in line with the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty intended to reduce greenhouse gases. The European Union, Russia, India, and Canada have ratified the treaty; Australia, the United States, and China have not (there are many other nations involved as well).

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