Where does water come from?

That’s not just a little kid question but a genuine scientific mystery.  In the early days of earth’s existence, according to scientists, the planet was just too hot for there to be water.  After things cooled down, there still would have been no water.  Comets have been discovered that have water vapor, so the leading theory has been that comets bombarded the earth and gave us the oceans.

But now a study has found that comet water is, for the most part, very different from earth water.  Another candidate now is asteroids.  But it’s hard to imagine how many comets or asteroids–which may have some water, but not all that much–it would take to create earth’s vast oceans. [Read more...]

Humanized mice

Researchers have injected brain cells from human fetuses into baby mice, giving them brains that are half human.  Those “humanized mice” are much more intelligent than regular mice.  Read the report, which is breezily free of moral judgment, and contemplate just how many things are wrong with this. [Read more...]

Royal blood without royal DNA

We’ve blogged about the discovery of a skeleton with a deformed back found where Richard III was supposed to have been buried.  Studies have confirmed that the skeleton is that of Richard III, the Plantagenet king and Shakespearean villain, who was overthrown by Henry Tudor (father of Henry VIII and grandfather of Queen Elizabeth I).

The studies further show a significant problem with a hereditary monarchy:   DNA from the skeleton does not match known male ancestors, suggesting that some queen must have committed adultery and borne a son who became king of England without really being the previous king’s son.  This would also cast doubt on the legitimacy of his successors.  And since the contending families were intermarried and intertwined, this casts doubt  on the Yorks, the Lancasters, and the Tudors.  (The current royal family, the Windsors, would not be affected.)  This raises the question of whether Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I were rightful monarchs whose laws had authority. [Read more...]

Why non-conformists look the same

A mathematician took up the topic of hipsters.  Specifically, why different individuals who try not to conform to what is seen as normal end up looking and acting very much like each other.

After the jump, read the details, link to the math, and consider my thoughts on the matter, which offers a different account of non-conformists and sort of a defense of hipsters. [Read more...]

Ancient Polynesians had children with American Indians

Easter Island, known for its mysterious stone figures,  is 2,300 miles from South America.  And yet, DNA research has found that the ancient Polynesians had children with Native Americans.  This happened between 1300 and 1500 A.D.  Today, the residents of Easter Island are 10% American Indian.  Meanwhile two skulls have been found in Brazil that have been identified as Polynesian.   How this mixing of two peoples with primitive technology separated by so much distance is a mystery. [Read more...]

The urination constant

I am a squeamish person, and I dislike talking about bodily functions.  But I stumbled upon a finding that is so interesting that I had to share it with you.  Did you know that virtually all animals, from a dog to an elephant–including human beings–take about the same amount of time to urinate?  That would be around 21 seconds.  See why after the jump. [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X