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You can help track the inexorable progress of this year’s cicada infestation

This time we are ready for you and your noise.
Bob Peterson
This time we are ready for you and your noise.

Every 13 to 17 years, the Magicicada come. That's the name of a particular genus of periodical cicada, but you probably know them as "what the hell is that racket." They make a lot of noise, is what I'm saying. The last time the cicadas came I remember complaining about it a lot. This year, I am more mature. And that's why I'm excited that, thanks to radio station WNYC and a simple kit that you can buy for $80, this year I will be putting aside my annoyance to instead eagerly track the arrival of the cicada brood.

Read more: Living

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Science has spoken: Cookies really do taste better when they’re dunked

dunking_cookie

Finally, science is good for something. British chef and all around food celebrity Heston Blumenthal, on his television show Heston's Fantastical Food, ran an experiment to prove that chocolate-covered biscuits dipped in tea actually taste better than the chocolate covered biscuits not dunked in tea.

Read more: Food

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Fukushima nuclear power plant shutdown was caused by a rat

white_rat.jpg

Remember in 2011, when there was that huge tsunami in Japan and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had a triple meltdown? And remember how it was really fucked and 160,000 people had to evacuate? Well, everything is OK now, because the plant totally has a new cooling system. It's not exactly the world's best cooling system. It's a little cobbled together. But the good news is there hasn't been another tsunami/earthquake, so it is entirely safe forever. Oh, except on Wednesday a rat got into the cooling system and managed to shut the whole thing down.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Ice: Makes your drinks cold, contains feces

Ice. Refreshing. Filthy.
Humberto
Ice. Refreshing. Filthy.

According to the research of Jasmine Roberts, a 12 year old doing a school science project, Southern Florida has either very clean toilets or very dirty ice. Jasmine collected ice samples from five Florida restaurants, and then collected samples of water from the toilets of the same restaurants. The results are not good: The ice had more bacteria than the toilet water.

Kind of makes you think about how you wash your hands when you go to the bathroom, but people just put their bare hands willy-nilly on those ice scoops that go into the ice machine. And those bare hands are not always pristine, judging from the fact that Jasmine's samples contained E. coli bacteria, which comes from human waste.

Read more: Food

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All the giant squid in the world are related to each other

I've got all my sisters with me.
Stephanemartin
I've got all my sisters with me.

Family can be hard. But when you're a giant squid, it's probably less so. You don't have to worry if your parents like your wife. You don't have to worry about who sits where at family dinners or who gets the country house when the squid patriarch dies. So probably the recent study informing us that giant squid populations all over the world are probably related is not such a huge deal to the squid themselves. But to humans, well, it's rather interesting.

Read more: Living

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Spiders all over the world like to snack on bats

bat-eating-spiders
Martin Nyffeler and Mirjam Knörnschild

Scientists were aware that spiders ate bats. But they thought it was really rare and maybe the sort of thing that just happened once in a while, like when the bat got tired or sick or otherwise negligent with his own bat life and found himself in a spider web. Well, now scientists have gathered evidence from all sorts of people around the world who give a shit about bats -- like bat scientists and people who work at bat hospitals which actually exist -- and they discovered 52 instances of spiders eating bats. That's a lot, considering that's not all the bat-eating spiders, just the ones who got caught.

Read more: Living

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Google Maps can now make you a virtual mountain climber

This is Lava Tower, Tanzania, as seen with google maps.
This is Lava Tower, Tanzania, as seen with Google Maps.

Google Reader may sadly be a thing of the past, but take comfort: Google giveth and Google taketh away. Just because Google will no longer let you organize your RSS feeds doesn't mean they don't care about you. Because now, in the time you'll be saving not reading your RSS feeds, Google will let you virtually explore the Seven Summits, the highest peaks in the world.

Those peaks include Aconagua, Kilimanjaro, and of course, mighty Everest. Someone dragged a Google camera up all those fuckers just so you wouldn't have to. And here is what it looks like:

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How scientists are bringing this weird, extinct, baby-barfing frog back from the dead

I think you have a frog in your throat.
Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
I think you have a frog in your throat.

Preserved DNA is kind of like preserved lemons. It's DNA that's been sitting around for a while getting ready to do something big. (What? Lemons have dreams.) For example, take the DNA of this amazing frog, which gives birth out of its mouth. That preserved DNA sat around for 40 years before scientists at the University of Newcastle in Australia used cloning technology to bring the weird species, extinct since the '80s, back to life.

Read more: Living

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New York is getting rid of rats by sterilizing them

We'd like to see less of you.
We'd like to see less of you.

There may be as many rats as there are people in New York City, and that is a lot of rats. Fortunately the rats in New York, unlike the standard of living, are not any worse than the rats anywhere else. But they still want to get rid of them. And now city officials are prepared to go straight to the source of rats: rat uteruses. They propose to reduce rat populations through mass sterilization.

So how do you make a rat sterile? Well you mix up some stuff -- salt, sugar, fat, industrial chemical, and an herb. (Which herb specifically is unclear, maybe because city officials don't want you copying their secret recipe, maybe because come on we all know this is a recipe for pot brownies.) Then the rats eat and drink the stuff (some of it is liquid, which supposedly rats like because it's harder to get than say, pizza), and then the chemical basically finds its way into the rat's system and lo and behold. All of a sudden, the rat is still good at being a rat but sucks at making more rats.

Read more: Cities

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Finally, a cereal that gives you serious sexual power

Eat this and fuck like a Canadian!
Eat this and fuck like a Canadian!

Before I get deeper into this story about this cereal that's supposed to make you sexier, which was invented by a Canadian businessman (because whenever I think of sex the words "Canadian businessman" are never far behind), let's look at the nipple on that woman on the cereal box. That's a nipple, right? Just wanted to clear that up.

Anyway, Peter Ehrlich, the Toronto businessman, got the idea for this product -- "his" and "hers" cereals with special ingredients formulated to uh, I don't know, increase libido? Potency? Vaginal mucus? Who cares? It's a SEX CEREAL, it's a cereal that makes SEX -- because he thought there weren't enough "fun" products in the world of health food. Fair enough. Who doesn't like fun? Look at the fun ingredients here.

Read more: Food