Hover or cover, that is the question. AsapScience dares to go where most of us won’t: the toilet seat. At least academically, anyway. Are we really saving ourselves from germs by covering the seat or hovering above it? Watch and find out.
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This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, which tore through Europe from 1914 to 1918 and took millions of lives with it. Though most people who would remember the event are gone, the Great War still reverberates through our lives even today. In fact, many life-saving medical innovations that we now take for granted were created during that period by field surgeons and nurses who needed to respond quickly to a number of potentially fatal ailments.
Blood transfusions, which help prevent patients from dying of shock or blood loss, started to be used just before the war. It wasn’t until the the war began, though, that the technique was truly put to the test.
Sepsis, an all-too-common hospital malady back then, was beaten with the invention of antiseptics. And though it sounds obvious to us today, it was also during WWI that practicing good hygiene and cleanliness in hospitals became a prominent strategy for disease prevention. Penicillin wasn’t discovered until 1928, a decade after the armistice that ended the war in 1918. But even without antibiotics, WWI surgeons brought us out of medicine’s dark ages.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is the world-renowned America astrophysicist who waxes philosophical—yet approachable—on all things science and space. To his credit, he is also a lecturer, author, radio personality, TV host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, director of the Hayden Planetarium and research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. As eloquent as he is engaging, Dr. Tyson has captured the imagination of the public the world over with his wisdom. Here are seven of his best sermons on science – from state addresses and conferences to interviews on talk shows.
1. Beyond Belief, 2006
History is filled with examples of cruel and unusual experiments performed on human beings and animals for the so-called sake of advancing science. Even at the time they were performed, such experiments should have been considered crazy. And today, at the very least they should elicit a “WTF?”. In some cases it seems that the psychology professionals administering the tests were the crazy ones—not the subjects involved. In the following experiments, the victims can be categorized into five groups: chimps, dogs, gays, unsuspecting participants and Jews.
As disturbing as the experiments by Dr. Harry Harlow on rhesus monkeys were, they did generate some—albeit inadvertent—“good” results. Public outrage at Harlow’s work comprised one of the early steps toward the United States animal rights movement, which aims to wipe out the use of animals in the research, food, clothing and entertainment industries. His work is also said to be partially responsible for various ethical standards established for scientific study.
Is there life on other planets? Maybe, maybe not. But is there life on an other worldly closed system in the middle of Arizona? Absolutely. Or, well, at least there was. Beginning at the tail end of the 20th century, researchers squeezed a rain forest, ocean, coral reef, wetlands, grasslands and deserts into this steel structure, which was intended to study the interactions between different life systems. Researchers would spend years of their lives sealed away from humanity in the Biosphere, but after years of managerial conflict, the site’s future is uncertain. Read more about one of the researchers, Jane Poynter, at TED.
Poor health is one of those things that, like divorce and the loss of a loved one, you know will touch your life at some point but would rather not think about too much. At least, we generally expect that somebody, somewhere is “working” on the problem. Certain interesting diseases, however, compel our attention and call into question the notion that humans have this whole “modern medicine” thing figured out.
Some interesting diseases count as such because their symptoms are so bizarre, others because they’re so incredibly rare, and still others because they’re so mysterious that doctors who study them have no choice but to shrug and guess that the sufferers are under a sorcerer’s curse. Here are six of the more interesting diseases to have appeared in the literature for the expressed purpose of robbing you of sleep.
Interesting Diseases: Progressive Multifocal Leukoncephalopathy
Imagine you’re recovering from a heart transplant. You might feel as if you’ve been given a new lease on life. Sure, you have to take drugs that suppress your immune system so your body won’t reject the donor heart, but hey—beats the alternative, right?