Scienceline Staff Picks

Pygmy hippos, bike locks, and how to tell stories about hippos and bike locks

Our favorites from the week

June 10, 2011

From Rachel Nuwer:

Which is preferable: a lifetime of irrational optimism or one of mild depression? Read on to see why we may be evolutionarily hard-wired for a rosy disposition.

Four women scientists at the top of their fields discuss what it takes to flourish in a male-dominated world, and how we can encourage a better balance the sexes in the upper echelons of science.

Check out what some of the movers and shakers in science writing have to say. Scienceline’s Lena Groeger covers scientific storytelling at the World Science Festival.


From Mary Beth Griggs:

Bike lock technology is on the rise. This blog and accompanying YouTube video shows how some German engineers engineered a bike lock that will literally lift your bike up, out of reach of thieves.

Cause Célèbre: Famous actors and actresses have waded into the NY State debate on fracking, appearing in commercials for environmental groups.

Volcanos: The BBC has a short piece about a ‘lava lake‘ in Hawaii that might overflow, and yesterday the San Francisco Chronicle posted an article about how the volcanic eruptions in Chile were canceling flights all across South America.


From Stephanie Warren:

What’s cuter than a baby hippo? A baby pygmy hippo, of course! One made its debut last week at the Bratislava Zoo in Slovakia. Adult pygmy hippos are only about two feet tall, but they can weigh up to 550 pounds. Threatened by deforestation, there are only a few thousand of them left in the wild.

MIT students created a robot that isn’t programmed to do something silly like astrophysics…PR2 makes chocolate chip cookies! It’s also adorably clumsy–check out the video and watch chocolate chips go flying.

Slap no more! Scientists at the University of California, Riverside have developed a promising chemical that deters mosquitoes. It works by interfering with the receptors mosquitoes use to find humans. The weird part? It’s the same chemical that gives buttered popcorn its flavor.

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