Michelle Thaller on Science

April 29th, 2009

I met and had the opportunity to spend a lot of time talking about the universe with the fabulous Michelle Thaller at CWA. Michelle is a astronomer, and as far as I know is still the head of education and outreach at the Spitzer Space Telescope (she was considering a new job with NASA last I heard). She initially derived her inspiration for space and communicating its wonders from Carl Sagan and George Lucas’ Star Wars.

Here is a brief interview about what keeps her inspired:

Michio Kaku on Teleportation

April 23rd, 2009

The fourth installment of Dr. Kiki’s interview with Dr. Michio Kaku. This time Dr. Kaku talks about the physics and reality of teleportation.

Michio’s book is out now as a paperback. Here’s a link to buy the book on Amazon.

Distributed by Tubemogul.

Michio Kaku on Time Travel

April 16th, 2009

The third installment of an hour long interview between Dr. Kiki Sanford and Dr. Michio Kaku. Dr. Kaku talks about time travel.

Michio’s book is out now as a paperback. Here’s a link to buy the book on Amazon.

Distributed by Tubemogul.

Michio Kaku’s Favorite Topic

April 9th, 2009

Part two in a series of excerpts from Dr. Kiki’s interview with Dr. Michio Kaku in which he discussed his favorite topic from The Physics of the Impossible. Distributed by Tubemogul.

Michio’s book is out now as a paperback. I honestly had no idea that my timing of these video interviews would match so well. But, since it did, here’s a link to buy the book on Amazon.  

Michio Kaku on Physics of the Impossible

April 2nd, 2009

I interviewed Dr. Michio Kaku last spring. This is the first of several excerpts from the interview. Dr. Kaku talks about where he got his inspiration for his book, The Physics of the Impossible. Distributed by Tubemogul.


I plan to release the hour-long interview in its entirety in little bite-sized chunks over the next several weeks. There are some gems of wisdom to look forward to!

12_Science Word 08_08_18

August 22nd, 2008

Ear Infections Might Cause Obesity – Ear infections during childhood might make you crave fatty foods. Patients who suffered from such infections rated fatty foods as 18% more pleasurable than patients who had not had childhood ear problems.

Could Moisturizing be Bad for You? – A study investigating the effect of caffeine on skin cancer inadvertently found that moisturizer has a tumorogenic effect in mice, increasing number and rate of tumor formation.

Potatoes Might Carry the Cure to Alzheimers – Mice injected with a potato virus developed antibodies that attached to amyloid-beta protein. This could be the beginning of a vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease.

Blue Dye For Aging – A compound called methylene-blue, which has been around for over a century, was just found to improve mitochondrial function and slow cellular decline at very low doses. It might eventually be used to prevent age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Flu Survivors Still Protected – Survivors of the 1918 flu still have antibodies to the H1N1 virus, which killed around 50 million people, and are probably still protected. Antibodies taken from surviving individuals were able to cure mice infected with the virus.

Telling the Saharan Story – Archeological evidence from a gravesite preserved in sand dunes suggests that from 5 to 10 thousand years ago, the Sahara desert was a green oasis that supported at least two completely different cultures: the tall hunter-gathering Kiffians, and the short and lean Tenerians.

Ancient Human Impact – It’s hard to say what killed the mega-fauna of Australia and Tasmania some 40 – 46,000 years ago, but a new study centered around the fossil skull of a giant kangaroo places the blame on humans.

11_Science Word 08_08_16

August 22nd, 2008

Persistent Free Radicals – Chemists have discovered a new class of air pollutant, persistent free-radicals, which form and last on fine airborne particles indefinitely, and might contribute substantially to cardio-pulmonary diseases.

Flesh-eating Bacteria’s Weapon Figured Out – Flesh-eating bacteria release a special compound called Strep pyogenes cell envelope protease or SpyCEP for short, which inactivates white blood cells and blocks the body from defending itself against the necrotizing infection.

Memory of a Robot Brain – Scientists are figuring out how the brain works by using rat brain cells to control a robot.

How to Stop Addiction – Researchers kept mice from becoming addicted to cocaine by blocking glutamate receptors on dopamine producing brain cells.

Eyes Do More than See – Mice were switched from night to daytime activity by messing with the amount of light in the room and the sensitivity of their eyes to light suggesting that they eyes play a major role in setting the body’s internal clock.

Depression is Bad for Driving – A study of 60 individuals found that people who were depressed and taking anti-depressant medication performed worse on simulated driving tests than both medicated and unmedicated individuals who weren’t depressed. So, don’t be depressed and drive.

Humans Like Pretty People – Analysis of contestant behavior on a Dutch game show called Shafted supports the idea that humans have a bias for beautiful people.

Beer Goggles – Beer goggles are for real! Drunk students rated pictures of people of both sexes more attractive.

A Reason For Sexual Preference? – Homosexual and bisexual men had female relatives with more children than heterosexual men. So, whatever makes women like men and have more children might make men like men as well.

Smell What You Like? –If you’re a woman on the contraceptive pill, you could be with the wrong partner. Women preferred different body odors before and after beginning to take the pill. It’s thought that women use smell to choose an immunologically compatible partner.

09_Science Word_08_08_12

August 21st, 2008

Science news headlines from the week of 08/12/08 with Dr. Kiki Sanford. Distributed by Tubemogul.

Formats available:Quicktime (.mov), Flash Video (.flv)

Tags: , , , ,


Show Notes:

Arsenic-eating bacteria found – Arsenic isn’t usually thought of as delicious and nutritious, but a new species of bacteria found in hot pools at Mono Lake in California thrives on the stuff, using it instead of water in the process of photosynthesis.

Cassini Takes Pictures
– The space probe Cassini imaged giant cracks in the surface of Enceladus to investigate the source of giant geysers of liquid water that shoot from the moon’s surface.

Where For Art Thou Meteorite? – Meteorites that landed here on earth are more like the space rocks in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter than like low metal content LL chondrite asteroids found closer to the earth.

Something Like a Comet – Researchers using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey reported finding a comet-like object in a 22,500 year orbit around the sun. It doesn’t have a comet tail because it never gets close enough to the sun.

How to Get There – Theoretical physicists have come up with a new idea for space travel. They suggest manipulating dark energy through another dimension of space, shrinking space in front of a ship and expanding it behind. The trouble is that it requires a quantity of energy equal to converting something like the planet Jupiter into pure energy.

Entangled particles really are “spooky” – Nothing travels faster than light, but two entangled particles separated by 18 kilometers and located in two different Swiss towns were able to communicate with instantaneous precision, thereby validating quantum mechanics and spooky action at a distance.

10_Science Word 08_08_14

August 21st, 2008

Science news headlines from the week of 08/12/08 with Dr. Kiki Sanford. Distributed by Tubemogul.

Formats available:Quicktime (.mov), Flash Video (.flv)

Tags: , , , ,


Show Notes:

Best Thing About a Big Laser – The Advanced Tactical Laser will give the United States plausible deniability, says the chief engineer of the Directed Energy Directorate in describing its benefits.

Nanotubes Are Strong – Experiments at Northwestern University proved that carbon nanotubes really are as strong as calculations predicted, and that radiation makes them even stronger. I’m still waiting for that space elevator.

A Limit to Tall –  Physics imposes a limit on the height of trees. The maximum height to which Douglas Firs should be able to transport water is between 131 to 145 meters. That’s also the limit of their height.

Nature is the Best Teacher – Scientists mimicked photosynthesis in the lab, and were able to split water into hydrogen and oxygen using the power of light.

Asphalt into Energy – Hot asphalt roads and parking lots may produce energy one day. Scientists are experimenting with the idea of adding a heat exchanger that would convert the heat absorbed by asphalt into energy.

Planet Friendly Paper Coating – A replacement for the waterproof wax coating that’s used on paper products like drink boxes has been created from the lignin of sugarcane, which unlike wax leaves the paper it coats completely recyclable.

The Effect of Climate change – A recent study found that 9 out of 10 tree species measured in the Santa Rosa mountains of California have increased the elevation of their habitat by 213 feet. The change in growing range was linked to changes in local climate.

Antarctica is not Alone – Ice cores revealed that West Antarctica is highly affected by atmospheric and oceanic changes in the tropics of the Pacific Ocean.

Dead Zones of the World – The number of oxygen poor dead zones in the world’s oceans has doubled to 400 in just the past two years. These dead zones are linked to algae blooms fed by fertilizer run-off, sewage, and the burning of fossil fuels.

Science Word Needs A Logo

August 15th, 2008

After receiving the comment below, I changed my mind about having an official contest. I think contests are great and all, but I don’t want to be a part of the problem.

I need help creating a logo for The Science Word, the new video series that I’ve been playing with the past couple of weeks. I think it would do well as a vid-cast, and need some help making it come to life.

So, since I am terrible at graphic design, I am holding a contest  asking for help to create The Science word logo. I know that there are people out there with amazing abilities. Send me something that can be the face of The Science Word to the world. If you have any ideas, or would like to help just because you’re nice like that I’d love to hear from you. I can’t pay cash money, and if I could it wouldn’t be much, but I can pimp the hell out of you and your work.

The contest starts today, and the deadline is next Friday, August 23rd.

If I pick your design, you will get all credit for creating the design, and I will pimp you like crazy on this website and all places related to The Science Word.

Send your logo designs (300 dpi and 300 x 300 min. size) to

Please, email me at kirsten at this week in science dot com.