Science Doesn’t Sleep (7.1.08)

Huge green lizard
Creative Commons License photo credit: Rosina ♫♪

So here’s what went down after you logged off.

The world’s most organized lizards: not only do members of the chameleon species Furcifer labordi  all hatch at the same time – they also manage to always do so in November. They then live for only four months – making them the shortest-lived, four-limbed vertebrates.

Penguins are dying – sounding the alarm over the health of the world’s oceans.

Scientists have compiled the first complete map of the human brain.

Today is the 150th anniversary of the formal presentation of the theory of evolution. Though it is often credited to Charles Darwin, NPR has an interesting story about whether his contemporary, Alfred Russel Wallace, deserves some of the credit.

In laser news: use a beam of light to tweeze your eyebrows; or, fire up a laser to clean a wound of medicine-resistent bacteria.

It’s cheaper to fill your tank in space than in The Netherlands. Speaking of filling your tank, our own Claire was interviewed about how gas gets from the ground to the pump this morning in the Wiess Energy Hall.

Octane Pain

The price of a gallon of gasoline
Has gotten obnoxiously high.
The gas in the tank and the cash in the bank,
(As shown in reports and projections)
Despite what we do or try to pursue,
Are going in downward directions!
The reasons for such
Are many and much,
And here I will now tell you why.

147 2008

Feeling nostalgic…
Creative Commons License photo credit: dougsymington

The supply of crude oil over the world
Inevitably is going down.
We are finding more
In places offshore,
But there’s only so much in the ground.

And the crude from the well
(If you look, you can tell!)
Is not going to go in your tank
The sticky black goo
Will simply not do;
Your engine is not going to crank.

Crane
Creative Commons License photo credit: Strocchi

To make gasoline
(As you may have seen)
The unrefined crude must be changed.
By heating and cooling,
And chemical retooling
Its molecules are rearranged.

The places that do this
(But maybe you knew this.)
Are refineries whose numbers are shrinking.
Their costs are not cheap
In fact, they’re quite steep,
This whole process, then, needs some rethinking.

But demand for gasoline
Is growing obscene,
In the world and the U. S. of A.
We can’t make enough
Of the valuable stuff
And thus at the pump you now pay.

shine
Creative Commons License photo credit: s2art

And the whole situation
‘Round the globe and the nation
Is infinitely much more complex.
There are markets and forces
And political courses
That the brainiest brains will perplex.

There’s war in Iraq,
Fear of terror attack.
There’s OPEC and Saudis and Russians,
Political flak,
And reservoir lack,
And pundits in endless discussions.
There are plots and some coups,
And some radical views,
And “economically motivated misinforming.”

around the world
Creative Commons License photo credit: cherry+

Not to mention Detroit,
Where some are adroit,
At downplaying dire global warming.
So many forces are doing their work
In multifarious giving and taking,
The price at the pump
Is not gonna slump,
Despite all this quaking and shaking.

So read ‘em and weep,
Or just go to sleep
Or go on your own hunger strike,
But if I were you,
I wouldn’t be blue.
I’d just go and get a new bike!

Vespa
Creative Commons License photo credit: micampe