Ho, Ho, Hoax-Nay to the Nay-sayers!

Recently, I was sitting and chatting with some of my friends discussing all the ways were going to celebrate the holidays this year. Eventually, the topic of gifts came up, and with it, so did old Kris Kringle and his magical bag of toys. We ended up agreeing that it was much easier to believe in Santa Claus when we were young than it is now. We’ve grown up and none of us expect any reindeers’ hoof beats to wake us up on Christmas Eve anymore.

As I was driving home from our little get together, I realized that it would be ridiculously fan-double-tastic if some scientist decided the whole Saint Nick-Rudolf routine was entirely plausible and within the ever-expanding realm of the possible. So, I did some internet browsing and came across an article published by a professor at a university in North Carolina that stated exactly that!!!

Luminous Beings
Possible genetic engineering?
Creative Commons License photo credit: atomicjeep

I’ll go over a few of his key points. Santa’s reindeer can most certainly fly; they have been genetically engineered with that ability. They also have extraordinary balance and super night vision. Also, they don’t have to tote around toys enough for all the children of the world, Santa uses nanotechnology to make all the toys on site, right under the Christmas tree! And, finally, my favorite, the explanation for Santa’s ability to get to every house all in one night-relativity clouds. He has the knowledge and the skills and he has found a way to create controllable rips in time, allowing him months to deliver packages in what seems, to us, like a blink of an eye.

You have to accept that Santa is slightly more advanced in the the technological field then we are. All of these possibilities have been discussed before in science fiction, and some of them such as nanotechnology are in current use.

Now, take your new-found scientific Santa ammo and use it on someone who stopped believing in Santa Claus a long time ago, but, be nice – because Santa is listening on his sophisticated, technologically advanced antennae.

Happy Holidays!

Science Doesn’t Sleep (9.9.08)

Released to Public: Sinai Penninsula and Dead Sea from Space Shuttle Columbia, March 2002 (NASA)
Coming soon: giant black hole?
Creative Commons License photo credit: pingnews.com

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

Worried that CERN is about to create a giant black hole? (As in, tomorrow?) Steven Hawking has bet $100 that the 14-year, $8 billion project won’t even find what it’s looking for.

NASA’s Mars Rover has been Twittering madly since it landed on the Red Planet last May – and almost 34,000 people are following every mission detail. But what happens when the little guy finally shuts down?

Can we bring extinct species back? Sometimes, they’re not even actually gone.

“Nano” doesn’t necessarily mean “tiny,” at least in terms of risk – nanosilver is fast becoming widespread in new products – despite its EPA classification as an environmental hazard.

Ten things you didn’t know about the Earth. Like – what would it take to wipe it out?

How did Neanderthals give birth? Turns out, a lot like we do.

Science Doesn’t Sleep (8.11.08)

Galaxie d Andromède
Creative Commons License photo credit: índio

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

Tonight is the best time to view the annual Perseid Meteor Shower – check it out at the George Observatory, open all night, starting at 9 p.m. In the hours just before dawn, it’s possible to see a meteor every minute.

Your mother was right (about the solar system) – we are special.

In an effort to understand their contribution to global warming, 21 US cities will measure and disclose their carbon emissions as part of a global effort run by the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Proof that magic is often science in disguise: scientists have created an Invisibility Cloak that bends light to make objects invisible. Currently, it works on a nano-scale, but could soon be enlarged.

China’s massive cutbacks in pollution-producing industries in advance of the Olympic Games was intended to help athletes compete at their best – but it’s also giving scientists an opportunity to study what happens when “a heavily populated region substantially curbs everyday industrial emissions.”

Science Doesn’t Sleep (7.17.08)

Creative Commons License photo credit: watercolors08

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

National Geographic has beautiful photos of the Abrolhos Reef, off the coast of Brazil – which scientists have recently discovered is twice as large as previously thought.

Molecular hula hoops: very tiny fun!

The Maker Faire is coming to Austin. According to the organizers, it’s “a newfangled fair that brings together science, art, craft and engineering plus green, food and music in a fun, energized, and exciting public forum.” Will you enter? Tell us what you’re making!

Ohhh…I see. When you said “lucky” what you really meant was “carcinogenic.”

Stephen Hobley plays a harp made of lasers – that also functions as a controller for Guitar Hero. Best of all – you can build one, too! (Love Guitar Hero – but not DIY enough to make your own laser version? Check out Rockfest in the Grand Hall this Saturday.)

SciGuy‘s got a list of Houston’s most generous science philanthropists – it’s a chronicle not just of their generosity, but also the cutting-edge science facilities we have here in Houston. He’s posting them one at a time, so check back.