All posts by LazaroFernie

Sexy aliens? Science says probably not

We humans (or at least, the geekier specimens among us) seem obsessed with human-on-alien action. From the countless conquests of Captain Kirk to the untamed Na’vi beauty Neytiri, science fiction is replete with tales of uninhibited extraterrestrials that know just how to get our motors running.

But is it really likely that even if we’re not alone in the universe, our galactic neighbors will want to pay conjugal visits? Probably not. Continue reading Sexy aliens? Science says probably not

Spring fever: How it really works

Spring has long been known as a time of blossoming and virility. As young Bambi learned, “Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime.”

While spring fever may be hard to define in exact terms, scientists have figured out that it involves our circadian rhythms — what some have dubbed our “internal clock” and which syncs up with Mother Nature’s cycles. Continue reading Spring fever: How it really works

Summer safety tips

As summer approaches, college students start chomping at their proverbial bit, ready to break free from the confines of spring semester. While a bit of cutting loose does everyone good from time to time, there are some things you should remember so that summer fun doesn’t become summer regret soon after. Continue reading Summer safety tips

What you should know about tanning

As the seemingly interminable winter comes to a close at Radford University, university grounds become speckled with sunbathers. Everyone is anxious to recharge from Mother Nature’s giant battery in the sky, and many students seem determined to start on that sexy tan or get burned trying.

So what actually happens on a biological level when you start to tan? It’s all about melanocytes, skin cells that produce melanin when exposed to ultraviolet light. Melanin is a pigment that absorbs UV radiation and thereby protects your skin. So far, so good — everyone has heard of melanin. What you might not know, though, is that your body produces two kinds of melanin. Continue reading What you should know about tanning

Will the dead really walk?

Shambling corpses are America’s new love affair. From the lauded show “The Walking Dead” to a zombie equivalent of “Twilight,” the rotting reminders of humanity’s dark side are everywhere. Of course, it has become a popular pastime to speculate on whether a zombie apocalypse could actually happen.

A common theme brought up by the “it could happen” crowd are plagues and parasites. There’s a parasite called toxoplasmosa gondii that infects rats, takes over their brains, and purposely gets them eaten by cats, so that the parasite can breed in the cats’ intestines. Continue reading Will the dead really walk?

The myth of the Neanderthal baby

Would you be willing to carry and birth a Neanderthal baby, should the opportunity present itself? This is the question news outlets around the world were asking after an interview with Harvard geneticist George Church.

The story goes that Church and his team were looking for an “adventurous woman” to be a surrogate mother to a cloned Neanderthal baby. He is quoted in The Daily Mail as saying, “Now I need an adventurous female human.”

Would you want a small version of him in your house? Image from Creative Commons.
Would you want a small version of him in your house? Image from Creative Commons.

Church explained that much of the science involved in such an endeavor is actually quite feasible. Sequencing the Neanderthal genome would be the first step, and that was accomplished back in 2010.

He also mentioned that cloning a Neanderthal might benefit society by increasing genetic diversity. Continue reading The myth of the Neanderthal baby

Two chimps are better than one

Way back in kindergarten, most folks were taught the importance of cooperation. It turns out humans aren’t the only members of the animal kingdom to learn this lesson, however. A recent study by behavioral scientist Alicia Melis has shown that our hairy cousins can cooperate in a more sophisticated fashion than previously thought. Continue reading Two chimps are better than one

Print it, baby!

How would you like to take your wildest, most outrageous fantasies and turn them into custom sex toys? Turns out, science will let you do that.

As 3D printers continue to edge closer into mainstream life, new possibilities are opening up for lovers of gunsmodel trains and even sex toys.

Is your turn-on a toy for your intimate areas shaped like Justin Bieber or Hello Kitty? Fear not, Maker Love (a company that hosts a forum for sharing sex toy designs for 3D printing) has designs for those free on their website. Continue reading Print it, baby!

From our perspective: Republicans embrace the rainbow

As the Supreme Court of the United States prepares to pass judgment on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act as well as the infamous Prop. 8, proponents of marriage equality have gained an unexpected ally.

More than 100 prominent Republicans have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court advocating for same-sex couples to have the same marriage rights as straight couples. Among the Republicans signing on are Beth Myers (Mitt Romney’s senior adviser in 2012), Charles Bass (a former Congressman from New Hampshire) and Douglas Holtz-Eakin (an economist who advised John McCain during his 2008 presidential campaign). Continue reading From our perspective: Republicans embrace the rainbow

Florida’s monster pests

If sunshine, orange groves and giant mosquitoes are your cup of tea, a trip to Florida might be in order.

That’s right, giant mosquitoes. Known as “gallinippers,” these fearsome beasties can grow up to 20 times the size of a normal mosquito. Deby Cassill, a biologist at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, described the gallinippers as “pterodactyls in the mosquito world.”

If the intimidating size wasn’t enough, these babies come with attitude. The so-called pterodactyls are known to go after humans, animals and even fish. Moral of the story? To a gallinipper, you look the same as a fish fillet. Continue reading Florida’s monster pests

Generation stress

Americans ages 18 to 33 are more stressed-out than previous generations, according to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association. More than 52 percent of folks in this age range said their sleep had been interfered with by “overwhelming worry” within the past month.

On a scale from one to ten, one being “little to no stress” and ten being “a great deal of stress,” Millenials (ages 18 to 33) averaged 5.4, matched only by members of Generation X (ages 34 to 47). By contrast, Boomers (ages 48 to 66) averaged 4.7 on the scale, and Matures (ages 67 and older) take it down another notch to 3.7. Despite the tendency for stress to decrease with age, Americans of all ages say they experience more stress than they feel is healthy. Continue reading Generation stress

RU fit?

College students are more known for their love of video games and consumption of Ramen noodles than for workouts and salads. The stereotype of a “college kid” is that of a young adult so consumed with either academics or partying that he or she has no time to even think about living healthfully.

While it’s true that one’s schedule can easily fill up with classes, club meetings and homework, it’s unfortunate when students disregard their physical and mental well-being in order to keep up with the hectic pace of college life. Continue reading RU fit?

How to go back to school with a bang

You’ve bought your books. You’ve stocked up on dorm food, double-checked your class schedule and triple-checked your class schedule. Everything seems set for another semester at Radford University.

But why should you settle for going through the same routine you went through the previous semester? Spring is a time of blooming plant life, potential love and budding opportunities. Continue reading How to go back to school with a bang