Love’s Problem

The perfect Valentine’s Day gift for a scientist? A juicy problem to solve. We recommend: “Love’s Problem,” Janet M. Becker and Michael Bevis, Geophysical Journal International, vol. 156, no. 2, February 2004, p. 171. The authors, who are at the University of Hawaii, explain that: “Explicit expressions for the displacements generated in a non-gravitating, homogeneous, […]

Numbers Mirror Smoke Hazard

How dangerous is marijuana? Thanks to Dr Peter Maguire and his careful use of basic mathematics, now we know. Details are in a January 21, 2004 news report from Reuters (read the full report here): “Cannabis is a drug that can kill,” Dr Peter Maguire, deputy chairman of the BMA’s board of science told Reuters. […]

Upside-Down, and Diagnosis

The phrase “upside-down, into the void” sums up a report in the BMJ (vol. 328,January 17, 2004, p. 176): A 67 year old man presented with lower urinary tract symptoms and many episodes of near-acute urinary retention, which he found, by trial and error, he avoided by standing on his head for 5-10 minutes each […]

Skipping & Hopping

When do young adults skip and hop, and why? These are the questions that faced Allen W Burton, Luis Garcia and Clersida Garcia. The answers appear in their published research report “Skipping and Hopping of Undergraduates: Recollections of When and Why”. So begins this week’s Improbable Research newspaper column in the Guardian. Read it here.