Category Archives: General Science

Sniff Any Good F@rts Lately?

Hey, you think you’ve got it bad?

Go hence and read about the worst jobs in science.

[Update at 12:40 PM PDT]

Here’s a blog-relevant one:


Yes, astronaut. By many lights, being an astronaut is the best job in the solar system, though one that carries with it the ultimate risk. But set aside the mortal danger and it’s still a job of great frustration, self- sacrifice, even debasement. Astronauts are subjected to the most arduous of tasks: sitting in high-G centrifuges so that doctors can study motion sickness, deliberately enduring hypothermia for hours on end, wearing rectal probes and central IV lines in all forms of stress training like so many guinea pigs (though?mitigating factor?no shaved bellies). Shuttle and Mir veteran Norm Thagard once objected to a study designed to make him wretchedly sick. NASA’s response? “They said I could be fired for good cause, bad cause or no cause,” says Thagard, “but I was required to participate as a condition of employment.” Thagard also had the distinction of being the first person ever to clean out animal cages in orbit, on the Spacelab 3 in 1985. Engineers promised him that the cages would be at negative pressure, so none of the weightless waste of 24 rats and 2 squirrel monkeys would escape. But when Thagard opened the cages, air rushed outward, leading to a frantic floating-feces chase scene. A day later, at the other end of the craft, commander Bob Overmeyer was accosted by a truant turd.

Just An Oversized Buzzard

Some of the latest thinking about T. Rex was that it was a scavenger of carrion, rather than a predator.

“I believe it was a scavenger pure and simple because I can’t find any evidence to support the theory that it was a predator,” paleontologist Jack Horner said at the opening on Thursday of “T-Rex — the killer question.”

Horner, the inspiration for scientist Alan Grant — played by Sam Neill — in Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park,” said the lumbering giant was too slow, its arms too small and its sight too poor to catch anything moving.

Another fact from childhood down the drain. Fantasia will never be the same.

[Update on Friday at 4 PM PDT]

Reader (and Transterrestrial site designer) Bill Simon points out this discussion on the subject raging in the comments section.