Monday, 23 June 2008

Football Fever

As the rest of the world seems to be excited about some kicky-ball competition, I thought we could jump on the bandwagon as well. There has to be some odd science going on here...

And indeed (handily) there is. It has come to light that the German team have been side-stepping the tight anti-doping rules for the tournament by using homeopathy. This story pleases me very much. The concept of Homeopathy is rather amusing even at the best of times, and the logic of "this stuff is so ludicrously ineffective they don't even bother banning it, so let's give it a go!", is the placebo effect working at its magnificent best.

In fairness, in the highly psychological environment of sports medicine, where giving a player a mental "edge" is all-important, the sphere of quackery is probably a very good one to use, but it's still amusing none the less.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Fake beak.

Gentlemen, we can rebuild her. We have the technologyAccording to the Sun (I wasn't reading it, I promise) a bald eagle has had its beak shot and was starving to death until friendly engineers came along and made it (the eagle) a new one (beak).

The Sun's Kelly Eagle (I kid you not) gives the story only a brief overview, but over in the America, the more respectable USA Today (another completely fact driven news source) goes in to a little more detail, including how the current beak (shown here in a picture nabbed off of Boing Boing) isn't quite right:
"The new beak is only a temporary fix, designed to nail down precise measurements.

A final beak made of tougher material will be created and attached later, though her saviors don't plan to release her back into the wild. They say that she has spent too much time with humans that the final beak will still not be strong enough to tear flesh from prey."

You can see how the beak has broken in the image, exposing the metal underneath the yellow plastic.

[via Boing Boing]