Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

July 21, 2013

Science rules

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

— I’d like to raise a glass and toast scientists today. The nerds in glasses who carried their books home every single day, not just the night before a test.

Here’s what they’ve been up to since we last noogied them:

• They’ve found the “off” switch to Down Syndrome, according to an article in Nature. The eggheads at the University of Massachusetts Medical School discovered a way to turn off the rogue chromosome that causes mental problems, heart problems and a whole host of health issues in these kids, not to mention heartbreak for their families. They’re testing the process on mice now, and should have the results in a year. Kiss a scientist.

• Some IBM genius came up with a new GPS that figures out how angry a driver is and plans a route to cheer him or her up. The GPS takes into account how many times the driver has cursed and screamed in asking for directions, as well as how sweaty his or her hands are on the steering wheel, and offers to take the car by nice scenery or around traffic jams or accidents, according to an article in Patent Watch and simplified for the masses in Scientific American. I know so many road ragers that my only question is whether I’ll get a discount by buying these devices by the dozen?

• A new knife is being tested on humans that can tell if the tissue being cut is cancerous or not. The findings were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, and the study was done by researchers at Imperial College London. Yeah, accuracy when you’re cutting on me is a big old plus in my book.

• As if this month wasn’t big enough for smarties in the British Isles, a drop of pitch (we call it tar) was filmed falling from a funnel at Trinity University. Pitch will flow at room temperature, but only at a rate of about a drop a decade. This is the first time it’s ever been caught on film. So, another victory for science, time to tackle something else, lads.

• Finally, Baskin-Robbins hired a firm to study the personality types of people who choose various ice cream flavors. Here’s some of their findings: If your favorite flavor of ice cream is vanilla, you’re more likely to be impulsive, easily suggestible and an idealist; chocolate lovers are more likely to be dramatic, lively, charming, flirtatious, seductive and gullible; strawberry folks are tolerant, devoted and introverted; mint chocolate chippies are argumentative, frugal and cautious; pralines and cream people are loving, supportive and a dislike attention; mocha fans are scrupulous, conscientious and moral perfectionists; chocolate chippers are generous, competent and go-getters; and rocky roaders are aggressive, engaging and good listeners.

Ain’t science grand?

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Janet Jacobs is City Editor of the Daily Sun. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com