Thursday, March 10, 2011


It's time for Gratuitous Picture Of Your Science Thursday. This is my Western blot result from earlier today. Unfortunately there are no bands except for a ladder. Next step: Repeat!

Episode 23

The atheism and science podcast that me and my friends work on together just released our 23rd episode!  Check it out - here's the summary from the Pascal's Bettors website:
  • Matt starts us off with Spreading the Bad News regarding the misconceptions about the Crusades
  • Joel reads off some news items about the ACLU defending Christians, rape being declared as "God's Will" and another attempt to teach the bible in a public school
  • Liz inspires us with some Words of Lizdom via Richard Dawkins
  • John discusses an uplifting Church In State segment where the UK prioritized secular morality over religious hatred.
  • Liz discusses some Pope-pourri, specifically a lawsuit german lawyers are using to take on the Pope
  • Nik discusses the ethics of the Supreme Court's ruling in the Snyder v. Phelps case for the latest Ethics Corner
  • Finally, we wrap up with a religious trivia question about the Jewish Mezuzah from Matt
We love getting feedback to, so use the "contact us" form on the website to let us know what you think and if you have any question or subject you'd like us to cover.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Going out with a ... freeze

Discoblog over at DISCOVER learned me something new today:  "cremation, which uses the same amount of energy as driving almost 5,000 miles, releases mercury into the atmosphere."  

What a terrible thing to do to the environment!  I always thought that, aside from donating your body to science, cremation was the most cost-effective and ecologically friendly way to go (avoiding wood and metal coffins, large tracts of land, etc.).  Well apparently there's a more environmentally friendly way to depart this mortal coil.

In short, a company called Promessa will freeze your body with liquid nitrogen (using no nasty embalming fluids) to the point that your frozen self becomes incredibly brittle.  Then a sonicator is used to essentially vibrate the frozen stuff into a fine powder before evaporating the water in the dust and planting your remains back into the ground.  The biggest environmental benefits appear to be no embalming fluid contamination, no inorganic burying material, and less space taken up.  Here's a depiction from Promessa's website of the freezing process:

Let this be my living will: if I die and my body cannot be donated to science, I want to be frozen and shattered into billions of tiny dust particles just like in Terminator 2.