A Short Scientist is THREE! To celebrate three years of articles, we will look back on the top ten posts from the last three years. I adore writing and creating these snippets of science, they are a creative release for me and let my brain breathe. I hope the next year brings more doodling and science to communicate. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, comment on, like or share my work, it really does mean the world, especially in a pandemic. This little blog has achieved more than I ever expected, and brings me so much joy.
Even after the year that was 2020, I've spotted countless articles and media outlets "helping" people set New Year's resolutions and kick bad habits. Whilst I'm not one to usually set a resolution, this year I want to do more of what I love which includes these articles. So now the thesis is in and I had a Christmas break (WAHOOO), what can science tell us about habits, whether breaking or forming them?
From my big, arms-outstretched morning yawn, to my stifled awkward supressed facial stretches in online meetings, I yawn a lot. From Hippocrates to the modern day, scientists have long pondered over the reasons why we yawn. Here we'll look at some of the explanations and discover if other species also partake in this strange, highly contagious activity.
Since the start of lockdown in the UK back in March, the government has been "tweaking" its covid-19 testing strategy. Targeted testing, only symptomatic people, mass testing etc. Until last week (6th Nov, 2020), the only widely available tests were PCR (I'll explain more in a moment). However, Liverpool is now the trial site of mass testing using a different type of covid test which is quicker and is being used on everyone, symptomatic or not. Here we'll look at the different types of covid tests and explain what they're doing.
At the start of lockdown in the UK back in March (2020, if anyone needs reminding...), doctors surgeries closed their doors to walk in appointments and everything went as online as possible. Whilst many would have been sceptical of a virtual consultation, I also think many have been surprised. GP surgeries have had fewer missed appointments and shorter waiting times to see a doctor. Going virtual meant many concerns could be addressed without the patient needing to come to the surgery. But what if the doctors themselves were computerised? What if we had robot doctors?
To many, time is a way of telling us when to do things or expect things to be done: when to meet, when to eat, when to sleep, but what is the scientific definition of time? One source defines it as the "indefinite and continuous duration...in which events succeed one another", meaning the past is the past and the future will always come after, a linear perception. However, what if time isn't linear and our perception is wrong? Strap in.
As we pass 6 months of lockdown measures in the UK, some long term symptoms of covid-19 are starting to emerge. Alongside viral fatigue and continued breathing difficulties, less obvious, neurological, health problems are becoming more of a concern. So what do we know about the effects of coronavirus on the brain to date, and should we be worried about a "silent wave" of neurological problems?
Could honeybee venom be used to kill aggressive cancel cells? This is the news out this month (Sept' 2020) from research into bee venom. We all know how wonderful and important the honeybee is to our lives, but could its venom now be a key to cancer prognosis?
In January, whilst on my morning walk to the station, I spotted two bright spots in the sky near the moon. After a week of these sightings, it turns out they were Jupiter and Venus taking centre stage at 7am on those dark winter mornings. On a planet home to 7.7 billion people going about their daily lives, I was seeing Jupiter and Venus on my way to work. We are only in this universe for a relatively tiny amount of time and yet so lucky to live amongst it all with knowledge at our fingertips. It got me thinking, what are the coolest things known about our home galaxy, the Milky Way?