What is the deal with @NERCscience’s RSS #BoatyMcBoatface?? #NameOurShip

In case you haven’t heard, a research vessel being built in the UK to the tune of $290 billion, may be christened the RRS Boaty McBoatface after an online poll to name the ship went viral.

When scientists in the U.K. asked the public to name their new $290 million polar research ship, they expected the name of an explorer such as Sir Ernest Shackleton or a naturalist like David Attenborough to eventually be emblazoned across the vessel’s bow.

However, they didn’t factor in the Brits’ oddball sense of humor

By 9 a.m. Monday (5 a.m. ET), more than 27,000 people had voted to name the ship “RRS Boaty McBoatface.”

The poll was launched Thursday by the National Environment Research Council, the government-funded body building the ship in Cammell Laird shipyard, near Liverpool.

The ship itself is amazing, and we look forward to the science that will come from its missions. However, we also can’t stop laughing at the potential future name of the ship. While it poses a conundrum for NERC, it has also resulted in TONS of press for the organization and its new ship!!

The name Boaty McBoatface was suggested by James Hand, who has since apologized for causing trouble on the poll, but refuses to deny the awesomeness of the name he submitted!!

Going on a date with an academic? scientist? #RuinADateWithAnAcademicInFiveWords

If you haven’t seen the twitter hashtag #RuinADateWithAnAcademicInFiveWords – you should check it out! It is hilarious… and mostly true! Especially if you are an academic, someone who is dating an academic, or someone who wants to date an academic!! Info about the hashtag here by Steve Kolowich. Shout out to my friend Becky for sending me this article – she also sends it to first dates prior to meeting them.

In hundreds of tweets, clear themes have emerged. Apparently, a sure way to kill the mood is to speak admiringly of astrology, Fox News, homeopathic medicine, The History Channel, or Malcolm Gladwell. Disavowals of coffee, evolution, and Oxford commas might not play well, either. And God help you if you suggest that academics get to “take summers off.”

A few of my favorites!

[tweet https://twitter.com/GradStudentWay/status/556660657924636672] [tweet https://twitter.com/Paleo_Bonegirl/status/555841241855062016] [tweet https://twitter.com/rothmanistan/status/555710936942907392] [tweet https://twitter.com/academickitty/status/555734007715860480]

Hilarious article by The Onion encourages climate science deniers to actually look at the #science!


Check out this hilarious (and sadly close to reality) article at The Onion poking fun at climate change science denial.

Co-authored by several dozen of the nation’s top climatologists, a new climate change study released Wednesday by the U.S. Global Change Research Program reportedly consists of 400 pages in which scientists just tell Americans to read previous climate change studies.

While CauseScience supports continued science into climate change, we can’t help but laugh at the article and agree that many Americans and climate science deniers need to re-visit the vast literature of climate science that has already been done.

The report is said to conclude with a single exasperated 28-page run-on sentence urging people to “just come on and look at these damn things, for the love of God—what more do you want from us—Jesus, this is ridiculous.”

When is it ok to not vaccinate your kids? NOTLD blog explains rare circumstances. Otherwise… DO IT!

The blog Night of the Living Dad has examined the few rare cases when it is ok to not vaccinate your children. Definitely worth a look for a good laugh! Below I feature my favorite example!

Ebola Zaire has one of the highest mortality rates of any disease people get. There’s currently a flare up of the disease in some parts of Africa. There have been a couple of Americans that have had it, but it’s so difficult for Ebola to be transmitted from person to person that there’s not really much risk of a major outbreak in the U.S.. That said, it’s a scary disease. We haven’t vaccinated our son against Ebola Zaire because a vaccine for it doesn’t exist yet. If the disease became more common where we live and researchers developed a safe and effective vaccine, of course we would give it to our child. We’re not completely braindead troglodytes with no understanding of modern medical safety standards.

The descriptions of what these parents are not in each instance, is by far the best part!!!

We’re not drooling idiots with no regard for the welfare of our child.

If it were hazardous to humans, we would have to be as dumb as monkeys not to consider giving our child every resource available to avoid contracting the disease.

The take home point is that unless you’re a braindead troglodyte, moronic monster, with no regard for the welfare of your child, you should vaccinate your kids.

Disclaimer: This post is based on sarcasm and humor… Obviously CauseScience supports all recommended vaccines, beCause Science. In addition to these humorous situations, there are specific medical cases where vaccination is not possible (usually these cases further support the widespread use of vaccines in children that can have them), obviously those do not fall under the descriptions used.

Biggest threat from Ebola? – Americans turning to science for answers! GASP! – @BorowitzReport


The Borowitz Report in The New Yorker has an amazing hot off the press story! Apparently, anti-science activists are concerned that the Ebola Outbreak is making Americans look to science for answers. Definitely check out the tongue-in-cheek article – Its short and hilarious!

At the end of the day, though, Dorrinson hopes that such a doomsday scenario will not come to pass. “Time and time again through history, Americans have been exposed to science and refused to accept it,” he said. “I pray that this time will be no different.”

[tweet https://twitter.com/ErinGoBrain/status/522850868559749123]

Thanks to ErinGoBrain for the heads up on the article! Check out her great blog and twitter!

#Science is make all of our 1980s childhood technology dreams come true… sort of


Huffington Post has a humorous article about how successful science has been at making our (for people who grew up in the 1980s) childhood technology dreams come true.

Here’s the bad news up front: we still don’t have the hoverboards that the movies of the 1980s promised us. (What’s taking so long? Get on it, people.)….

….scientists have otherwise been doing a pretty good job of whipping up even the most absurd technology we imagined when we were kids. On a future trip, who knows? You might hop in your automated flying car, get a hotel room for the night, shower off behind the privacy of an invisibility curtain, schedule time with the expert robot masseuse, and then dial up a gourmet meal on your portable 3D Food Printer. Anything’s possible.

The list of 80s childhood dream technologies includes flying cars, exoskeletons, smart cars, personal helicopters, robot friends, virtual wardrobes, and X-ray glasses. Check out the list for descriptions of where these childhood dreams technologies came from, and what the current status is.

Video: Mental Floss explains the #science behind deodorant and antiperspirant

How Does Deodorant Work? – The Big Question (Ep.3)

A weekly show where we endeavor to answer one of your big questions. This week, Zraluer asks: “How does deodorant work?”

Does #science news and science writing need a classification system with warning labels? Dean Burnett thinks so.


Dean Burnett has written a hilarious and timely article about science news and science writing for his blog Brain Flapping. Burnett puts forth a new classification system for science writing and science news, which also pokes fun at all-too-common issues with science writing.

… science and science news/reporting/writing is the work of humans, and humans are rarely 100% logical. So, to step into the world of science is to step into years/decades/centuries of disputes, controversies, unfamiliar habits, power-plays, strange politics and countless other things that manifest in science articles and could befuddle the unwary reader. What can we do about this?

Burnett suggests a film-like classification system with warnings about what a particular article includes, and then defines his idea of potential classifications. Burnett’s classifications include axe grinding, soapbox, provocative title, condescending, niche concern, and many more. My favorite, just because it is so common in popular reporting of science, is ‘wild extrapolation.’ Explanation:

Most scientific experiments are actually quite specific, eg what one specific protein does in one specific type of bacterium. But in the modern media, it’s vitally important that a news story or piece get as much attention as possible, and this is often achieved by highlighting the consequences that could affect the potential reader. That’s how a study into mouse diets during pregnancy suddenly becomes an alarmist piece about human mothers potentially harming their babies. Or a small study showing a minor increase in carcinogen activity in-vitro becomes “THING CAUSES CANCER!”

Definitely check out his classification post, it is a terrific read. Burnett includes the below disclaimer in his post, which CauseScience would also like to include in this post. We are certainly guilty of many of these and should implement this type of classification system.

[Disclaimer: this isn’t intended as a jibe at other science writers, nearly all of the things discussed below are applicable to posts from this blog many times over, and almost certainly will be again in future]

#Science Quotable: Charlie Crist is not a scientist

I’m not a scientist either but I can use my brain and I can talk to one. Charlie Crist, Running for Florida Governor, responding to candidate Rick Scott, who claimed he couldn’t comment on climate change since he is not a scientist.

Must see: 2014 Society for Neuroscience Brain Awareness Video Contest Winners! #science

Seen on brainfacts.org!

First Place: Leigha Phillips, affiliated with Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University, with Helen Tang and Lily Benedict


Second Place: Alison Caldwell, graduate student at University of California: San Diego, and Micah Caldwell 


Third Place: Vania Cao, application scientist


Best Song: Michael Stendardi, student at the City University of New York


People’s Choice: Visit this site from September 9-30 to vote for your favorite video!