Science Watch: The Secret of the Zebra

Galaxy arms! Electric trees! Toe fossils! Smoke damage! Ice diamonds! Friendly cats! Stripey horses! And other ways to drive your dreams! It's your Wednesday Science Watch, where we watch science—as it evaporates!

- The "Milky Way" galaxy in which we are located has four spiral arms—just like an octopus, or a spider. Coincidence? Look into this glass prism and tell me what you see. That's right. It's the universe.

- The US Forest Service is like, "We're gonna turn all these old beetle-infested trees into electricity real soon, just you wait." Sure. In the meantime you're gonna have to keep paying that electric bill. And guess what? The collection man is here. And it's collection day. So get out your fucking checkbook or it's gonna take more than a forest (to hide in) to save you, guys.

-Wanna do me a favor? Don't propagandize about fairy tale lands where "scientists" can pick up an old toe fossil and then, using "science"—perhaps it's more accurate to say "magic"—use that fossil to somehow figure out every last thing about Neanderthals, right down to penis size. This sort of nonsense is then published in family newspapers. Meanwhile, kids in schools are using textbooks that have dirt on them.

-Nicotine can damage your arteries, but the other chemicals in cigarettes probably don't damage your arteries. The trick is to smoke a cigarette without nicotine. At the same time, you're injecting nicotine right into your eyeballs with a needle. Everybody wins. Are "arteries" present in the eyeballs? These and other questions tonight—on NOVA.

-It would be "very surprising" if there weren't diamonds buried somewhere in Antarctica, says one scientist. Cool. Hey man, do me a favor. Come closer. Closer. Real close. Look at my face. Really stare at it. Now tell me: do I look like a sucker? If so, what is it about my features that give you that impression? What if I had glasses on? Do you think people would take me more seriously then? What if I wore a hat?

-The first cats to befriend humans just walked up to some people in China 5,300 years ago and said, basically, "Give us some food." Now, we can't be sure that the cats said those exact words. But their backs were against the wall. They had to make the right move.

-Hello, gents. Well, what's the science report you have for me today? Let's see, hmm... "Zebra Stripes Explained." *SOUND OF MY BODY HITTING THE FLOOR AS I HAVE LITERALLY DIED* -FIN-

-"Scientists can create a motor out of your DNA." And I can create a "volcano" out of Play-Doh, baking soda, and vinegar, but I don't go around proclaiming myself a "scientist," do I? Learn from my mistakes.

[Photo: Flickr]