Seahorses: Riding on Myths

Chyi Chung reports on the mysterious and misunderstood seahorse.

Poseidon, god of the sea, rides upon his chariot of hippocampi, fantastical creatures that possess the head and torso of a horse but the belly and tail of a fish. Their name mirrors their physique: a portmanteau of horse (hippos) and sea monster (campus) in Ancient Greek. Aptly so, hippocampus has been adopted as the genus of their real-life inspiration. Continue reading “Seahorses: Riding on Myths”

Return of the Leeches

Philippa Jefferies draws out the truth behind the leech’s comeback in modern medicine.

Usually, when someone mentions leeches and bloodletting, images of medieval physicians forcing leeches on their patients for any ailment are the first to jump to mind. Whilst it is common knowledge now that this is probably not the best way to relieve every symptom, leeches aren’t without their uses in modern medicine. In 2004, the FDA approved the sale of leeches for medical use in the USA and they are vital in many surgeries – particularly skin grafts and reconstructive surgery.
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Osman Kent: An Improbable Journey

Interview and article by Phillipa Jefferies, Joanna Chustecki and Sara Jebril With thanks to the EPS Community and Alumni Relations Office.

On Wednesday 8th March Osman Kent, computer science and electronic engineering alumnus, returned to the University of Birmingham to inspire a whole new generation of technologists and entrepreneurs. He was cited by Business Insider magazine as one of the top 15 technologists in the world in 2012. However, as he discusses in his EPS distinguished lecture, it hasn’t always been plain sailing.
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Chemtrails: Is the Government Trying to Poison Us?

Bethany Rothwell takes to the sky and assesses the supposed impact of jet plane ‘chemtrails’.

It’s a gorgeous sunny day. You hear a plane passing overhead, look up at the sky and what do you think about? The pretty patterns of white streaking across the blue sky? Plans for your next summer holiday? Or the government’s ruse to shower us with psychologically-manipulating or weather-modifying chemical agents?
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Cordelia Fine: Delusions of Gender

Marion Cromb reviews the book that reveals the neurosexism all around us.

Gender stereotypes are extremely pervasive, but is there any truth to them? In ‘Delusions of Gender’, psychologist Cordelia Fine picks apart the notion that different behaviours of the sexes are somehow innate. With a comprehensive review of the scientific literature (over 80 pages of references!), Fine wittily debunks the essentialist notions found in pop science books with titles such as ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ and ‘Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps’. Continue reading “Cordelia Fine: Delusions of Gender”

Are Pennies Deadly if Dropped from a Skyscraper?

Stephen Ashlee dispells a common misconception and alerts us to the danger of killer pens.

Money falling from the sky seems like everyone’s dream doesn’t it? But I bet opinions would change if it started falling in coins and not notes. It is a fairly popular notion that if someone were to drop a single penny off the very top of the Empire State Building, it would gain enough speed that it could kill someone at the base. But is there any truth to it? If the sky spontaneously started raining pennies, would they be deadly?
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MSG: The Facts

Monosodium glutamate (or MSG as it is more commonly known) has long been slated as a dangerous food additive, having been speculated to cause the famous nausea and headache-inducing ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’ that some individuals suffer after eating Chinese food. But, is MSG really as bad as it’s been made out to be?
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