The 5 second rule

By | Dung Beetles, Science | No Comments

does the 5 second rule apply to dung beetles?So what does science say about the 5 second rule?

Well, to do the topic full justice, please pop on by to my favourite science blogger, Jen Martin from Espresso Science, where she’ll give you the full blown scientific low down in a fun and disgestable format.

This week she explored exactly what science has to say on the popular notion that less than 5 seconds, means thumbs up to the consumption of a dropped item of food.  Without giving away too much, I was initially surprised by the finding that although duration was an obvious consideration, both the landing surface type and food type were more important. Dropping a moist piece of watermelon onto a tiled surface is more likely to pick up bacteria when compared with say a dry biscuit on carpet…(carpet? surely not?)

But I have shared enough. Read Jen’s study into the 5 second rule quandary, so that next time you drop food onto the ground, you’ll know exactly what to do.

So tell me, do you or don’t you eat food that’s been dropped?

Apples and science

By | Science, That's life | No Comments

Newton's law of gravitation

Those of you who know me, realise I enjoy science. So it’s hardly surprising that I create an odd cartoon or to on the subject matter. In this instance, I Googled ‘gravity’ to find out more to share with you all. Wiki provided the following definition,

‘Newton’s law of universal gravitation states that a particle attracts every other particle in the universe using a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.’

Quite a mouthful. No wonder the expression ‘What goes up, must come down’ was coined.

What’s your favourite expression or idiom?


Memory of a goldfish?

By | Animals, Science | 8 Comments


Thanks to Jen Martin of Espresso Science, I found new material for this week’s cartoon. Hyperthymesia, is the condition of possessing a superior autobiographical memory and is derived from the Greek, hyper, meaning excessive and thymesis, meaning remembering. Individuals are able to recall the vast majority of personal experiences and events in their life such as what day Easter Sunday fell on and what they wore and did on that particular day.

So, on the topic of memory,

Can you guess which occupation would have the hardest [memory] test in the world?

I would have guessed astronaut. What would you guess?

PS. The answer is in her most recent post What memories are made.

Introducing Cosmic Caboodle

By | Science, Space and Aliens, Website announcements | 4 Comments

Have you ever wanted to own your very own bit of outer space?

Perhaps a handful of gravel from Mars or a chunk of moon rock, or maybe you’re thinking a bit bigger… how about a planet, star or black hole?

website official launch click to view

Now you can own your very own piece of the universe

Come and visit as we are celebrating the official launch with a new product we call The Sizzler. Can you guess what it is? Check it out here.

In case you are wondering where this fits in with my regular postings, it was inspired by my soon to be released book How to make an Alien which involves outer space.   I set up this site to engage with lovers of outer space (and aliens 🙂 ).  I thought it would be a great way of continuing with the fun in the book.

Check out Cosmic Caboodle and leave a message to let me know what you think. Better still, subscribe too.

The Board Report

By | Science | 4 Comments

Board Memo2


I’m sure Dilbert has already done something like this, but didn’t have the time to trawl through all his cartoons (as much fun as that would be).

How baby aliens are born

By | Science, Space and Aliens | 10 Comments

How baby aliens are bornWell, the white hole, hey?

In the wonderful words of Wiki

‘In general relativity, a white hole is a hypothetical region of space-time which cannot be entered from the outside, although matter and light can escape from it. In this sense, it is the reverse of a black hole, which can only be entered from the outside, from which nothing, including light, can escape.’

Put simply, where as the black hole sucks everything into it, the white hole spits it out.  When you put the two together, you have a wormhole with one end sucking, the end spitting – that’s what a scientist would consider to be perfect balance of energy in equals energy out.

Unlike our friend the black hole which we have observed in space, the white hole hasn’t and hence is only theoretical under the theory of general realtivity.

The idea of white holes were new to me. Am I the only ignorant one out here in cyber space?

How do you take your black holes?

By | Science, Space and Aliens | 22 Comments

The local physics community was sent into turmoil last week when Stephen Hawking announced that ‘there are no black holes’

How do you take your black hole?

But behind every sensational headline is a story…and probably a misinterpretation along the way too  

I was curious to find out more, especially since my cartoons consist of quite a few black holes – What would it mean if they didn’t exist? – Should I just re-ink the black hole away?  Well, after a bit of research, I discovered they still exist, but not under the strict definition of ‘nothing is meant to escape from the evil wrath of a black hole’.  The new theory suggests that matter does escape, so hence under the strict definition, black holes don’t exist. But for the laymen such as myself, the whole imagery of a black bit of space sucking in space objects is still valid, and hence so are my drawings.

If I’ve peaked the nerd in you and you want to find out more, below is my simple mechanical engineering interpretation of black hole theory.

It all starts with asking the question ‘What happens to the astronaut who enters the black hole?’

Theory #1: Stretched and crushed

The first possibility involves the big crush. Based on Einstein’s theory of relativity the eminent physicist Stephen Hawking helped provide a scientistic explanation of how a black hole operates. He published his theories way back in 1974, but with his latest paper, has now changed his tune – give me a minute, that is explained further on.  Once you enter and pass what’s referred to as the event horizon (the invisible boundary from which there is no return) you get stretched out like Guy Fawkes until your sockets ‘pop’, followed by a crushing within the heart of the black hole’s dense inner core.

Theory #2: Sizzled like crispy bacon

If being squished into something too small for the naked microscope to see, then how about a bit of sizzling? This is where the second theory comes into play. Physist Joseph Polchinski conducted a thought experiment where he sent his victim off into space in search of a black hole, just to see what would happen to him (mathematically) when he entered the ominous black hole.  He worked with the laws of quantum physics (how sub atomic particles operate) and to his team’s surprise, passing the event horizon would result in a swift incineration – burnt to a crisp in an instant.  Naturally this caused a kerfuffle amongst the scientific community as it contradicted Eintein’s fundamental law of relativity.

Theory #3: Scrambled

Fast forward, to January 2014 when Stephen Hawking posted a paper proposing an alternate theory (to his previously highly acclaimed 1974 works). A softer version to the event horizon – an apparent horizon. Once entered you are temporarily suspended, before being scrambled up into undistinguishable tiny bits and pieces and then released. This scrambling of information would not be recognisable from its original source and has been described as trying to put back together a burnt piece of paper.

So there you have it – black holes made easy

Reference: too many too mention all, but this one by Nature was rather user friendly

You WIMP you

By | Science, Space and Aliens | One Comment

WIMPsGosh, you gotta love those scientists. They probably had a quiet chuckle amongst themselves when they decided to create the acronym of WIMP when they came up with a possible explanation to support the theory of dark matter. These theoretical particles are huge and can’t be seen by the naked eye (or telescope for that matter).
The only way they can be ‘seen’ (they don’t absorb or emit light) is by viewing their gravitational impact on other visible objects.