Kiera Butler

Kiera Butler

Senior Editor

A senior editor at Mother Jones, Kiera covers health, food, and the environment. She is the author of the new book Raise: What 4-H Teaches 7 Million Kids—and How Its Lessons Could Change Food and Farming Forever (University of California Press).

 

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Lab Equipment Slow Jam

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 4:40 PM EDT

In case you haven't had your fill of goofy-commercials-turned-Internet-sensations, man, do I have one for you.

So pretend you're a scientist. Which would make you want to buy a piece of lab equipment more? This slogan:


With our new Plug'n'Prep® concept for the epMotion pipetting system, automate virtually any nucleic acid purification kit with protocols from your favorite kit provider—just load the deck and press start!

Or this:

Yeah, I thought so. This excellent slow jam is a real ad created by a lab-tools manufacturer called Eppendorf. The product in question, epMotion, is some kind of automatic pipette system. Or so the lyrics seem to suggest:

Pipetting all those well-plates, baby, sends your thumbs into overdrive And spending long nights in the lab makes it hard for your love to thrive
What you need is automation, girl, something easy as 1 2 3 So put down that pipette, honey, I got something that will set you free

H/T Mental Floss.

Image and video courtesy of Eppendorf.

Raleigh Man Chooses To Retire Instead of Honoring Helms

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 4:40 PM EDT

A 51-year-old employee of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture chose to retire rather than lower a flag to half mast in honor of the late former senator Jesse Helms, reports the Charlotte Observer.

And it wasn't like L.F. Eason III, a registered Democrat, hadn't lowered other flags during his 29-year tenure at the lab where he worked:

...Eason said he had no problems lowering the flag for former Sen. Terry Sanford or President Ronald Reagan. But he remembers wondering whether he would be able to lower the flag after President Richard Nixon's funeral.

Wonder whether Eason had mulled this protest over beforehand, or if it was a game-time decision. Given the fact that Helms was in the senate even before Eason got his job at the lab, he certainly had time to think about it.

Glacier Growth Caused by Climate Change?

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 3:05 PM EDT

shasta150.jpg
As we already know, most of the world's ice is melting fast. Not so on California's Mt. Shasta, where glaciers are actually growing because of global warming.

Here's how it works: The Pacific Ocean is warmer now than in years past. Warmer temperatures mean more moisture, which in turn means more snowfall on Mt. Shasta.

This is not the case for other nearby mountain ranges. The Sierra Nevada range, which is just 500 miles south of Mt. Shasta, is losing ice—in fact, it has lost about half its ice over the past 100 years.

Like Antarctica's increasing sea ice, the Mt. Shasta glaciers are another piece of evidence that global warming is a little more complicated than most of us think.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons.

What's the Most Polluting Car?

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 2:20 PM EDT

suv.jpgForbes.com has published a list of the ten dirtiest cars. Or more accurately—vehicles, since all but a few are SUVs and trucks. (And surprise! The Hummer isn't number one).

The list order is mostly based on the EPA's air pollution rankings, but to break ties, Forbes.com also took into account vehicles' carbon footprints. The nadir of the coverage is in their "Tips for Polluting Less":

Experts say that realizing even minor improvements in fuel economy among the worst polluters on the road is the most efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions overall. For example, choosing a base GMC Yukon with a 5.3-liter V8, which gets 16 mpg overall, instead of the high-end Denali version and its 14-mpg 6.2-liter V8 would save more than 130 gallons of gasoline per year for the typical driver, and eliminate 1.7 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, says Therese Langer, transportation program director for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Langer then goes on to say that "achieving the same savings through improvements to a 42-mpg Honda Civic Hybrid would require a 25-mpg boost, to 67 mpg."

So let's get this straight: Consumers should feel good about choosing a Yukon SUV over a hybrid, since the Yukon is way more efficient than the Denali? That's kind of like trying to lose weight by eating a ho-ho instead of a ding-dong.

Full top ten list after the jump.

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