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Sunday, January 31, 2016


Ham the NASA chimp (by @sciencemug)
Ham The Space Chimp (by sciencemug)
[Ham's pic is a Public Domain image adapted by @sciencemug (source:]

This day in 1961, chimp Ham's the first higher primate to go for a ride on a spacecraft.

So, let's go for a quick recap of what happens in space, in the first five months of 1961:

31-Jan-1961: Holloman Aero Med, Ham The Chimp (Pan troglodytes)

Place of birth: French Camaroons, West Africa
Flight lenght: 16'30''
Top Speed: 9426km/h
Altitude reached: 252,7km

[Post flight notes: Ham retires and lives at the Washington Zoo first (1963-1980), and then at the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro (1980-1983). It now sleeps in front of the International Space Hall of Fame (Alamogordo, New Mexico)].

12-Apr-1961: Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (Homo sapiens)

Place of birth: Russia
Flight lenght: 108'
Top Speed: 27400km/h
Altitude reached: 327km

5-May-1961: Alan Shepard (Homo sapiens)

Place of birth: USA
Flight lenght: 15'28''
Top Speed: 8262.4km/h
Altitude reached: 186.7km

The actual "CHIMP THE SPACE" t-shirt is here (and here)

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Ooooh hallo dear English speaking-thinking-reading visitor, welcome back to me @sciencemug, the blog that talks about science, the subterranean war penguins fight to overcome bunnies and become the new official Easter pets, and the pressing issue of carob addiction among the Santa’s reindeers.
Aaaand that does all of this in Eng?ish, a language that is to real English what Alien vs Predator was to a “non-commercial art driven only project”, “the soup of the day” to something one orders lightheartedly at the restaurant after having seen Fight club, aaaand homeopathy to something that actually work.

Sooo, there’re Dr. Donath and these five other scientists of the University of Basel who do an experiment to test the probability Santa Claus has to trip and fall and injury himself while doing his job on Xmas Eve.

The researchers recruit seventeen 20-40 years old, fit, healthy males for their experiment. A bunch of these guys is dressed up with Santa’s garb and handed up with a 20 kilograms [pick the joke about the metric-system AKA SI that you prefer and say it outloud three times in a row in front of a splintered mirror, then spit on your left hand and make a 180 degree turn on yourself… And realize that there’s no sense at all in it (I mean, I’m not talking of the SI, that’s absolutely rational and functional, no, I was referring to the things I mentioned after the SI)… Gee, are you always so gullible or is it just that there’s a sensible lack of oxygen in your brain since your stomach is sucking most of the blood given you’re still digesting all the food you've gulped down during the holidays?] heavy sack. This is the Santa Group (SG).  The other guys are in the Non Santa Group (NSG) and, as you can imagine, they dress normally and carry no sack.

All the volunteers take three tests, two to check their gait (a walk along a short path and a brief session on a treadmill), and one to monitor their sway (a short stand on a plate connected with sensors). The volunteers take all tests barefoot (in order to exclude anything that can alter their responses during the tests. Or, maybe, but it’s just a guess, ‘cause Donath et al’s initial idea, before it were sunk by the lack of funds, was to couple their experiment with that of a group of Lapp endocrinologists interested in determining the amount of sweat - and therefore the intensity of the stink - produced by Santa’s feet on Xmas Eve and to set, like that, the level of biohazard he represents for the children of the world exposed to high doses of his “residuals” on Xmas early morning SM’s Note).

I sway (by sciencemug)
I S.W.A.Y. (by sciencemug)

Moreover, the Donath’s volunteers go for the tests both while focusing just on them, and while doing at the same time also a

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


by sciencemug
by sciencemug

Reasons why the Xmas post part 2 is not ready yet:

- the wormhole near SM's url-house collapsed after it (the wormhole, not SM) ate too much pudding at its X-mas dinner and therefore all SM's connections with the part of the galaxy where its will went on holiday are gone and then it (SM, not the will or the wormhole) was (and still kinda is) screwed
- SM's armpits were terribly irritated by the deodorant it kept using in spite of its own warning and therefore it spent the last two weeks scratching itself
- there's been an electric storm a trolls' rumble a mean virus a servers' strike an invasion of pink grasshoppers a webshake a webquake a riot of nightmares with Lady Gaga wearing a normal dress a massive solar flare and, well, the news...
- PiPs ate it

(I guess that, at this point, it's out of question that you had on your list/you will fulfill a new year's resolution like "Put a couple of [your money] on SM's fund raising campaign", right? Yeah, I can't say you're unfair...)