Humans came long after aliens, scientist suggests

How did life really begin?

(Credit: Science Documentary/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

I’ve never thought of humanity as being especially advanced.

Somehow, we struggle so much with such basic things as thermostats and civility that I cannot imagine we’ve been around since either the Big Bang or God’s Big Finger Pressing Play.

Harvard astrophysicist Abraham Loeb gets the feeling that we are one of the last to the universe party.

As Space.com reports, Loeb’s research suggests that a mere 15 million years after the Big Bang, alien microbes might have happily survived.

He said: “When the universe was 15 million years old, the cosmic microwave background had a temperature of a warm summer day on Earth. If rocky planets existed at that epoch, then the CMB could have kept their surface warm even if they did not reside in the habitable zone around their parent star.”

Traditional scientific thinking offered that the first stars formed out of hydrogen and helium. There weren’t any so-called heavy elements that would have assisted planet formation.

Loeb asked the simple question: What if there were some heavy elements? There might have been huge stars exploding and emitting them.

Any planets that might have resulted from these explosion… [Read more]

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Scientist: Cats think you are just a big, stupid cat

He thinks we're stupid.

(Credit: compilarizTVi/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

It had quite slipped my notice, but I’m actually a cat.

It’s true that I struggle with the running-up-and-down-drainpipes thing. I’m also not very adept at catching mice, without considerable chemical help.

On the other hand, I’m good at eating cheese and I can drink milk very quietly. Perhaps that’s why my friend Ed’s cat Bob thinks I’m also a cat.

Bob hasn’t told me himself, but a British anthrozoologist named John Bradshaw has. In a book called Cat Sense, which the New York Times kindly reviewed last week, Bradshaw insists that despite being happy lying over your warm laptop keyboard and starring in any number of YouTube videos, cats are essentially still wild.

He’s been studying cats for 30 years and he insists that because they were never bred to play some specific role in the domestic life of humans, they didn’t go through some radical evolutionary change.

Yes, many have been domesticated in their way, but equally, many go out and breed with wild cats out there in the trees and bushes. (Bradshaw estimates th… [Read more]

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Finally! MIT scientist helps you get all the ketchup out of the bottle

Nothing like a side-by-side demo, is there?

(Credit: Fast Company screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

I don’t know what you have in your shower, but I have those bottles of soap from Sephora.

You know the ones — they have different smells like raspberry sorbet, almond ice cream, and Keira Knightley.

I paraphrase, but not by all that much.

Anyway, it’s always hard to get the last bit of sorbet out of the bottle. You leave it upside down, hoping that the soap will all come out smoothly during the next shower. Then the plastic seems to crinkle a little too much. Then you squeeze and still there’s soap left over.

This has been going on ever since the days of glass bottles of ketchup and mayo. What this problem clearly needed was some large heads at MIT.

Thankfully, the egg-headers finally got onto it and created LiquiGlide. Initially, they focused on getting the ketchup out. Now Dave Smith, the clever man behind the idea, has left MIT and turned LiquiGlide into a company that will ease your frustrations more powerfully than Diazepam.

As Fast Company reports, he’s now perfected his lubricant to such a degree that he believes he can make it work for just about anything that gets put in a bottle, even glue.

[Read more]

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Crave: gorgeous gadgets and other crushworthy stuff. – CNET