Science News–Stranger Than Fiction

I love skimming science news on the Internet.  Not only are the articles informative and satisfy my science side, but they are great for generating story ideas.  Most of the headlines are rather staid, but once in a while you can find a good one.  Here are a few recent ones that made me sit up and click for more. 

SCIENTISTS QUESTION CLAIMS IN BIOTECH LETTER

http://tinyurl.com/44jkmwn

Basically, one scientist claims genetically modified crops are linked to infertility and abortion in livestock.  That’s a scary prospect, considering we eat the animals that eat those crops and consume GM foods ourselves.  Here’s the problem: The man making these claims isn’t saying what research was done or how.  Peer review in science, the ability to replicate a researcher’s methods or at least study their methods and findings, is key.  Scientists who lie about results soon find their jobs and reputations out the window.  If he’s right, why won’t he provide evidence?  What else is going on here?

***** 

 POOP REVEALS IMMIGRANT WOLF ON ISOLATED ISLAND

http://tinyurl.com/3jwomuw

The Isle Royale (Michigan) population has been a unique research opportunity for decades, and the findings in this article are interesting because of the genetics.  An isolated population can be in danger of genetic bottlenecking, making them vulnerable to disease, genetic problems, etc.  The addition of new blood is welcome.  What got me about this article, aside from the happy news that the wolves are getting a genetic boost (I’m a sucker for wolves and genetics), is that scientists have no qualms about studying ANYTHING.  Fecal, blood and stomach content sampling is a way of life for a biologist.  If it comes from a body, chances are some scientist somewhere is interested in it.  Even ear wax http://tinyurl.com/3fp54ex

*****

MUTANT MICROBES TEST SPACE RADIATION RESISTANCE

http://tinyurl.com/3gfes5h

Mutant microbes!  What more is there to say?

I’ve written about researchers falsifying data (not saying the man in the first article did that!), and I can certainly see myself writing about genetic bottlenecking and rescue, modified crops, and mutant space microbes.

 So when someone asks, “Where do you get your story ideas?” I can point to any number of sites and articles.  The hard part is deciding which ones readers would believe.  Mutant space ear wax, anyone?

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This is Cathy Pegau‘s debut post for Contact.  Her debut novel, Rulebreaker, a f/f science fiction romance, will be out this summer from Carina Press.

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18 comments

  1. barbaralongley · · Reply

    Yeah, I love those articles and headlines as well, especially the ones where some scientist has discovered a new species deep under the ocean, or in some faraway exotic locale. Fun post, Cathy!

  2. Thanks, Barbara!

    I love those “found new species” articles too. Makes you wonder what’s lurking in places we can’t reach 🙂

  3. Congrats on the new release! It sounds fabulous. And a fun post, too. I get all geeky about the alien/species stuff! LOL!

  4. I know exactly what you mean, Cathy. I love running across a strange headline and sitting up with interest. Good post!

  5. Thanks, Julie and Marcelle. It’s fun to be a science geek at heart 🙂

  6. Back when I taught intro science at a community college, I always tried to make it more approachable to my students by saying that scientists are just the kids who had to turn over every rock and test out every possible way to play on the monkey bars just to see if it would work. And they never grew up–they still have to know why, how, and what if, like any two year old. In a way, it wasn’t that big a jump to being a writer, LOL.

  7. Agreed, Cindy. And it’s almost as difficult to get a scientist to let something go as it is a two year old 😉

    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I have no science background — yes, one of those BA people! — but I love science articles, too. And I have to (whisper it) admit I love the kooky articles, too. It blows my mind to think that no matter what strangeness I dream up for a fiction story, someone out there believes something even weirder to be true!

    Happy release day, Cathy 🙂

  9. Cool roundup! Now I’m hankering for a line of mutant space microbe action figures.

    And HUGE congratulations on your release, Cathy! Cant’ wait to read it.

  10. Jenny, when it comes to weirdness, I don’t think a science background matters 🙂

    Heather, OOH! MSM action figures! I can see the advert now: “Fully posable! Real-feel cilia! (Not life size)”

    Thanks for the release congrats, ladies. I can’t WAIT for you to read it 😉

  11. Welcome Cathy, glad you’re here! And your post is a lot of fun – I love the articles you’ve chosen. Congrats on the upcoming release!

  12. Thanks, KC! I’m glad to be here 🙂

  13. Welcome to the blog, Cathy! You’ve acquired instant queen geek status–wolf poop science and mutant microbes LOL. I must admit, some of today’s tabloids rival any SF magazine for sheer loopiness. Maybe Agent K’s right and it’s all true. The mind boggles.

  14. Aw, thanks, Robert! I shall wear the crown with pride 🙂
    I agree, some of the stuff out these days would normally be fodder for the Weekly World News. Isn’t it great?!?!

  15. Hey Cathy! I’m late getting on here but I wanted to say welcome! And congratulations on your release with Carina Press! I am a sucker for the science news too. Check this one out – Invasion of the Body Snatching Algae http://www.livescience.com/13568-green-algae-salamander-embryos-110404.html

  16. That is too cool, Lilly! Thanks for the welcome and the link 🙂

  17. That wolf or wolves on the island is probably some were who boats over there for the monthly “change” hehhe.

    1. *That* would explain it all, wouldn’t it? 🙂

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