In this special stand-alone edition, see if you know which of four science news stories is Totally Bogus.
Steve: Welcome to this special stand-alone edition of TOTALL……. Y BOGUS, posted on October 8. Here are four science stories, and only three are true. See if you know which story is TOTALL……. Y BOGUS.
Story 1: Because of shortages of two chemicals, highway departments are having trouble painting lines on the roads.
Story 2: The White House will be solar-powered for the first time since President Reagan removed President Carter's solar panels.
Story 3: Groups of individuals who are smart get outperformed by other groups of people who may be less intelligent individually, but work better as a team.
Story 4: Andre Geim, who won the Nobel Prize on Physics on October 5th, is the first laureate that we know of to have co-authored a paper with a hamster.
Story 1 is true. There are shortages of titanium dioxide and methyl methacrylate used in road line paint. The demand for paint shot up with stimulus funding, but the supply of the compounds is still lagging behind.
Story 4 is true. Andre Geim published a paper in the journal Physica B: Condensed Matter back in 2001 called "Detection of Earth Rotation with a Diamagnetically Levitating Gyroscope". Geim was the first author, with the second author identified as one H.A.M.S. ter Tisha—and, if you read it straight, it is "hamster Tisha". Geim was the corresponding author, as Tisha the hamster probably couldn't find enough time off the wheel to deal with mail.
And story 3 is true. Teams of people with good social skills outperformed other teams with individual members who were smarter, according to a study in the journal Science. For more, check the September 30th show of our daily podcast 60-Second Science
All of which means that story 2 about the White House being solar-powered for the first time since President Reagan removed President Carter’s solar panels is TOTALL……. Y BOGUS. Because, although solar panels are going back up on the White House next year for the first time in decades, the White House was partially solar-powered during the presidency of George W. Bush, thanks to solar panels on the ground since 2003.
We will be back with the full episode early next week. In the meantime, get your science news at www.ScientificAmerican.com. You can find full coverage of the Nobel Prizes in science—and for podcast coverage of the Nobels, check out this week's edition of 60-Second Science, the daily podcast of Scientific American. For Science Talk, I am Steve Mirsky. Thanks for clicking on us.