Today in Sciency Things

Three things of note from the World of Science today…

First up: Washington University in St. Louis published a study showing that having everyone stand up through a meeting, rather than sit, makes people more active (no big surprise) and, curiously, less territorial about their “turf” and their ideas. This leads to a more productive workplace.  This comes on top of many studies over the past several years showing that sedentary work is incredibly unhealthy from a physiological point of view.  The bottom line: if you like your office chair, you may want to bolt it to the floor before someone in HR comes to take it away.

Second: Last month was the third-warmest May in the 35 years that satellite-based global temperature surveys have been kept, according to the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. The two warmer ones were during an “El Nino” period where Pacific Ocean warming drives warmer and drier weather patterns around much of the globe (and particularly in North America). Of course, we’re not in an El Nino period now, but data is suggesting that there is one just starting to form off of equatorial South America. So this is the warmest May we’ve ever had heading into an El Nino period, and that suggests it might set all sorts of records. This is very bad news for regions that are already dealing with drought conditions.

Third: time to spruce up your crackpot theory, throw together some spiffy Powerpoint slides, and enter the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses. This looks like too much fun — I’m going to have to think of a good one myself.

That’s all for today. Science!

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