Archive for May, 2011

"Magnetic" Boy Is Probably Just "Plump-and-Sticky" Boy

By Patrick Morgan | May 24, 2011 8:42 am

Spoons. Frying pans. Industrial-sized irons. The blogosphere has been awash lately with the eclectic mix of objects that stick to a six-year-old Croatian boy’s stomach. In an unfortunately serious story, CBS reported that “Magnet” boy can carry upwards of 55 pounds of metal on his chubby little frame. What they forget to mention is that the boy’s “magnetic” abilities miraculously extend to mostly non-metal objects too, such as plastic TV remote controls and cell phones.

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NCBI ROFL: Penguins on treadmills. Need we say more?

By ncbi rofl | May 23, 2011 7:00 pm

Heart rate and rate of oxygen consumption of exercising macaroni penguins.

“Twenty-four macaroni penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus) from three groups, breeding males (N=9), breeding females (N=9) and moulting females (N=6), were exercised on a variable-speed treadmill. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals, NCBI ROFL, rated G

NCBI ROFL: Penises point to pelvic phractures (or, A new use for your favorite tool)!

By ncbi rofl | May 20, 2011 7:00 pm

Does penis radiological shadow indicate the side of hip fracture?

Hip fractures are common injuries in the elderly. Standard radiographic evaluation of the hip includes an anteroposterior (AP) view of the pelvis. For this additional purpose, radiograph of the pelvis is one of the commonest prescribed radiographs in emergency departments. Usually we notice the fractured hip side and the type of fracture, whenever we are looking at an anteroposterior pelvis radiograph. But we do not question if this radiograph represents a true anteroposterior view.

We have noticed that the radiological shadow of the penis almost always turns to the side of the hip fracture in male patients and especially in displaced fractures. Many surgeons have tried to explain this observation. Read More


When You Never Leave Your Car, It Can Be Your Doctor (and Doting Parent)

By Veronique Greenwood | May 20, 2011 2:36 pm

Those allergies are going to spike—better roll that window up.

Ford wants to make your car more like a phone. Or maybe like a self-contained living pod that you never have to leave.

Some Fords already feature SYNC, a system the company developed with Microsoft in 2007 that lets you control your phone or media player in your car using voice commands and buttons on the steering wheel. With SYNC, you can make hands-free phone calls, have your texts read aloud to you, and automatically call 911 when an air bag deploys in an accident. But the next generation of SYNC apps will be keeping tabs on your health—only logical, the company says, considering how much time we spend in cars and how much more we probably will in the future.

In fact, they sound almost gleeful about the prospect: “People are spending so much time behind the wheel, and that’s expected to increase as we go forward, with increased traffic density and congestion,” a spokesperson said (via PopSci). “(This is) about seeing the car as more than just a car.”

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MORE ABOUT: cars, dystopia, Ford, SYNC

NCBI ROFL: Holy Correlation, Batman!

By ncbi rofl | May 19, 2011 7:00 pm

Self-experimentation as a source of new ideas: ten examples about sleep, mood, health, and weight.

[Editor’s note: this paper is by the author of the Shangri-La Diet]

“Little is known about how to generate plausible new scientific ideas. So it is noteworthy that 12 years of self-experimentation led to the discovery of several surprising cause-effect relationships and suggested a new theory of weight control, an unusually high rate of new ideas. Read More

Laser-Equipped Wheelchairs Let the Blind "See" Obstacles in Their Path

By Patrick Morgan | May 19, 2011 8:56 am

The story of a PhD student weaving his way through a busy university corridor doesn’t usually make for breaking news. But then the average PhD student isn’t wheelchair-bound, visually impaired, and testing a new laser-based wheelchair navigation system. In front of a crowd of onlookers earlier this month, a student performed the first public demonstration of a wheelchair that lets blind people “see” and avoid obstacles, afterward remarking that it was just “like using a white cane” (presumably underselling the technology to blunt the jealousy blooming in the onlookers).

From the user’s perspective, the new high-tech wheelchair is quite simple: You hold a joystick in one hand to drive the motorized chair, while the other hand engages a “haptic interface” that gives tactile feedback warning you about objects in your path, be they walls, fire hydrants, or those mobile collision-makers called people.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

NCBI ROFL: Science proves right-handers are jocks, left-handers are nerds, and ambidextrous people love making pot holders.

By ncbi rofl | May 18, 2011 7:00 pm

Handedness and hobby preference.

“The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between handedness and hobby preference in healthy individuals. Read More

Voracious Feral Camels Are the New Cane Toads (Which Are the New Rabbits…)

By Veronique Greenwood | May 18, 2011 1:57 pm

Report yer feral camels here.

In another edition of “invasive species are a bad idea,” Australia is suffering a plague of feral camels (on top of the rabbit brouhaha, the cane toad fracas, and the red fox situation). Imported by those clever British settlers to work in the desert in the late 19th century, these dromedaries were released into the wild when trains and machinery took over the work. Now, there are more than a million kicking around the outback, and they are coming to eat your air conditioner. And your toilet. And anything else that might have water in it.

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Scientists to Nightclub Owners: For Happier Customers, Cover Up Pit Stink With Delicious Fragrances

By Veronique Greenwood | May 18, 2011 12:16 pm

orange nightclub
“Refreshing” orange scent perked dancers right up.

Air fresheners aren’t just for Grandma anymore.

Dutch scientists suggest that as smoking bans mean club-goers can now smell all the nasty beer, puke, sweat, and so on in nightclubs, owners may want to spritz their businesses with “carefully selected fragrances [that] can enhance dancing activity, improve the overall perception of the evening, and improve how nightclub goers rate the music as well as their mood,” as a press release puts it. In true scientific fashion, the researchers then went clubbing to test their hypothesis.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: What’s Inside Your Brain?

NCBI ROFL: An evolutionary analysis of tattooed ladies.

By ncbi rofl | May 17, 2011 7:00 pm

Visual attention to plain and ornamented human bodies: an eye-tracking study.

“Signaling mate quality through visual adornments is a common phenomenon in animals and humans. However, humans are probably the only species who applies artificial ornaments. Such deliberate alterations of the skin, e.g., tattoos and scarring patterns, have been discussed by researchers as potential handicap signals, but there is still very little information about a potential biological signaling value of body modification. In this study eye-tracking was employed to investigate the signaling value of tattoos and other body modification. Read More


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