Archive for November, 2011

NCBI ROFL: Following instructions on a final examination: an informal look.

By ncbi rofl | November 30, 2011 7:24 pm

It’s Trinkaus week on NCBI ROFL! All this week, we’ll be featuring articles by John Trinkaus, whose work gives us “an informal look” at many aspects of everyday life. Enjoy!

Following instructions on a final examination: an informal look.

“Of a total of 914 undergraduate college students over 5 years 600 (about 66%) were in full compliance with a simple instruction for how to enter their names on their final examination papers; approximately 33% were not. The compliance rate over the years declined from 73% to 59%.”

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The App That Looks Both Ways for You

By Veronique Greenwood | November 30, 2011 1:50 pm

The average city street these days sports quite a number of people gazing down into their phones as they walk, unable to tear their eyes from a text or email, or gabbing away to their second cousin while checking their manicure. If you are among those who prefer to walk upright, watching for oncoming semis, you may have noticed that these people don’t look at walk signals to tell when to cross; instead, they wait until their peripheral vision picks up a phoneless pedestrian making a move for it. I am frequently in that pedestrian, and am not above making occasional false starts to watch people jerk like fish on a line. Sorry, folks.

But! A day is coming when these phone addicts may no longer need to watch you from the corner of their eyes to gauge when it’s safe to cross. Scientists at Dartmouth and University of Bologna have built an app that will alert these pedestrians when collision with an oncoming vehicle is imminent with a helpful series of vibrations and chirrups.

The app, called WalkSafe, uses the phone’s built-in camera to watch traffic and apply vision learning algorithms to identify car-like objects, going on to identify the object’s direction of movement and current speed. It can pick up cars as far away as 160 feet, and if the vehicle is moving at more than 30 mph, the phone will ring and buzz in warning.

However, the camera on the front of the phone does have to be facing traffic. If you’re gazing down into your screen to trade lulz with your bestie, even WalkSafe can’t save you.

[via Technology Review]

NCBI ROFL: Taste preference for brussels sprouts: an informal look.

By ncbi rofl | November 29, 2011 7:47 pm

It’s Trinkaus week on NCBI ROFL! All this week, we’ll be featuring articles by John Trinkaus, whose work gives us “an informal look” at many aspects of everyday life. Enjoy!

Taste preference for brussels sprouts: an informal look.

“An inquiry of the taste preference of 442 business students for brussels sprouts showed about a 50% dislike of the vegetable, 40% indifference, and a 10% like. Some implications of the findings are suggested.” Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: eat me, NCBI ROFL, trinkaus week

The Greatest Threats to da Vinci's "The Last Supper": Milan's Dirty Air & Visitors' Oily Skin

By Douglas Main | November 29, 2011 11:19 am

Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” has survived since the late 1400s on a wall in the Santa Maria delle Grazie Church in Milan, weathering centuries of change and intrigue, such as a World War II bombing. Worried about soiling from air pollution in the city, one of Western Europe’s most heavily polluted, curators installed a ventilation and filtration system to protect it in 2009. The system worked well at reducing levels of fine and coarse particulate matter within the church (according to a new study), which should save the painting from worst effects of air pollution.But a significant threat remains: fatty lipids and organic compounds, such as those emitted from the skin of the 1,000 people that visit the painting each day.

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NCBI ROFL: Shopping cart etiquette triple feature.

By ncbi rofl | November 28, 2011 7:49 pm

It’s Trinkaus week on NCBI ROFL! All this week, we’ll be featuring articles by John Trinkaus, whose work gives us “an informal look” at many aspects of everyday life. Enjoy!

Clearing the supermarket shopping cart: an informal look.

“An informal enquiry of the behavior of 500 supermarket shoppers clearing carts of litter prior to entering the store showed that 69% dumped the rubbish into another cart, 26% dropped it on the sidewalk, and 5% deposited it in a trash container.” Read More


NCBI ROFL: Squirting vs. gushing.

By ncbi rofl | November 25, 2011 7:43 pm

New Insights from One Case of Female Ejaculation.

“Introduction.  Although there are historical records showing its existence for over 2,000 years, the so-called female ejaculation is still a controversial phenomenon. A shared paradigm has been created that includes any fluid expulsion during sexual activities with the name of “female ejaculation.” Aim.  To demonstrate that the “real” female ejaculation and the “squirting or gushing” are two different phenomena. Read More

The Icy Brinicle of Death (or at Least of Coolness)

By Douglas Main | November 25, 2011 8:53 am

What’s cooler than being cool? Ice cold, you say? With all due respect to André 3000, this frigid brine is even cooler. This icicle is caused by sinking brine, which becomes concentrated with salt at the surface. It’s super-salinity both allows it to become colder than ice, and sink, as it’s denser than sea water. This salty spout freezes the water around it, forming a sinister (and amazing) “brinicle.” Poor starfish. It was filmed by BBC filmmakers under the ice at Little Razorback Island, near Antarctica’s Ross Archipelago.

[Via BBC]

NCBI ROFL: Characterization of coarse particulate matter in school gyms.

By ncbi rofl | November 25, 2011 3:03 am

“We investigated the mass concentration, mineral composition and morphology of particles resuspended by children during scheduled physical education in urban, suburban and rural elementary school gyms in Prague (Czech Republic). Cascade impactors were deployed to sample the particulate matter. Two fractions of coarse particulate matter (PM(10-2.5) and PM(2.5-1.0)) were characterized by gravimetry, energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry and scanning electron microscopy. Two indicators of human activity, the number of exercising children and the number of physical education hours, were also recorded. Read More

NCBI ROFL: Aggression-inhibiting influence of sexual humor.

By ncbi rofl | November 23, 2011 7:10 pm

“Forty-eight undergraduate males participated in an experiment designed to investigate the hypothesis that prior exposure to sexual humor would reduce the level of aggression directed by angry individuals against the person who had previously provoked them. In order to examine this suggestion, subjects were first angered or not angered by a male confederate; Read More

6 Servings of Thanksgiving Science: Ideal Turkey Diet, Black Friday Sales Tricks, Turkey-Phobia…

By Valerie Ross | November 23, 2011 8:17 am

It’s almost Thanksgiving here the US. Before you tuck into your stuffing, pumpkin pie, and cranberry sauce, save a little room for a big helping of science. Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving science stories from around the Internet, detailing the research behind fattening turkeys, giving thanks, post-holiday shopping, and more: Read More


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