Archive for January, 2012

NCBI ROFL: Social networks lack useful content for incontinence.

By ncbi rofl | January 31, 2012 6:40 pm

It’s Facebook week on NCBI ROFL! All this week we’ll be featuring papers about everyone’s favorite social networking site. Enjoy!

“OBJECTIVE: To assess the incontinence resources readily available for patients among social networks. Social networks allow users to connect with each other and share content and are a widely popular resource on the Internet. These sites attract millions of users; however, social media are underused in the healthcare industry. METHODS: A search for “incontinence” was performed on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in September 2010. The first 30 results were reviewed for each. The results were evaluated as useful or not useful and additionally catalogued as healthcare professionals, commercial products, or complementary and alternative medicine resources. Read More


NCBI ROFL: Mirror, mirror on my Facebook wall: effects of exposure to Facebook on self-esteem.

By ncbi rofl | January 30, 2012 7:13 pm

It’s Facebook week on NCBI ROFL! All this week we’ll be featuring papers about everyone’s favorite social networking site. Enjoy!

“Contrasting hypotheses were posed to test the effect of Facebook exposure on self-esteem. Objective Self-Awareness (OSA) from social psychology and the Hyperpersonal Model from computer-mediated communication were used to argue that Facebook would either diminish or enhance self-esteem respectively. Read More


NCBI ROFL: Probably the most horrifying scientific lecture ever.

By ncbi rofl | January 27, 2012 7:01 pm

How (not) to communicate new scientific information: a memoir of the famous brindley lecture

“In 1983, at the Urodynamics Society meeting in Las Vegas, Professor G.S. Brindley first announced to the world his experiments on self-injection with papaverine to induce a penile erection. This was the first time that an effective medical therapy for erectile dysfunction (ED) was described, and was a historic development in the management of ED. The way in which this information was first reported was completely unique and memorable, and provides an interesting context for the development of therapies for ED. I was present at this extraordinary lecture, and the details are worth sharing. Although this lecture was given more than 20 years ago, the details have remained fresh in my mind, for reasons which will become obvious.

The lecture, which had an innocuous title along the lines of ‘Vaso-active therapy for erectile dysfunction’ was scheduled as an evening lecture of the Urodynamics Society in the hotel in which I was staying. I was a senior resident, hungry for knowledge, and at the AUA I went to every lecture that I could. About 15 min before the lecture I took the elevator to go to the lecture hall, and on the next floor a slight, elderly looking and bespectacled man, wearing a blue track suit and carrying a small cigar box, entered the elevator. He appeared quite nervous, and shuffled back and forth. He opened the box in the elevator, which became crowded, and started examining and ruffling through the 35 mm slides of micrographs inside. I was standing next to him, and could vaguely make out the content of the slides, which appeared to be a series of pictures of penile erection. I concluded that this was, indeed, Professor Brindley on his way to the lecture, although his dress seemed inappropriately casual. Read More

"Nasal Tampon" Made of Cured Pork Is a Great Cure for Nosebleeds

By Sarah Zhang | January 27, 2012 4:04 pm

salt pork

Bacon gets all the internet glory, but its more old-fashioned cousin salt pork may actually be good for you—for your nosebleeds, if not your waistline. Doctors recently used strips of cured salt pork to stop a life-threatening nosebleed. One of the doctors remembered the unconventional treatment from a field manual he saw in his military days, after exhausting all medical treatments short of risky surgeries.

The patient was a four-year-old girl with Glanzmann thrombasthenia, a rare blood disorder where her platelets are unable to do their normal job of blood clotting. Surgery and injection of blood coagulation proteins didn’t stop her bleeding after more than a week, so the doctors turned to something untested and low tech: “Cured salted pork crafted as a nasal tampon and packed within the nasal vaults successfully stopped nasal hemorrhage promptly, effectively, and without sequelae,” they wrote in a paper about the episode. While “nasal tampon” may sound distinctly undelicious as a pork product, it worked—not once, but twice, as a cure. When the girl re-injured herself four weeks later, the doctors stuffed salt pork up her nose again and she was home in less than 72 hours.

Read More

3,500-Year-Old Jokes Have Something to Say About Yo Mama

By Veronique Greenwood | January 27, 2012 2:14 pm

sargon“That’s what SHE said!”

The study of jokes and riddles written in ancient languages we barely understand is, well, a little tricky. But in a recent paper in the journal Iraq, Middle East scholars Michael Streck and Nathan Wasserman describe and interpret some thigh-slappers scrawled on a badly damaged tablet from Babylon, circa 1500 BC. The scribe’s cuneiform is on the sloppy side. The translations are uncertain, too—but no doubt the humor will still shine through. Here’s one riddle for your pleasure:

The deflowered (girl) did not become pregnant
The undeflowered (girl) became pregnant (-What is it?)

The answer is, of course, is “auxiliary forces.” That was your guess too, right? No? If it makes you feel better, Wasserman and Streck didn’t really get it, either.

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NCBI ROFL: Your rug is so ugly it makes me sick. Literally.

By ncbi rofl | January 26, 2012 7:07 pm

The sickening rug: a repeating static pattern that leads to motion-sickness-like symptoms.

“The nauseogenic properties of a patterned rug that reputedly caused motion-sickness-like symptoms in those who viewed it was the topic of this study. Naive observers viewed a 1:1 scale image of the black-and-white patterned rug and a homogeneous gray region of equivalent luminance in a counterbalanced within-subjects design. Read More


NCBI ROFL: Does it take one to know one? Endorsement of conspiracy theories is influenced by personal willingness to conspire.

By ncbi rofl | January 25, 2012 7:07 pm

“We advance a new account of why people endorse conspiracy theories, arguing that individuals use the social-cognitive tool of projection when making social judgements about others. In two studies, we found that individuals were more likely to endorse conspiracy theories if they thought they would be willing, personally, to participate in the alleged conspiracies. Read More

To Thwart Hackers, New Security Software Makes Hacking Tedious

By Veronique Greenwood | January 25, 2012 1:06 pm

mykonosMykonos’s motto is two-fold.

When you think of protecting a website from hackers, the first thing that comes to mind is probably blocking them out. But what if you just let them on a wild-goose chase, feeding them nuggets of false information and leading them down dead-ends until they get fed up and go do something else?

That’s the strategy behind Mykonos Software‘s security program, which takes a “step right in, let me fetch you a cup of tea and bore you to tears” approach to protection. The tool identifies individuals who are running common searches for security weaknesses on a site, logs their information, and continues to play them for suckers by dribbling out a breadcrumb trail that appears to yield passwords and other tasty vulnerabilities, but ultimately leads nowhere. CEO David Koretz explained to Tom Simonite at Tech Review the various ways in which the software plays with attackers:

A scan that might usually take five hours could take 30, Koretz says. Other tactics include offering up dummy password files, which can help track an attacker when he or she tries to use them. “We’ll let them break the encryption and present a false login page. We have the ability to hack the hacker,” says Koretz.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

NCBI ROFL: The effect of women's suggestive clothing on men's behavior and judgment: a field study.

By ncbi rofl | January 24, 2012 8:44 pm

“Numerous studies have shown that men overestimate the sexual intent of women based on their clothing style; however, this hypothesis has not been assessed empirically in a natural setting. This small field study measured the time it took for men to approach two female confederates sitting in a tavern, one wearing suggestive clothes and one wearing more conservative clothes. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: duh, NCBI ROFL, scientist...or perv?

Portland's Tips for Making Public Potties That Last

By Veronique Greenwood | January 24, 2012 1:03 pm

Breezy and exposed! That’s the secret to bathrooms no one, not even street people, wants to live in.

Many cities have had epic, expensive public toilet fails. Seattle, we’re looking at you and your $5 million self-cleaning toilets that wound up trashed.

But over at The Atlantic’s Cities site, John Metcalfe has a piece detailing why Portland’s public potties have survived the aggressions (and heavy use) of the citizens. Here are Portland’s tips for defecation success.

1. Make it open to the elements: we’re talking bathroom stall, sans the bathroom. People walking by on the sidewalk should be able to see the peer’s feet and hear every little splish, splash, and sploosh in that potty. A comfortable, enclosed public bathroom is a bum’s living room, but an open-air crapper is just an open-air crapper.

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