Archive for April, 2012

NCBI ROFL: The dangers of intense hand drumming.

By ncbi rofl | April 30, 2012 7:00 pm

Rust urine after intense hand drumming is caused by extracorpuscular hemolysis.

During Carnival, groups of > or =60 drummers go drumming with their hands and marching for periods of 2 to 4 h. The objective of this study was to determine the frequency and type of urinary abnormalities after candombe drumming and to evaluate possible pathogenic mechanisms.
For analysis of pathogenic mechanisms, a group of individuals were prospectively evaluated before and after candombe drumming. Methods: Candombe drummers were recruited in January 2006, 1 wk before prolonged drumming. After clinical evaluation, urine and blood samples were obtained before and immediately after drumming. Read More

Dogs Are Manipulable, Cats Are Manipulative, and Both Act Like Babies

By Sarah Zhang | April 28, 2012 10:54 am

spacing is important
How you doin’?

After thousands of years living in our homes, cats and dogs have gotten pretty good at tuning into human social cues—as good as human babies anyways.

Dogs, with their adorable puppy faces, are easily swayed by the actions of humans. A new study in PLoS ONE shows that dogs will prefer a plate of food preferred by a person, even if that plate has less food on it. Cats, on the other hand, have an especially annoying “solicitation” purr that they deploy when they want something from their owners, much like (though quieter than) a hungry baby that will not stop screaming. Pet owners who fancy themselves parents may actually be onto something.

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MORE ABOUT: cats, dogs, domestication, pets

NCBI ROFL: Why Miss Poland is more beautiful than generic med students.

By ncbi rofl | April 27, 2012 7:00 pm

Body mass index and waist: hip ratio are not enough to characterise female attractiveness.

“The assessment of characteristic body features of Miss Poland beauty contest finalists compared with the control group, can contribute to recognising the contemporary ideal of beauty promoted by the mass media. The studies of Playboy models and fashion models conducted so far have been limited to the following determinants of attractiveness: body mass index, waist:hip ratio, and waist:chest ratio, which only partially describe the body shape. Read More

Take a Trip Inside the Minds of Eccentric Inventors With Context-Free Patent Art

By Sarah Zhang | April 27, 2012 2:58 pm

The new Tumblelog Context Free Patent Art confirms what we always thought: there is a lot of weird stuff lurking in archives of the patent office. And sometimes, you just don’t need/want an explanation.

Here are some of our favorites. Take your best guess at the context for these images—or at least some legitimate excuse/explanation—in the comments!

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

This Scientist Endures 15,000 Mosquito Bites a Year

By Veronique Greenwood | April 27, 2012 1:35 pm

The things we do for science.

Researchers who study mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects sometimes use themselves as skeeter chow. In some cases, it’s because certain species of mosquitoes seem to prefer human blood to animal blood. In others, though, it’s a cheap, convenient alternative to keeping animals around for the insects to feed on or buying blood. And as it turns out, once you’ve been bitten a certain number of times you develop a tolerance to mosquito saliva.

Entomologist Steve Schutz, seen above paging through a magazine while the bloodsuckers go to work on his arm, feeds his mosquito colony once a week. He has welts for about an hour, but after that the bites fade, occasionally leaving a few red spots. That’s good, because at 300 bites a week, he averages about 15,000 a year. That’s dedication.

NCBI ROFL: How your brain is like Google.

By ncbi rofl | April 26, 2012 7:00 pm

Google and the mind: predicting fluency with PageRank.

“Human memory and Internet search engines face a shared computational problem, needing to retrieve stored pieces of information in response to a query. We explored whether they employ similar solutions, testing whether we could predict human performance on a fluency task using PageRank, a component of the Google search engine. Read More


NCBI ROFL: Wish you could get drunk without blacking out? Next time, have a coffee.

By ncbi rofl | April 25, 2012 7:00 pm

Alcohol-induced retrograde memory impairment in rats: prevention by caffeine.

Ethanol and caffeine are two of the most widely consumed drugs in the world, often used in the same setting. Animal models may help to understand the conditions under which incidental memories formed just before ethanol intoxication might be lost or become difficult to retrieve.
Ethanol-induced retrograde amnesia was investigated using a new odor-recognition test.
Rats thoroughly explored a wood bead taken from the cage of another rat, and habituated to this novel odor (N1) over three trials. Immediately following habituation, rats received saline, 25 mg/kg pentylenetetrazol (a seizure-producing agent known to cause retrograde amnesia) to validate the test, 1.0 g/kg ethanol, or 3.0 g/kg ethanol. The next day, they were presented again with N1 and also a bead from a new rat’s cage (N2). Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ethanol, fun with animals, NCBI ROFL

Found: The Cause of Brain Freeze and Ice Cream Headaches

By Sarah Zhang | April 25, 2012 10:52 am

spacing is important
Ow, my anterior cerebral artery!

Next time a bite of ice cream is ruined by brain freeze, you’ll know what to blame. New research suggests that changes in blood flow in the brain—and through the anterior cerebral artery in particular—are correlated with that flash of pain while eating cold food.

In a study presented at the Experimental Biology conference this week in San Diego, researchers got 13 participants to sip ice water through a straw pressed right against the roof of their mouths—prime conditions for brain freeze. Blood flow in their brain was measured using transcranial Doppler as they sipped. At the moment the ice water sippers got brain freeze, the anterior cerebral artery dilated to let blood rush through the brain. When the artery constricted again, the pain also subsided.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: What’s Inside Your Brain?
MORE ABOUT: brain freeze, cold

NCBI ROFL: Reminders of secular authority reduce believers' distrust of atheists.

By ncbi rofl | April 24, 2012 7:00 pm

“Atheists have long been distrusted, in part because they do not believe that a watchful, judging god monitors their behavior. However, in many parts of the world, secular institutions such as police, judges, and courts are also potent sources of social monitoring that encourage prosocial behavior. Reminders of such secular authority could therefore reduce believers’ distrust of atheists. Read More


NCBI ROFL: Ever wanted to know what's really in hotdogs?

By ncbi rofl | April 23, 2012 7:00 pm

Applying morphologic techniques to evaluate hotdogs: what is in the hotdogs we eat?

“Americans consume billions of hotdogs per year resulting in more than a billion dollars in retail sales. Package labels typically list some type of meat as the primary ingredient. The purpose of this study is to assess the meat and water content of several hotdog brands to determine if the package labels are accurate. Eight brands of hotdogs were evaluated for water content by weight. Read More


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