Archive for September, 2012

NCBI ROFL: Dried tomato improves semen from Iranian cocks.

By ncbi rofl | September 28, 2012 7:00 pm

Dietary inclusion of dried tomato pomace improves the seminal characteristics in Iranian native roosters.

“Because of a paucity of information on the effect of tomato pomace in male chickens, a study was undertaken to determine the influence of dietary inclusion of dried tomato pomace (DTP) on seminal characteristics in Iranian native breeder roosters. Fifty-four roosters (24 wk old) were randomly allotted to 3 treatment groups and received either a basal diet without DTP (T(0)), or a diet containing 15% (T(15)) or 30% (T(30)) DTP for an 8-wk-long experimental period. Read More

The Animated Pianist That Plays Like a Person, Just By Listening Along

By Ashley P. Taylor | September 28, 2012 4:08 pm

When we listen to an mp3—or a CD track, a mix tape, a record, even a wax cylinder—we’re conjuring up the sound of a past performance. Now there’s a new computer program that does the reverse, sort of: It takes an audio file and creates a piano-playing cartoon, using sound (or related bits of information) to animate a performance anew.

The fingers of an expert pianist look relaxed as they tickle the ivories, never seeming overexerted or out of place. The computer program is designed to work on the same principle: It “listens to” a midi file and decides how the cartoon should finger each chord in order to put out the least possible effort. In addition to telling the active fingers which keys to press down, it also decides what to do with the idle fingers so that they are optimally relaxed and poised to play their next notes. Looking this at ease is a lot of work.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

Iron Man Statue Was Molded From a Meteorite, Nabbed by Nazis, and Now Scrutinized by Scientists

By Sophie Bushwick | September 28, 2012 12:23 pm

Iron Man

This is an ancient Tibetan sculpture. Carved from an even older meteorite. Discovered by a Nazi archaeological expedition. And no, it doesn’t play a key role in an Indiana Jones movie.

According to a new paper in Meteoritics & Planetary Science (gloriously titled “Buddha from space”), the elements that compose a 23-pound Tibetan statue (even more gloriously nicknamed “Iron Man”) match the composition of known fragments from the iron Chinga meteorite. This space object hit Earth between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago, near the Chinga stream on what is today the border of Russia and Mongolia. Although meteorites have been formed into weapons, jewelry, and art before, the Iron Man statue is the only known human figure to be crafted from a meteorite, which makes it truly priceless. The researchers suggest that an 11th-century Tibetan artist chiseled the sculpture as a representation of the Buddhist god Vaiśravaṇa.

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NCBI ROFL: What does the Tea Party movement have to do with anal eroticism?

By ncbi rofl | September 27, 2012 7:03 pm

The psychohistorical roots of the American “Tea Party” Movement.

“Extreme resistance to governmental taxation and authority is derived, according to Freud’s theory of anal characterology, from premature and harshly coercive toilet training, in which a child is forced unfairly and against its will to surrender the products of his eliminations (which represent money, among other things, in the unconscious) to parental authority. Read More

NCBI ROFL: Note to self: keep "squashed spider contents" out of eyes.

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

Acute conjunctival inflammation following contact with squashed spider contents.

“PURPOSE: To report the effects to the eye following contact with spider contents. DESIGN: Observational case report. METHODS: A 46-year-old man presented with a painful and inflamed eye after contents of a spider got into his right eye when he squashed the spider with a newspaper. He suffered immediate severe pain in the eye, which rapidly became red and swollen. Read More

NCBI ROFL: Experimental setup: listen to laughter while a scientist burns your hands with a laser.

By ncbi rofl | September 25, 2012 8:00 pm

Modulation of pain by emotional sounds: A laser-evoked potential study.

“BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown increases in experimental pain during induction of a negative emotion with visual stimuli, verbal statements or unpleasant odours. The goal of the present study was to analyse the spatio-temporal activation patterns underlying pain augmentation during negative emotional sounds. Read More

NCBI ROFL: The "drinking-buddy" scale as a measure of para-social behavior.

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

“Para-social behavior is a form of quasi-interpersonal behavior that results when audience members develop bonds with media personalities that can resemble interpersonal social interaction, but is not usually applied to political communication. This study tested whether the “Drinking-Buddy” Scale, a simple question frequently used in political communication, could be interpreted as a single-item measure of para-social behavior with respect to political candidates in terms of image judgments related to interpersonal attraction and perceived similarity to self. Read More

NCBI ROFL: Putting suction cups on your boobs… for science!

By ncbi rofl | September 21, 2012 7:04 pm

In vivo measurement of breast skin elasticity and breast skin thickness.

“BACKGROUND:The mechanical properties of the breast skin play an important role in explaining the changes associated with radiotherapy, tissue expansion, and breast reconstruction surgery. Quantitative measurement of mechanical properties of breast skin is essential for surgical preplanning and outcome prediction. We have measured the skin elasticity properties and skin thickness of the breast using noninvasive methods. METHODS:The DermaLab suction cup and the DermaScanC ultrasound were used to measure the modulus of elasticity and the skin thickness, respectively. Read More


And the 2012 Ig Nobel Prizes Go To… A Shut-Up Machine, Spilled Coffee, and Dead Fish Brains

By Sophie Bushwick | September 21, 2012 11:58 am

Thursday night, we finally found out who won the most exciting awards in science! Well, maybe “exciting” isn’t the best word for the 22nd Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. Perhaps I should say “bizarre,” or even “hilarious.” Every autumn, scientists from all over the world gather at Harvard to “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.” Like the Nobel Prizes, the Ig Nobels include categories such as peace, physics, and chemistry. In fact, Nobel laureates traditionally present the awards during the ceremony.

But that’s where the parallels end. It’s unlikely that the Nobel Peace Prize would go to Russians who turn old ammunition into miniscule diamonds for use in medical imaging. Or that analyzing the motion of a ponytail would earn the prestigious Nobel for physics. Only the Ig Nobel Prizes would reward scientists for studying why coffee sloshes out of the cup, testing the brain activity of dead fish, creating a speech jammer, and writing a report about reports about reports.

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NCBI ROFL: Study reveals the creepy faces that unborn babies make.

By ncbi rofl | September 20, 2012 7:00 pm

Do facial expressions develop before birth?

“BACKGROUND: Fetal facial development is essential not only for postnatal bonding between parents and child, but also theoretically for the study of the origins of affect. However, how such movements become coordinated is poorly understood. 4-D ultrasound visualisation allows an objective coding of fetal facial movements. Read More


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