Parting Picture

Eat a Black Raspberry

New research strongly suggests that a mix of preventative agents, such as those found in concentrated black raspberries, may more effectively inhibit cancer development than single agents aimed at shutting down a particular gene. (Full Story at sd)

The great thing about this study: even if they are wrong, it means you just got a little extra vitamin C. No harm no foul. So go find some berries.

Food for Fuel

In experiments, sweet potatoes grown in Maryland and Alabama yielded two to three times as much carbohydrate for fuel ethanol production as field corn grown in those states, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists report. The same was true of tropical cassava in Alabama. (Full Story at sd)

Not a good idea. I hope this doesn't end with high prices on sweet potatoes.

Kids Don't Care About Others

If you’ve ever spent time with toddlers, sooner or later you’ll hear the word “Mine!” It’s usually followed by an adult saying, “Now, now, you have to learn to share.” But a study in the August 28th issue of Nature suggests we may be wasting our breath. Because kids in the preschool set have no interest in making sure everyone gets their fair share.

Scientists from Switzerland wondered if, and when, young children begin to consider the welfare of others. So they gathered up over 200 Swiss schoolchildren and a small mountain of candy. And one-by-one they gave each child a choice that goes something like this: I can give one M&M to you and one to one of the other kids. Or I can give one to you—and none to anyone else.

Children who were three or four years old didn’t much care whether or not their friends also got an M&M, or a jellybean or any other sweet. But that attitude changed by the time the kids were seven or eight, when almost 80 percent of them opted to be fair. Okay, that doesn’t exactly make them candidates for a Nobel Peace Prize. But maybe magnanimousness begins with an M…&M. (From sciam)

I don't think they aren't telling the whole story. My 3 year old is often very concerned that her younger brother gets a treat if she is getting one. Of course there is a sibling connection there and it may be learned behavior, but I still am skeptical of this study. Maybe they just need to clarify if they found certain relationship qualities trump the child's natural inclination.


Attracting Money

IT'S an uncomfortable truth that beautiful people make more money: in the US, attractive workers earn 10 per cent more than their less winsome colleagues. Although it is plausible that the "beauty premium" arises because we favour pretty people, it might be that ambitious employees spend more time on grooming, or that attractive people are more confident employees.

Now a study of a TV game show supports the prejudice hypothesis. The effect is so strong that contestants often lost out on hundreds of euros because they made poor judgements about fellow players. (From newscientist)

One of the reasons I should pay more attention to my appearance. . .

Friendly Competition

The boy was attempting to set fire to his farts as part of a competition against his cousin in the garden of a house in Tipton when the accident occurred.

Fire fighters were called to the address but the small blaze had already burned itself out when the crew arrived.

Officers administered first aid until an ambulance arrived.

The victim was taken to Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley suffering from 18 per cent burns to the backs of his legs and his thumb.

Watch commander Paul Harpin, from Tipton station, said it was the first time he had been called out to deal with such an incident.

“The boy had been pranking around in the garden having a competition with his cousin, when they were breaking wind and lighting it. Right behind him was a petrol can and that just flashed.

“I think he must have won the competition but he will have some nasty burns now.

“It is a warning not to mess around with fire,” he added. (Full Story at telegraph)

There's not much you can add to that. . .

Getting Ready

The time women spend putting on make up and getting dressed works out at 3,276 hours over their lifetimes while men only devote 1,092 hours to looking their best.

A survey of 1,000 women also showed that 67 per cent thought that the time spent getting ready was actually a chore.

Only a third of women said they enjoyed preening themselves.

They spend about half an hour washing and styling their hair followed by 20 minutes applying make-up and 15 minutes applying nail varnish. (Full Story at telegraph)

How much time do you spend getting ready? I would say I take about 30 minutes from prying myself out of the bed to getting out the door. I know I should care more about my appearance, but I'm just lazy I guess.

Solar Highway

Roads and parking lots as solar collectors? Is that the newest revolutionary innovation since the term “alternative energy”? Capturing solar energy from pavements has been perfected for years now.

Researchers at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute will unveil Tuesday, August 19, 2008 the findings of a research project on the concept of using the heat absorbed by pavements. Rajib Mallick, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, who was the team leader will hail the achievement as “revolutionary”.

By using the heat from asphalt, the researchers have developed a solar collector that could turn roads and parking lots into invisible and cheap sources of electricity and hot water. (Full Story at ecoworldly)

I just have some doubts about this whole idea. Seems like it cld be expensive, failure prone, and with little returns (in terms of energy). Maybe I'm just a naysayer. Anyone else have thoughts on this.

Placebos in Kids

It's a strange finding nestled inside a weird phenomenon: children are 50 percent more likely than adults to respond favorably to placebos.

So concludes a Public Library of Science Medicine review by French pediatricians of anti-epilepsy drug studies. If replicated in other drugs, researchers may need to adjust their analyses of clinical drug studies involving kids.

What could account for the tendency of kids to feel better after taking a drug designed to do nothing? The reasons, write the researchers, "remain largely unknown and mostly speculative." (Full Story at wired)

What do you think folks? I wonder if imagination has something to do with it. The whole placebo thing, in general, facinates me.


Parting Picture

Lute Maker

The Magic Pill

ScienceDaily (Aug. 1, 2008) — Trying to reap the health benefits of exercise? Forget treadmills and spin classes, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may have found a way around the sweat and pain. They identified two signaling pathways that are activated in response to exercise and converge to dramatically increase endurance.

The team of scientists, led by Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D., a professor in the Salk Institute's Gene Expression Laboratory report in the July 31 advance online edition of the journal Cell that simultaneously triggering both pathways with oral drugs turned laboratory mice into long-distance runners and conferred many of exercise's other benefits.

In addition to their allure for endurance athletes, drugs that mimic the effects of exercise have therapeutic potential in treating certain muscle diseases, such as wasting and frailty, hospital patients unable to exercise, veterans and others with disabilities as well as obesity and a slew of associated metabolic disorders where exercise is known to be beneficial.(Full Story at sd)

If it can help people with rare diseases I'm all for it, but I'm just too skeptical (bitter?) to believe that the drug companies will leave it there. If this drug ever does make it to market, it will be perscriped like crazy. The real problem is that people will start thinking they can eat anything (junk) and look better by taking this pill, and everything will be OK. It just doesn't work that way, and you can't convince me otherwise.

Bike Powered Fridge

Pretty sweet. I like it.

(via make)