It's always fun to hear about the rumors that were going around back in the day. Like, now, I'm sure people hear all sorts of rumors about their friend who knows a guy who ran from the cops over the state line or something.
But historically? Well, different times, different rumors.
And apparently the one going around in 1865 was that everyone knew this guy who knew a guy who...swallowed a slug and had it come out alive.
I suppose that escargot no longer looks quite so appealing.
Dalton, JC. "Experimental Investigations to determine whether the garden slug can live in the human stomach." April 1865.
Have you ever wondered how much you fart? Or rather, not how much you fart (presumably you notice most of the time and have a general idea), but instead, how you rate against other people. After all, we humans tend to be competitive little snots. And if we're going to fart, we're probably going to wonder how much other people do. Do you fart more than others? Are you a "superfarter"? Are you magically gassless?
And are you willing to wear a tube inserted right up your butt to find out?
And so I set out looking for the study. Until I realized...there was no study. This is an example of what we like to call "science by press release". However flawed one may feel about the peer-review system in academia*, it's definitely important that SOMEONE be able to see the data and find the potential flaws (or, possibly, back you up in how awesome your science is) that are making the study sag (as it were). The science we are about to talk about? Has not been published yet. It is preliminary. The lead author has in fact been bemused by all the media attention (dude, you study boobs, you didn't think we'd just walk BY, did you?), and has stated that he's withholding final judgement until the paper is out.
Rouillon told Reuters that his unpublished work is still in the early stages and he is hesitant about giving one-size-fits-all advice to women, despite the media circus.
But it is not required that science pass peer review before its reported on (heck, there would be no scientific reporting at science conferences if that was the case). So while the science reported may well be...full-figured enough to pass muster, until they DO report it, it's good to keep in mind that it's preliminary. This means that we only have bits and pieces of the data, and so drawing any conclusions is going to be premature. It's a good idea to keep in mind, honestly, that all science will probably be replaced by better science over time, but stuff that isn't out yet (and on which we have no real details), deserves extra fish-eye.
Does your poop float? Does it sink? Do you have floaters and sinkers depending on the day?
Maybe you're one of those people that never looks to see.
Nah, don't lie. You look.
So if you have looked, surely you've wondered...what makes poop FLOAT? I seem to recall asking my mother this once as a kid and she told me it was fiber and that fiber floats. Since I have now found out that, chemically, that's a dirty lie (she didn't know, so it wasn't intentional, and she always has promoted a high fiber diet), I continued to wonder...why does some poop float while other poop sinks?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. As it were.
(Source. You know that you will now be looking at and rating all your poop. It's unavoidable.)
Levitt and Duane. "Floating Stools - Flautus vs Fat" New England Journal of Medicine, 1973.
These days, we've got an infinite variety of ways to tell people what we ate for breakfast. Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, phone calls, singing telegrams!
(Believe me, what we are about to discus would be about as well received)
But you know, if you want people to really UNDERSTAND your diet, your current obsession with greek yogurt or whole grains, they need to really know the ins and...outs of the process. So if you really want people to know what you ate for breakfast, you don't need a singing telegram. You need a fecal odorgram.
Moore et al. "Fecal Odorgrams: A method of partial reconstruction of ancient and modern diets" Digestive diseases and sciences, 1984.
Sigh. The penis story is now 5 days old, and I'm only just now getting to it. Sci is sad and behind the times, but that's because I don't get the awesome press releases that so many journalists are heir to. The joys of academia, I'm the last to hear about the penis study!
So after all this coverage, I went eagerly to read the paper. I mean, this must be a big deal, right?
But really...I'm not sure why all the penis coverage. I admit it's tough to give up a penis in PNAS joke, but I'm not sure what makes this study...so meaty, shall we say. I think what they did is fine and well controlled, met all the standards of scientific rigidity, but I'm not sure they...went all the way. The conclusions were, well, kind of expected, and a little limp.
You see where I'm going here.
Mautz et al. "Penis size interacts with body shape and height to inﬂuence male attractiveness" PNAS, 2013.
Doooooo your balls hang low
do they wobble to and fro
can you tie 'em in a knot?
can you tie 'em in a bow?
Anyway. testicles. Most people with intimate experience of testicles (and heck, even those who have experienced them second, or even third hand), will know that one testicle generally hangs lower than the other*. In general, the left of the tackle dominates, with about 42% of males having the left hang lower.
And of course, we know this is true in real life. But what about art? Art, after all, imitates life. But does it really?
It's time to to eyeball the David's balls.
I.C. McManus. "Scrotal asymmetry in man and ancient sculpture" Nature, 1976.
Today's post comes to you courtesy of Mary Roach (aka, the person I want to be when I grow up). I have a copy of her latest book, Gulp: adventures in the alimentary canal that I am reading for review, and a weird science connoisseur such as myself of course spends half her time in the bibliography section, wherein I located this paper. This paper may thus be taken as a pre-review of the book. Spoiler: so far, the book is FABULOUS, but should never be read while eating.
Ah, goat milk. When I think of goat milk, I think of places like farmer's markets, Whole Foods, and little Heidi dancing through the alps. I'll admit to never having drunk raw goat milk (though I do LOVE goat cheese). But after having read this paper, I'm afraid that I do not WANT to try raw goat milk. Why? I'm afraid of the taste...the goaty taste...that is potentially hot, sexy goaty hormones. Hot sexy goat hormones sprayed around in hot, sexy goaty URINE.
Smith et al. "Characterization of Male Goat Odors: 6-Trans Nonenal" Journal of Dairy Science, 1984.
(Awwww. Just wait til he pees all over himself... source)
Most everyone who drinks has had some variation on this conversation with other drinkers:
Person 1: Let's go out and get margaritas!!!
Person 2: Ugh, beer for me then, tequila does horrible things to me.
Person 1: Well I can't do beer, clear liquors are the only way I never get a hangover!
...and so it goes. It seems like everyone has their drink of choice, and often one of the factors involved is how bad it will make you feel the next day. Maybe wine gives you migraines but bourbon goes down smooth? Maybe beer is your favorite and vodka leaves you hanging? It seems like everyone has their own choice and the choice is highly individual.
But actually? Not quite so individual as you might think. Because yes, people have done science on this.
(Hangover in a glass or your new best friend? Stay tuned! Source)
Rosenhow et al. "Intoxication With Bourbon Versus Vodka: Effects on Hangover, Sleep, and Next-Day Neurocognitive Performance in Young Adults" Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2010.