Archive for: April, 2009

Friday Weird Science: For Men, It Really IS The Size That Counts

Apr 17 2009 Published by under Friday Weird Science

I'm sure all men have some point in their lives. Perhaps they have felt...inadequate for some reason, or felt that they just did not...measure up.

The double entendres in this paper could occupy me ALL DAY. And I want to hang their table of findings of "penile dimension" above my desk. It would make me smile. But as it is, I will post it for all of YOU! Mondaini et al. "Penile length is normal in most men seeking penile lengthening procedures." International Journal of Impotence Research, 2002.
First of all, what IS the normal length of a penis? Sci had always heard somewhere around 6 inches, but never had any proof. But now, she's got the official numbers.

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28 responses so far

The virus spreads

Apr 16 2009 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

Ok, well, my cold is also spreading to the other parts of my body. There are interviews and meetings today, and Sci only hopes that she can get through them without her voice going completely kaput. Though right now, she sounds VERY low and sexy.

Anyway, other viruses are spreading. Like Twitter. I've been encouraged by some to get a Twitter account. And so Sci has given in. You can follow me on Twitter now. If you care, and if I have anything at all to say. Perhaps I shall post witty things like "OMG!!! Totally awesome paper in J. Neuroscience!"
And finally, the last virus. The good virus. DIscovered via the adorable Mrs. Whatsit (wish I had thought of that handle first), and of course the ever glamorous Dr. Isis. Remember this? It just got better.

Sing it with me! Geeeeeeeeeeeee T, C, A!!!! Geeeeeeeeeeeee T C A!!!!!

One response so far

Is that glass within reach? Ask your parieto-occipital cortex

Apr 15 2009 Published by under Neuroscience

So I'm settled down to blogging of an evening, with some chocolate (the leftover Easter candy continues), some wine, and Sci-cat. Sci-cat has a wonderful talent for sitting JUST out of reach, and purring loudly, hoping that you, her servant, will show proper deference and move to pet her. At which point she will move JUST out of reach again, purr invitingly, and do her best to look charming. She can do this for hours. Sci, however, has less patience.
But how do I KNOW that Sci-cat is just out of reach? I know that without having to reach out and miss. On the other hand, how do I know that my wine glass is within reach, without having reached to it to test my assumption? It turns out that there is a part of your brain capable of judging near distance, which can tell you if something is within reach or not. Gallivan, et al. "Is that within reach? fMRI reveals that the human superior parieto-occipital cortex encodes objects reachable by the hand" Journal of Neuroscience, 2009.
And the best thing about this paper? The superior pariety-occipital cortex. You can call it SPOC.

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6 responses so far

Leaving your mouth open in the internet tidal wave

Apr 14 2009 Published by under Friday Weird Science

I know the A Few Things Ill Considered likes to use the phrase "sipping from the internet firehose". I love that phrase, it brings across very well just how much is out there and how, if you are not careful, it will pin you to the wall and smush your internal organs through the pressure. But I also feel like the internet is a tidal wave. It's ginormous and all around you, and if you stand there with your mouth open, you will catch just the tiniest bit of it. You will also drown. All the flotsam and jetsam in it probably counts as all of the porn.
So he sips from the firehose. Sci leaves her mouth open in the tidal wave.

And here's what I spat out as I lay on the shore like a beached fish:
First off, there's a new blog afoot ("ablog"? "A-internet"?). Behold Alex Wild, and the new Scienceblog Photo Synthesis. There are some truly intense, amazing photos, as well as some awesome posts on ants.
Secondly, Bora is trying to outdo poor, innocent Sci! He has started re-posting his Friday Weird Sex Blogging posts! The one on "penis fencing" is pretty freakin awesome. While Sci throttles down her jealousy, you should check them out, esp if you only come here for the Weird Science (yeah, yeah, I know).
Finally...this is not internet-related. Well, it sort of is. At Science Online 09, you see, Sci got to meet fellow blogger and kick-ass artist Glendon Mellow. Sci has always admired his trilobites, and wished for one of her own, but life on a grad-student stipend doesn't really allow for such things. However, Mr. SiT, being the awesome and wonderful person he is, heard Sci's pleas for art and beauty in her drab little life. And he got her this. I LOVE IT. It's the perfect piece for me. I love the kind of loneliness, and unsure attitude that I can see in the trilobite, used to the dark and now in this glaring spotlight. And of course I had to email Glendon and fan-girl at him about it for a bit.

3 responses so far

Things I like to Blog About: Amphetamine

Apr 13 2009 Published by under Neuroscience

Man, that series of depression posts back there was intense, huh? And Sci will admit that she's not done. I've still got to cover the BDNF theory, not the mention the coolness that is all the possibilities in Brodmann's area 25.
But Sci is currently in the process of getting sick. While I attempt to preemptively strike this cold with copious amounts of sleep, zinc, and fluids, it's best to blog on a topic that I feel pretty comfortable blogging about. It also helps to blog while high on LOTS of on-sale Easter candy. Peeps are like blogging CRACK.

And speaking of things that give you excessive energy...
Amphetamine: speed, crank, Adderall, Dexedrine, or Vyvanse.

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12 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: Got ED? Perhaps you just need to...exercise it more.

Apr 10 2009 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Ah, the lovely Journal of Medical Hypotheses. I went to it last week for a post on ear wax, and what should be the article right before it, but a post on erectile dysfunction. I think this journal's impact factor is underrated. It certainly makes an impact on ME.
Anyway, as I'm sure you are all aware from the multitude of commercials out there for Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, and other such drugs that are making companies a LOT of money, erectile dysfunction (ED) is a bit of a problem in modern society. Is it a big problem? From the commercials, you'd think half the world had it, but there is no evidence that rates have been increasing. In this case, we're just living, and loving, longer. And when you live long, apparently loving long is not as easy as it once was.
Don't worry folks, we have a pill for that.

But the author of this article things that we may not need a pill after all. Using the philosophy of "if you don't use it, you lose it", he implies that those men who are snoozing might be losing...their erections. Ma, Y. "Regular and frequent sexual intercourse for elderly men could preserve erectile function" Medical Hypotheses, 2009.
PS: I am not responsible for any reaction you may have to the pictures below the fold. They are all medically relevant, but consider yourself warned.

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11 responses so far

Part the 4th: In which The New Scientist reviews Open Lab 2008 and Laelaps rocks my socks

Apr 08 2009 Published by under Activism

As some of you may know, Scicurious has a post in Open Lab 2008. So I was totally excited when I heard that The New Scientist reviewed the book, and hoped for little accolades and tidbits to be dropped in Sci's direction, as she's pretty shameless that way. I was also especially interested in the review, as Sci will be the guest editor of this year's Open Lab, and thus I wanted to know what to expect, what we could improve, and what stuff last year's editors did really well.
By the way, you should SUBMIT TO OPEN LAB!!!!! (When I yell it like that, it makes me think of the second Superman movie, when the bad guy is all like "Kneel before Zod!" Yell it like that.)

That's what I'm talkin' bout.

So ANYWAY, little Sci bops over the internets to read the Open Lab review...

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9 responses so far

Book Review: In which Sci reads the Dictionary

Apr 08 2009 Published by under Neuroscience

As I'm sure everyone knows by now, Sci LOVES getting books in the mail. Even if I paid for them, I still love seeing them show up in a box. Even better is when I pick them out of a store and get to cuddle them on the way home. So you can imagine how happy Sci was to see this show up at the door:
psychiatric dictionary.png
I've always wanted a specialized psychiatric dictionary, almost as bad as I've wanted a specialized pharmacologic dictionary. It's a good thing to have handy, and is an even cooler thing to get in the mail. So Sci pranced around happily with her dictionary for a minute. All I have to do is review it and...
...and then Sci realized she was going to have to READ THE DICTIONARY.
Campbell's Psychiatric Dictionary, 9th Edition, by Robert J. Campbell, MD.

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7 responses so far

*BANG!* *POW!*

Apr 07 2009 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

For some reason, every time I write things like "bang!" "pow!", I want to write something like "zowie!" But this is odd, as "zowie" is not an onomatopoeia. Unless it is. Is it?
Anyways, there's a new blogger out there in the blogsphere!!! He is called Starts with a Bang. He writes about
tinfoil hats. You should check this out. Also, apparently he's one of those American Gladiator people:
(Sci wishes she had a foam bat. Life in the lab would be SO much more fun!)
And also, Isis only has a few days to go on her awesome APS award funding! So you should click on her blog. A lot. Ooooh, especially this one. Stuff like that makes Sci REALLY wish she still had a TV.
Finally, reader and friend of the blog Tony has done something COMPLETELY AWESOME. He took that little humble picture of Sci's brain up there, and played with it. And it went from this:
to this:
IS THAT COMPLETELY AWESOME OR WHAT?!?!! It looks so cool. Sci might have to make it her new colorful and awesome pic!! Many sweet science thoughts to Tony!

One response so far

Do you feel what I feel? Only if we're two of a kind.

Apr 06 2009 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

First of all, let's all hope that Sci can stay awake long enough to get this post out, it's been a very long few weeks and Sci is very, very tired. She has, admittedly, been very, very tired for a very, very long time. But she is also very, very devoted to YOU. Yes, YOU. And the blog. And TEH SCIENZE!!!

Anyway, in my devotion to Science, and particularly neuroscience, one of the things that has always particularly interested Sci is the notion of empathy. Empathy and altruism. Altruism obviously has some pretty big societal advantages, useful for a social species such as the human, and empathy, the ability to feel what someone else is feeling, is a pretty important part of that.
But how do you know what someone else is experiencing? You see it. This effect has been known especially in people with something called synesthesia, where one type of sensation is perceived as another type of sensation. For example, some synethetes can "taste" or "see" sound. In this case, it's been found that some synesthetes can "feel" touch which they are seeing occur on other people. This means that if they see YOU get touched on the hand, they'll feel their hand get touched as well. It occurs to Sci that, while this could be a very cool thing to have sometimes (like sex!), it would make watching slasher fics a REALLY horrible experience. This also makes her wonder if some synesthetes experience atonal music like bad tasting medicine or something.
Anyway, the scientists in this study used a touch experience to determine whether this synesthete experience, of seeing someone being touched, could make a normal person "feel" something. This could be a big deal in explaining why we empathize with other people's experiences. Not only that, the authors wanted to look at whether the identification of yourself and of another person had an effect on the feelings you felt as that person was being touched. Ideas of what we look like or who we identify with can change how we "map" ourselves in our brain, and possibly change how we experience what others are feeling. Having more or less intense feelings for someone who looks or acts more or less like you could help explain how we establish things like "in group" and "out group" concepts, which are essential in forming the kind of society we have now. Andrea Serino, Giulia Giovagnoli, Elisabetta Làdavas "I Feel what You Feel if You Are Similar to Me" PLoS ONE, 2009.

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13 responses so far

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