Archive for: October, 2011

Friday Weird Science: Piercing the Paleolithic Penis

Oct 28 2011 Published by under Friday Weird Science, Uncategorized

Yup. Really piercing.

I got today's Friday Weird Science via Ivan Oransky. I don't know WHERE he finds this stuff, but find it he does!

When we think of Paleolithic humans, we often think of things like cave drawings, spearheads and artifacts. We think of stone tools and people hunting mammoths with spears.

But it turns out, we may want to actually think of penis piercing. Just because.

Angulo et al. "Phallic Decoration in Paleolithic Art: Genital Scarification, Piercing and Tattoos" The Journal of Urology, 2011.

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6 responses so far

Donor's Choose: Thank you all so much!!!

Oct 26 2011 Published by under Activism

Donor's Choose is over for another year. I'm always thrilled to participate, and I wish I could have done more. I can only make so many excuses like "work has avalanched on top of me"...but it HAS! HONEST!

Anyway, this is a BIG THANK YOU to all those who donated to my Donor's Choose page!!! We raised $820 dollars, and helped 53 students. That may not seem like many, but every student counts, and those are 53 more students who will be getting a better education because of YOU!!! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!

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At SciAm Blogs today: Grab some coffee, this paper may depress you

Oct 25 2011 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Sci is at Sciam Blogs today talking about the latest coffee study!! I think it's a good study with an interesting finding, but I wasn't so thrilled with how it was handled in the media. Sorry, but coffee will probably not prevent your depression. Let alone cure it. But the delicious brown roasted bean still has my backing! Check it out, and if you'd like to leave a comment here or register there, be my guest!

10 responses so far

An Open Letter to Rodent Behaviorists...

Oct 24 2011 Published by under Academia

But especially to the new students and postdocs who don't yet really know what's up,

You know that delicious scent you just bought? That nice perfume? That neat smelling shampoo? That cool new deodorant or body spray?

Guess what? I can smell it. And so can the rodents.

By now, young students, you may be experienced enough to have seen a rodent brain or two, and seen rodent behavior first hand, and you will have seen them sniffing around inquisitively, and you will have seen those GIGANTIC olfactory bulbs. You will have divined, from several tests in which the protocols note specific smells are used and the room has to be scented a specific way, that rodents might be sensitive to smell, and that they use it as a cue.

So if you know all this, and are so wise with your use of lemon scents and vanilla scents in various protocols...why, exactly, do you think that the rodent cannot smell YOU?! Especially when you, young student, are decked out in a panoply of smell that leaves the hallway scented with your products for 10 minutes after you've been in it. And if I can smell you, I can only imagine the poor rodents are about to pass out from your synthetic stench.

So here's some advice. Don't smell. I know you have no real choice in the matter, but if you're going to smell a certain way, it needs to be CONSISTENT. Get a shampoo, conditioner, lotion, what have you, and DO. NOT. CHANGE. I hope you like that new fall fragrance, cause you're gonna be wearing that shit until this ENTIRE experiment is through. By then we'll be in to winters, but you can just tell people you're retro. The best by far would be to not wear the dang stuff at all. But now you've done it, and the rodents know you. And the rodents will expect your smell. And in the interest of controlling as many variables in this experiment as possible, you're wearing that scent til the cows come home.

Just remember kids. If you can smell it, they can too. Save my experiments and leave your perfume at home.


5 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: SCIENCE! Keeping an eye on your dead skunk since 2011.

Oct 21 2011 Published by under Friday Weird Science, Uncategorized

All animals used in the present study were already found dead (road-killed), and therefore an ethic approval is not required.

You know, sometimes I see a study (this one was tweeted around a few weeks ago), and you just sit and wonder WHY. Why did scientists DO this study, why was it necessary? What is its purpose in life? I mean, this one must have a purpose. It’s not like most people WANT to drive around counting and assessing the state of roadkill.

And indeed, this study DOES have a purpose. And it’s more than staring at roadkill.
(Though maybe that’s fun too? I mean, I’m not everyone)

Santos et al. “How long do the dead survive on the road? Carcass persistence probability and implications for road-kill monitoring surveys” PLoS ONE, 2011.
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8 responses so far

Donor's Choose Reminder!

Oct 19 2011 Published by under Activism

Sci grew up going to public school. We had some pretty good science teachers, and I remember how hard they worked to make learning fun for us. They raised money to build greenhouses (which I got to work in! Loved that!), raised money to build terrariums (nothing gets girls screaming like bringing a pile of crickets to feed the frogs to dance class. I'll admit, I was trollin'.), and let us build little robot cars to have epic battles in physics. They made science learning FUN, and they made me passionate about science. And even those who didn't develop passion probably have some great memories of their science classes, and might see science in a more positive way because of it. When I think about it now, I realize how many adults gave their best to help us have a good education, and how much of a help it was.

And now, YOU can help kids have fun and learn, and maybe one day become scientists themselves (or heck, maybe one day they'll read my blog!!!). It doesn't take much, $5 is fine! $2 is fine! But I'd love to see some of these projects funded!

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At SciAm Blogs Today: The Pill and Relationship Satisfaction

Oct 18 2011 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Sci is at SciAm blogs today talking about the Pill. AGAIN. And the latest study on relationship satisfaction. Because some things will always be overinterpreted. Check it out! And if you want to comment and don't want to register, comments are always welcome here!

One response so far

XO Jane's Health Editor...are you playing with me?

Oct 15 2011 Published by under Health Care/Medicine

You know, sometimes I think I've reached the pinnacle of my ability to be outraged by things on the internet. And then something like this comes along. So I'm sorry, my friends, this is going to be a rant. A mean, probably nasty kind of rant. Sci is not naturally a mean person, but some things really do make me roar with rage.

This is the thing.

It is an article at XO Jane, where the Health Editor talks about how New York City is out of Plan B, and how much that sucks. I agree that it completely sucks. Plan B is an important contraceptive. She then goes to on state why it personally sucks to her. She depends on it for birth control, because she doesn't like condoms, and birth control pills will get her fat and she can't be bothered to take them on time. She sticks to Plan B as her contraceptive of choice. That's her choice to make, and if she wants to spend $50 on Plan B every time she has unprotected intercourse, that's all her.

Here's my problem. My problem is that this "health editor" spends her entire editorial spreading COMPLETELY IDIOTIC AND WRONG notions about HEALTH. Seriously, XO Jane. Have you been hacked? you can admit it, it's ok, we all get hacked once in a while. Are you playing some joke that is only funny on a meta level? Because I find it very difficult to believe that you have a HEALTH EDITOR that is so ill-informed and willfully ignorant about, you know, HEALTH.

So I want to dispel these myths, and I want to talk about fact checking.

2) Birth control pills. NO. They will make me fat; they will make me "spot" (another thing I squeamishly just DON'T LIKE TALKING ABOUT; don't worry, though, everyone else who works here does); they will give me acne; and quite frankly, they will NOT prevent me from getting pregnant! I know this because IT HAPPENED TO ME™.

No, I didn't take my pills right; I forget things like this unless they are FUN pills, or what I BELIEVE, delusionally, to be a "fun" pill at the time; anyway, the point is, unless a pill gets me speedy or doped up as all hell I will NOT remember to take it, and then I will get pregnant! I JUST WILL. (IHTM™.)

For the 50 BILLIONTH TIME. Birth control pills (the estrogen and estrogen/progesterone combination pills). Do. Not. Make. You. Fat.

Would. You. Like. More. References?

Yes, they can affect your skin. They can cause spotting. You can try different kinds until you get one that works for you. But there is NOT a significant side effect of weight gain. If you gained weight, I'm sorry, but it was probably something else.

Also, I understand that some people really DO have problems taking a pill every day. But that DOES NOT mean the pill doesn't WORK. If you had a headache, and I asked if you'd taken aspirin for it, and you said no, do you blame the aspirin for your headache? OF COURSE NOT. Because that's STUPID. The pill DOES WORK. When taken correctly, it works 99.9% of the time. If you cannot be bothered to take the pill, try the patch or the ring, or another method entirely, but do not blame the pill for being ineffective.

So the author says all this stuff about how birth control doesn't work for her. Ok, I get that, estrogen or estrogen/progesterone pills don't work for you... why, exactly, are you taking Plan B?

Let's see here

Plan B One-Step® is safe, effective, and FDA-approved. It contains levonorgestrel, the same ingredient found in many birth control pills. The difference is that Plan B One-Step® requires just one pill, which uses a larger dose of levonorgestrel than a single birth control pill. And, unlike many birth control pills, Plan B One-Step® doesn’t contain any estrogen, only progestin.

(From the Plan B site)

So those meanie estrogens make you FAT and cause you ACNE and they SUCK, and so you're going to take a BIG WHOPPING DOSE OF PROGESTIN INSTEAD?!?!

Of course, she talks about the science behind plan B to back her up.


Honey, this ISN'T HARD. Haha, yes, I get it. Teehee, science is HARD, you guys!

No. This isn't hard. This is your BODY. And it's REALLY IMPORTANT that you know what it's doing, why it's doing that, and what you're putting into it. It's your body, and it's your life, and if you have a right to one thing, it's to know what's going on with your own body. If you are confused about ovulation, menstruation, pregnancy, abortion, or birth control, there are lots of sites where you can go which will explain the relatively simple science behind this. Heck some of them even use nice small words.

Far be it from me to tell XO Jane how to handle their hiring, but I do think it's generally wise to have a heath editor who's taken a health course. And who can read. But perhaps I'm too picky.

22 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: Scrotum Shots

Oct 14 2011 Published by under Friday Weird Science

So much weird science came my way this week! It was very hard to pick just one paper. But then Ivan Oransky showed up on twitter talking about this study.'s just special.

I will warn you there are some NASTY pictures below the fold. They are NSFW once you realize what you're looking at. Odds are, no one WILL be able to tell what you're looking at, but just in case.

Simhan, et al. "Gunshot wounds to the scrotum: a large single-institutional 20-year experience" BJUI, 2011.

And now, none of you will ever want to go to Philadelphia. You will give Ben Franklin a sad.

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4 responses so far

Sci vs Cuttlefish.

Oct 11 2011 Published by under Activism

Sci has a sad confession to make
My reputation now is at stake!
I made a small bet
Against the Cuttlefish set
For the kids and young scientists' sake.

So please think of giving, large or small,
Little is better than naught at all
You can benefit kids
by filling teacher's bids
And help their educational call.

Sci will of course donate my cut
To get my Donor's Choose out of a rut
Both for kids and I wish
To beat the Cuttlefish,
but right now he's sure kicking my butt. 🙁

Please note my Donor's Choose widget on the sidebar! It's a great charity organization, and any amount that you can donate will help! I particularly like the ones focused on getting kids thinking about energy alternatives, and the one which will help kids complete virtual anatomy dissections!

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