Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Roundup: Arsenic in juice, self-medicating chimps, science tattoos, Guinness Record-setting science cheerleaders, and more!



Are you getting regular mammograms on the recommended schedule?
Please be sure to monitor your breast health.
Health
  • Writing for Forbes, Susannah Breslin tells the story of "The business about my breasts," chronicling her journey from mammogram to a diagnosis of breast cancer. You can follow her on Twitter here and read her blog here. Just another reason for you to ask not what science can do for you but what you can do for science
  • A UK study finds that homebirth in specifically low-risk women carries no increased risk for women who have had children previously. They assessed data for 64,538 women and found, after a whole lot of statistical adjustment, that there were no increased odds of negative outcomes for women having birth at home or midwife-attended births in facilities. They did find an increased risk for women who were trying to have planned home births who were giving birth for the first time.
  • Can eating baked or grilled fish three times a week be protective against Alzheimer's in the elderly? These researchers think so
  • The FDA is thinking about lowering the standard it's set for how much arsenic exposure is OK in apple and other juices. Cutoffs are usually set in what are known as "parts per billion" (ppb). That means what you think: if the cutoff is 3 ppb, that means, for example, three drops in a billion drops. Right now, the cutoff for arsenic in drinking water is 10 ppb, and consumer groups are asking the EPA to drop that to 3 ppb. Deborah Blum has addressed the fact that arsenic is present in food, water, and soil and that different forms of it have different effects. As always, it's not as simple as hollering "toxic metal!" and calling for its removal. 
  • Can heading the ball in soccer/football cause brain damage?
  • Is a "Mediterranean-ish" diet good for your heart? Researchers draw that conclusion from this study of 2500 Manhattanites. 
  • Can dreams predict the future? No.
  • Would you want to see yourself old?

Our Living World
  • Chimps self medicate with food. They really are our closest living relatives.
  • Speaking of being like us, some dinosaurs cared for their young, as this fossilized nest of 15 baby dinosaurs seems to suggest.
  • Looking for the animal with the most amazing, the strangest, the most remarkable nose around? Look no more. It's the star-nosed mole:

  • Need a break from the workaday world? Listen to some whale songs and help scientists translate the language of whales.
  • Speaking of whales, scientists have sunk a 67-foot fin whale carcass off of the San Diego coast. Why go to the trouble? Whale fall is an important contribution to ocean ecosystems, and the researchers plan to study how an entire ecosystem builds up around the sunken cetacean. Here's a video of the community that forms around a whale fall:


Women and women in science
  • Nicole Ostrowsky shares her love of science in her book, An Agenda of an Apprentice Scientist. She also shares her love of science--and inspires it in others--as a teacher. As she notes, to teach science well to non-scientists, "You have to master subject to explain it simply." 
  • Do you think you apologize too much
  • From the Science Cheerleader, a Guinness World Record Cheer for Science:

  • What do Marie Curie, theater, and Alan Alda have in common? Find out here as Alan Alda chats with Scientific American's Jason Goldman. 
  • Do women lack ambition compared to men? No
  • Do science kits for girls really have to look like this? No, they do not, and one company has responded to complaints in the women-in-science blogosphere. 
  • Women are mean! Science says so! Some of us disagree.
  • Speaking of stereotypes about women and women in science, Wendy Lawrence writes about attracting girls to math and science and struggling against those stereotypes.
  • Here Come the Math Girls! In a day and age when girls are discouraged from being good at math by either being told they aren't good or should not be, here is a refreshing book out of Japan.
  • And by way of Improbable Research: Moms on the Net: Intro to Computer Science 
Sex


Art and Science

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