Past Horizons: Roman wooden toilet seat found at Vindolanda.
“Now we need to find the toilet that went with it as Roman loos are fascinating places to excavate – their drains often contain astonishing artefacts. Let’s face it, if you drop something down a Roman latrine you are unlikely to attempt to fish it out unless you are pretty brave or foolhardy.” I have to ask, who’s the poor sod who has to fish it out of the very-well-ripened bog? I mean, look at that photo. Eeee-yuck. I’d wear noseplugs.
Dazed: Grimes turns down her Ice Bucket Challenge nomination.
“Last Friday, Pamela Anderson declined her Ice Bucket Challenge nomination on the grounds that the ALS Association has a poor record of testing on animals. Over the weekend, Grimes has followed suit and turned down Canadian DJ Richie Hawtin’s nom, announcing that she’d be happy to give the money to a charity – just not the ALS organisation that kickstarted the charity challenge.”
Vox: Five fascinating charts on the plummeting teen birth rate.
I’d just heard about the dropping rates via radio on the way home, and here’s extra info. Saves me having to go dig.
NY Times: Real-Life Illness in a Virtual World.
(Raises hand.) I’m one of those folks. The 90’s fave, ‘shaky cam’ technique makes me puke. Plain and simple. Remember the movie, “Breaking the Waves”? I made five minutes before bailing out and sitting in my car, listening to music and hoping my head and stomach would stop roiling, waiting for everyone else to finish the movie. I just can’t do VR until this effect is fixed.
FastCo: Coffee Alternatives That Are Better For Productivity.
I beg to differ. A little cold, fingerless gloves work a treat. Too hot? No A/C? Miserable. Cold’s relatively easier to deal with.
ProPublica, Report: Drillers Illegally Using Diesel Fuel to Frack.
“For many years fracking industry groups insisted their member companies never used diesel fuels in their operations. Then, in 2011, a congressional investigation found that in fact between 2005 and 2009, 12 companies had injected 32 million gallons of diesel fuel or fracking fluids containing diesel fuel in wells in 19 states.” This has been known, and ignored and/or buried, for at least a half-dozen years. Companies rely on semantics to dodge legal bullets.
NY Times: Caffeine May Reduce Tinnitus Risk.
Musicians, slug down that coffee.
SciAm: BPA-Free Plastic Containers May Be Just as Hazardous.
“... recent research reveals that a common BPA replacement, bisphenol S (BPS), may be just as harmful.” I switched to stainless steel bike bottles. They get hot way, way too fast, so they’re not really a good working replacement. But I use ‘em anyway.
DiscoverMag: Annals of Bone-Headed Science Communication.
Archaeology News Network: Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not new ‘hobbit’ human.
“LB1’s short thighbones not only match the height reduction seen in Down syndrome, Eckhardt said, but when corrected statistically for normal growth, they would yield a stature of about 1.26 meters, or just over four feet, a figure matched by some humans now living on Flores and in surrounding regions.” Sorry, Frodo. Not a relative.
Guardian.UK: Aspirin could dramatically cut cancer risk, according to biggest study yet.
“Concluding that the benefits outweighed the risks, Cuzick’s team, writing in the cancer journal Annals of Oncology, said that by taking low-dose aspirin every day for 10 years, bowel cancer cases could be cut by about 35% and deaths by 40%. Aspirin could reduce rates of oesophageal and stomach cancers by 30% and deaths from them by 35% to 50%.” Didn’t the FDA just judge aspirin a waste of time for heart patients? [Rummaging in archives] Yep. Close a door, open a window ...
TG’s Political Wire: GOP Lawmaker Says Migrant Children May Carry Ebola.
Seriously? Again, this kind of idiocy should trigger an ejection seat from the US Capitol.
Usually, you only see the perfect performances on video. So much painful.
BBC: Fruit and veg: More than five-a-day ‘no effect’.
SciAm: Farmers Say GMO Corn No Longer Resistant to Pests.
“Seed companies say they warned Brazilian farmers to plant part of their corn fields with conventional seeds to prevent bugs from mutating and developing resistance to GMO seeds.” That’s a short-term solution at best.
DiscoverMag: First Impressions Are Mostly Based on Your Face.
“For example, mouth shape and area were linked to approachability (for which a smile is a big plus), whereas eye shape and area were linked to attractiveness. Reversing this process, the authors were then able to generate simulated cartoon faces that produced specific, predictable first impressions in observers.” My emphasis. Keeps dentists and plastic surgeons in Ferraris, certainly.
Ancient Origins: Archaeologists recreate Elixir of Long Life recipe from unearthed bottle.
“Loorya enlisted researchers in Germany to track down the recipe in an old medical guide, which revealed that the potion contained ingredients such as aloe, which is anti-inflammatory, gentian root, which aids digestion, as well as rhubarb, zedoary, and Spanish saffron – ingredients still used by herbalists today.”
BBC: Newly-found gut virus ‘abundant in humans’.
Seattle.gov: Space Needle Still Standing After Reported Drone Strike.
Another dope. Good luck to the President’s EO; the FAA is the proper venue, no matter what others say. If that thing had broken its props against the Needle, it could have killed or seriously injured someone on the way down. In a “Me, Myself and I” culture, this can’t end well without regulations.
SciAm: Farmers Fight Explosion of “Superweeds”.
“We have had numerous calls about poor control of Palmer amaranth with glyphosate this year.” Nature’s escalating the battle again.
Later, related: Happened to run across this, from 2010, when filing the above. Interesting that “Monsanto, which once argued that resistance would not become a major problem, now cautions against exaggerating its impact. ‘It’s a serious issue, but it’s manageable.’”
Aeon: How we can get bystanders to help victims of crime.
Oh, poo. Most people are a) afraid of the perpetrator or b) afraid of litigation. Few understand ‘good samaritan’ laws - and to be honest, because they vary so much, many still hesitate even knowing what’s allowed.
NY Times/Well: Acetaminophen No Better Than Placebo for Back Pain.
“... there has never been much research to support the recommendation, and now a large, rigorous trial has found that acetaminophen works no better than a placebo.” It has *never* worked for me. For any kind of pain. I haven’t touched Tylenol in over two decades.
Guardian.UK: Dogs feel jealous of rival pets, study finds.
Too many babies and toddlers lie under grass because owners say (tragically too late), “But my dog would NEVER do such a thing.”
Tangential: CNN gets in hot water for implying we should eat pets instead of euthanizing them. We haven’t always felt that way. Lewis & Clark would agree - over 200 dogs were eaten on their westward trek. Minimal-maintenance portable protein. Some of the natives encountered found the practice disgusting. Causes one to recontemplate the definition of ‘civilized’.
Guardian.UK: New stem cell operation could revolutionise treatment of knee injuries.
“The procedure, which is being trialled at Southampton general hospital, involves coating damaged cartilage with stem cells, taken from a patient’s own hip, and surgical glue.” Obviously, there is a ‘knee’d’ for this ...