Friday Weird Science: An Unusual PenPal

Sci heard of today’s Friday Weird Science via the magic of Twitter (follow me if you like. Or don’t. Sometimes I tweet haikus). It’s actually almost too bad, I was GOING to write something not related to penises, but then this came out, and Sci had no choice. When something this outrageous hits the internet…well someone has to blog it.
ResearchBlogging.org Forde, et al. “An unusual penpal: case report and literature review of posterior urethral injuries secondary to foreign body insertion” The Canadian Journal of Urology, 2009.
This is a story of what happens when you combine a man, a sexual encounter, a pen, and a complete and thorough ignorance of human anatomy.
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Hey President Obama: Want to pay tribute to Sen. Kennedy?

Then quit jerking around with Harry Reid and force him to pass meaningful health care reform with a public option included. The House would back it. Make the Senate get off their asses.
It isn’t rocket surgery.
/rant

Book Review: Attachment, Evolution, and the Psychology of Religion

First off, Sci should warn you. If you send me books (and some of you do, and for those of you who do, SCI LOVES YOU A LOT), keep in mind they may take a while. Sci IS in grad school after all, and while I’m a happy little book worm when surrounded by books, a lot of times, more than 10 pages a night just isn’t going to happen. After all, I’ve got this whole “science blogging” thing to keep up with as well, and that’s a time sink, lemme tell ya. So this means that if you send me a book, it may be a long time before it gets read and a review goes up about it. Sci just finished three books, and there is still a pile of 12 on her little bedside table. So be patient. And send me books anyway. :)
That said, the latest book sent to me that I managed to read was via friend of the blog JD, who sent me a book by his Psych prof: “Attachment, Evolution, and the Psychology of Religion” by Lee Kirkpatrick, professor of Psychology at the College of William and Mary.
And when I got the book, Dr. Kirkpatrick had signed it!!! Signed books are even better than unsigned, because they make Sci feel so famous. And I quote:

This is the best book you will ever read, on any topic. No, really. Seriously, not kidding. Enjoy!
-Lee Kirkpatrick

And he promised me my money back if not fully satisfied. :)
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Conference Tips: The Poster Edition

Sci did a post last year on posters at SFN, the difference between a good poster, a better poster, and the best posters (I’m talking with regards to styling, not content, if you’ve got crappy content, Sci simply cannot help you). And this year, fresh back from a really awesome conference, she wants to do it again. And this time, we’re trying examples.
So here we go: how to make a decent scientific poster (or at least one that isn’t completely terrible). Starring SciC and her cute though minimal skillz with powerpoint.

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Friday Weird Science Refrigerator Kids: Redux

Sci received a charming email from reader Monica the other day! Monica was able to get the paper Sci recently blogged on about kids trapped in fridges. But she couldn’t find a pdf copy of the paper for all the interesting pics. And now she has it! And for your enlightenment, here are the pictures of adorable 50’s children being trapped in an environment resembling a refrigerator:

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(The playhouse. The people studying the child inside were behind the curtain looking through video monitors.)

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(Kid just out of confinement. You can see that she wasn’t all that upset, though the nurse was on-hand in case.)

fridgekids3.jpg
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Here you can see kids inside the box, and the various methods of trying to get out. Top: kids pushing on the door, the little girl top right was able to push the door open. Bottom Left: knocking on the door and asking to be let out. Bottom right: child slapping at the door.

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This boy went for the handle he could feel on the inside of the door and successfully let himself out.

You can read the full write up of the article, and WHY exactly, scientists were trapping kids in refrigerators, here.

A big thank you to Monica!!!

Friday Weird Science: Smoking away your Semen

Sci will go ahead and put it out there: she hates smoking (I mean tobacco). It’s gross. It smells. You NEVER get that freakin’ smell out of your hair. And your teeth get all nasty. Not to mention to horrendous side effects, things like cancer and cardiovascular problems and death…yeah, those are bad, too.
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So anyway, I think we all know smoking is bad for you. Addictive, cancer-causing, the addictive part is particularly bad, nicotine has an extremely high number of reinforcers obtained per drug session (you can only take one line of cocaine at a time, really, but a cigarette has you occupied, puffing away for a good few minutes). But now men have ANOTHER reason not to smoke: your little swimmers don’t like it.
ResearchBlogging.org Kumosani, et al. “The influence of smoking on semen quality, seminal microelements, and Ca2+-ATPase activity among infertile and fertile men.” Clinical Biochemistry, 2008.
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(teehee, via softpedia)

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Bring on the Data Blitz!

At some of the smaller conferences that Sci has been to (which are, by the way, often the best ones) there is a new and improved thing called “the data blitz”. Usually, this is where everyone gets one slide to present their poster/talk and to get people interested in it. Usual time is 1 min. 1 minute. Get to the bottom line and get there fast.
Sci will admit that she is not the least verbose person she knows, and that, when this data blitz opportunity first presented itself, she was a little freaked out. But with some guidance and thought, it’s actually pretty easy, unless the content of your poster is really THAT complicated, in which case, why would you put all of it on a poster? And so Sci thinks she’s pulled off her most recent data blitzes rather well, though improvement is always necessary.
However, it seems that in many people, a data blitz instills more than the usual modicum of fear, resulting in an enormous number of things that just shouldn’t happen in a data blitz. And so, in the tradition of things you should never do in a powerpoint presentation, I present: the things you shouldn’t do during a data blitz:

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