Tag Archives: science

Child Abuse? Mother Forces Son To Eat Skittles

I know, I know — it’s harmless, right?

But, it’s also sort of gross and denotes a lack of of good sense on the part of the mom.

The story comes from the blog The Delicious Truth and is as follows:

The other night I was walking on a quiet, tree-lined street in a residential neighborhood of Manhattan known for its intellectual and progressive thinking. A 12-year-old boy (wearing a helmet) whizzed past me on his scooter. His mother, about 20 yards behind, was clutching a light blue, 2.17 ounce bag of “Tropical” Skittles. Hey, Tommy,” she bellowed, “come here and eat these . . . I want to get rid of them.”

Okay, several things:

1. Skittles are not food.

2. 12-year-olds are hyper enough, aren’t they? Than to push little discs of pure sugar on them?

3. She makes him wear a helmet, but offers him a big bag of Skittles to finish, flooding his body with sugar, pushing him that much closer to the sort of induced diabetes more and more kids are prey to these days.

4. Why is the woman in such a rush to get rid of these? What, they might go stale? Are they like grapes? Skittles will last until the day of the flood. You could stock bomb shelters with these suckers and they’d be fine.

The Delicious Truth continues, listing the ingredients of the Skittles:

According to the back of the bag, “Tropical” Skittles are “sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, apple juice from concentrate, less than 2% – citric acid, dextrin, gelatin, artificial and natural flavors, coloring (includes yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake, blue 1 lake, red 50 lake, red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6, blue1), food starch – modified, ascorbic acid (vitamin C).” I’m sure you can’t find most of this stuff at your local farmers market.

Now here is the question: is this, as the cited blog claims, a very subtle form of child abuse? Is pushing or providing unhealthy food for consumption a form of neglect or child endangerment?

“C’mon Junior — eat mommy’s Skittles! Or else I’m gonna have to put them in the mystery meatloaf tomorrow!”

I repeat: Skittles are not food.

They CAN be vodka, however…

Psychosis Brought On By Climate Change Fears?

Australia’s Herald Sun reports on the case of a 17-year-old admitted to a psychiatric hospital for what the article refers to as “climate change delusion.” Specifically, the teen stopped drinking water because he “developed the belief that, due to climate change, his own water consumption could lead within days to the deaths of millions of people through exhaustion of water supplies.”

Are movies like “An Inconvenient Truth” and “The Day After Tomorrow” unnecessarily stirring paranoia and apocalyptic terrors in some people? Or is it just a case of an individual with a previous history of depression finding a “trigger” for further mental difficulties?

Of course, this all leads to the debate as to whether our planet is truly in danger from global warming or not, and this is the type of story that climate change skeptics might like to pounce on and use for their own purposes. But, as time goes on, might there be those who become unhealthily obsessed by tales of environmental collapse, the way people have been obsessed with tales of Y2K, Biblical revelations, and the threat of nuclear war?

Obligatory:

Frozen Embryos Make Better Babies

Frozen embryos produce better babies than fresh ones, according to data presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona.

Yes, just like when you freeze that homemade tomato sauce for “next-day” freshness.

The study found that frozen embryos that were thawed and placed in the mother’s womb had higher birth weights and less incidences of abnormalities. There were also less cases of multiple births — which of course leads to fewer complications.

A possible reason for the superior nature of these frozen embryos? It might not be the process of freezing itself but the fact that only the most healthy embryos are chosen for and survive the implantation process.

Some notable people who started life as frozen embryos:

Sex In Space

Sex in space: The final frontier.

Space.com takes a look at the subject of sexual intercourse in space — how likely it is to happen among crew members isolated in the atmosphere for months at a time, how they would do it, and the inadvisability of getting pregnant in zero gravity.

Firstly: can we reasonably expect a crew to not have sex with each other after being stuck on a three-year mission to one of Jupiter’s moons? Should those crews all be of the same gender? And if they are all of the same gender — can we reasonably expect them not to have sex with each other after being stuck on a three-year mission to one of Jupiter’s moons?

Secondly: the standard missionary position would not seem to be ideal for the zero gravity shag. A whole new kama sutra might have to be invented for intergalactic sex. Complete with “torso straps” to keep those bodies together. (However, those adventurous “sex swing” types who like being suspended from trapezes and chandeliers might benefit).

And finally: pregnancy is a no-no in zero grav. Unless you can get the fetuses to wear little moon boots. So will women have to be temporarily sterilized before being cleared for space travel? Or will our astronauts work on simply an honor system? And can they? See, we are back to the first point.

10 Tips To Being A Mosquito Magnet

Here are some guaranteed tips to help you become a Mosquito Magnet.

1. Wear dark clothing. Mosquitos prefer colors such as blacks and dark blues to lighter hues.

2. Be pregnant. Pregnant women exhale a higher level of carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes.

3. Work out. Physical exertion not only leads to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in one’s sweat, it produces lactic acid, which also is mosquito-friendly.

4. Live near a coastal area (or any water source). It’s common knowledge that mosquitoes love H2O.

5. Wear dirty socks (and other articles of clothing). Scientists have found that the bugs are attracted to the scent of old musty socks — probably because of the bacteria.

6. Have pets or livestock nearby. Sometimes mosquitoes like to cross-pollinate disease between the two.

7. Wear floral fragrances — including using scented shampoo and wearing clothes washed in scented detergent.

8. Have bare arms and legs. Mosquitoes like the limbs because they’re cooler.

9. Wear thinner, skin tight clothing. That’ll just make it easier for them to siphon off your blood right through the fabric.

10. Have a higher cholesterol level. The link isn’t conclusive, but it seems as if the insects are attracted to the extra cholesterol on the skin surface.

Conspiracy Theory: Did Diet Coke Kill George Carlin?

The Disinter blog reports on a theory that too much Diet Coke interfered with the late comic George Carlin’s heart condition/medication, leading to his death. Specifically, the alleged culprit is the aspartame in the Diet Coke:

“If Carlin’s death was related to aspartame then Carlin killed himself, not the other way around, by choosing to ingest the poison.”

This is based on a report by a Dr. Betty Martini which claims that the comedian was “addicted” to Diet Coke.

Aspartame has been blamed for a bunch of negative health conditions, including heart problems, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. As you can imagine, these claims are controversial.

So the question remains: did Diet Coke “kill” George Carlin?

First, we would have to have proof that Carlin indeed had a Diet Coke “addiction.”

Second, we’d have to see if there was any other substances that Carlin had ingested that might also have played a role.

Then, we’d have to look at the coroner’s report as well as the evidence supporting aspartame as a “poison.”

Me personally, I don’t like aspartame, don’t like artificial sweeteners. They make me nervous & headachey. So I’m definitely not pro-aspartame.

That said, we’d need a bit more proof to back up this particular conspiracy theory.

Woman Scratches Hole To Her Brain

Oh, this story freaks me out more than that severed dog’s head post

Basically, a woman develops a condition that leads her to scratch one specific part of her head uncontrollably. Finally, she scratches hole through skull and into brain:

“One morning, after she was awakened by her bedside alarm, she sat up and, she recalled, “this fluid came down my face, this greenish liquid.” She pressed a square of gauze to her head and went to see her doctor again. M. showed the doctor the fluid on the dressing. The doctor looked closely at the wound. She shined a light on it and in M.’s eyes. Then she walked out of the room and called an ambulance. Only in the Emergency Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, after the doctors started swarming, and one told her she needed surgery now, did M. learn what had happened. She had scratched through her skull during the night—and all the way into her brain.”

OMFG.

(passes out)

Russian Scientists Kept Dog’s Severed Head Alive

No, I didn’t just read this off of CNN’s website — but only because the story broke in the 1920s!

Apparently a Russian scientist managed to keep a dog’s severed head alive for a period of time by hooking it up to a crude heart/lung machine. And he filmed it. Film at this link. I didn’t watch it. Just the still frame of this dog’s head attached to the machine has made me almost vomit the Healthy Choice soup I just had for lunch.

So YOU watch it, and tell me what you think. In one scene, supposedly the dog is fed a piece of cheese and it comes out the other end of a tube, plopping on the table.

Oh, I’m soooo sick right now.

Getting a real kick out of this post:

Bumper Stickers & Road Rage Link

Displaying bumper stickers on your car makes you more likely to engage in road rage, according to researchers. Even if you sincerely want to save those whales.

Psychologists in Colorado analyzed hundreds of drivers and quizzed them about their cars and driving habits. Those drivers with more personal effects in their cars — such as bumper stickers – were 16% more likely to be road ragers, Nature News reports.

Why such a link? I’m no armchair analyst (actually, I am), but I would assume that the more personally invested you are in your car — the more you identify with the vehicle — the more likely you are to get pissed at crappy fellow drivers, gridlock, etc.

Am I close? Or is this study full of crapola?

The Banana In Danger Of Extinction?

I know what you would say: unthinkable! The banana is about as plentiful as grass, as ordinary a part of our daily lives as a turkey sandwich.

Enter the fungus knowm as Panama disease.

According to a fascinating article in The Scientist, the bananas we are eating today aren’t the ones our grandparents ate. They ate a variety called the Gros Michel, which got wiped out by Panama disease. To replace Gros Michel, another variety — the Cavendish — was brought in. The Cavendish was immune to Panama disease. But it isn’t any longer.

A new strain of Panama disease — which is so infectious that some dirt on a shoe or tire tread could track it in — could, in theory, wipe the banana as we know it off the map. And while the big banana companies, according to The Scientist article, seem unconcerned — scientists are still busily trying to genetically engineer a super-banana that can withstand this new threat.

Of course, that brings us to the ins and outs of genetically-altered fruit, which is a post for another day.

This is all to say: go out this afternoon or evening and enjoy yourself a nice strawberry-banana smoothie! While you can!