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News Briefs 08-06-2005

Have you got symptomless coma?

  • The myth of ADHD. The one to really worry about is symptomless coma.
  • Humans originated in China.
  • How do I love thee? Which of the nine ways?
  • Is mental illness an insane idea?
  • Walking octopus inspires soft robots.
  • Scientists seek sprite light source.
  • Sponging dolphins learn from mum.
  • Mexican volcano ready to blow.
  • Natural genius and persecution.
  • Radar search for Martian water back on track.
  • Meditation changes monks outlook.
  • Genes drive ability to orgasm, and mixed gender pornography boosts sperm.
  • Marijuana: the dope.
  • Unlocking the power of myth, if not of place.
  • Chemical spray shows power as trust booster. Can’t wait for Propaganda Smell-o-vision. All government channels no doubt.
  • Psychedelic revival: research on forbidden drugs.

Quote of the Day:

Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion, rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science.

Gary Zukav

  1. Porn and fertility
    So what might the effect be of various forms of porn on women’s fertility? Without a quotable source, I think it’s safe to say more women than men object to pornography, supposedly for reasons such as that it ‘objectifies’ or denigrates women. But what if their objection actually is based on a hormonal response that affects fertility?

    Although it would be more complicated than the sperm study, it would be fairly easy to set up the research. Just recruit couples who are trying to conceive, show her but not him various forms of porn. Throw in a few controls for how long it took them to conceive in any previous attempts, and then measure how long it takes them to conceive this time.

    I’m also curious to know if various forms of porn affect the motility of gay men’s sperm. Does their hormonal system view sex with other men as an opportunity for conception? Does their sperm motility increase when viewing porn of two men having sex with a woman, in spite of their sexual orientation?

  2. Best to fend for yourself
    After reading about the Psychedelic revival, I had a look around Reason. About halfway down this page, I found 911 is a Fake Life Saver — 911 in this case meaning the phone number to call in case of emergency in the U.S., but the article is also about the 9/11 WTC attack.

    “For nearly four years — steadily, seriously, and with the unsentimental rigor for which we love them — civil engineers have been studying the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, sifting the tragedy for its lessons. And it turns out that one of the lessons is: Disobey authority. In a connected world, ordinary people often have access to better information than officials do….

    “The report confirms a chilling fact that was widely covered in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. After both buildings were burning, many calls to 911 resulted in advice to stay put and wait for rescue. Also, occupants of the towers had been trained to use the stairs, not the elevators, in case of evacuation.

    “Fortunately, this advice was mostly ignored. According to the engineers, use of elevators in the early phase of the evacuation, along with the decision to not stay put, saved roughly 2,500 lives….In fact, the people inside the towers were better informed and far more knowledgeable than emergency operators far from the scene. While walking down the stairs, they answered their cell phones and glanced at their BlackBerries, learning from friends that there had been a terrorist attack and that the Pentagon had also been hit….

    “Anybody who has been paying attention probably suspects that if we rely on orders from above to protect us, we’ll be in terrible shape. But in a networked era, we have increasing opportunities to help ourselves. This is the real source of homeland security: not authoritarian schemes of surveillance and punishment, but multichannel networks of advice, information, and mutual aid.”

    Makes a good case for having a blackberry or a cell phone.

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