"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Booze, Sex, and Trite Shite 

Salon has an astoundingly wordy article up about use of an extinct fennel by ancient Mediterranean cultures as an aphrodisiac and contraceptive. The short version: the ancient herb, silphium, was a source of great wealth to the few who controlled its wild harvest (the stuff didn't take to cultivation), and was, unsurprisingly, made soon extinct by over consumption. Cool!

Speaking of having sex without consequences, Minnesota researchers found that teen sex doesn't lead to more mental health problems, except in the youngest teens and even then only in those whose relationships dissolve soon thereafter. I feel like there's a cultural aspect to this which could be hiding here: if younger teens less are likely to get good support from their parents/friends because of taboos, wouldn't that explain increased emotional distress?

And on the topic of people we probably don't need to encourage to be any sluttier, an Argentine group found that Viagra may be helpful in alleviating jet lag. This could mean easier and speedier recovery for flight attendants, among others.

Last on sex, UK researchers seem to have found that sexual orientation affects gender-stereotyped cognitive task performance - lesbians do navigation tasks more like straight men, and gay men do them more like straight women. They also found that age affects men and womens' performance regardless of orientation. Interesting, but I'm not sure I buy their web-based study design.

And now, booze. Besides helping you get laid, it's good for you! A huge meta-study found that having about 2 drinks per day lowers your risk of kidney cancer, and one could slow your mental decline into senile dementia. Bottoms up!

More than a few papers have been covering the hell out of last week's 13th Historical Clinicopathological Conference, where researchers described how Abraham Lincoln might well have survived his assassination if only he'd had the benefit of an extra 142 years of medical science. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, I say. "still no cure for cancer."

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