"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!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I went out with a guy once who had a nut allergy (including coconut), and aside from all of his other issues, I realized that there was no way it'd work for that reason alone: no Thai food, no Indian food, no German Chocolate Cake, no PBJ picnics. And now, I'm guessing, no vacations to Papua New Guinea! The PNG island of Bougainville is working to replace diesel fuel with coconut oil, and thus become independent of the expensive imported former source of energy. That's really cool, and even if it's not a global or long-term solution to our energy crisis, it's gotta smell nice!

Speaking of, uhm, nuts, yet another US study has found that, despite what the wingnuts constantly claim, getting kids to use condoms doesn't make them more promiscuous: the UW study found that kids who reported using condoms their first time having sex had the same average number of partners as those who didn't use, and were less likely to have contracted an STI. So as usual, when the fundies scream about not wanting kids to have sex, what they really mean is that they don't want them to have sex without getting gonorrhea.

There's a bit on the other kind of nuts - crazy people - sitting here as well, but I want to think more about it (since it's really cool) before I blog it, so that'll come up later today.

In the meantime, we go to crazy hippies and their meditating ways (kinda). It seems that intensive mental training, by way of Vipassana meditation, improves people's ability to discriminate and attend to temporally close stimuli. Basically, the researchers found that intensively-trained participants had significant reductions in their 'attentional blink' time relative to baseline and more reduction than did a less-intensively trained group. The study was small, and I think the controls were perhaps lacking (groups were not randomized, and the intensive-group were people already signed up for the program -- selection bias?, etc.), but it's an interesting starting point for more research.

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