Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2021

We’ve all heard about Thomas R. Robinson, the University of Miami associate professor of accounting who, improbably, was discovered to be a descendant of Genghis Khan.

Now for the biological buzzkill: Upon further review, Robinson turns out to not have the same Y-chromosome as the Mongolian marauder.

I assume the big Mongolian barbecue blowout in Coral Gables has been cancelled…

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/21/2006 11:01:57 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Science, History | Permalink | Feedback (2)

Monday, June 12, 2021

One more reason to never trust anyone over 30: An ultra-high frequency sound that’s often imperceptible to adults, but fully audible to kids, is being utilized by teens as a ringtone to alert them to text messages while they’re in no-phones-allowed classes.

It was marketed as an ultrasonic teenager repellent [called the Mosquito], an ear-splitting 17-kilohertz buzzer designed to help shopkeepers disperse young people loitering in front of their stores while leaving adults unaffected.

The principle behind it is a biological reality that hearing experts refer to as presbycusis, or aging ear. While [28-year-old high-school teacher] Miss Musorofiti is not likely to have it, most adults over 40 or 50 seem to have some symptoms, scientists say.

While most human communication takes place in a frequency range between 200 and 8,000 hertz (a hertz being the scientific unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second), most adults’ ability to hear frequencies higher than that begins to deteriorate in early middle age.

Yes, the generation gap extends to sensory perception.

I kinda wonder why these sneaky kids don’t just set their phones to vibrate-only for their surreptitious texting. Keep it in your pocket so you can sense it. Some phones’ vibrations actually buzz noticably loudly, though, so maybe that would tip off the teacher more easily.

Anyway, here’s the offending ringtone. I can hear it, clear as day. Not bad for a geezer who’s only days away from his 35th birthday.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/12/2021 10:02:03 PM
Category: Tech, Science | Permalink | Feedback (16)

Sunday, June 04, 2021

This is a handy rule-of-thumb reference for the definition of a British Thermal Unit (BTU):

A wooden kitchen match produce approximately 1 BTU

More relatable than the standard laboratory measure: The amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a pint of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

As far as this being a practical fact for everyday use, you got me there…

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/04/2021 03:12:32 PM
Category: Science | Permalink | Feedback

Friday, May 19, 2021

Trying to wean off the bean, but suspicious about what lurks below that orange-topped carafe of java? Chemist Jack Ladenson comes to your rescue with an idea for an on-the-go drink dipstick that will change color according to the caffeine content of the liquid tested.

What he envisions is something that might work similar to a home pregnancy strip.

“We hope to configure a test that could be used by anybody,” said Mr. Ladenson, who is leading a group of scientists at Washington University in the effort.

Comedic potential aplenty for any ladies who get their caffeine- and pregnancy-check strips mixed up…

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 05/19/2006 09:16:50 PM
Category: Food, Science | Permalink | Feedback

Thursday, May 18, 2021

I imagine the Intelligent Design/creationism advocates are galvanized over the latest theory of human/primate development: That early human and chimpanzee ancestors may have interbred after their evolutionary split, raising the possibility that the modern human race is something of a hybrid species.

I guess it’s always been hard to stray from your roots.

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/18/2006 10:42:22 PM
Category: Society, Science | Permalink | Feedback

Tuesday, May 09, 2021

If your only experience with coma patients is from their portrayal in movies, you’re getting fed a brain-dead scenario. That’s the conclusion of Drs. Eelco and Coen Wijdicks, who find Hollywood enactments of the comatose condition to contain an alarming lack of real-world grounding:

Dr. Wijdicks also found that many lay viewers were unable to identify inaccuracy in the depiction of coma - despite 39% admitting that those depictions might influence their decisions about a coma in real life.

He said: “Inaccuracy concerns me because the public sees an unrealistic portrayal of a neurologic disease that could lead to improbable expectations from a family of a patient in a coma; for example, that it will be just a matter of time till the patient awakens and everything will be fine and dandy.”

Actually, based on Tennessee Senator Bill Frist’s ham-handed video diagnosis of Terry Schiavo last summer, I’d say the celluloid glamorization manages to seduce even those who should know better.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 05/09/2021 10:56:13 PM
Category: Politics, Movies, Science | Permalink | Feedback

Friday, April 28, 2021

Tellingly, a recent Pew Research survey found that while 90 percent of Americans consider the country as a whole to be overweight, only 39 percent believe that they’re among the flabby.

Self-perception goes a long way. Even if those easy-fit jeans won’t.

This came to mind for me just minutes ago, when I overheard someone bragging about committing to healthy eating. She proudly proclaimed, “Now, instead of a regular one, I’m only going to eat a small salad!”

And I thought, Yeah, I’m sure it was the supersized portions of leafy greens that were going straight to your ass.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/28/2006 02:29:07 PM
Category: Food, Society, Science | Permalink | Feedback

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