September 16, 2011

DT Friday Freakout: I Want My T Edition

A work project that took way more time than it should have has filled my browser tabs with news from the worlds of science and parenting that will ruin your weekend:

  • Actually, if you've seen the study--and once you get into this freakout racket, you realize that the science PR complex releases these things on Tuesday, so you'll freak out all week, which is exactly what the Friday Freakout is designed to avoid because, really, who has the time?

OK, let's start that again.

  • The New York Times headline: "Fatherhood leads to a drop in testosterone. This is probably not the news most fathers want to hear."
  • Well if you want to get all passive aggro about it, the study actually shows that the men who had higher testosterone [or "(T)" to start with "were more likely to become partnered fathers," suggesting "that T mediates tradeoffs between mating and parenting in humans, as seen in other species in which fathers care for young." [abstract at PNAS, which, ROFLMAO journal title for a T study, amiright, bro?]
  • Aaand, it doesn't matter, because as soon as this technique for making sperm cells out of female embryonic stem cells is perfected, the all-woman world government will just round up all the T junkies and ship them to Texas, which will become giant paintball prison colony. World peace will ensue. [Telegraph UK]
  • Nickelodeon shows, with all their quick-cut editing, are shortening the attention spans of youth around America, says a new study published in Pediatrics. [npr]
  • "MTV has often been flogged by social critics and media critics for shortening the attention span of youth around the world. Quick-cut editing and MTV have become synonymous, referred to in a derisory tone. Much of the criticism has simply been scapegoating something new. MTV is too important a cultural force to sneer at." said the New York Times TV critic Caryn James in 1993. [nyt]
  • The new study tested 20 4-year-olds after watching nine minutes of either Spongebob Squarepants or Caillou, a methodology which, NPR notes, "hardly reflects the real TV-watching habits of young children, who commonly watch two to five hours a day of TV."
  • Five hours/day?? No attention span problem there! Now quick-editing is harming kids' "executive function," things like remembering numbers and following directions. Let's have leading this-is-your-kid's-brain-on-TV researcher Dimitri Christakis explain this in terms today's MTV-addled, preschool admissions testing-obsessed generation of parent can understand: "I would not encourage parents of a 4-year-old boy to have him watch SpongeBob right before he goes in for his kindergarten readiness assessment."

UPDATE: This just in, a new study [fed up mom with a swab kit] finds that those disgusting Habitrails you occasionally let your kids loose in at McDonald's are, in fact, disgusting. [nyt]

1 Comment

You know, they should just have a polypropylene spray-on body stocking for kids. Or a tank--you dunk your kid in first thing in the morning, poke a couple of breathing holes, attach an air filter and you're ready to go. Never have to worry about actually touching anything. Shave your cat and do the same thing. Plus--east sponge off cleaning! It's the perfect solution.

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