January 24, 2010

DT Friday Freakout: Sunday Science Edition

A selection of headlines from the worlds of science, medicine, education and parenting designed to freak you out:

  • Sperm in promiscuous mice are able to identify and cooperate with their "brethren" to outmaneuver other males' sperm and reach the egg. The scientific term for this is spermblocking. The layman's term is, your baby mama stepping out on you, bro. [sciencedaily via theawl]

  • It's not the test tube, it's the test tubemanship. Embryonic robustness and IVF rates improved over 22% when researchers at UMich made early stage mice embryos "feel more at home" by simulating the motions of the human body. [sciencedaily]

  • The decision to circumcise your newborn boy depends on many factors. Such as back-of-the-envelope numbercrunching by developing countries with 6-10x the HIV/AIDS infection rate of the US and whether you can save enough to get lunch at Applebee's. So the new analysis out from the Rwandan Ministry of Health showing it's 75% cheaper [$15 vs $59] to circumcise newborns than adults is a big help. [sciencedaily]

  • Not sure what the actual study here is, but somehow it is someone's job at the University of Illinois and UC-Davis to say that kids learn the "most important" behaviors, "how to act cool around friends -- that constitute the bulk of a child's everyday experiences," from siblings, not parents. [sciencedaily; NDfCaAD Special Sibling Issue!]

  • Your kid will not get into that hot preschool when he's four because the flame retardants in your 1-800-MATTRESS mattress went straight into the womb. [sciencedaily]

  • "Should Obese, Smoking and Alcohol Consuming Women Receive Assisted Reproduction Treatment?" "Perhaps not without some counseling and close medical supervision!" says the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, in a chilling example of the threat socialist/communist health care reform poses to Our American Way Of Life. [sciencedaily; fulltext - oxfordjournals.org]

  • A UBC study finds that kids in poor neighborhoods don't learn to read as early or well as non-ghetto children. Does this mean they don't have Sesame Street in Canada, or that it just didn't work? [eurekalert]

  • "A juvenile macaque has all the curiosity and energy of a toddler, and then some! Plus their parents aren't well informed about environmental hazards." No idea what to do with this one. [eurekalert]

  • Just 2.5 months left in the public comments phase for adding new proposed standards to the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention's Food Chemicals Codex for Disodium 5'-Uridylate, 5'-Adenylic Acid and 5'-Cytidylic Acid and two docosahexaenoic acid oils--DHA Algal Oil, Crypthecodinium Type and DHA Algal Oil, Schizochytrium Type. My suggestion: a standardized formula scoop size. [usp.org/fcc via eurekalert]

  • The CPSC approved new rules requiring manufacturers of 18 different categories of durable baby products to maintain owner registration card systems. The rules take effect in 180 days, by which point every dropside crib and folding stroller will probably be recalled anyway. [cpsc]

  • A Georgia woman was arrested for forcing her son to kill his pet hamster with a hammer as punishment for a bad grade. The kid narced the mom out to his teacher the next day, which pleased organizers of the school's Just Say No To Hamsterbashing program. [ajc via dt sr wtf correspondent ponch]

  • And bringing it full circle, Georgia authorities have left a man in jail for a year for not reimbursing the state for child support, even though they've known for 1-9 years that he's not actually the kid's dad. [ajc]

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