Showing posts with label Harvard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Harvard. Show all posts

Sep 26, 2014

Ig Nobel Awards

On September 18, 2014 the 24th annual Ig Nobel, pronounced 'ig no bell' Prize ceremony was held at Harvard. Each winner has done something that makes people laugh then think. Winners traveled to the ceremony from around the world at their own expense to receive their prize from a group of amused Nobel Laureates. On lucky person won a date with a Nobel laureate. Real Nobel Laureates hand out prizes.

The awards ceremony is traditionally closed with the words: "If you didn't win a prize, and especially if you did, better luck next year!"

The "Stinker" is the official mascot of the Ig Nobel Awards.

The Physics prize went to a team that measured the amount of friction between a shoe and a banana skin and then a banana skin and the floor, when a person steps on a banana skin that is on the floor.

The Neuroscience prize went to a team that attempted to dissect the inner workings of the brains of people who see Jesus in their toast.

The Economics prize went to the Italian government's National Institute of Statistics, for taking the lead in fulfilling the European Union mandate for each country to increase the official size of its national economy by including revenues from prostitution, illegal drug sales, smuggling, and all other unlawful financial transactions between willing participants.

The Biology prize went to a team that discovered when dogs poop and pee, they tend to align their body axis with Earth's north-south geomagnetic field lines.

The Public Health prize went to a team that investigated whether it is mentally hazardous for a human being to own a cat.

The Arctic Science prize went to a team that observed how reindeer behave upon seeing humans disguised as polar bears.

The Medicine prize went to a team that was able to treat "uncontrollable" nosebleeds using strips of cured pork. A team at the Detroit, Michigan Medical Center decided to try the folk remedy as a last resort after failed attempts to stop an uncontrollable nosebleed in a 4-year-old who suffers from Glanzmann thrombasthenia, a rare condition in which blood does not properly clot. They stuffed strips of cured pork into the child’s nostrils twice, and the hemorrhaging ceased. They reported the clotting factors in pork and the high level of salt pulls in a lot of fluid from the nose. Ah, they may never stop finding new uses for bacon.

Feb 7, 2014

What's in a Name, Harvard

Harvard was founded mainly by a bequest from John Harvard, along with his extensive library in 1636. The iconic statue of him is really not him, because they could not find a real picture of him so the artist had another person sit in. That guy was a student, Sherman Hoar.

Feb 12, 2013

Sperm Study

Here is another of those studies that makes us wonder who thinks up this stuff. The British Journal of Sports Medicine, looked at the lifestyles of 189 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 22, during a three-month period to establish a link between environmental factors and semen quality. Its finding - men who watch more than 20 hours of television a week risk halving their sperm count.

It said, while regular, vigorous exercise was shown to boost sperm count, excessive television-watching can counteract the positive effects of physical activity and can have a major impact on a man’s ability to reproduce.

Another study by researchers at the University of Sheffield and Manchester compared the lifestyles of 939 men with poor sperm quality with 1,310 men with normal sperm quality. It found “little evidence” that a high BMI, excessive alcohol consumption or recreational drugs were contributing factors to sperm quality. It also found that wearing boxer shorts rather than tighter underwear was linked to higher sperm levels. There was even evidence that high levels of physical activity might have a detrimental effect on quality and quantity.

Dr George Chavarro from the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School at Public Health, senior author of the recent study said, “In general, very little is known about what influences sperm count.”  Too bad for us their fathers didn't watch more TV.

May 1, 2012

Happiness and a Happy Heart

Scientists have long known that people who are chronically angry, anxious or depressed have a higher risk of heart attacks. A new study shows, the opposite type of being upbeat and optimistic may help protect against heart disease.

Rather than focusing only on how to lessen heart risks, "it might also be useful to focus on how we might bolster the positive side of things," said a lead researcher from the Harvard School of Public Health.

They reviewed dozens of studies examining a positive outlook on heart health. A number of studies found the most optimistic people had half the risk of a first heart attack when compared to the least optimistic. People with a better sense of well-being tend to have healthier blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight, and are more likely to exercise, eat healthier, and get enough sleep.

Results cautioned that it will take more research to identify if a positive outlook makes people feel more like taking heart-healthy steps, or whether living healthier helps you feel more positive. So the researchers are still not sure if it is 'be happy be healthy' or 'be healthy be happy'. They do know stress associated with negative psychological traits can lead to damage of arteries and the heart.

Other research found that asking people to smile helps put them in a better mood. Many of my books will make you smile and put you in a better mood. Pick up a few and we will both be happy and healthy. A bonus is that if you at least have a Happy Friday you will be one seventh more healthy.