Friday, January 18, 2008

Monkey bums

This morning our spam blocker at work blocked an email with the subject line "FW: 'Critter cams' reveal animals' secret lives", which contained such gems as Long legs really are more sexy and How primate porn reveals what we really want. Methinks New Scientist sometimes goes for the sensationalist headlines.

More disturbing (but probably also contributing to the block), was Study reveals sex bias in science, which showed that after in the 4 years after double blind peer review was introduced by Behavioural Ecology Journal, 8% more female authors were published than in the preceding 4 years... actually, I think I should really read what factors were considered in the original article, because I can think of a number of reasons other than outright sexism why this might be the case... not least the tendency of senior researchers to prefer research done by their mates (on the surface this really can look like a boys club).

Also extremely disturbing and sad, the unsurprising 'news' from a study in The Lancet that a third of child deaths could be prevented similarly by adequate nutrition of children or their breast-feeding mothers. I wish I knew where to start...

David Attenborough's next series Life in Cold Blood, should hopefully help to popularise reptiles, which is just as well given that, sadly folk medicine is causing many reptile species to become endangered. The Critter cams of the title really are pretty cool though!

In further dodgy social science... smelling chocolate chip cookies can make you more likely to break your budget, so watch out for yummy smelling clothing stores!

More usefully (glad to see there is still some research funding for medicine), it looks like researchers can detect protein markers for the early stages of breast cancer in saliva and are currently trying to develop a 'lab on a chip' saliva test which they postulate could be administered by dentists. Here's hoping they'll succeed and the test is not prohibitively expensive!

At home packing (can you tell?) to head off to Welly to express my (even) geekier side at Kapcon, so tata 'til Tuesday at least...

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