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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Links - 19th February 2014

Why Cell Phones Should be Allowed in Hospitals - "The prohibition against mobile phones in hospitals may do more harm than good, a new report reveals. Medical facilities prohibit cell phone use, but some doctors already use them. And it turns out they reduce medical errors because communication is more timely, a new study finds. Mobile phones rarely cause electronic magnetic interference, Yale School of Medicine researchers reported today... the 2.4 percent prevalence of electronic interference with life support devices such as ventilators, intravenous infusion pumps, and monitoring equipment should be weighed against the known 14.9 percent risk of medical error or injury due to communication delays"

Is reading in the dark bad for your eyesight? - "A twin study conducted in the UK demonstrated that 86% of the spread of people’s eyesight scores could be explained by genetic factors... perhaps some children inherit a susceptibility to eye problems, which is then activated by the strain they put on their eyes when they are young. Donald Mutti and his colleagues in the United States tried to disentangle these complications in a study conducted in California, Texas and Alabama. They found no evidence of a genetic susceptibility and found that the children of parents with poor eyesight spent no more time staring closely at books than other children did. Heredity, the authors insist, was the stronger factor... Perhaps it’s not the time spent inside squinting at the page that’s the problem, but the lack of time spent outside. The Sydney Myopia Study followed more than 1,700 six and twelve year olds living in Australia and found that the more time the children spent playing outdoors, the less likely they were to have short-sightedness. A systematic review of studies including those from Australia and the United States found a protective effect overall of spending some time outdoors, particularly in East Asian populations."

3D Movies Boost Headaches, Not Enjoyment | Eyestrain, Vision Trouble More Common Among 3-D Moviegoers - "Moviegoers who watch 3-D films do not experience more intense emotional reactions or a greater sense of "being there" than those who watch 2-D movies, a new study finds. The 3-D versions also don't help you remember the movie better than 2-D versions. The 3-D movies did, on the other hand, come with a risk of discomfort. Compared with 2-D movie watchers, 3-D movie-watchers were about three times more likely to have eyestrain, headache or trouble with vision, the study showed."

Where Did the 8 Glasses of Water A Day Myth Come From? - "We have all been told at some point that proper hydration requires us to consume eight glasses of water a day. That works out to about two liters, which is an awful lot of fluid, considering the average human stomach (when unexpanded) is about the size of a balled fist. But health researchers have refuted the eight-glasses-a-day claim as a silly myth riding a wave of flimsy scientific literature. In fact, many of the groups behind the public push for over-hydration have been exposed as having — surprise! — monetary interests in the fluid industry... Despite the widely held notion that tea and coffee dehydrate us, they actually count toward our overall water intake, says Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a nephrologist (kidney researcher) at the University of Pennsylvania. Even though we're told it's important to drink eight glasses of water a day, "there's no evidence that benefits health in any real way and it really represents an urban myth," says Goldfarb. Even something like, say, a baked potato, is 75 percent water."

Chinese car safety: "We kill you faster" - "Or at least that's what we can deduce from the recent crash test performed on Chinese automaker Geely's CK1 saloon by Latin American NCAP crash tests. They received a zero out of five stars, and driver protection was labeled as "poor for most body regions." The car has no airbags, as is "standard" for the region apparently, and the NCAP discouraged Geely from simply adding them, stating that the structural weakness of the car was such that they wouldn't do any good anyway."

Healing Mysteries of Edible Birds’ Nests Remain - "Protein is the most abundant constituent of the nests, which contain all of the essential amino acids, the building blocks out of which proteins are made. They also contain six hormones, including testosterone and estradiol, the researchers write. The nests also contain carbohydrates, ash and a small quantity of lipids (naturally occurring molecules that include fats). Previous research has indicated that the nests contain substances that can stimulate cell division and growth, enhance tissue growth and regeneration, and that it can inhibit influenza infections. But not everyone reacts well to them. Birds’ nests are known to cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction."

Facebook Stories - Twinsters - "Adopted, raised on different continents and connected through social media, Samantha and Anaïs realized they might be twins separated at birth."

The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and in San Francisco - "Methods. We compared representative samples of experienced cannabis users in similar cities with opposing cannabis policies—Amsterdam, the Netherlands (decriminalization), and San Francisco, Calif (criminalization). We compared age at onset, regular and maximum use, frequency and quantity of use over time, intensity and duration of intoxication, career use patterns, and other drug use.
Results. With the exception of higher drug use in San Francisco, we found strong similarities across both cities. We found no evidence to support claims that criminalization reduces use or that decriminalization increases use."

Teacher pleads guilty to committing indecent acts on 13-year-old student - "A 42-year-old primary school teacher pleaded guilty on Wednesday to committing indecent acts on a 13-year-old student by kissing him on the lips and giving him love bites on his neck and shoulder."
Love bites are indecent in Singapore!

Video showing MBS in flames sparks police probe - "Mr Caleb Rozario, 23, is assisting in police investigations after he uploaded an animated clip showing the landmark being attacked by missiles on social media site Facebook in December. The diploma student at private media school SAE Institute told The Straits Times yesterday that the video was a special-effects assignment. "It wasn't a threat or a malicious video," he said. "I chose Marina Bay Sands in particular for cinematic effect. In Hollywood movies, they have a tendency to attack landmarks"... Most netizens were convinced he was a foreigner making disparaging remarks against the country, with some demanding he be "deported" and calling his school project a "terrorist threat". Mr Rozario, who is Eurasian and has served national service, said people online assumed he was a foreigner because of his name - which may have stirred up some anti-foreigner sentiments as well. Nanyang Technological University assistant professor Liew Kai Khiun said the case showed how people get "reckless" and still cannot "grasp that things they do online have implications in real life""
Original comment: Lucasfilm should stay away from showcasing Singapore in its works. This is why creativity is dead here
Comment after finding out Straits Times screwed up the reporting again (he did really make a thread): Any idiot can make threats. You don't have to be an idiot to take all of them seriously

Free OCR Software - Optical Character Recognition and Scanning Software for Windows - import from PDF and Twain Scanners - "FreeOCR is a free Optical Character Recognition Software for Windows and supports scanning from most Twain scanners and can also open most scanned PDF's and multi page Tiff images as well as popular image file formats. FreeOCR outputs plain text and can export directly to Microsoft Word format. Free OCR uses the latest Tesseract (v3.01) OCR engine. It includes a Windows installer and It is very simple to use and supports opening multi-page tiff documents, Adobe PDF and fax documents as well as most image types including compressed Tiff's which the Tesseract engine on its own cannot read .It now can scan using Twain and WIA scanning drivers. FreeOCR V4 includes Tesseract V3 which increases accuracy and has page layout analysis so more accurate results can be achieved without using the zone selection tool."

Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham: It’s not about science versus faith. It’s about public education. - "The real question that drives the struggle between creationists and "evolutionists" (i.e. nearly all scientists and people who accept empiricism generally) is not "science vs. religion" so much as "education vs. indoctrination." As Ryan Stoller, a young man who was raised in a conservative Christian homeschooling environment explained to Kathryn Joyce for the American Prospect, the Christian right approach is to “teach the kids what to think, you keep them isolated from everyone else, you give them the right answers, and you keep them pure." The long-term plan of folks like Ken Ham is to make indoctrination look enough like what most people understand as education, so that they can smuggle it into the classroom. That's why I agree with my colleague Mark Joseph Stern that it was probably a bad idea for Nye to debate Ham. It's not a debate when one side is making factual arguments with evidence, while the other just makes assertions. Events like this end up implying an equivalence between the two when there is none... The elevation of incuriosity to the same level as critical thinking was on full display in the audience for the debate, as Matt Stopera from Buzzfeed found when he asked Ham supporters to write signs of what they want to say to the pro-evolution side. A lot of the signs were people asking questions they assume stump scientists, but actually do not, such as where do sunsets come from or how did a single-celled organism spontaneously form or how could we have evolved from monkeys if there are still monkeys. (Or, as one commenter at a science blog put it, "If the Pilgrims came from England, why are there still English people?") The questions are an attempt to imitate what critical thinking looks like while not engaging in it. There are actual answers, but these folks clearly don't want to hear them"

Creationists Go Apoplectic Over Dr. Pepper Ad

Cure for Anton Casey is to befriend Singaporeans less well-off than him: Hri Kumar - "Mr Hri Kumar believes that the former wealth manager would not have made those remarks if he had Singaporean friends "who are less well off than he is". The MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC said those who have made rude remarks about people of a different race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status and sexual orientation "are unlikely to have friends in those groups". "Why? Because no one, not a single person, would ever mock or demonise his real friends," he wrote. Mr Hri Kumar referred to a survey done by political scientist Robert Putnam, who found out that people tend not to trust someone who is different from them, or whom they do not know. "It is hard to demonise people of a certain group when you are close to someone in that group," he said... There was also no need for the public to issue death threats to his family"
But then, supposedly, saying "some of my best friends are black" means you're racist
Was there a need to issue death threats to him?

Hilarious exchange on Twitter between SCDF and SGAG

The Perfect Way to Hold a Hamburger, Proven by Science - "The researchers did a 3D scan of a hamburger, trying to figure out how the particles interacted while holding a large hamburger. Using the data, they showed that the typical way to hold a burger—thumbs on the bottom and fingers on top—results in pushing the contents of the burger out of the buns"
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