Monthly Archives: September 2009

Wednesday Video Goodness: Caring for America’s Schizophrenics

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Science makes monkeys racist

mowgli_balooIf you’ve ever watched a Disney cartoon movie, you know that monkeys are a gentle and fun-loving breed of animal. Sometimes they wear funny banana skirts and sing songs!

They are also tolerant animals by nature, caring for other animals of all species and color — whether shepherding Mowgli through his jungle-bound adolescence or, um, shepherding Simba through his jungle-bound adolescence. Or that little monkey that let Aladdin have sex with it (note: I may have only seen the German version of this movie).

The point is that while monkeys are smelly and stupid, they are also immune to the prejudices that infect us humans.

Until now, that is, thanks to the capricious whims of science, which decided to rob monkeys of their color-blindness:

A team of researchers led by Dr. Jay Neitz at the University of Washington set out to see if it’s possible to cure red-green color blindness in adults. Even if the eyes could be altered to detect another color, it was unclear whether the adult brain would be able to perceive the new wavelengths.

The researchers used squirrel monkeys as a model. The genes causing red-green color blindness, in both people and monkeys, are on the X chromosome, one of the 2 sex chromosomes. Males have only one X chromosome, so one altered copy of the gene can cause the condition, accounting for higher rates in males. Male squirrel monkeys have it even worse than human males: while 1 in 12 men are unable to distinguish between certain colors, all male squirrel monkeys are red-green color blind.

The scientists say their experiments could lead to gene therapy that could cure a number of different eye conditions in humans. Especially humans like me, who suffer from red-green color-blindness. I CAN’T SEE CHRISTMAS! I’m sooooo sad and mopey. I feel like Lucy the Dog. Will NOTHING cheer me up?



Gene Therapy Corrects Monkey Color Blindness [NIH]

(Hat Tip: Perry Ellis)


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Most law enforcement officers signed up for the job hoping to clothesline a would-be purse-snatcher or tackle a terrorist moments before he takes out a preschool classroom. Then you spend the next 20 years filling out paperwork and having teenagers throw donuts at your car.

Then one day you’re out on the beat — your hair still greasy and matted down from a Sunday spent watching the Jets and Giants move to 3-0 — and you find yourself a key player in the single greatest sentence in the history of American journalism:

Police say a 1,400-pound bull that escaped from a northern New Jersey slaughterhouse dragged officers with a lasso down a street and ran 10 blocks before being captured and sedated.

I don’t think I should have to break this down for you people, but I think I can prove quantitatively that this is the most awesomest sentence ever written:

1. A bull busted out of a slaughterhouse? +2 awesomeness points!

2. This happened in Paterson, N.J.? +9 awesomeness points!

3. Police in Paterson have lassos? +25 awesomeness points!

4. The bull dragged MULTIPLE officers down the street with said lasso before being detained? +ELeventy-billion awesomeness points!

I’m actually glad I wasn’t around to see this unfold. I’ve heard bulls are attracted to uncontrollable laughter and hyperventilation. And that the cops in Paterson have fucking lassos and aren’t afraid to use them. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAW!!!!

Anyway, the cops finally did subdue the bull, but only after the animal’s failed attempt to fit in with its new environment:


1,400-pound bull drags officers down NJ street [AP]


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Maybe it’s not Hitler’s head hole?

The story of Adolph Hitler’s final demise is well-known among the educated elite with whom I lunch and occasionally sup. First he yelled about getting banned from Wikipedia, then he took a cyanide pill and popped a cap through his dome-piece just before the Soviet Army cracked its way into his bunker in Berlin.

The Russians then tossed his body in a pit and burned it. Then buried it. Then unburied it. Then buried it again. Then dug it up again. Then cremated it.

At some point during the burying and unburying, the Russians came across a piece of a skull with a bullet hole in it that seemed to corroborate the facts. At least until recently, when a team of American researchers determined that the skull belonged not to Hitler, but to…

… a woman under 40!!

According to witnesses, the bodies of Hitler and Braun had been wrapped in blankets and carried to the garden just outside the Berlin bunker, placed in a bomb crater, doused with petrol and set ablaze.

But the skull fragment the Russians dug up outside the Führerbunker in 1946 could never have belonged to Hitler. The skull DNA was incontestably female. The only positive physical proof that Hitler had shot himself had suddenly been rendered worthless. The result is a mystery reopened and, for conspiracy theorists the tantalising possibility that Hitler did not die in the bunker.

Once again the mainstream media denigrates people like me as “conspiracy theorists” just for asking the hard questions. Is there a possibility, given this evidence, that Hitler escaped his bunker and fled Germany before the fall of the Reich? Can anyone positively SAY they didn’t see him board a spacecraft in 1962 with Lyndon Johnson and Queen Elizabeth? Is there any way to RULE OUT the possibility that Hitler had a sex change and was artificially inseminated with a Kenyan muslim baby who would then TAKE OVER America? ARE FLUORESCENT LIGHT BULBS REAL OR IS THE GOBBERMENT LISSNING TO EVERY WORRD??????????

Tests on skull fragment cast doubt on Adolf Hitler suicide story [Guardian UK]

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Friday Random 10: Tough Guy Edition

Most people who jog for exercise are carrot-munching weenies, but not Craig O’Brien.

tough guyO’Brien is a tough guy. A throwback to a better time — a time when black people knew better than to be president and joggers were free to scream obscenities at whomever the fuck they pleased. Bitch.

So when O’Brien was banned by a judge from jogging in Portsmouth, N.H., he did what any red-blooded awesome white patriot would do — he accepted the ban in court, then fucking yelled at the top of his goddamn lungs at any motherfucker who looked at him sideways. While jogging. In Portsmouth:

Police allege that on May 15 O’Brien yelled at someone driving on Junkins Avenue — the road leading to City Hall and the police station — and was issued a violation-level summons.

Another pending summons alleges O’Brien was disorderly on South Street by yelling profanities and continuing to do so after being asked to stop by Officer Andre Wassouf on May 23. On the same day, O’Brien is also alleged to have used “derisive or offensive words which were likely to provoke a violent reaction on the part of an ordinary person, to which he called (the alleged victim) a sissy.”

So now he’s in jail for violating bail conditions. I wouldn’t worry about him, though. Tough guys like Craig O’Brien do well in prison. I expect he will walk up to the biggest motherfucker in there and call him a butt-fucking motherfucking sissy ass bitch right to his face. He’ll be fine.

The songs:

Saturday Nite — Blitzen Trapper
Caroline, No — Beach House
About a Girl — Nirvana
The Gulag Orkestar — Beirut
Clementine — Elliott Smith
You’ve Got a Killer Scene There, Man — Queens of the Stone Age
D.A.N.C.E. — Justice VS Data
No Life Singed Her — Pavement
Return to Hot Chicken — Yo La Tengo
There’s No Home for you Here — The White Stripes

Bonus video:

It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning — We Were Promised Jetpacks

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.


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Spanking your children makes them even dumber

Researchers in New Hampshire have determined that children who are spanked more have lower IQs. This can mean only one thing — children are born with their brains in their asses.

“I promise this hurts me more than it hurts you. Actually, no it doesn’t.”

Or I guess it could mean that spanking kids causes psychological damage that hampers intelligence. Or it could mean that your kid really is an idiot and probably deserved to get his ass-brains slapped. I’ll give you one guess what the researchers think:

If spanking does send IQ scores down, Straus and others offer some explanations for what might be going on.

“Contrary to what everyone believes, being hit by parents is a traumatic experience,” Straus said. “We know from lots of research that traumatic stresses affect the brain adversely.” Also, the trauma could cause kids to have more stressful responses in difficult situations, and so may not perform as well cognitively.

By using hitting rather than words or other means of discipline, parents could be depriving kids of learning opportunities. “With spanking, a parent is delivering a punishment to get the child’s attention and to get them to behave in a certain way,” said Elizabeth Gershoff who studies childhood development at the University of Texas, Austin. “It’s not fostering children’s independent thinking.”

I’m not normally one to tell others how to raise their children, but this research has convinced that spanking should remain where God intended it — in the bedroom. IT’S ADAM AND EVE NOT ADAM AND ADAM JR.!

Children Who Get Spanked Have Lower IQs [Live Science]

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Swedish cops don’t go commando

Behold the Volvo of justice

Most Americans probably aren’t aware of this, but even the horrible socialist hell-hole nation of Sweden has laws that govern its citizenry — such as a two-abortion minimum and a 92% tax on herring sandwiches. There is even a law declaring it illegal to break into a bank-run cash depot and take a bunch of money.

That last provision was willfully ignored by a group of hooligans this week, and now Swedish police are under fire for failing to stop the theft. Because they really should have been prepared for this:

Swedish police faced stinging criticism Thursday for failing to stop helicopter-borne gunmen from pulling off a Hollywood-style heist against a cash depot while blocking an air pursuit with a fake bomb.

Whoa. WHAT?

With cinematic flourish, the masked bandits broke into the building through the roof early Wednesday and set off explosions to get to the millions inside. They escaped by hoisting themselves and their haul back up on rope lines.

They then blocked any air pursuit by planting a fake bomb at a nearby police helipad. And now the Swedish media is all ubjurdertungling* over the cops’ failure to, I don’t know, catapult themselves at the heavily armed men in the stolen helicopter as they fled the scene:

Swedish police must “be able to use the equipment that has been acquired for large amounts,” the Dagens Nyheter daily wrote in an opinion piece. “Helicopters, cars, boats and other equipment must be kept in a way so that criminals cannot sabotage them.”

Bear in mind that this is the same Swedish police force that was once led on a half-mile low-speed chase by a drunk Bill Murray in a golf cart. I think the citizens of Stockholm are lucky these guys didn’t stampede each other running away from the building. “Um, I don’t feel so good, captain Jensen… I think I had some bad fiskeboller and I need to go home for the day… BYE!”

Swedish police criticized after helicopter heist []

* Not a real word — to my knowledge

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threewolfmoonI don’t know about you guys, but I’m breathing a bit easier today now that researchers have determined that a full moon does not affect my chances of surviving open-heart surgery:

A new study, which will be published in the October issue of the journal Anesthesiology, shows the moon’s phase has no effect on the outcome of a heart-related surgery. The statistical sigh of relief is the result of an investigation into surgical outcomes of more than 18,000 patients who underwent so-called elective coronary artery bypass graft surgery, in which blood flow is rerouted through a new artery or vein. The operations were performed at the Cleveland Clinic between 1993 and 2006.

Allen Bashour and Daniel Sessler, of the Cleveland Clinic, and their colleagues specifically looked at risk of death, heart attacks immediately following surgery, and infections, among other factors.

“The moon phase has been somewhat of an urban legend,” Bashour told LiveScience. “There’s no science that I know of to justify it. So really we didn’t expect that would be an influence.” But in science, one has to look, not assume, and so they did.

Despite the researchers’ findings, there are still several unexplained links between the natural world and our physical well-being. Such as how the aurora borealis gives many people liver cancer. And how Father Scott gets an erection every time he sees a barn owl. Such are the mysteries of modern medicine.

Full Moon Does Not Affect Surgery Outcomes [Live Science]

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We had it all wrong about the mashed potatoes


In times of distress or upheaval, we turn to the so-called “comfort foods” — the familiar staples that sustain us when everything else is up in the air. Except that we don’t. YAY RESEARCH!!

You’d think in times of uncertainty, people would gravitate toward familiar favorites. But a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that stress and upheaval actually lead people to choose less-familiar foods over “comfort foods.”

“Most of us can name our favorite ‘comfort foods’ and believe that we are most prone to seek them out during times of stress and upheaval,” writes author Stacy Wood (University of South Carolina). “Contrary to this well-engrained belief, this research shows the surprising result that our choices of old favorites happen at the opposite times that we predict.”

Personally I’ve always hated the concept of “comfort foods.” We’re an increasingly obese nation, and we can no longer allow food to fill a psychological void in our sad, fat lives. When I get upset or scared, instead of eating I bury my head in my pillow and count to 100. Mmmmmm, this pillow smells good. Wait a minute — that’s no pillow… that’s a burrito! A YUMMY BURRITO!! It’s delicious!!!

Oh wait that really was a pillow.

Comfort Food Fallacy: Upheaval Leads To Less-familiar Choices [Science Daily]

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Fabio is convincing

The actual world is boring today, but if we close our eyes we can imagine a world in which there exists a handsome pirate captain whose manners are surpassed only by his intellect and interest in the game of chess. After that we’ll imagine that Fabio is a good actor, when not getting goose-faced:

Via Everything is Terrible [Home]

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