Vatican to Condone Onanism
In a rash display of humanism and concern for our earthly bodies, the Vatican plans to issue a statement regarding condom use by people who have AIDS. According to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, the Pope has asked the Vatican’s council for health care to look into the effectiveness of condom use in preventing transmission of infectious diseases. Last week, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the former Archbishop of Milan, gave his support for married couples of mixed serostatus to use condoms. Of course, the Vatican is, more generally, pushing abstinence as the best form of HIV/AIDS prevention. But it’s good to see the church stepping up to modern (read: post-Medieval) challenges.
All in the Timing
Researchers have dropped another bomb in the national “War on Boys” by telling this nation’s fragile young men that they cannot solve problems as quickly as girls can. Two researchers from Vanderbilt University studied over 8,000 boys and girls ranging in age from two to 90 years old, finding that gals have a significant advantage on timed tests and tasks. As the gap was particularly large for pre-teens and teenagers, the researchers say their results might partially account for the current academic achievement gap between the sexes. Even though the boys scored lower on processing speed tests, they consistently outperformed the ladies in some verbal tasks. So, men are good at expressing themselves well, and women can make fast decisions. Ummm, let’s take another look at that data.
(source: Vanderbilt University)
I Love Me More Today Than Yesterday
If you think you’re good-looking now, just wait until tomorrow. A new study by Cardiff University social psychologist Geoffrey Haddock shows that people believe they’re becoming more beautiful and that the trend will continue. Haddock asked 20 female undergrads to rate how attractive they believed they were relative to their peers at two points in an academic year. The ladies generally thought they were foxier later in the year than at its beginning. Another study of 25 female students revealed they believed they’d be more attractive five years into the future.
(source: John Wiley & Sons)
Strangers With Kidney
Currently in Britain, the law only allows live organ donations between people who are genetically or emotionally connected. But new human tissue legislation will soon allow strangers to donate their organs to those in need, thus cutting down the wait lists for organs. The legislation allows for the more practical possibility of “paired donation,” where a donor and recipient of different blood types get paired with a donor and recipient of converse blood types, so the donor in one pair gives to the recipient of the other and vice versa. It’s all very romantic: “Strangers in the night, exchanging organs…”
A Shocking Discovery
Lightning researchers say that there are at least five ways lightning can kill you; a direct bolt from above, however, may be the least likely. If you’re going to die from heavenly electrocution, chances are good you’ll either be struck indirectly—by touching an object that gets hit head-on—beamed by a “side-flash” from an object hit directly, zapped through the ground from a nearby strike or stung by a “streamer” of lightning coming up from the ground to meet a bolt from the sky. Since very few people know about the other types of strikes, almost every death of this sort is reported as a direct bolt from the blue. It might as well continue: Who wants the eulogy, “Died from a side-flash from his friend Brad, who REALLY took the hit”?
(source: Discovery News)
How To Get Some Tonight
Awkward and shy people, thank your lucky stars that science has come to your rescue. Scientists have outlined six easy access paths to a potential mate’s heart and/or bed. According to an article in New Scientist, to woo is to adjust your body language to mimic the other person, experience fear together, laugh together, listen to romantic music, gaze into your partner’s eyes and eat foods or engage in activities that increase his or her level of phenylethylamine, a neurotransmitter that increases feelings of excitement. In other words, do everything you can to mirror your target and get the lucky lady or gent to ooze endorphins. The article suggests specific techniques for a skilled playa, such as engaging in a “gesture dance,” where you synchronize every movement with your prospective mate. But don’t force these tactics—the author warns that persistent, unrequited eye-contact may expose you as the creepy, obsessive stalker you know you are.
(source: New Scientist)
Scientific Study That Verifies Astrology…
...is completely bogus. Research published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, led by the University of Aarhus’ Peter Hartmann, found no link between traditional zodiac signs and personality. However, Hartmann conceded to believers, “This does not necessarily mean that all astrology is without truth, but only that the independent effect of sun signs is most likely to be irrelevant.” Ah, yes, much like background prayer probably messed up the results of that “prayer doesn’t help heart surgery patients” study, background astrology may completely invalidate the “constellations don’t determine who you are” study.
(source: Discovery News)
Originally published May 1, 2006