Nothing But Truffle
A new study published in this month’s edition of the journal Small Ruminant Research shows that sheep have more discriminating palates than goats, but that both animals prefer earthy foods such as truffle, onion and garlic to fruits such as strawberry. Researchers recruited 10 sheep and 10 goats—presumably undergraduates taking Intro Psych—forced them to fast for an hour and then gave them artificially flavored nutritionally-enhanced food pellets. The animals feasted for 30 minutes on flavor-sorted pellets, and at the end of the meal, researchers weighed the baskets to see where the animals hogged the grub. The researchers suggest that the most scrumptious flavors could be added to new feeds to encourage the animals to eat.
(source: Discovery News)
Disappointing Wet Dreams
When nature calls, you open the door, let it in, and offer it a nice cup of tea. For a shocking number of teens, however, nature just barges in during the middle of the night. A new survey of over 16,500 kids between ages five and 19 found that 3% of 19-year-old guys and 2% of 19-year-old girls still wet the bed. Of the teenage bed-wetters, almost half wet the bed every night. The leak investigation also found that nearly a third of male bed-wetters between 11 to 19 also experienced daytime incontinence. And you thought P.E. stunk because you were horrible at dodge ball.
(source: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)
Professor Pulls an NSA on His Kid
Sure, you’re embarrassed that your father basically stalked you with a camera when you were young, documenting every moment of your life until you learned to make faces and put your hand in front of camera lenses. For the lucky newborn son of MIT professor Deb Roy, the first three years of life will become a 400,000-hour home video—thanks to cameras and microphones stashed all around his house—that will help the professor understand how babies acquire language. Roy’s “Human Speechome Project” will observe how environmental influences affect language acquisition. When Junior utters his first words, researchers will be able to rewind the tapes and see where, and from who, the baby may have picked up the word, and what the kid was doing when he heard them.
I’d Give My Right Arm For a Trim Waist!
Nearly half of 4,000 people surveyed by Yale researchers say they’d rather give up a year of their life than be fat. Five percent of respondents said they’d rather lose a limb than be overweight. (That’s one way to shed those extra pounds.) Between 15% and 30% of respondents said they’d prefer to walk away from their marriage, give up their ability to have children, be depressed or be alcoholic than pack on the pounds. Of the respondents, 56% were overweight, obese or very obese. The researchers found that people of all weight categories have a significant, implicit anti-fat bias, but thinner people had stronger biases, both implicit and explicit, than heavier people.
(source: Yale University)
Working Girls are Foxy
In the bizarro world of the bat-eared fox, the women go off to work while the men stay home with the kids. According to a recent study published in the journal Animal Behaviour, the bat-eared fox is one of the only five to 10% of species with stay-at-home dads. Since these foxes eat insects, which men can’t carry in bulk or regurgitate, only females can process the insects into a food suitable for their young: milk. The scientists say the arrangement only works given social monogamy. Males that have young with several mothers and try to split their time between defending all of the litters may end up with fewer offspring than a male who invests everything in a single litter. Hmm, maybe these foxes have a wily technique for keeping men faithful: Make them spend all of their time with their babies.
(source: Discovery News)
“The Daily Show” Kills Democracy
Why is today’s youth so apathetic? Blame those freedom-hating New York liberals. A new study published in the journal American Politics Research shows that watching “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” negatively impacts the political views of young Americans. Researchers showed study participants clips of the 2004 presidential election coverage taken from either “The Daily Show” or the “CBS Evening News.” They found that subjects rated both candidates lower after watching the Comedy Central show. Participants also displayed a more cynical overall view of the American political system after watching “The Daily Show”. “If young Americans learn about candidates via Jon Stewart,” the researchers concluded, “it is possible that unfavorable perceptions of both parties’ nominees could form, ultimately keeping more youth from the polls.” As conservative hero Stephen Colbert would ask, “Jon, why do you hate America?”
(source: SAGE Publications)
Originally published May 22, 2006