Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Factoids: Tampons Glow in the Dark, a Full Moon Causes Stupidity, and I Need a Drink.

Factoids guaranteed to make even the strongest say, "Huh?"

How to Build a Perfect Human Pyramid, Six Tiers High
This is knowledge that could come in handy at your next family picnic.  Or office party.  Or while cheering for your favorite sports team. You never know, right?  The worst case would be trying to settle a bar bet.  Oy, the humanity. 

Credit: © Andres Rodriguez / Fotolia 

A Three-tier human pyramid.
 
University of Leicester physics students calculated how to build a perfect human pyramid -- and found that the best model is a group of men, women and children with an average weight of 83.6 kg for adult males, 70.2 kg for adult females and 32.2 kg for children.  (Okay.  Multiply kilograms (kg) by 2.2 to get these averages in pounds.  I am so tired of doing your homework for you.)

In a student paper, 'Pyramid of Geezers', presented in the Journal of Physics Special Topics, a peer-reviewed student journal run by the University of Leicester's Department of Physics and Astronomy, Hayley Allison, Jordan Penney, Roger Leyser and Giles Lipscombe investigated the science behind the human pyramid, using basic calculations to try to work out the best formula for constructing the tallest pyramid possible, in theory able to reach a height of six tiers. This says to me they didn't try their formula, intelligently waiting for some other group to do the experiment.  Which tells a lot about their faith in the calculations.
  • The world record for a human pyramid was a nine-level pyramid of 43.79 feet, about the height of a five story building, created by the Jai Jawan Govinda Mandal in August 2012.
  • A male-only pyramid would only be able to reach a height of four tiers if the men involved were of the weight of an average male, 83.6 kg.
  • Further information: https://physics.le.ac.uk/journals/index.php/pst/article/view/754/545
Tampons glow in the dark?
This falls way into the category of TMI.  And could lead to some sexist and really stupid jokes.

Tampons glow in the dark.  See, I told you: TMI.

A report from the University of Sheffield in England explains how this phenomena is a lost cost way to identify how waste water from baths, washing machines, sinks and showers show pollution in rivers and streams.

How is this?  It seems the cotton in tampons absorbs chemicals commonly used in laundry detergents and shampoos, and show up under ultra-violet (UV) light similar to the way some cotton t-shirts glow under the lighting in bars and clubs.  This simple fact makes it possible for environmental engineers to see if storm water systems may have sewage outflow by shining a UV light at drain pipes as they discharge into lakes or streams.  If the engineers see glowing tampons floating past, they know there is a misconnected sewer somewhere in the storm water system. 

Fountain of youth uncovered in mammary glands of mice
The Fountain of Youth has been discovered and it's not in Florida as Ponce de Leon claimed. Instead, it's in the mammary glands of genetically modified mice. A University of Toronto research team finds that when two factors that control tissue development are removed by genetic tampering, you can avoid the impact of aging.

In the normal course of aging, our tissue losses its ability to develop and repair as fast as it did when we were young. That's because stem cells, abundant in youth, decline with the passing of time. Researchers find that with two cell control or architect factors missing from stem cells in the mammary glands of mice, (TIMP1 and TIMP3) stem cells remained functional throughout the lifetime of these mice.

Okay, longevity freaks.  This is preliminary.  Let's not see a run on mice at pet stores.  Give it some time, here.

Nearly one in ten U.S. adults have impulsive anger issues and access to guns
According to scientists at Duke, Harvard, and Columbia universities, an estimated 9 percent of adults in the US have a history of impulsive, angry behavior and have access to guns, according to a new study. The study also found that an estimated 1.5 percent of adults report impulsive anger and carry firearms outside their homes. 

Angry people with ready access to guns are typically young or middle-aged men, who at times lose their temper, smash and break things, or get into physical fights.  Study participants who owned six or more firearms were also far more likely than people with only one or two firearms to carry guns outside the home and to have a history of impulsive, angry behavior.

The moral:  frisk anyone before making a bar bet with them, say, about their ability to construct a six-tier high human pyramid.  Or whether the Packers will beat the Bears this season (they will.)  And anything else, for that matter.

The full moon makes intelligent people stupid
According to Jean-Luc Margot, a UCLA professor of planetary astronomy, the moon does not influence the timing of human births or hospital admissions.  Nor does it influence on human affairs in the areas of automobile accidents, hospital admissions, surgery outcomes, cancer survival rates, menstruation, births, birth complications, depression, violent behavior, and even criminal activity, Margot writes in a study published online by the journal Nursing Research.

So if a full moon has no effect on any of those things, it must reasonably be concluded that a full moon makes even intelligent people stupid enough to believe that it does influence those things.  So the full moon does make intelligent people stupid. 

I rest my case.

Facebook use linked to depression
A researcher at the University of Houston admits that spending time of the social media site, Facebook, can be an effective tool for connecting with new and old friends. However, (and you knew one was coming), some users may compare what's happening in their lives to the activities and accomplishments of their friends.  And get depressed.

According to University of Houston (UH) researcher Mai-Ly Steers, this kind of social comparison paired with the amount of time spent on Facebook may be linked to depressive symptoms. Steers' research is presented in the article, "Seeing Everyone Else's Highlight Reels: How Facebook Usage is Linked to Depressive Symptoms" was just published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

So, let me see if I've got this straight.  When I inflate my day-to-day life on Facebook or some other social media site, I'm may be making some other schlep depressed?  How cool is this?  A whole new way to keep up with and surpass the Joneses.  (I'm number one, I'm number one, and I'm a jerk.)