The Sun Orbits the Earth, Crocodiles Climb Trees, and Other Scientific Oddities

OH, REALLY?  One in four Americans think the Sun orbits the Earth.  
Not in the way the Flat Earth Society satarises strange beliefs.  But for real in a Michigan State University survey of basic scientific knowledge and attitudes toward scientists.  Researchers conclude that while Americans struggle with science they do respect scientists

Out of nine questions asked that covered the physical and biological sciences, the average score was 6.5 correct answers.  For example:
  • 74 percent of those queried knew that Earth revolved around the sun, while 
  • 48 percent knew that human beings developed from earlier species of animals.  
Compare this to research published some ten years ago that concluded that one third of human adults are incapable of learning from experience, and 24 percent having the relationship between the Earth and Sun confused isn't all that surprising. What scares me is the result that 33.3% of all adults are complete idiots keeps me up many nights - and is part of the reason I no longer drive and drink more than I ever used to.

OH REALLY II:  Stock Market Declines Directly Correlate to Increased Mental Disorders
Oxford University reports that falling stock prices lead to increased hospitalizations for mental disorders based on data on daily hospitalizations for mental disorders in Taiwan over 4,000 days between 1998 and 2009.  

Hence, I conclude, if you want to lose your mind, invest in the stock market.  Right?


WHAT THEY DON'T TELL YOU:  London's bicycle sharing had positive overall health effect
A report in the British Medical Journal concludes London's bicycle sharing scheme has had a positive overall health effect, but the benefits of cycling in the cycle hire zone are clearer for men than for women and for older users than for younger users, finds a study.  

What the report doesn't tell you is that the rate of bicycle theft has become so high that other European cities are stopping the program.  My conclusion is the exercise comes from running after the culprit yelling, "stop, thief."  Running is the cheapest exercise, after all.

SCARIER THAN SCARY"  Stroke survivors often return to driving without being evaluated for ability
According to the American Heart Association, Stroke survivors often resume driving without being formally evaluated for ability -- though stroke can cause deficits that can impair driving, according to researchers.

Combine this conclusion with the facts that we have a rapidly aging population that prior research has established that one third of which are complete dolts, and you'll want to come live in my bomb shelter with.

WTF, OVER? Slim, attractive men have less nasal bacteria than heavy men
New research reveals a link between a man's Body Mass Index (BMI) and the amount of bacteria colonizing their noses. The results show that heavier men harbor more potentially pathogenic species of bacteria in their nose, compared with slimmer, more traditionally attractive men.  This from Wiley.

Not sure where to start with this one.  I have an image of lab-coated research assistants in shopping malls, walking up to both good looking and ugly, obese guys (now there's value judgments for you.) and randomly sticking cotton swabs up their noses.  Who in the name of Madam Curie came up this concept?  And who funded it.  And why?

SACRE' MERDE:  Crocodiles climb trees, bask in the tree crowns
That's quite the headline, ain't it?  But's that is the result of a study published out of the University of Tennessee.  

Wait a minute.  We don't have crocodiles in the Americas.  We have alligators.  Do alligators climb trees to bask in the sun?  And scare the living daylights out of the occasional day hiker or pack of Cub Scouts?  I think not.  So why is the U of T investigating foreign crocodiles rather than the typical, red-blooded American alligator?

AND SOMETHING USEFUL:   Geographical passwords easier to remember
According to Inderscience Publishers, it's much easier to remember a place you have visited than a long, complicated password, which is why s computer scientist is developing a system he calls geographical passwords.

And if you've never been anywhere?  What then?

FINALLY: US military awaits pizza that lasts years
According to a recent story by the Associated Press, the military is researching a pizza that can stay on the shelf for up to three years and still remain good to eat.

Soldiers have been asking for pizza since lightweight individual field rations — known as meals ready to eat, or MREs — replaced canned food in 1981 for soldiers in combat zones or areas where field kitchens cannot be set up.  So, researchers at a the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts, they same folks who invented the inedible meal to save money on resupplying troops in combat, are closing in on a recipe that doesn't require any refrigeration or freezing.

Want a pizza that last years?  Visit any college student's apartment.  You'll find three year old pizza served for breakfast daily.  I know.  I've done that.
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Story sources:  I've been threatened with lawsuits if the sources are revealed, so you'll just have to trust us.

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