FRIDAY FACTOIDS: Flying Rocks, Dopers are Less Violent, A Hippo Chases a Man, and Other, Uh, Stuff.

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.  It's Friday Factoids.

Okay, here we go with another edition of Friday Factoids, a quick review of research guaranteed to make any sentient being say, "WTF?  They really spent our money to figure that out?"


Human milk fat improves growth in premature infants
I'm sure you find this surprising, but researchers at the Baylor School of Medicine have now successfully incorporated a human milk fat cream supplement into premature infants' diets that improved their growth in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit.

Really?  Fat from human breast milk helps an infant grow.  Who'd a thunk. Now if they can only discover the secret of preventing some physicians milking the health insurance system - now, that would be a breakthrough.
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'Sailing stones' of Death Valley Seen Ice Skating
Credit: Richard D. Norris et al., PLoS ONE, 2014
Since the 1940s researchers have been trying to figure out how these rocks move leaving behind trails in the mud.  What powerful force could be moving them? Theories including UFO-Federal Government conspiracies abound.  Turns out, there's a simple explanation.  Scientists discovered the rocks go ice skating.  No, really.  They do.  Researchers have them on camera ice skating.

In 2011 researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography visited Death Valley and installed a high speed camera set to really slow - one frame per second.  When researchers returned in 2013 they discovered that the dry lake in Death Valley covered with water three inches deep with a crust of ice atop. Shortly after, it warmed up enough that the rocks began moving.  Kind of like skaters on a pond in Vermont.  So did the rocks put on skates and some God-awful matching stocking cap - scarf ensemble?

No.  Here's how it happens.  First, the lake bed or playa fills with water deep enough to form floating ice during cold winter nights but shallow enough to expose the rocks. As nighttime temperatures plummet, the pond freezes to form thin sheets of "windowpane" ice, thin enough to move freely but thick enough to maintain strength. Then on sunny days, the ice begins to melt and break up into large floating panels which light winds drive across the playa, pushing rocks in front of them and leaving trails in the soft mud below the surface.

Now if they can only capture photos of Sasquatch, Nessie, an extra-terrestrial, or the 113th Congress in session and working.
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Junk Food Makes Rats Lose Appetite
I pictured rats being offered a McBurger and crawling off to a corner to hurl.


Suggested reading
click on image
No, the results simply show that a diet of junk food not only makes rats fat, it also reduces their appetite for a balanced diet, reports a study published in the professional journal, Frontiers in Psychology. "The interesting thing about this finding is that if the same thing happens in humans, eating junk food may change our responses to signals associated with food rewards," says an author. "It's like you've just had ice cream for lunch, yet you still go and eat more when you hear the ice cream van come by."

I like this study.  It says so much about humans.

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Wrong diagnosis leading cause 
for catastrophic malpractice payouts
The National Association for Healthcare Quality is concerned about "catastrophic malpractice payouts" due to wrong diagnosis according to a study just published in their Journal for Healthcare Quality.  

The conclusion?  "Many huge malpractice awards can be prevented by targeted interventions by health care provider organizations to reduce patient safety risks, such as reducing diagnosis errors. The authors noted that errors in diagnosis have twice the odds for a catastrophic payout and that health systems should focus more attention on ensuring diagnostic accuracy."

Hey, guys, a suggestion.  How about reducing wrong diagnosis to prevent patient harm?  This reminds me of the Ford Pinto and the little, two-bit part that could prevent passengers burning to death in rear end crashes.  Ford didn't install the little plastic do-hickies because it was more profitable to pay damages rather than bearing the expense of installing the damn thing.  

Nice ethics, health industry association.  Don't improve the quality of diagnosis to prevent unnecessary suffering and death, improve it to protect the bottom lines of your health care insurance provider members.  

I hope Santa leaves every one of you money-grubbing slimeballs a lump of coal in your stocking - while your foot is still in it.  A big honking lump of coal.
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Now for some better news ~


 Study finds less domestic violence 
among married couples who smoke pot
New research findings from a study of 634 couples conducted by the University at Buffalo found that the more often they smoked marijuana, the less likely they were to engage in domestic violence. "These findings suggest that marijuana use is predictive of lower levels of aggression towards one's partner in the following year," authors say.  

Much easier than trying to enforce a restraining order.  I can hear it now, "Pass the joint.  Now, what were we fighting about?"

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Education & dog-friendly neighbor-
hoods could tackle obesity
The University of Liverpool suggests investing in dog owner education and facilities as a strategy to target physical inactivity and problems such as obesity in both people and their pets. It is estimated that 40% of dog owners don't take their dogs for a walk. In the UK, almost a quarter of households own a dog, but less than half of adults meet the recommended level of 150 minutes a week of physical activity.

I have an idea more likely to work.  Make the Tea Party happy by revoking leash laws, changing zoning so that fences are illegal then don't allow people to feed dogs.  Then make it illegal to keep dogs indoors.  Trust me, people will get plenty of exercise.  Plenty.


Okay, so this is a hippo chasing a man.  Same difference.  And
it's obvious that the hippo is overweight, but the guy is
svelt and healthy.  And isn't that what we're after?

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