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Dead Reckoning at a Top Medical Journal

February 24th, 2021

The BMJ, formerly named The British Medical Journal, published this notice today, in which they regretfully bury a recent new policy:

Reversing our decision to charge for placing a BMJ obituary 
February 23, 2021

At the beginning of February, we introduced a new policy to charge a fee for people wishing to place an obituary in The BMJ. The response on social media has been overwhelmingly negative, with comments suggesting that both the idea and the timing were ill judged. We have listened to readers and we will not now be introducing the fee. No contributors have been charged. We recognise and apologise for the upset this episode has caused.

One of only two bits of advice from my predecessor-but-one, Steven Lock, who edited The BMJ between 1975 and 1991, was “Don’t mess with the obituaries.” …

Froylan Sosa joins the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS)

February 23rd, 2021

Froylan Sosa has joined the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS). Peter Hansen, who nominated him, says:

Froylan Sosa is a DVM studying for his PhD in animal molecular and cellular biology at the University of Florida. He is interested in reproductive physiology and thermal physiology.  Much of his current research focuses on a dairy cattle possessing the slick mutation in the prolactin receptor. The mutation causes cattle to develop a short sleek hair coat that would lead to permanent disqualification from the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Dairy Cattle if that organization existed.

Froylan Sosa, DVM, LFHCfS
Research Assistant
Department of Animal Sciences
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida, USA

Update on Didgeridoo and Snoring

February 23rd, 2021

A fairly recent Swiss TV report about the results of the didgeridoo / snoring research that won an Ig Nobel Prize:


The 2017 Ig Nobel Peach Prize was awarded to Milo Puhan, Alex Suarez, Christian Lo Cascio, Alfred Zahn, Markus Heitz, and Otto Braendli, for demonstrating that regular playing of a didgeridoo is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea and snoring.

They documented their research, in the study “Didgeridoo Playing as Alternative Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome: Randomised Controlled Trial,” Milo A. Puhan, Alex Suarez, Christian Lo Cascio, Alfred Zahn, Markus Heitz and Otto Braendli, BMJ, vol. 332 December 2006.


How Much Older Do You Get When a Wrinkle Appears on Your Face? [study]

February 22nd, 2021

“In spite of the presumed relevance of wrinkles on facial age, the topic has received little attention in empirical literature.”

Prompting J.Antonio Aznar-Casanova (University of Barcelona, Spain) along with Nelson Alves (Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Brazil) and Sérgio S Fukusima (University of São Paulo, Brazil) to perform a set of two experiments to help clarify the situation.

In one experiment, participants were shown pictures (wrinkly and non-wrinkly) and asked to classify them according to their (perceived) agegroup.

“Results revealed that the number of wrinkles had more influence on the perceived facial age than the type of wrinkle.”

“In the present study, we found that wrinkles increase facial age judgments. However, these results must be considered carefully.”

See: ‘How Much Older Do You Get When a Wrinkle Appears on Your Face? Modifying Age Estimates by Number of Wrinkles’ Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 17:4, 406-421 (A full copy of which may be found here)

Research research by Martin Gardiner

COVID Vaccination and Fried-Chicken-Craving

February 21st, 2021

A colleague in El Paso, Texas, writes:

“I received a COVID vaccination today. By the time I was released to go home after receiving the shot, I had an unusual and insatiable desire for fried chicken. I had to make a detour to a chicken place on the way home. This [the video, of Doug Zongker‘s “Chicken, Chicken, Chicken” presentation at the Improbable Research session at the 2007 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Francisco] was literally going through my head on the way to pick up the chicken dinner:”

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