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Monday, January 18, 2021

OF PLASTICS & HUMAN PLACENTA: MEET THE "PLASTICENTA" (Pt1)

Keywords: plastics, plastic, microplastics, placenta, placentas, birth, pregnancy, pollution, spectroscopy, medicine, biology

(Read other plastic related stories here & here)

Ooooh, hello dear English speaking-reading-hearing listener, welcome back to me, @sciencemug, the blog/podcast/twitter&instagram accounts/entity behind the unsuccessful e-shop stuffngo on zazzle.com which tells you science stories while trying to understand, by reading tons of zoology textbooks, if millipedes don’t wear shoes ‘cause they generally are too broke to be able to afford such a huge expense, or ‘cause they prefer flip-folps but they can’t find a good wholesale dealer to make the order to, ooor ‘cause no millipede wants to be a cobbler given the high risk of dying of a heart-attack due to constant overwork, aaand which talks to you thanks to the voice, kidnapped via a voodoo-wireless trick, from a veeery very very dumb human.

Aaand which does all of this in Eng?ish, a language that is to proper English whatghwaahhghzzt!” is to something that make sense. 

Here I’m gonna tell you a story about human placentas and plastics!

 Listen to the podcast episode
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Pieces of plastic have been found, for the first time ever, in human placentas. The placentas in question were indeed those of four healthy women who have had smooth pregnancies and deliveries.

The discovery is the result of a study, published (P) in the science journal Environment International, made by a group of Italian researchers (aka the Italian Brains aka the ITBs) led by Medical Doctor Antonio Ragusa, Head of the Department of Woman, Mother and Newborn of the San Giovanni Calibíta Fatebenefratelli Hospital, in Rome.

Soo dear listener, the story goes like this.

A bunch of researchers, in Italy, decides to investigate if there’s plastic in the placentas of pregnant women.

More precisely, Dr. Ragusa and colleagues look for microplastics, that are commonly defined as all those plastic particles that are smaller than half a centimeter.

Now, dear listener, I know you’re a fast thinker, so in your mind you just wondered why is that half a centimeter is the limit for microplastics, instead of, I dunno, two millimeters or the thickness of a hair of the bear of Masha and the Bear. Well, buddy, here’s a fun fact for you ‘bout this.

The science community

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

OF SANTA CLAUS, CHILDREN NAUGHTINESS, AND VIRUS: A CHRISTMAS TALE

Keywords: Christmas, Xmas, Santa, Santa Claus, Christmas Eve, Xmas Eve, children, kids, virus, pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, flu, measles, naughtiness, naughty list, myth, popular belief, North Pole, deprivation, hospitals, United Kingdom, UK

- Testo in italiano alla fine del post -

Listen to the podcast episode
on iTunes
on Anchor

Ooooh, hello dear English speaking-reading-hearing visitor, welcome back to me, @sciencemug, the blog/podcast/twitter&instagram accounts/entity behind the unsuccessful e-shop stuffngo (sNg) on zazzle.com which tells you science stories while exploring all the 11 dimensions of spacetime while putting its virtual ear on them vibrating membranes hoping like that to catch the voice of a trans-dimensional entity of mighty wisdom talking about how to correctly answer your significant other’s question: ”does this dress make me look fat?, aaand which talks to you thanks to the voice, kidnapped via a voodoo-wireless trick, from a veeery very very dumb human.

Aaand which does all of this in English-question-mark, a language that is to proper English what 2020 is to an even slightly not crappy year for human kind.

Today I’m gonna tell you a story that debunks (or not, who knows, dear wait-and-find-out reader) the notion according to which Santa Claus only visits children who well behaved during the year (and no, Santa, it’s not the outfit, you ARE fat!).

 

Santa Claus wonders what naughtiness be while smoking a cigar and sipping liquor
Santa Claus & the naughtiness issue (by @sciencemug)
[Badass Santa's pic, by hue12 photography, is a free pic (source: Unsplash); adapted by @sciencemug]

 

Six scholars from Harvard and other universities and medical institutions of the USA and United Kingdom (UK), in 2016 publish a paper (P) on the science journal The BMJ (formerly know as the British Medical Journal), which, founded in 1840, “is one of the world's oldest general medical journals” (see) out there.

The six academics, led by at the time prestigious Kennedy scholarship owner John J Park (we’ll call the JJ6 from now on), decide to investigate whether it be true or not the commonly accepted opinion that Santa Claus (“also known as Saint Nicholas, St Nick, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Santy, or simply Santa” (P)) decide which kids to visit depending on their past year round good or bad behavior.

Now, the JJ6, to test this popular belief, select

Thursday, December 17, 2020

NEW POSTS/PODCAST EPISODES COMING SOON!

Heeeello dear dearest buddy reader/listener!

I just want to tell you this: new posts/podcast episodes are coming!

Soon*! 

Ciaz!

(Wow, four "!" in a row, that's something! Oooh, five! Oooh, six! Ooooh... Ok, I stop it now)

SM


Here's a picture of a seal (or at least I guess it is it, otherwise it's the oddest chicken I've ever seen…) that is just really excited about the news.

A seal
A thrilled seal [in reality, it thought some fish were coming, it couldn't care less 'bout the news (I spare you the pic where it finally realizes no fish is coming, it's too heartbreaking)]
[The seal pic, by Karen Lau, is a free pic (source: Unsplash)]

 

*

"Soon" is an acronym standing for: "Suuureoh-ohneverthelessdon'tbetoooptimisticI'mstillalazydumbblogafterallbutI'mactuallyworkingonitthepost/podcastepisodeImeannotmylackofcommitmentorlackofbrain"

Sunday, December 6, 2020

FAREWELL, ARECIBO TELESCOPE! (Nov 1963 - Dec 2020)

Completed in November 1963, the giant (its dish is/was 305 meters wide) Arecibo radio telescope of the Arecibo Observatory (near Arecibo, in Puerto Rico) suffered apparently irreparable damage on the early morning of December 1st, 2020. 

On that day, indeed, the telescope’s instrument platform (a 900 tonnes juggernaut, like about a hundred fully loaded 5th Wheel Camper), suspended above the already previously partially damaged dish, crashed into it definitely completing the destruction job.

Here a full account and footage of what happened.

The following cartoon is this dumb blog's homage to this invaluable piece of technology and source of scientific discoveries and, ultimately, of human progress.

 

Sketch of a gravestone with engraved: "R.I.P. Arecibo Telescope, Nov 1963-Dec 2020, "of course it had to happen in 2020..."
Farewell, Arecibo Radio Telescope! (by @sciencemug)
[The Arecibo Telescope pic by Jaro Nemčok, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license (source: Wikimedia Commons); the pic is adapted by @sciencemug]


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

THE TRUE REASON WHY DINGOES FLEE FROM THE TUBE-MAN!

A bunch of Australian researchers put an "oversized inflatable human effigy that [they dub] ‘Fred-a-Scare’ [aaah, I love scientists!]" (P) near some food, outdoors. And the science jokers also gear the place with a speaker playing gunshots noises on command.

Then the brains wait and see which of these two tricks of theirs (if any) is able to scare off captive dingoes from getting to the food (they perform three trials, one a day, with a dozen animals).

Well, the bullets voices don't seem to bother the canids much ("11/12 accessing the food; the same as control" (P) on the first trial).

As per our dear waving-&-shaking Fred-a-Scare, ohoh, it surely does the job.

75% of the dingoes, indeed, run away at least once from the tube-man, and, on the last trial, a fat 58% of them keep being scared by it, leaving the food be.

Sooo, the science Aussies conclude that, even if they need field trials to be sure, "in conjunction with other devices and methods, and at intervals that reduce the risk of habituation, the inflatable effigy could provide a valuable tool for deterring dingoes, and perhaps other species, from particular areas, even where food (or potential prey) is present" (P).

Good news for campgrounds and breeders, then.

Buut, dear reader, this dumb blog, in the following cartoon, show you the true reason why dingoes, which are smart animals, stay the heck away from the inflatable tube-men.

 

Dingo and the tube-man (edited by @sciencemug)
Dingo & the tube-men (by @sciencemug)
[The tube-men pic by Joshua Coleman, and the field pic by Stephanie Cook are free images (source: Unslpash);  the dingo pic is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license (source: Wikimedia Commons); all pics are adapted by @sciencemug]





Bibliography

- Smith, B.P., Jaques, N.B., Appleby, R.G., Morris, S., and Jordan, N.R. (2020). Automated shepherds: responses of captive dingoes to sound and an inflatable, moving effigy. Pac. Conserv. Biol.