News for Nerds - The Misconception Edition
- 1/31/2014 |
- 10:00 am
Welcome back to News for Nerds! This week we'll explain why texting may land you in the hospital, we'll unveil the world's fastest head-first human vehicle, and we'll really live it up at the Hotel California. But first: you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.
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When it comes to the biology of conception, you may be shocked to hear that there's a lot of . . . well, misconception.
A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility shows that when it comes to their own reproductive process, a surprisingly high number of women get crucial facts wrong. Based on data culled from 1,000 women aged 18 to 40, researchers found that one-third of respondents believed that certain positions would increase their chances of getting pregnant. Half of them believed that they could increase the likelihood of pregnancy by monkeypiling more than once per day. (No and no.)
But it didn't stop there. Here are a few other eye-raising misconceptions:
- 20% are unaware that aging has a negative effect on reproductive success
- 30% didn't know that exposure to an STD impacts fertility
- 40% believed that women continued to produce new eggs, rather than being born with a finite supply
The research shows that about half of respondents never discussed their reproductive health with doctors, and that 30% visited their reproductive health provider less than once a year -- or never. So if we're looking to correct this flow of misinformation, maybe talking with your doctor is a good place to start.
- story from LiveScience, image from portraitlady4306 via Wikimedia Commons
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"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
That's more than just a romantic turn-of-phrase. When it comes to the way our emotions influence our senses, Shakespeare may have been on to something. A series of clever experiments out of the University of Singapore shows that when you're in love, chocolates, candies -- even plain tap water -- really do taste sweeter.
Participants were asked to write about an experience with either love or jealousy, or about a neutral topic. Next, they each tasted either a sweet-and-sour gummy candy or bittersweet chocolates. Then they ranked each food according to its sweetness, bitterness, or sourness. Those who had written about love ranked both candies as being sweeter than those who had written about jealousy or a neutral topic.
Pushing the experiment even further, the researchers then asked a different set of participants to perform the same task, this time substituting distilled water for the candy. Once again, those who wrote about love found that the water tasted sweeter -- even though it was just plain, ordinary water.
It's interesting to note that while love made things taste sweeter, jealousy did not make them taste any different. And that when someone believes a book is important, it feels heavier. You'll have to read the complete article to get a full explanation for why this is, but here's a clue: it's all about experience.
- story from LiveScience, image from Nieuw from nl via Wikimedia Commons
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And here are a few other cool science stories you might enjoy:
- It's hard to believe that only a decade ago, practically no one was using their phones to send text messages. These days it's not uncommon to send a few dozen texts in a single afternoon. But be careful: texting can be hazardous to your health, and may even land you in an emergency room.
- If you feel the need for speed -- or if you simply like to marvel at the power of human ingenuity -- you have to check out the world's fastest face-down, head-first, human powered vehicle. It's called The Beastie Bike, and yes, it's licensed to ill.
- And finally, I bring you a story that is close to my own heart. I've been in the radio business long enough that I remember a time when being a 'disc jockey' meant that you actually spun records. Now it's all digital, but for those of you who are inclined toward nostalgia, get a load of this: it's the world's largest vinyl record, clocking in at a whopping 407-feet. Stay tuned for news at the bottom of the hour and traffic on the 10s.
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That's all for now! I'll be back with more News for Nerds next week, but be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and to sign up for the free e-Newsletter so that you can properly get your nerd on every single month! And please send any juicy News for Nerds tips to me right here!