Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Does talking about your problems with someone make them better, or worse? Actually, go back a step. How to you talk about your problems with people? Are you trying to find solutions, or do you just want people to pay attention to you while you complain?

Remember all the drama of high school? The endless discussion about who got in a fight/started dating/etc.? I can only imagine how much worse it is with crap like twitter and instant/text messaging. So, Stony Brook University started looking at what kind of effects it has on them (and went with the exciting study name "Clarifying co-rumination: Associations with internalizing symptoms and romantic involvement among adolescent girls").

Their studies show that frequent discussion of problems can lead to depression or anxiety. I'm not sure they aren't putting the cart before the horse, though. Isn't it equally possible that depressed or anxious people spend more time running to their friends to talk about how worried they are?

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Sweeping Carbon Under the Rug

If you can't see it, then it must not be there, right? I used to clean my room by throwing all of my junk in the closet and shutting the door. Now it looks like some scientists are recommending that we do the same thing to fix the environment.

There's a research paper put out by two scientists that thinks we can solve some of our carbon dioxide problems by burying it at sea. Specifically, they think we should start gathering up all of our "crop residue" (stalks of corn and wheat, the leftover bits of the plants that we don't use), tie it up in bundles, and then bury it in the ocean. Problem solved, right?

I think the challenge would be making sure that collecting, bailing, shipping, and burying the residue doesn't generate more carbon dioxide than the alternatives, but they're scientists and they're convinced that it's the way to go.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

It's Okay to Sleep with Your Dog

Not to, like, do it with your dog, because that's nasty, but it's okay to share a bed with your dog. The University of Kansas says that you can let your dog lick your face and sleep in your bed without worrying about germs. Apparently, more than half of all dog owners are into that kind of thing.

The press release gets a little muddled towards the end, though. The researchers tracked the spread of E. coli bacteria to determine whether or not it was "safe" to get overly affectionate with your dog. Then it gives all kinds of information about e-coli, how it is spread, and whether it can develop drug resistance.

Interestingly enough, it looks like more drug-resistant e-coli bacteria is spread from dog owners to their pets than the other way around.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Luckily, Bloggers Aren't Licensed

It turns out that licensed doctors can stop practicing medicine for as long as they want, and then pick up the job again later without having their competency re-assessed. Fair enough, you can keep your driver's license valid and go without driving for years, bu no one will ask you to re-take your driver's test before you can get back behind the wheel. Of course, driving a car and performing brain surgery aren't exactly alike.

Researchers at the University of Michigan are concerned that states aren't checking up on the competency of inactive doctors who return to active practice. Of course, since the licensing board for the District of Columbia is the only one that requires a minimum number of patient visits to keep a license registered as "active," most of these boards wouldn't even know which ones were in danger of getting rusty.

Of course, since bloggers don't need a license to do their thing, I can pick back up where I left off without worrying too much.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Social Disease

Yeah, so it's been a while since I posted. That's because a virus wiped out my computer, and I'm still kind of pissed about it.

I wasn't looking at porn sites, I wasn't visiting shady offshore gambling sites, and I wasn't trying to download pirated movies. I was just using a popular widget that lets people hop from blog to blog (I'm sure you know the one) when an error message came up and my computer crashed, never again able to restart successfully.

Yes, I have virus protection software. Yes, it is kept current with the latest definitions. Yes, I avoid opening attachments in e-mails, especially when they're from people I don't know. That's why I am convinced that some malicious code was passed onto me when I decided to "drop" in on someone else's blog.

What will this mean for the future of my participation in social networking sites? Now that I've got a new computer and restored access to the internet, I'm not sure. I'm certainly going to be much more suspicious of bloggers I don't know.

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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