Random links

'Anti-Aging' Hormone May Actually Shorten Life
"It turns out that injections of growth hormone — a staple of anti-aging, hormone-replacement therapy — may have the opposite effect as intended"
New 'painless' treatment to repair teeth - The Times of India
"Termed as "SealBio", the technique uses body's own stem cells and eliminates the need for cumbersome root canal fillings."
The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics
"'almost all' commercially available plastics that were tested leached synthetic estrogens—even when they weren't exposed to conditions known to unlock potentially harmful chemicals, such as the heat of a microwave, the steam of a dishwasher, or the sun's ultraviolet rays. According to Bittner's research, some BPA-free products actually released synthetic estrogens that were more potent than BPA."
Scientists launch pastry into stratosphere
Space exploration Italian-style

Geek culture

This reminds me of a comic strip I once saw:

Apparently, a key reason that young women aren't choosing careers in STEM is dating. Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College, found concern that their 'geeky' male classmates will present poor social prospects is genuinely one of three key barriers to young women entering STEM

Random links

Birth Fathers: Trans Parenthood Tests Berlin Authorities
Someone failed biology. "the trans man, despite the pregnancy and childbirth, wants to be recorded on the birth certificate as the father and not the mother, 'because, as he states, he is in fact not the woman who gave birth to the child, but a man,' the internal memo reads."
MetaPhone: The Sensitivity of Telephone Metadata
"At the outset of this study, we shared the same hypothesis as our computer science colleagues—we thought phone metadata could be very sensitive. We did not anticipate finding much evidence one way or the other, however, since the MetaPhone participant population is small and participants only provide a few months of phone activity on average. We were wrong. We found that phone metadata is unambiguously sensitive, even in a small population and over a short time window. We were able to infer medical conditions, firearm ownership, and more, using solely phone metadata."
China working on uranium-free nuclear plants in attempt to combat smog
Seems like China is significantly cranking up the pressure to build full-scale lithium nuclear powerplants. They've got significant advantages over current nuclear plants.
Women get the vote
From the UK: "Only 58% of the adult male population was eligible to vote before 1918." It took the law banning soldiers in WW1 from voting to change the state of the law. Aristocracy or patriarchy?

"Is the Oculus Rift sexist?"

Here's an article whose contents I didn't really expect. (Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset developed by a company recently acquired by Facebook).

a friend of mine stumbled over a footnote in an esoteric army report about simulator sickness in virtual environments. Sure enough, military researchers had noticed that women seemed to get sick at higher rates in simulators than men. While they seemed to be able to eventually adjust to the simulator, they would then get sick again when switching back into reality.

The woman writing the article speaks of further investigations into this:

Scholars in the gender clinic were doing fascinating research on tasks like spatial rotation skills. They found that people taking androgens (a steroid hormone similar to testosterone) improved at tasks that required them to rotate Tetris-like shapes in their mind to determine if one shape was simply a rotation of another shape. Meanwhile, male-to-female transsexuals saw a decline in performance during their hormone replacement therapy.
Along the way, I also learned that there are more sex hormones on the retina than in anywhere else in the body except for the gonads.

That last sentence (highlighting mine) was one I found particularly surprising. It seems there are different clues that men and women use for depth perception that seems to result in women being more likely to lose their lunch in current 3D simulators:

What I found was startling (pdf). Although there was variability across the board, biological men were significantly more likely to prioritize motion parallax. Biological women relied more heavily on shape-from-shading. In other words, men are more likely to use the cues that 3D virtual reality systems relied on.

In other words, there seems to be a biological, hormonal element here.

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