Posts by Lauren Maurer:

Scientists Observe Confirmed Case of “Social Drinking”

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh announce they’ve discovered that drinking in a social setting can increase people’s positive emotions, and help those people bond. According to the researchers, earlier studies purporting to examine this topic looked at so-called “social drinkers” when they drank alone; this study actually put social drinkers in a social setting, and found […]

Your Money or Your Life: The perils of having an income

A steady paycheck has a slightly unfortunate side-effect, two researchers intimate (intimidatingly): It just might kill you. People who have money are more likely to spend money, they say—and, while doing so, engage in activities that could convert them into mortality statistics. “The Short-Term Mortality Consequences of Income Receipt,” William N. Evans (pictured), Timothy J. Moore, The National […]

Saddle-sore: Unfortunate consequences of bicycling

Previous research has focused on whether male bicyclers with badly-positioned bike seats might be hurting their manhood. Turning to the other side of things, now researchers say riding a bike with the handlebars lower than the seat decreases sensation in women cyclists’ genitals. So their time in the saddle—the bike saddle, that is—may be diminishing their […]

Attenborough Can Make Anything More Dramatic

Sir David Attenborough’s sonorous tones add a measure of gravitas to any nature documentary. In this video from BBC One’s Graham Norton Show, Sir Attenborough lends the power of his voice to narrate a video of a retifistic tortoise’s unsuccessful advances toward a shoe. (HT to Jerry Coyne for sharing this via his blog) Bonus: […]

Grimaces of mice and men (and rats)

Scientists are interested in whether mice’s facial expressions can be used as an index of pain.  To test the idea, they compared the Mouse Grimace Scale (pictured below) with more traditional behavioral measures in examining mice’s levels of discomfort after having surgery on their manhood—er, mousehood. “The Assessment of Post-Vasectomy Pain in Mice Using Behaviour and […]

How waiting in line is like war

A defense researcher analyzes (1) customer satisfaction in a shopping scenario and (2) the efficient use of warplanes in battle. He comes up with a mathematical model common to both—in which “[the] parameter of principal interest is the expected customer-survival rate.”  Here’s his paper on how the two relate: “Queuing with Impatient Customers and Indifferent Clerks,” […]

Are Humans Hardwired for Feline Servitude?

Even if you’ve never lived with a cat, you can still be subject to their powers of mammalian mind-control. “The Cry Embedded Within the Purr,” Karen McComb, Anna M. Taylor, Christian Wilson, and Benjamin D. Charlton, Current Biology, 19 (13), July 2009, pp. R507-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.05.033. The authors, from The Centre for Mammal Vocal Communication and Cognition […]