Double Standards Days / Non-AI Sheep-counting / Science vs. Judiciary Laws

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has four segments. Here are bits of each of them: Double standards— World Standards Day 2023 will arrive soon, two days after it arrives. As Feedback noted last year (17 September 2022), having double Standards Days is standard behaviour. This year, most of the world will officially celebrate […]

Surfer’s ears – and what can be done about them [new study]

“External auditory exostoses, also known as surfer’s ear, are benign tumours of the external auditory canal. They form primarily as a result of environmental factors, including recurrent exposure to cold water (below 19°C) or cold air, with a prevalence in surfers ranging from 38% to 73.5%. The prevalence and severity of exostoses are dependent on […]

Ear gauging – and surgical reversal techniques

“There is an ever increasing market for surgical repair of gauged ears.” informs an article in The American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery Vol. 32, No. 4, 2015. If you haven’t come across the concept of ‘gauged ears’ before, the authors provide a short explanation and historical context: “Ear gauging, also known as ‘ear plugging’, can […]

The role of flapping elephant ears in heat dissipation

Elephants are big, and they get hot. Especially in Africa. Thus, from the elephant’s point of view, there’s sometimes an urgent necessity to dissipate excess heat. Some investigators have suggested that flapping their large ears (strictly, their ‘pinnae’) could provide a significant heat-loss mechanism. (e.g. Buss, I. O., and Estes, J. A., 1971, ‘The Functional […]

Accounting for accommodation in a one-legged two-eared eared grebe

The title of this study says “grebes” [plural], but the story involves a single grebe [singular]. That single grebe does, as the title implies, have a single [one] leg: “Ecological Constraints and Phenotypic Accommodation in One-legged Eared Grebes,” Joseph R. Jehl Jr., The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 125(4), 2013, pp. 829-832. (Thanks to investigator Adrian […]