News, Science, Studies

When Rhode Island accidentally legalized prostitution rapes and STDs dramatically fell

Rhode island rape reports compared with three similar states. The vertical line in the timeline is when people took notice of the prostitution loophole. Image: NBER

In the 1980s, concerned that the state statute on prostitution was too broad and could potentially infringe on First Amendment freedoms, lawmakers in Rhode Island decided to make it more explicit by cutting some articles. They went a bit too far, though, and accidentally removed the section defining the act itself as a crime. It wasn’t until 2003 that courts…

Psychology, Studies

Why you feel the urge to jump off a ledge. No, you’re not suicidal

Photo: headoverheels.org

A few months ago I went hiking with some of my friends in an absolutely stunning mountain setting. We climbed a country road for half an hour or so on foot, then reached a chalet right in the middle of a pin tree clearing and had a few beers with the keeper there who was gracious enough to show us…

Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain, News, Studies

Sleep aids and anxiety pills can kill

Photo: prevention.com

There’s no secret prescriptions drugs have taken off in the past few decades, amounting to a multi-billion dollar industry. Millions are hooked on them, despite this why are so many policymakers or key people of interest shutting an eye on the potential perils these drugs pose? In the quest to treat symptoms, not diseases, physicians prescribe psychotropic drugs to those…

Biology, Health & Medicine, Research, Studies

You may be using antibacterial soap incorrectly

Photo: rodalenews.com

Most people nowadays buy antibacterial soaps instead of normal ones, because they believe it keeps them safe and protects them for the oh-so dreaded bacterial infections. Apparently, there’s little evidence that antibacterial soaps provide any additional protection than the regular kind. The problem: most people don’t use them properly. For that matter, it may be wiser to ban antibacterial soaps…

Biology, Electronics, News, Studies, Technology

‘Herding’ cells with direct electric current may aid in tissue engineering

The top image shows a patch of epithelial cells. The white lines in the middle image mark the electric current flowing from positive to negative over the cells. The bottom image shows how the cells track the electric field, with blue indicating leftward migration and red signaling rightward movement (credit: Daniel Cohen)

The human body is littered with free ions and salts, which goes to explain why so much of our physiology is controlled by electrical signals, from neural pathways to muscle articulation. Very related, researchers at UC Berkeley have shown for the first time that direct current can be used to deliberately guide migration of a sheet of epithelial cells. Practically, the…

Mind & Brain, News, Psychology, Research, Studies

How we think before we speak

Proportion of fixations (gazes) on the agent (person acting) and patients (object of the action) when describing simple situations (a) and more complex situations (b). In the case of simple situations, the spoken utterance begins slightly later than in complex ones (vertical line in the graphs) because the speaker plans further in advance in the first case. © MPI for Psycholinguistics

The common saying “think before you speak” is often used after a person spoke something inappropriate. It implies that the person in question has not given enough thought to the consequences of his spoken words. Obviously we can’t speak without thinking, though, so naturally the question arises: how do we plan out our utterances? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for…

Animals, News, Studies

Breed not the dominant factor in canine aggressiveness

aggressive-dog

It’s always depressing when we hear stories of dogs attacking people, more so when injuries lead to death. As always after such an unfortunate, yet statistically isolated, event there’s always a massive group of people bantering and calling for “something to be done.” In some countries, public pressure can rule death sentences for thousands of dogs. There’s also a general…

News, Psychology, Research, Studies

Screening job candidates on facebook backfires for employees

social_media_Espionage

Who would have thought snooping into people’s private lives pisses them off? A new study by North Carolina State University researchers found that  job candidates who found out their social media profiles were being peered through by employers  were less likely to view the hiring process as fair. In consequence, these people are less likely to accept a position when being…

Psychology, Studies, World Problems

Living a happy or meaningful life – what’s the difference?

meaningful_life

While happiness and meaningfulness often overlap, the two are distinct states of being. A Stanford project looked into the lives of various people inline between the two and found some key differences based on how people choose spend their time and what experiences they cultivate. The findings may surprise some of you, while others will choose to dismiss them. After all,…

Animals, News, Studies

Chimps are rational, not conformist – study shows

zoom

The fact that chimpanzees are extremely intelligent should no longer surprise anyone. Most people also know that they have their own social cues and are very sensitive to them, but even so, they usually refuse to conform to what the majority of group members are doing, preferring to stick with their personal preferences. However, now, a new study has shown…