Today in research: when car ownership is important, new advice on cancer screening (and throat clearing),  and over-analyzing the tendencies of the field cricket.

  • Car ownership, as a wealth indicator, is a marriage predictor.  This makes sense. But also: who wants to tie the knot while still living at home and without a set of keys to leave whenever necessary? As demographic research informs us, car ownership is one indicator of when people start to finally settle down. Being able to afford marriage, in general, is the other. "In all, I find evidence to support the argument that wealth is an important prerequisite of marriage, especially for men," said the lead author of the study, Princeton University's Daniel Schneider, in a release. [Eurekalert]
  • Maybe prostate cancer screening isn't worth it if you're healthy.  A possibly controversial report was released from the United States Preventive Services Task Force today, whose advice, The New York Times assures, is usually "followed by most medical groups." They suggest not taking a P.S.A. blood test because, as the chairwoman of the group told the paper, "This test cannot tell the difference between cancers that will and will not affect a man during his natural lifetime. We need to find one that does."  [The New York TimesWell blog]
  • Sometimes a male field cricket is just a male field cricket. Researchers regularly observe animal tendencies (mostly mice, it seems) and try to glean whatever insights they have for humanity. But, "chivalrous" crickets? "The consequences of this chivalrous behavior are the same for men and crickets: Both can get more matings and increase their paternity," said a University of Exeter researcher to USA Today. Apparently the male crickets gave a female cricket a priority of a hiding spot when a predator is prowling. Well, that is pretty polite. [USA Today]
  • The FDA is going to be assessing how people react to Tobacco rules. What anti-smoking measure will be touted when the results of the habits of 40,000 smokers are eventually released? More scary ads (that may not be that effective)? "The FDA said the results will help it better tailor regulations to inform people about the risks of tobacco products," Reuters reported. So, yes, probably support for the gruesome cigarette pictures. [Reuters]
  • A scientific answer to when over-zealous throat-clearing 'crosses the line.'  Have you been inhaling musty city air recently and started to clear your throat a little much? That isn't good for you. Take advice from a laryngologist summoned by MSNBC.com about the symptoms: "If it lasts less then two weeks in general, that's situational ... If it's greater than three months and it's there all the time while you're awake, that's chronic throat-clearing." [MSNBC]