Research: A promising male contraception technique, what started the Little Ice Age, milk does it again, the importance of kindergarten.
- A promising male contraception technique. They call it "sonicating sperm," which if it borrows any techniques form those electric toothbrushes, sounds like it could be a bit painful. But, we're all for the equitable distribution of birth control, so we hope this works out. Experimenting with ultrasound, researchers at UNC found the equipment reduced sperm counts in rats to levels that would make humans infertile. At first this sounds dandy, but then again, how permanent is it? Science doesn't know yet. "However further studies are required to determine how long the contraceptive effect lasts and if it is safe to use multiple times," explained James Tsuruta. We're guessing most dudes won't want to take the chance. [Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology]
- What started the Little Ice Age. Volcanoes, which sounds completely counter-intuitive because lava's hot and all. But looking at dead vegetation, researchers found that the period of sustained cold was caused by multiple eruptions. "Our simulations showed that the volcanic eruptions may have had a profound cooling effect," said Bette Otto-Bliesner, a co-author of the study. "The eruptions could have triggered a chain reaction, affecting sea ice and ocean currents in a way that lowered temperatures for centuries." Beyond a fun little factoid to show off to friends, might want to keep in mind that our wacko planet's weird weather patterns can have profound effects. [UCAR]
- We get it, milk is good for us. Adding onto the pile of literature (and ads) promoting milk's health benefits, the drink also apparently makes us brainier. Out of more than 900 participants, regular milk drinkers were five times less likely to fail a series of brain tests, even when controlling for other factors. The fact that the study was funded by the "nation's milk processors," discounts the findings a tad. We're not take any chances, though. Tomorrow begins the all-milk diet. [International Dairy Journal]
- Kindergarten skills are life skills. Not so surprising, but the least bratty five-year-olds end up as the best worker bees. "Children who are more likely to work autonomously and harmoniously with fellow classmates, with good self-control and confidence, and who follow directions and rules are more likely to continue such productive behaviors into the adult workplace," found research out of the University of Montreal. Sharing is caring is future employment -- we believe that's how the saying goes. [Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology]