Discovered: The official medical scale for Facebook addiction, dino farts caused global warming, the high risk of assisted reproduction techniques, and a crocodile big enough to eat humans.
- There's now an official medical scale for Facebook addiction. Just in time for the company's public debut, science has finalized its Facebook addiction scale, which it calls The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale. (It hails from the University of Bergen.) Facebook, this is a big deal for you. The social network should probably mention it has its very own medical test for the addiction its site induces as it parades around on its roadshow this week, right? Anyway, for potential addicts, here's how it works. Answer the following six questions on a scale from 1-5, where one is very rarely and 5 is very often. "You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan use of Facebook; You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more; You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems; You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success; You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook; You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies." Now, here's the scary part: Most of you probably score high enough on the scale to be considered addicts. "Scoring "often" (5) or "always" (4) on at least four of the seven items may suggest that you are addicted to Facebook," explains the research. [University of Bergen]
- Dino flatulence warmed the earth 150 million years ago. As silly as this sounds, we hear cow farts are having the same effect today. Back then, those gassy prehistoric beasts created 520 million tons of gas annually with their farts. "Cows today produce something like 50-100 [million tons] per year. Our best estimate for Sauropods is around 520 [million tonnes]," explains researcher David Wilkinson. That's about the amount of CO2 produced by Great Britain each year, for comparison. Just imagine how smelly that was! This warming was not caused by CO2, however, but methane, which is what farts are made of. We should feel blessed to live in relatively fart-free conditions. [BBC]
Assisted reproduction is associated with high birth defects. Here's a bummer of a finding: Those who use alternative methods to get pregnant have a higher chances of birthing a baby in less than perfect health. But, there is some decently good news. "While assisted reproductive technologies are associated with an increased risk of major birth defects overall, we found significant differences in risk between available treatments," explains researcher Michael Davies. "The unadjusted risk of any birth defect in pregnancies involving assisted conception was 8.3% (513 defects), compared with 5.8% for pregnancies not involving assisted conception (17,546 defects)," he continues. But in vitro fertilization had better outcomes than intracytoplasmic sperm injection. [University of Adelaide]
This crocodile could swallow humans whole. Science has discovered a 27 foot croc. "It’s the largest known true crocodile," explains researcher Christopher Brochu. Calm down. This guy may sound scary, but he is absolutely zero threat to you, as he existed between 2 and 5 million years ago. He was much scarier for our ancestors, who had to live in constant fear of death by croc lunch. "It lived alongside our ancestors, and it probably ate them,' explains researcher Christopher Brochu. But for us, he's more impressive than intimidating, as the largest recorded croc before, the still alive Nile crocodile, only (only?) reaches 21 feet. [University of Calgary]