Boing Boing 

Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep

David K Randall's Dreamland is a review of the best scientific thinking that illuminates and important subject: namely, why do we spend a third of our lives paralyzed, eyes closed, having vivid hallucinations?Read the rest

If the foreign press treated American measles the way US media covered ebola


If Over There Was Like Over Here [Safwat Saleem]

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Having the brakes removed from your car is a personal decision


Scientists may say that brakes save lives, but virtually every car-wreck co-occurs with panicked braking -- did you know that in the old days, cars didn't have brakes?

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Turd transplant leads to rapid weight-gain and obesity


A woman whose c.difficile infection was treated with a fecal transplant from her overweight daughter experienced rapid and dramatic weight gain as soon as her daughter's microbial nation took hold in her gut.

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GOP senator: abolish hand-washing regulations in restaurants

Instead of mandating that restaurant employees wash their hands between wiping their asses and making your food, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) says the state should only require them to advise the public of any handwashing policies in place.

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London cop who repeatedly kicked, beat woman who wouldn't leave her child's sickbed cleared

Officer Warren Luke was cleared of the charge of "actual bodily harm" after he admitted to causing more than 40 injuries to a woman who wouldn't leave the hospital bedside of her seven year old daughter, who has cerebral palsy.

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USA McDonald's fries have 14 ingredients. UK McDonald's fries have 4.

Here's a followup to my earlier post about McDonald's fries. In 2013 Food Babe posted the ingredients for McDonald's fries in the US and in the UK.

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California officials warn anti-vaxxers to avoid Disneyland

sean-macentee

Unvaccinated people are being officially warned by California epidemiologists to avoid Disneyland in the wake of a measles outbreak. In some counties in California, more than 1 in 5 kindergartners are unvaccinated due to "personal belief exemptions."

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Varidesk - excellent adjustable standing desk

I've been using a Varidesk review unit for the past four weeks, and I love it. It's a platform that sits on your existing desk, and allows you to easily raise and lower your computer and keyboard, so you can sit and stand throughout the day.

I typically start my workday standing up, and I'll alternate between standing and sitting an hour at a time. I've been using the Pro Plus model ($350), which is the largest one they make, and I'm glad I didn't get the Single, because I like to keep notebooks, books, iPads, phones, etc. within easy reach. The Pro Plus has enough real real estate to hold that extra stuff on it. The Pro Plus has two platforms – one for the computer/monitor, and another for the keyboard. The Pro model ($300) has only one platform for the keyboard and the monitor, which means you'll have to tilt your head down to look at the display (or elevate your monitor with a stand).

As you can see in the above video, it's easy to raise and lower the platform. You grip the levers on either side and guide the desktop to one of several different locking positions. The hinged braces have springs to assist you, so it's pretty effortless. The fully extended position would probably work with a treadmill, which I want to get soon.

One thing that is a must with a standing desk is an anti-fatigue floor mat. I've been using Varidesk's branded mat ($50) and am pretty happy with it. But after an hour, my heels hurt and I'm ready to plop in a chair.

I've experimented with homemade standing desk contraptions for years, but I always abandoned them after a few months because I didn't like not being able to sit at my desk. The Varidesk solved this problem. I intend to use it for the rest of my life.

I'm having fun with my $10 digital scale that has 0.01g readability

scale-1The AWS 100g x 0.01g Digital Scale ($10) is about the size of an iPhone. I needed a scale to weigh the powdered supplements I take (powders are cheaper than capsules). This scale measures up to a limit of 100 grams in 0.01 gram increments.

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I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That

Over the past decade, pharma-fighting Dr Ben Goldacre has written more than 500,000 words of fearlessly combative science journalism.Read the rest

Lying down in bed desk


The kneeling desk led to the standing desk and thence to the treadmill desk, but I propose that we bring this full circle to the lying down in bed desk (instructions available in Japanese only). (via Sean Bonner)

This year's flu vaccine is not working as well as hoped

The CDC announced yesterday that this year's flu has officially become an epidemic. One reason: the vaccine being used is not working.

This year's most dominant strain is the H3N2, a type of flu that causes more hospitalizations and death. The CDC warned in early December that this year's flu season would be particularly bad because the vaccine it built for this season isn't tough enough to fight against the H3N2 strain.

The problem was caused by a "drift," when the flu mutates to something else that the vaccine wasn't built to protect against. Although these kinds of mutations are common, this year's drift wasn't detected until it was too late to make a new vaccine.

Medical experts like Trish Perl, who heads up the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention, have told the Post that "the most concerning thing about the flu season this year there is a mismatch between the predominant strain that is circulating and what was put in the vaccine."

This Year's Flu Season Is Reaching Epidemic Proportions

Embroidered anatomical notebooks


Chara from Athens, Greece operates an amazing Etsy store full of hand-embroidered notebooks featuring anatomical, natural and historical themes: the circulatory system, the heart, a spider, Leonardo da Vinci's Apostle James, blood circulation of the head and many more. (via Geeky Merch)

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3D printed prosthetic leg


William Root's "Exo-Prosthetic" is a 3D printed artificial leg made from laser-sintered titanium, which uses a 3D scan of the wearer's truncated limb for fit, and a 3D scan of the intact limb for form.

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Pfizer threatens pharmacists, doctors if they take its name in vain


Pfizer's patent on pregabalin -- an anti-epilepsy med -- expires this year, but there's another patent on using the public domain drug to treat neuropathic pain; in a shocking letter to UK doctors, the pharma giant warns of dire consequences should medical professionals dare to prescribe the generic for the patented use.

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LISTEN: An uplifting lecture about death

The 2014 BBC Reith lecture with Dr Atul Gawande (previously) continue to amaze, delight and inform, and the third one, "The Problem of Hubris," fundamentally changed how I think about (and what I fear about) death.

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