Weekly Roundup

Although the new edition of the DSM describes BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism) as an unusual sexual fixation or paraphilia, a new survey in the Journal of Sexual Medicine indicates that BDSM practitioners demonstrate greater psychological health and felt more secure in their relationships than non-practitioners.

Reminiscent of Michael Pollan’s linking of women’s refusal of their previous “moral obligation to cook” and rising consumption of prepackaged/fast food and obesity, a new study by India’s National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation suggests that Indian mothers are to blame for rising obesity rates, based on a lingering “famine mentality” and a turn to prepackaged meals.

In a great example of practitioners’ contributions to scholarly progress, hairdresser Janet Stephens’ published findings on Ancient Roman hair techniques are in the news. Stephens showed that the complex historical hairstyles could only be created with needles, not hairpins, overturning many classicists’ assumptions. You can find examples of Stephens’ hair archaeology on her YouTube channel.

Hastening the end of the mismatch between New York City’s distributing condoms as a public health policy and seizing condoms as evidence of prostitution, Brooklyn police have been instructed to no longer use the possession of condoms as evidence in prostitution arrests.

Planetary Resources, a space exploration company, is using Kickstarter to crowd-source ARKYD, a publicly-accessible space telescope. After only 2 days, they are over halfway to their million dollar goal.…

Weekly Roundup

Eating candy is just fine for your waistline, according to a new Nutrition Journal study; PopSci helpfully points out that the research was sponsored by a candy trade group.

Canada’s National Research Council announced earlier this month that it will “refocus” away from basic research to better serve business interests and industrial applications. Those critical of this move call it short-sighted, pointing to the difficulty in projecting either the profitability or future applications of pure research.

Critics of the new edition of the DSM worry that some of its categories, including PMS and depression, are culture-bound syndromes and are not exclusively biological.

The New York Times Magazine explores research suggesting that women lose sexual interest in their monogamous male parters sooner, as well as the development of new drugs aiming to rekindle women’s sexual desire. Slate points out how this issue has been treated differently than sociobiology’s rationalizing of men’s purported hard-wired promiscuity.

What Chris Hadfield can teach us about doing PR the right way.…

Weekly Roundup – ISS Edition

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield departed the International Space Station (ISS), landing on Tuesday with Tom Marshburn (USA) and Roman Romanenkoin (Russia) in Kazakhstan in a Soyuz capsule.

Hadfield’s rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, recorded on board the ISS.

On Saturday, astronauts Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn performed a spacewalk to investigate and repair a potential ammonia leak on the ISS.

Chris Hadfield’s scientific efforts during his ISS mission.

A closer look at Hadfield’s popularity abord the ISS. In case you missed it, here’s his much-watched washcloth.…

Weekly Roundup

After a very busy week with York University’s Materiality Conference, I’m happy to offer this supersized weekly roundup.

Biological Psychiatry recently published a study linking placental abnormalities and autism risk.

Russell Foster argues in New Scientist (republished at Slate) that high schools ought to start later to provide teens with much-needed extra sleep.

From Smithsonian’s Surprising Science blog, women apparently prefer deep male voices, while men prefer high female voices; a paper published in PLOS ONE explains these results in terms of body size preference. But don’t despair; you can always change your voice with this.

The House Science Committee is embroiled in a dispute over NSF funding for the social and behavioural sciences, as committee chair Lamar Smith’s questioning the NSF’s peer review system comes under some sharply-worded criticism.

An image of a 4th-grade science quiz entitled “Dinosaurs: Genesis and the Gospel” from a Christian school in South Carolina has widely circulated online.

A new “Vampire” treatment for baldness involves reinjecting the patient’s own platelet-rich plasma.

A “no jab, no play” campaign launched yesterday aims to allow childcare centres in New South Wales, Australia, to ban unvaccinated children from attending. A similar policy in Ottawa has resulted in hundreds of current high school students facing suspension for failing to provide up-to-date proof of immunization.

Blueprints for a 3D printed gun have been released online by Defense Distributed, prompting calls for tighter legislation.

The National Institute for Mental Health has rejected the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is about to release its 5th edition. NIMH research will now be oriented away from the DSM’s categories.