Quickies: Will bacon give you cancer, moon mission misogyny, and wifi can see you through walls

  • Meat and tobacco: the difference between risk and strength of evidence – “A substance can increase your risk of cancer a small amount, or, like tobacco, a huge amount. Comparing them like for like is just really confusing to anyone trying to work out how to lead a healthy life.”
  • Women start all-female moon mission test, are told by male scientist not to start catfights in the kitchen – “In addition to facing sexist scrutiny from reporters, the crew were also condescended to by Institute director Igor Ushakov, who warned them “It will be particularly interesting in terms of psychology. I’d like to wish you a lack of conflicts, even though they say that in one kitchen, two housewives find it hard to live together.””
  • Wifi networks can now identify who you are through walls – The technique, “is accurate enough to track the hand of a human and, with some repeated measurements, the system can even be trained to recognise different people based just on their wifi silhouette.”
  • The joys of being a black nerd – “For those who are not Black folks, let me explain. There is a look people get when they are taken aback by your Blackness. It is a kind of uncomfortable squint often followed by nervous laughter and sometimes someone says, “Oh wow you’re Black.” It never feels good.”
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Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. October 29, 2015 at 11:29 am —

    Actually, red meat was group 2A. Processed meats (of all varieties) were group 1. For the record, there’s only one in category 4 (probably not carcinogenic to humans): Caprolactam. Good news for all you nylon-wearers.

    One nice thing about social media is, you learn you’re not alone. That nerds aren’t all white guys.

  2. October 29, 2015 at 2:55 pm —

    Yes, the big factors to avoid for cancer are smoking, obesity, alcohol and sunlight. Also, there is no evidence that vegetarians, for instance, have a lower overall cancer risk.

    But what I really wanted to say is that I know how horrible it is to have a loved one with cancer. Yet there is effective treatment and often a reasonable chance of a cure.

    I also know full well how horrible it is to have a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease. Average time from diagnosis to death 5 years. Always fatal. No known effective treatment. Rapidly increasing incidence.

    I wish there was more research into Alzheimer’s Disease.

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