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    Categories: Quickies

Quickies: Scurvy, Teen Pregnancies, and BRAAAM

  • Asking this question can help prevent unplanned pregnancies among teens – “Primary providers, obstetricians, and gynecologists routinely ask their adult female patients, ‘Would you like to become pregnant in the next year?’ The Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health has helped popularize that question through its One Key Question Initiative. Pediatricians rarely ask it. But they should.”
  • The Terrible, Mysterious Disease That Haunted the Age of Exploration – “Due to a genetic quirk humans picked up somewhere in our evolution, if you go about three months without the vitamins that fresh food provides, your body loses too much ascorbate (or vitamin C) to carry on. Ascorbate helps the body create collagen, the essential protein in the body’s connective tissue, and a deficiency is deeply painful. Sailors afflicted with scurvy, Jonathan Lamb writes in his engrossing cultural history Scurvy: The Disease of Discovery, ‘found their limbs growing stiff and their skin bruised and ulcerous. … Their gums grew black with corrupted blood and swelled so much the mortified flesh hid their teeth.’ “
  • Riddle of the Week #6: The Burning Rope Problem – “You have two ropes coated in an oil to help them burn. Each rope will take exactly 1 hour to burn all the way through. However, the ropes do not burn at constant rates—there are spots where they burn a little faster and spots where they burn a little slower, but it always takes 1 hour to finish the job. And they don’t burn at the same rate as each other because they are made of different materials. With a lighter to ignite the ropes, how can you measure exactly 45 minutes?”
  • This is what happens when Donald Trump attacks a private citizen on Twitter – A woman criticized Trump in public. He fought back on Twitter. You know exactly what happens next.
  • “BRAAAM!”: The Sound that Invaded the Hollywood Soundtrack – “Does this sound familiar? At some point movies started braying at us like ships lost in a fog, and we have come to accept that as perfectly normal. Variations on this sound sequence — a simple string motif interrupted by sudden bursts of non-melodic noise — are everywhere in film soundtracks and trailers. It is the noise that goes with people in spandex standing in a Delacroix-style tableau, or so Hollywood has decided. It is the sound we know is coming when a trailer intercuts CGI objects slamming into each other with portentous fades-to-black.”

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Mary: Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  • The burning rope problem is so badly worded as to be insoluble.
    The burning ropes are fuses (of the type you'd see attached to a cartoon bomb). You light them at an end, and the burning front progresses along the length of the rope.
    (I had to read the solution to understand what the problem actually was.)