Skepchick Quickies, 6.15


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. I saw an ad for “The Othersiders” this weekend while my kids were watching “The League of Super Evil”. The ad was definitely slanted toward the spooky side of things. Lots of skaky-cam, night vision shots and whip pans. Ooooh, scary! On the upside, my son seemed to be more interested in heckling the kids in the ad than in the show itself.

  2. Urine drinking!? I’m trying to think of a word, but “disgusting” will have to do. I’d like to ask Liz Gray, “Was it doing you a lot of good before it came out of your body?”

  3. I can’t see the 5 questionable therapy link because it is blocked by my work. If one of them is urine therapy, I have looked into it and there is some (possible) physiology behind it.

    It was originally developed in India, and I presume in Tibet where due to the high altitude green leafy vegetables are not available year round. Green leafy vegetables are a good source of nitrate, which is absorbed, concentrated 10x into saliva and then reduced to nitrite on the tongue. That nitrite does cause release of NO when swallowed due to the low pH in the stomach, and may be the explanation for why animals lick wounds. I think it may also be the mechanism behind the folk remedy for impotence or , applying saliva to the penis, in that erections are caused by NO activating sGC, producing cGMP and causing vasodilation.

    Mammals produce NO, and nitrate is the terminal metabolite of NO, and so all mammals excrete nitrate in their urine.

    I think the other folk remedy for impotence using urine; that of the golden shower may have similar physiology. If you have UTI, often those organisms will reduce the nitrate in urine to nitrite (that is one of the standard tests for a UTI). That nitrite would also produce NO when applied to the skin (which has a low pH (~4).

    If you have a biofilm of the bacteria I am working with, the urea in urine would be hydrolyzed to ammonia and my bacteria would turn it into NO and nitrite.

    One of the earliest reported gynecological treatments was the application of crocodile dung as a vaginal pessary. There has been speculation that it was used as a contraceptive, but the papyrus describing it has a hole where what it was used to treat is, so the use remains unknown. I have speculated that it was used as an aphrodisiac because the composted dung of uricotelic organisms (organisms that excrete uric acid (which makes bird poop white)) is an extremely powerful source of nitric oxide.

    There is nothing special about urine, any source of nitrate would work and without the yuk factor.

  4. @daedalus2u: The five were:
    1. Shouting At Other People
    2. Tender Screaming
    3. Emotional Freedom Tapping
    4. Laughter Therapy
    5. Urine Therapy

  5. My allergies are giving me hell this season because we haven’t had any rain in weeks (it’s Seattle, damnit!), so I went to buy some eye drops this weekend. The top shelf of the eye care section in the grocery store was completely occupied by a line of homeopathic remedy eye drops. I was a bit shocked. I didn’t look at any of them closely, but now I’m wondering: do they use saline instead of water in homeopathic eye drops? Or would that destroy the memory effect of the water? I mean, putting pure water drops in your eyes can’t be good.

  6. I would love it if The Othersiders managed to capture the ghosts in an overly elaborate trap before demasking them and explaining what the villain was trying to cover up, only to be foiled by some meddling kids.

    And also making sure to raid the fridge at some point.

  7. Between Gabriel’s boobs, Elyse’s boots, and tiger kitty’s ability to create a double entendre out of a shopping list, I am seriously starting to wonder if I come here for the science or the sex…. crap, who am I kidding? Why have hamburger OR steak when you can stuff one with the other like a hot potato?

    Skepchick: Your one-stop shopping choice for science and sex.

  8. I’m surprised that the cdesign proponentsists haven’t followed the truthers’ lead and published in a Bentham open access journal. It’s like they don’t have any research to back up their claims, or something.

  9. @Daedalus2U: Love your chemistry!

    Just wanted to say, my wife actually did a correspondence course in Nuritional Medicine, not because she is an enthusiast, but because as a medic, she needed to be able to respond to patients that were wanting some direction in considering “alternative” therapy.

    That may be perhaps the only truly valid reason for such courses to exist.

    My thought is: if only her time and skills could have been spent in a more positive way than to defend against this kind of bullshit!

  10. Hi there!

    The experiences with the Ohio Ghost Hunting Group exactly mirror my own experiences with Ghost Hunters here in Jersey! They were such an awesome group of folks, but so much of their methodology was just designed to confirm every ghost story you’ve ever heard. :(

  11. If it were a live-action Scooby Doo it would be kinda good. At the end of every episode we would find out that even though it seemed spooky and real at first, it was really just a guy in a mask all along. I’m pretty sure that’s not how this show will end…

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