Archive for 'Arts and science'

The Effect of Music on the Efficiency of Surgical Closures

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Pig-Foot-and-Music“Time” as they say “is money.” Especially relevant perhaps, in a plastic surgery operating theatre, in which running costs can reach $66 a minute. And where, for example, “A 10% reduction in operative time per hour equals savings of $396 per hour.” What might help to speed-up surgeons’ performance (without of course compromising accuracy and efficiency)? Music perhaps? To find out, an experimental study was performed by Shelby R. Lies MD, and Professor Andrew Yuan Zhang MD, of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch.

“The purpose of our study is to evaluate the effects of playing music on plastic surgery residents performing layered wound closure on a simulation model using pigs’ feet.”


“The pigs’ feet were stored and separately presented to three blinded faculty plastic surgeons [the following day] for grading. The quality of repair was graded on a 1-5 scale. Factors taken into consideration by the faculty for the final summative grade included apposition of wound edges, evenness in superficial to deep plane, step-offs, overlapping, any gaping with manual spreading perpendicular to repair, suture knot visibility or unraveling, uniform appearance, and the amount of eversion.”


“Our study showed improved efficiency of repair in a simulated wound model while residents listened to music of their preference. There is an overall reduction of operative time of 8% in all residents. The reduction improved to 10% in upper-level residents. The quality of the repair also improved slightly in the music-listening group. In the current health care environment, where cost reduction is center stage and operative time is money, every second counts.”

see: ‘Prospective Randomized Study of the Effect of Music on the Efficiency of Surgical Closures’ Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 2015, Vol 35(7).

Also see: Background music can cause confusion in the operating theatre (new study)


PotPet – potted plants which follow you and ask for water

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

“PotPet acts autonomously like pets: it automatically moves to sunny places or approaches people when it requires water.“

Details of ‘PotPet: Pet-like Flowerpot Robot’(from Ayumi Kawakamim Koji Tsukada, Keisuke Kambara and Itiro Siio at Ochanomizu University, Tokyo) were published in Proceedings of 5th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, January 22–26, 2011, Funchal, Portugal.

Tsukada shared the 2012 Ig Nobel Prize for acoustics, for inventing the SpeechJammer.

Also don’t miss: Justin Shull’s terrestrial shrub rover.

Podcast #32: A report on reports on reports, coffee, and ponytails

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

A report on reports on reports; The physics of ponytails; Why people spill coffee when they walk; and The pleasures —yes pleasures — of reading textbooks — yes, textbooks— all these all turn up in this week’s Improbable Research podcast.

Click on the “Venetian blinds” icon — at the lower right corner here — to select whichever week’s episode you want to hear:

SUBSCRIBE on, iTunes, or Spotify to get a new episode every week, free.

This week, Marc Abrahams tells about:

The mysterious John Schedler or the shadowy Bruce Petschek perhaps did the sound engineering this week.

The Improbable Research podcast is all about research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK — real research, about anything and everything, from everywhere —research that may be good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless. CBS distributes it, both on the new CBS web site, and on iTunes and Spotify).

The Journal of Argumentation in Context

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Do you need to argue about arguing? Here’s the academic research journal for you: the Journal of Argumentation in Context:

journal of argumentation

Barf and Jerk’s new compounds

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

Some years ago Tjeerd Barf and Jerk Vallgarda, and three colleagues filed an application to patent some new compounds:

New compounds,” Tjeerd Barf,  Guido Kurz, Sofia Nordin, Lars Tedenborg, Jerk Vallgarda, and Meredith Williams, U.S. Patent Application 11/050,178, filed February 3, 2005.

barf and jerk

(Thanks to investigator Cristina Ekstrom for bringing this to our attention.)