Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

“Symmetry-breaking phase transitions in highly concentrated semen” [study]

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Non-scientists can introduce themselves to the concept of symmetry-breaking by reading this newly published study by Creppy and colleagues:

Symmetry-breaking phase transitions in highly concentrated semen,” Adama Creppy, Franck Plouraboué, Olivier Praud, Xavier Druart, Sébastien Cazin, Hui Yu, Pierre Degond, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, epub October 12, 2016. The authors write:

Depositing fresh semen sample in an annular shaped microfluidic chip leads to a spontaneous vortex state of the fluid at sufficiently large sperm concentration. The rotation occurs unpredictably clockwise or counterclockwise and is robust and stable. Furthermore, for highly active and concentrated semen, richer dynamics can occur such as self-sustained or damped rotation oscillations. Experimental results obtained with systematic dilution provide a clear evidence of a phase transition towards collective motion associated with local alignment of spermatozoa akin to the Vicsek model.

Here’s further detail from the study:


(Thanks to Bob O’Hara for bringing this to our attention.)

Coming attraction: Disgust: The Fluid Dynamics of the Gross

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Fluid dynamics will swirl, both socially and scientifically, in Portland, Oregon, in November. The annual meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics will feature a disgust-packed, juicy special session:

starrynightSession L1: Focus Session – Disgust: The Fluid Dynamics of the Gross
Monday, November 21, 2016, 4:30PM

L1.00001: A numerical investigation of a simplified human birth model
Roseanna Gossmann , Alexa Baumer , Lisa Fauci , Megan C. Leftwich

L1.00002: An experimental study of human birth models
Alexa Baumer , Roseanna Gossmann , Lisa J Fauci , Megan C. Leftwich

L1.00003: Urethral anatomy and semen flow during ejaculation
Diane Kelly

L1.00004: Sperm navigation in complex environments
Sarah Olson

L1.00005: On the need for a biomimetic breast device
Nicole Danos , Rebecca German

L1.00006: Flow and active mixing have a strong impact on bacterial growth dynamics in the proximal large intestine
Jonas Cremer , Igor Segota , Chih-­yu Yang , Markus Arnoldini , Alex Groisman , Terence Hwa

L1.00007: Sticky Saliva
Louise McCarroll , Michael Solomon , William Schultz

L1.00008: Cat tongue Velcro
Alexis Noel , Andrea Martinez , Hyewon Jung , Ting-Wen Tsai , [Ig Nobel Prize winner] David Hu

L1.00009: Self-mixing of fly larvae during feeding
Olga Shishkov , Christopher Johnson , Bryan Zhang , [Ig Nobel Prize winner] David Hu

PL1.00010: Boys who pee the farthest have a large hollow head, a thin skin, and medium-size manhood
Daniel Attinger , Vincent Lee

The conference web site has juicy abstracts of each of these sessions.

Thanks to Nicole Sharp for bringing this to our attention. Sharp will herself be presenting at two other, equally juicy sessions:

Session L27: Non-Newtonian Flows: Applications
4:30 PM–6:27 PM, Monday, November 21, 2016
Abstract: L27.00008 : In a sea of sticky molasses: The physics of the Boston Molasses Flood

Session D9: Fluid Dynamics – Education, Outreach, and Diversity I
2:57 PM–4:28 PM, Sunday, November 20, 2016
Abstract: D9.00003 : F*** Yeah Fluid Dynamics: Inside the science communication process

Strawberry scrotum, the doctors’ delight

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Doctors are, sometimes, fascinated by scrotums and by strawberries. Studying scrotal symmetry – or its lack – yielded an Ig Nobel prize in 2002. As discussed on this blog previously, the Strawberrystrawberry is used extensively as an analogy in medical practice. The scrotum and strawberry have a lot in common, for example, their distinctive skins.

The scrotum is essentially a bag that holds the testes away from the body to keep them cool so that sperm can form properly. There is a rare condition that isn’t life threatening of the skin’s scrotum where it looks like a strawberry’s skin. Unsurprisingly it is named Strawberry scrotum. Here is how it develops.

BONUS: Other genital entities related to the strawberry in the scientific medical literature.

Casale AJ, Menashe DS. Massive strawberry hemangioma of the male genitalia. J Urol. 1989.

Carrasco L, Izquierdo MJ, Fariña MC, Martín L, Moreno C, Requena L. Strawberry glans penis: a rare manifestation of angiokeratomas involving the glans penis. Br J Dermatol. 2000.

An analysis of CEO shirking (at the golf course)

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

GolfersCEOs of high-profile (e.g. S&P 1500) corporations are sometimes tempted to shirk their duties. One quite well-tried method of shirking is to leave the office for the day and play golf instead. Thus, as an observer, if you take the position that shirking might in general hamper business performance, an extrapolated question can be asked – ‘Is golf bad for business?’ Researchers Biggerstaff, Cicero and Puckett have investigated such things, and present their findings in a forthcoming paper for the journal Management Science entitled FORE! An analysis of CEO shirking They find that :-

“CEOs that golf frequently (i.e., those in the top quartile of golf play, who play at least 22 rounds per year) are associated with firms that have lower operating performance and firm values.”

And also :

”Numerous tests accounting for the possible endogenous nature of these relations support a conclusion that CEO shirking causes lower firm performance.”

A full copy of the paper can be found here.

Also see:Optimal shirking’
Bonus: ‘2012 Yearly Golfball Patents: A look back’

Optional assignment Although not investigated in the paper, some take the view that golf is actually good for business – in the sense that high-profile CEOs often encounter other high-profile CEOs at the golf course. Discuss

Note: The picture is ‘The MacDonald boys playing golf ‘ by Jeremiah Davison (1695?–1750?)

Removal of a 9-Ring Personal Testicle Device, Medically, in Detail

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

This newly published medical report, which tells how doctors removed a nine-ring personal testicle device from the testicles of the person who had too-successfully used that device, demonstrates how to almost gracefully write (1) a clear headline and also (2) a clear summary:

Scrotum Incarceration with Nine Galvanized Iron Rings: An Unusual Case Report,” Ying-Chen Chou, Chi-Wen Juan, Tsung-Hsing Lin, Chih-Wei Tsai, and Choon-Hoon Hii, Journal of Acute Medicine, epub September 19, 2016. The authors, at Kuang Tien General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan, report:

“In this case report we describe the case of a 36-year-old male who presented to the emergency department with a grossly swollen scrotum. Nine galvanized iron rings were placed around his scrotum for the enhancement of his sexual performance. Attempts to remove them with lubricants, ring cutters, pliers, and orthopedic bone cutters were unsuccessful. Finally, they were removed with a hydraulic bolt cutter borrowed from the fire department. Genital incarceration or strangulation represents a true urological emergency. Removal of such devices can be challenging for emergency physicians and often requires resourcefulness and a multidisciplinary approach.”

The paper goes on to give full details. Here are before-removal and after-removal views of the nine rings:

Microsoft Word - jacme_150_JACME_150_author_V2

Microsoft Word - jacme_150_JACME_150_author_V2

(Thanks to Frank Swain for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS (possibly unrelated): Here’s video of Barry Biggs performing the song “Three Ring Circus”: