Toy-Car-Ride Versus Drugging [Medical Experiment on Children]

August 11th, 2018

What’s the least-worst way to prevent young kids from becoming jittery as they are about to have surgery? This new experiment plays with that question:

The Effectiveness of Transport in a Toy Car for Reducing Preoperative Anxiety in Preschool Children: A Randomised Controlled Prospective Trial,” P.P. Liu, Y. Sun, C. Wu, W.H. Xu, R.D. Zhang, J.J. Zheng, Y. Huang, Y.Q. Chen, M.Z. Zhang, and J.Z. Wu, British Journal of Anaesthesia, vol. 121, no. 2, August 2018, pp. 438-444. The authors, at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China, and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, USA, explain:

This study was designed to determine whether transport of a paediatric inpatient in a children’s ride-on toy car has an effect on perioperative levels of anxiety compared with transport on a hospital gurney with or without oral midazolam premedication….

108 children aged 2–5 yr with congenital heart disease and undergoing first surgical correction were randomly allocated to one of three groups: Group C (transport in a children’s ride-on car), Group G (transport on a gurney without premedication), or Group M (transport on a gurney and received premedication of oral midazolam 0.5 mg kg−1)….

Three categories of interventions have been used to reduce preoperative anxiety: sedatives premedication, parental presence during induction of anaesthesia, and hospital-based preoperative preparation programs. Midazolam premedication is regarded as a reliable strategy in reducing preoperative anxiety, but it can be associated with a number of untoward consequences, such as paradoxical reaction, delayed patient discharge in ultrashort procedures, and some operational drawbacks.7 Parental presence with the child until the completion of anaesthesia inhalation induction is popular in the UK and USA, and it increases the parents’ satisfaction and the child’s cooperation. But clinically, it is less practical in overpopulated Asian countries….

Conclusions—Transport in a ride-on toy car can relieve preoperative anxiety in preschool children undergoing surgery to a comparable degree as midazolam.

BONUS QUESTION (unrelated): What is the horsepower of a toy car?

Tardigrades on Far-Off Planets, Measuredly, Theoretically [research study]

August 11th, 2018

One can rate far-off planets by their cosiness—especially the extremes, good or bad, of coziness—as homes or potential homes to tardigrades. That’s what this study tries to do:

Tardigrade Indexing Approach on Exoplanets,” Madhu Kashyap Jagadeesh, Milena Roszkowska, and Łukasz Kaczmarek, Life Science in Space Research, epub 2018. The authors, at Jyoti Nivas College, India, and Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland, explain:

“Finding life on other worlds is a fascinating area of astrobiology and planetary sciences. Presently, over 3800 exoplanets, representing a very wide range of physical and chemical environments, are known. Scientists are not only looking for traces of life outside Earth, but they are also trying to find out which of Earth’s known organisms (ex: tardigrades (water bears)) would be able to survive on other planets. In our study, we have established a metric tool for distinguishing the potential survivability of active and cryptobiotic tardigrades on rocky-water and water-gas planets in our solar system and exoplanets.”

Maybe Evolutionary Psychology

August 10th, 2018

Here is an essay for use by evolutionary psychologists. Written by Alice Shirell Kaswell, its title is “Maybe—Evolutionary Psychology.”

Maybe—Evolutionary Psychology

by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research staff

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe?

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe, maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe (maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe) maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe—maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe—maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe; maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe: maybe maybe; maybe maybe; maybe maybe maybe maybe; maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe.

This essay was inspired in part by Doug Zonker’s classic treatise “Chicken Chicken Chicken,” and in part by the field of evolutionary psychology. It is, maybe, excerpted from Alice Shirell Kaswell’s book (now in prep) called Maybe—Evolutionary Psychology.

Sizes of cash prizes for science awards (up to $ ten trillion)

August 9th, 2018

ABC News compared the amount of money given to various prize winners. Their report bears the headline “Chart of the day: How cash prizes for prestigious science awards stack up against reality television winners.” They include this remark:

But spare a thought for those who receive Ig Nobel Prizes. The awards — honouring achievements that make you laugh, then think — came with 10 trillion Zimbabwe dollars.

This is the chart ABC prepared:This is a picture of a ten trillion dollar bill:

Automated password generation of offensive expressions

August 9th, 2018

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) offers users an online ‘Choose and Book’ service for making appointments. When a user creates an account, the software automatically creates a two word passphrase – but not everyone is happy. Professor Simon de Lusignan MSc MD FBCS CITP FRCGP for instance (currently Professor of Primary Care & Clinical Informatics / Chair in Health Care Management / Head of the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine at the University of Surrey, UK) cites an example provided by a patient :

“The two words generated for this patient were ‘Poppy’ and ‘Cock’. The patients felt this was offensive and complained. ‘Poppycock’ means nonsense or rubbish and is generally used as an expletive. It was first recorded in the mid-19th century in America. It was thought by some to derive from the Dutch word for soft faeces ‘PappekaK’ though the authenticity of this is challenged. Instead it is more likely to be derived from the Dutch expression: ‘Zo fijn als gemalen poppekak’, – used to imply excessive religious zeal; but literally translated meaning ‘As fine as powdered doll s**t’

See: Automated password generation of offensive expressions: Choose and Book and Poppycock Informatics in Primary Care,16:241–2

Note: The professor’s observation is now ten years old. Is the Choose and Book service still generating inappropriate passphrases? If you have been assigned one, please get in touch.