Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Ouch: Why getting kicked “there” hurts so much …

August 8, 2012

One of the America’s Got Talent quarter-finalists this year was a nasty guy named Horse.

His talent: an ability (and willingness) to take repeated shots to the  family jewels.

Warning: viewer discretion advised … guys, it may hurt just to view the clip or read the scientific info below..

click for AGT video
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Fortunately, Horse didn’t pass through to the semi-finals.

But, he got me wondering …

Why does it hurt so much?

Here’s the scientific explanation.

Excerpted from mentalfloss.com

More than any other bodily injury, getting hit in the family jewels is probably what every man dreads most … of all the spots on the human body, none register the same kind of incapacitating, end-of-the-world pain .

What causes such inconceivable pain?

Well, for starters, because of nerves, it’s gonna hurt.

Unlike most other parts of your body, though, the scrotum lacks protection in the form of bones, large muscle mass, and fat …. it   absorbs the whole force of the blow all on its own.

Second, the groin has a ridiculously high number of sensory nerve endings, and such generous innervation makes good and bad touches alike very “noticeable” sensations.

And the pain doesn’t just stay down there …  It  radiates throughout the groin and up into the abdomen (and, psychically, out to every other dude standing within a few feet), leading to a weird stomach ache.

This is the work of a phenomenon known as referred pain, which is when a sensation originating at one spot travels along a nerve root to other parts of the body and is perceived as happening there, too.

The pain starts in the groin and travels up the perineal and pudendal nerves and the spermatic plexus … to the abdomen and  around the spine.

* * * * *
Design flaw ?

Why is such a sensitive and delicate body part just hanging there in the open?

The placement of the testicles is inconvenient, but absolutely necessary.

The testes’ job is to produce sperm, and sperm are very fragile. They’re extremely sensitive to high and low temperatures, and must be kept away from the rest of the body.

They can handle human body temps for only one to four hours, or the average amount of time it takes them to travel through the female reproductive tract and fertilize an egg.

Internal testes or any type of significant shielding for them would heat them up too much, too early and make them drop out of the race well before reaching the egg, rendering them useless.

Ken’s Take: (1) OUCH !  (2) Compelling proof that god is a woman.

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Psychology is a science … or is it?

July 26, 2012

Gotta be honest, I didn’t know there was a burning question re: whether or not psychology qualifies as a science.

But, there’s been a flurry of editorials and op-eds over the past couple of weeks, set off by a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, who expressed resentment in an L.A. Times Op-Ed over the fact that most scientists don’t consider psychology a real science. He cast scientists as condescending bullies.

“There has long been snobbery in the sciences, with the ‘hard’ ones (physics, chemistry, biology) considering themselves to be more legitimate than the ‘soft’ ones (psychology, sociology).”

In a follow-up piece, also in the L.A. Times, it’s argued:

Psychology often does not meet the five basic requirements for a field to be considered scientifically rigorous:

  1. clearly defined terminology,
  2. quantifiability,
  3. highly controlled experimental conditions,
  4. reproducibility and,
  5. predictability and testability.

The failure to meet the first two requirements of scientific rigor (clear terminology and quantifiability) makes it almost impossible for most psychology research to meet the other three.

How can an experiment be consistently reproducible or provide any useful predictions if the basic terms are vague and unquantifiable?

Making useful predictions is a vital part of the scientific process, but psychology has a dismal record in this regard.

To be fair, psychology research often yields interesting and important insights.

But to claim it is “science” is inaccurate.

Hmmm.

Makes “marketing science” sound a bit oxymoronic.

Not good news for us marketers.

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Making science cool (again) … dy-no-mite!

October 20, 2011

My daughter-in-law has a group of PhD scientist-friends.

Last summer I was chatting with them about why the U.S. is reportedly falling behind in math and science.

They offered  that the PhD grind is, in fact, a grind … and that comp levels in science are paltry.

My hypothesis: there aren’t enough aspirational heroes for kids these days.

In my day, Salk was a hero vaccinating polio and every kid wanted to be an astronaut.

My prescription: we need more heroes and we need to make school (and science) cool again.

Well, maybe science is getting cool again.

Check out this video from the McGill Cancer Research Center … a fun view of lab science.

See, science doesn’t have to be boring!

                                    click to view

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Thanks to Barbara Gordon & Jess Homa @ American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for feeding the lead

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