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345589.  Tue May 27, 2008 4:21 am Reply with quote

I know that anecdotal evidence is pretty much the same thing as no evidence at all, but my anecdotal evidence from kibbitzing on my son's conversations would definitely not confirm those findings as far as the OMG and LOL are concerned. Some conversations consist of almost nothing else.

345642.  Tue May 27, 2008 5:14 am Reply with quote

Q: If you use slug pellets in your garden, which animals will you have fewer of?

F: Slugs.

A: Snails.

Research* suggests that slug pellets have no effect whatsoever on overall slug numbers - but they do have a noticeable effect on snail counts.

(Logically, you are likely also to have fewer birds, and other snail-eaters.)

*For instance, the Biodiversity of Urban Gardens projects at Sheffield University, written up in “No nettles required” by Ken Thompson (Eden Project Books, 2006).

345710.  Tue May 27, 2008 6:33 am Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
A few bits from New Scientist (17th May 08)

Internet messaging (IM) speech is "fairly conservative".

I'm with Flash here - this goes against my experience. Which makes it all the better provided that the source is a reputable one - and New Scientist, in general, is.

Most of the people with whom I do IM are over 30, with the main honorable exceptions being my stepdaughter and smiley_fi. And those two - despite both being considerably smarter than your average bear - absolutely do use "OMG", "LOL", "WTF", and such like. Not "u" though - I reckon that is used more in txting than in IM.

I don't use capital letters much in IM, and neither does my stepdaughter - does their eschewal get a mention in the article? And in my experience, the vast majority of people use contractions like "tho" and "cos"; I'm one of that majority, although I wouldn't dare use "thru" in Miss _face's company.

345771.  Tue May 27, 2008 8:07 am Reply with quote

Depends what you mean by 'young' - my daughter's 27 and she doesn't use those abbreviations, and she certainly doesn't use 'u' for you, though like suze she eschews capital letters.

345790.  Tue May 27, 2008 8:25 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
I'm with Flash here - this goes against my experience. Which makes it all the better provided that the source is a reputable one - and New Scientist, in general, is.

I will merely draw people's attention to the fact that these are results of a test examining the IM habits of a grand total of 72 teenagers. I will leave it up to the panel to decide whether or not this is a representative sample of teenagers everywhere.

Perhaps teenagers in Canada* are better spoken than elsewhere :)

*OK, the article doesn't specifically say the teenagers are from Canada, but the research was carried out at the University of Toronto, so...

345798.  Tue May 27, 2008 8:39 am Reply with quote

Personally, I won't reply to text messages unless they open "Dear Sir" and close with "I remain, etc."

345818.  Tue May 27, 2008 9:02 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
Perhaps teenagers in Canada are better spoken than elsewhere :)

Aaaah! Not having seen the original article, I didn't know that the research was done in Canada. Explains everything ...

349074.  Sat May 31, 2008 10:38 am Reply with quote

This goes in the category of "not sure if I thought this or not", but I think I probably would have fallen for the trap.

Question: What causes pins and needles?

Forfeit: Poor circulation

Answer: Nerve compression.

349474.  Sat May 31, 2008 6:48 pm Reply with quote

Nice. Any back-up info to hand?

349534.  Sat May 31, 2008 10:13 pm Reply with quote

What is Paresthesia?
Paresthesia is a term that refers to an abnormal burning or prickling sensation which is generally felt in the hands, arms, legs, or feet, but may occur in any part of the body. The sensation, which arises spontaneously without apparent stimulus and is usually not painful, may also be described as tingling or numbness, skin crawling, buzzing, or itching. Most people have experienced transient (temporary) paresthesia at some time in their lives; it occurs whenever inadvertent pressure is placed on a nerve and causes what many describe as a "pins and needles" feeling. The feeling quickly goes away once the pressure is relieved.

349609.  Sun Jun 01, 2008 5:29 am Reply with quote

Thanks Jenny - here was my original source:


I tried this on all my friends last night (yes, I'm the life and soul of the party), and they all thought it was down to poor circulation - and three of them work for the NHS.

349618.  Sun Jun 01, 2008 6:08 am Reply with quote

There's a myth that anything that's been exposed to radioactivity will glow in the dark. This is of course false, as your eyes have no detectors for alpha or beta particles or gamma rays.

The myth comes from things like the glow-in-the-dark watches that contained radium. You probably remember them from the "radium girls" who painted the radium onto watches and suffered horrendous illnesses. Anyway, the paint contained phosphor as well as radium, which when exposed to radiation gives a green glow - hence the myth.

Great Moments in Science

349748.  Sun Jun 01, 2008 12:10 pm Reply with quote

That's a good one, too.

At the moment I'm mostly preoccupied with the thought of all eggshaped's friends in a room at the same time, and I'd just like to ask: I know I wasn't there, and I accept that - but were any of the rest of us?

350276.  Mon Jun 02, 2008 3:44 am Reply with quote

F is for Fizzy:

One of the aforementioned "friends" suggested that champagne doesn't get one more drunk than the equivalent amount of non-fizzy wine.

The fact has a few caveats though, it apparantly does get one drunk slightly quicker, but after 25-35 minutes the blood alcohol levels of all subjects were the same.

Even better though, while they weren't more drunk, they were acting more drunk; psychometric tests suggested that the champagne people were more squiffy even though they weren't.

The paper cited is The Effects of Carbon Dioxide in Champagne on Psychometric Performance and Blood Alcohol Concentration - Rideout et al. Alcohol & Alcoholism Journal Jul2003.

I have a copy that I'll send by e-mail if anyone wants to check out the data.


Not sure how this could be played, I guess it could be

"Does champagne get you more drunk than wine?"

or a rather nice double-bluff:

"Who acts more drunk, someone who has drunk wine, or one who has drunk champagne"


On an aside, one of my problems with the Fire show was that Clive Anderson always says "I've been on this show before, so I know I shouldn't answer anything" - I know this is a good gag, but it really rubs off on the rest of the guests, leading to them not play the game.

I think we should pre-empt this on the next show featuring Clive, and put a couple of double-bluffs in.

350502.  Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:23 am Reply with quote

If you phrase a question comparing champagne and wine, though, some smart-arse is going to answer that champagne is wine - it's just fizzy wine.


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