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JumpingJack
23144.  Fri Aug 26, 2005 6:53 am Reply with quote

The newspapers are much duller than they used to be but there's almost always something QI in them. This is the place to put any news nuggets you may find.

Please provide a source and a date.

 
JumpingJack
23146.  Fri Aug 26, 2005 7:23 am Reply with quote

I'll start it off when I have a moment.

 
JumpingJack
23150.  Fri Aug 26, 2005 7:41 am Reply with quote

Friday 26th August

Autism

No one knows what causes autism and there is no known cure for it though stories of miracle cures are common. Swimming with dolphins, prism therapy, crystal therapy, megavitamins and the injection of pig hormones all have their adherents.

Pig hormones, in the form of Secretin, have recently fallen out of favour. Research done at the University of North Carolina suggests that they may be no more effective than salt water.

More than 500,000 people in the UK are autistic. Autism is not usually diagnosed until a child is three or four and boys are four times more likely to be autistic than girls.

s: TDT

 
JumpingJack
23151.  Fri Aug 26, 2005 7:50 am Reply with quote

Friday 24th August

The Queen's Pigeon

Like her mother before her, the Queen is a lifelong pigeon-fancier with about 160 birds in her loft at Sandringham. The Royal Loft was started after a gift of racing pigeons from Leopold, King of the Belgians, to the future King Edward VII.

The Queen is Patron of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association and enters her pigeons for races. One of her prize birds was recently lost on a training flight, practising for next month's big 12,000 prize race from St Malo to Malvern.It is feared the bird may have been eaten by a sparrow hawk but it is not unheard of for racing pigeons to turn up again after going AWOL for a year.


s: TDT

 
JumpingJack
23152.  Fri Aug 26, 2005 8:07 am Reply with quote

Friday 24th August

Soil

A thimbleful of soil contains at least a million different species of bacteria, about 100 times more than had been previously thought.

It is estimated that a ton of garden soil contains aout 10,000 trillion single celled organisms (called prokaryotes). This compares to a mere 100 billion stars in our galaxy.

Suicide

Monday is the most popular day of the week for suicide in Britain, as it also is in the USA and Japan.

However, the most popular individual day for suicide in the UK in the ten years between 1993 and 2002 was the start of the new Millennium, January 1st 2000, which was a Saturday. 23 people (18 men and five women) killed themselves that day. The average is about 10 suicides a day.

The only day in those ten years when no suicide was recorded in Britain was Comic Relief's Red Nose Day, Friday 16th March, 2001.

Three quarters of British suicides are by men. The suicide rate is at its lowest since 1973, but this is thought to be because new regulations have made it harder to buy the right kind of pills in suffiecient quantity, not because people are getting happier.

The most suicidal town in Britain is Blackpool and for some reason other seaside towns are disproportionally represented in the suicide figures. The next most suicidal are Torbay, Middlesborough, Brighton and Hove, Conwy, Boston, Eastbourne, Neath/Port Talbot, Wyre Forest and Barrow in Furness.

s: TDT

 
Jenny
23162.  Fri Aug 26, 2005 8:58 am Reply with quote

Quote:

The most suicidal town in Britain is Blackpool


And is anybody surprised?

 
Jenny
23167.  Fri Aug 26, 2005 9:16 am Reply with quote

Oddly enough, there's an article about in my local paper, the Portland Press Herald, today.

It says that although nobody knows for sure what causes autism, and there is no proven link between the disorder and an environmental trigger, there is a strong genetic link.

The head of the Seaver Autism Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, Dr Erric Hollander, says that the identical twin of a child with autism has about a 65% chance of having autism and about a 90% chance of having one of the autism-spectrum disorders, including Asperger's syndrome. Siblings also have a higher risk, especially boys - boys are four times more likely than girls to be autistic.

However, there doesn't seem to be a single gene involved. Scientists are now looking at genes that affect specific symptoms, and at interactions between groups of genes. There are also complex factors involved.

Dr Judith Miles, head of medical genetics at the University of Missouri, says that some children are autistic because their genetic inheritance guides their brains to develop atypically. In other cases, environmental insults such as toxins or developmental mishaps from other causes may also push a child into autism, although these children may also have signs that something else went wrong during development. About 20% of autistic children have abnormally small heads or malformed facial features, ears or hands. These children are more prone to have seizures and low IQs and to remain nonverbal past age 8.

Another pair of scientists, Dr John Constantine and Dr Richard Todd of Washington University, are studying the similarities and differences in autistic disorders, to try and narrow down the genes responsible for the delay in language development or hand-flapping. The measure of autism is usually the inability to cope with the real world. Dr Hollander says 'People can be different without having a pathology. It's only a disorder if it causes stress or interferes with function.'

Another lead being followed at the moment is a genetic link that may be responsible for the characteristic bad reaction of autistic children to overstimulation - which for them often happens at a far lower level than other children. Researchers at Duke University have implicated a pair of faulty neural off-switches in part of the GABA system, responsible for inhibiting nerve-cell function and involved in early brain development. Another genetic lead is the serotonin transporter gene, SERT. About 25% of children with autism have high levels of serotonin in their blood.

 
Jenny
23168.  Fri Aug 26, 2005 9:24 am Reply with quote

Sorry - all that was probably TMI! I have a particular interest in this though, as both my sons are dyspraxic, which is a developmental disorder on the autistic spectrum. In my younger son's case, it was picked up when he was about twelve, and we had some therapy that helped, and he is also helped by taking a slow-release ritalin tablet every day. Please don't make any remarks about drugging children - he didn't start taking it until he was 17 and it wasn't for 'bad behaviour' as he was never badly behaved - but it has made a huge difference to his functioning that's very observable by us. In fact we won't let him drive unless he has taken his pill for the day as he really is far less safe without it. I wish we'd discovered it earlier, as he might have done better in school that way. As it is, it's helping him to function very well as an apprentice plumber, a job that will never be outsourced to India or China!

I wish we had discovered this for my elder son, who is currently yet again unemployed in Watford. He had, now I look back on it, some very mildly autistic traits as a very young child - especially the bad response to things like loud noises and the hand-flapping thing, and some mild language delay. However, he was always sociable, although he didn't have then and still doesn't to this day always have a sense of what is and isn't an appropriate way to interact with people. However, he's not even like a person with Asperger's, and he's friendly and sociable and has friends, which is very unautistic. Like all dyspraxics, organisation (or rather lack of it) is his big problem.

TMI again and I'm rambling, so I'll stop now!

 
JumpingJack
23220.  Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:53 pm Reply with quote

Not at all TMI, Jenny.

Very QI.

And unlike, my own information, gathered from direct personal experience rather than the Daily Telegraph.

 
JumpingJack
23241.  Sat Aug 27, 2005 3:09 am Reply with quote

Saturday August 27

Nothing QI in the Daily Telegraph today, that I can see.

How do they manage to achieve this?

 
JumpingJack
23252.  Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:01 am Reply with quote

Had another squint at today's Daily Telegraph but it is still boring.

Instead, here's some late breaking news from 11 years ago:

Quote:
The Agriculture and Food Research Council wants turkeys to be given colour televisions to reduce stress.


s: IoS 11.12.94


Last edited by JumpingJack on Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:05 am; edited 1 time in total

 
JumpingJack
23254.  Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:03 am Reply with quote

And another one from the same source:

Quote:
More than four times as many Americans this century [the 20th] have died in road accidents than have been killed in battle.


s: IoS 11.12.94

 
JumpingJack
23255.  Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:04 am Reply with quote

And another:

Quote:
John Wilson, from Crieff, Tayside spent 30 years among the Karamajong tribe of Kenya and found 570 words similar to Gaelic.


s: IoS 11.12.94

Ee, they don't write newspapers like they used to.

 
Jenny
23286.  Sat Aug 27, 2005 10:12 am Reply with quote

Well if you will read the Daily Telegraph, Jack, what can you expect?

 
JumpingJack
23290.  Sat Aug 27, 2005 10:29 am Reply with quote

I've no answer for that. Pathetic, ain't it.

That's why I spend most of my time reading the OED and Lewis and Short. They never let me down.

 

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