Humanities

Occupational Health News Roundup

Reporters investigate worker exploitation and abuse in the H-2 visa program; U.S. labor secretary speaks out on the “on-demand” economy; recycling workers face hazardous conditions and unnecessary injury risks; and some businesses say good-bye to the raise.

Exposing Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) to shorter photoperiods (think winter) for about two months causes the animals to spontaneously undergo daily bouts of torpor during which time they decrease metabolic rate to conserve energy.  New research published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology was designed to examine whether decreases in growth hormone secretion…

Donald Rasmussen: Coal miners’ physician, humble man

Dr. Donald Rasmussen, 87, spent more than 50 years in Appalachia treating coal miners with lung disease. He was at the forefront of efforts during the 1960’s to challenge the establishment’s views that exposure to coal mine dust damaged miners’ lungs.

Technically, the recession is over. So it may come as a surprise to learn that more U.S. children are living in poverty right now than during the Great Recession. To be more specific: About 1.7 million more children live in low-income working families than just a few years ago.

Death by boa constrictor

New research from Dr. Scott Boback and colleagues at Dickinson College (Pennsylvania) shows that boa constrictors do not use suffocation as a primary means of killing their victims. Rather, by measuring blood pressure and heart activity of the prey, they were able to determine that the snakes restrict blood flow in their victims causing circulatory arrest and a…

Because there can never be enough research to illustrate the positive impact of public health policy on people’s health, here’s another one. This one found that comprehensive smoke-free indoor air laws resulted in a lower risk of asthma symptoms and fewer asthma-related doctor’s visits.

Polar bear survival during summer

If you happen to be in the Arctic this summer polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can be spotted spending their time on the sea ice or on the shore in areas where ice has melted. While it is difficult to study the physiology of bears living on the ice, it had been hypothesized that bears living on shore experience…

Marriage Equality!

So, has anything been happening lately? Well, the Supreme Court got a big one right. Marriage equality is now the law of the land, which is a very good thing. There will be pockets of resistance for a while to come, but mostly this news has been met with the yawn it deserves. Of course…

Sydney Padua’s The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is one of the most flat-out entertaining books I have read in a very long time. You should buy this book. Your library should buy this book. Buy a copy of this book for all your friends. What’s all the fuss? TTAoLaB is a graphic novelization…

Another week, another set of posts at Forbes to link here: — Why Do Solids Have Energy Bands? A conceptual explanation of why putting together lots of atoms with electrons in well-defined energy levels leads to a solid with electrons filling broad energy bands. — This Is The Key Distinction Between Magic And Advanced Technology:…