Holiday abdominal perimeters, Snakebitten on the toilet, CEO holiday recitations, Muddy White Christmas

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has four segments. Here are bits of each of them:

  • Increasing perimeters — Some people are big on holidays – bigger than they were before those holidays. A team at the University of Castilla-La Mancha and the University of Valladolid, Spain, sized up some first-year undergraduate nursing students, then wrote about it in a paper called “Preliminary study of the increase in health science students’ body mass index during the Christmas holidays“….
  • A small holiday bite — Little things that happen during any holiday can, thanks to the timing, be especially memorable. So it is with the case of the snake that bit the genitals of a defecating man. G. H. Dijkema at Rijnstate hospital in the Netherlands and colleagues lay forth the details in a report called “Scrotal necrosis after cobra (Naja annulifera) envenomation“. Essentially, this is a simple tale….
  • A new holiday tradition — Some families like to gather to read aloud holiday stories, especially the Christmas tales written by Charles Dickens. But families who are tired of hearing the same old words year after year do have alternatives. Maybe the most profitable is to take a businesslike approach. Yukyoung Kim has identified a heap of stories that – because no one is stopping you – you and your family can read to each other as you anticipate the arrival of New Year. Kim compiled the material as the main chunk of a master’s thesis at the College of Liberal Arts and Convergence Science in South Korea, giving it the title “Study on CEO New Year’s address: Using text mining method“. “CEO”, as most holiday revellers know, is an acronym that stands for the phrase “chief executive officer”….
  • Muddy White Christmas — In contrast to snow blanketing the land in chilly climes, having a White Christmas in some warmer places is a matter of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) precipitating in balmy waters. The CaCO3 drops to the sea floor, coating it with thick, white lime mud. Sam Purkis at the University of Miami, Florida, and team published a study about this, titled “Always a White Christmas in the Bahamas: Temperature and hydrodynamics localize winter mud production on Great Bahama Bank“….


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