Posts categorised ‘Quite Interesting’

Link: “What the Science on Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Kids Really Shows”

Original post found at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-the-science-on-gender-affirming-care-for-transgender-kids-really-shows/

Basically: the side effects of hormone blockers are nowhere near as bad as the impact on trans kids’ mental health of being denied access to gender-affirming care. I think back to the Australian Story ep I watched on the Royal Children Hospital Melbourne’s Gender Service (see relevant link post) and I just feel like that model of care should be available in more places.

Link: “Twitter thread: ‘Today in my general relativity class I got to talk about my favorite SUPER WEIRD COSMOLOGY FACT…’” by Katie Mack @AstroKatie

Original post found at: https://nitter.net/AstroKatie/status/1516548836709343238

Neat little fun fact here – a galaxy that is much further away than another one, actually appears bigger in our night sky than the closer one, because the universe was much smaller then so the light we’re seeing is coming from a time when that galaxy occupied a proportionally much larger chunk of the universe 🤯

Link goes to the Nitter alternative frontend rather than Twitter itself, because I found the link through Mastodon and the person there linked to Nitter. Sorry if that bothers you!

Link: “Are plastic containers safe for our food?”

Original post found at: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/18/are-plastic-containers-safe-to-use-food-experts

Not a new article, but I came across it today from this Reddit discussion(external link) about how plastic containers shouldn’t be microwaved (even the ones that say it’s fine) because the chemical bonds of plastic start to break down under heat, leeching plastic particles (including microplastics) into your food. I’ve heard this before, but kind of always brushed it off because TBH a huge amount of what I eat is meal-prepped food reheated in plastic containers so this microplastics stuff was really not something I wanted to be true 😂 But maybe it’s time to stop sticking my head in the sand and switch over to glass…

Link: “Cats learn the names of their friend cats in their daily lives”

Original post found at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-10261-5

I love this study! And its results are not surprising at all, considering how Gidget reacts when she hears the name of her nemesis, Gracie! 😆 Basically, the experiment involved household cats hearing the name of a cat that they knew, and shown a picture of a cat that either was that cat (the congruent case) or a different cat (the incongruent case). Cats stared at the screen longer if the picture was of a different cat from the name they heard, presumably because they were confused why it wasn’t the right cat, which suggests they know the names of other cats in the first place. The researchers also did a version of the experiment where they used the names and faces of the cats’ humans instead (which showed a similar effect but weaker).

That said, I think my favourite part of this paper was this:

One cat completed only the first trial before escaping from the room and climbing out of reach.

Link: “Altruism in birds? Magpies have outwitted scientists by helping each other remove tracking devices”

Original post found at: https://theconversation.com/altruism-in-birds-magpies-have-outwitted-scientists-by-helping-each-other-remove-tracking-devices-175246

During our pilot study, we found out how quickly magpies team up to solve a group problem. Within ten minutes of fitting the final tracker, we witnessed an adult female without a tracker working with her bill to try and remove the harness off of a younger bird.

Within hours, most of the other trackers had been removed. By day 3, even the dominant male of the group had its tracker successfully dismantled.

Thanks to Miraz(external link) for making sure I saw this! Magpies are awesome 😃

I liked this quote, attributed to Rebecca Solnit, from this article ruminating on the longevity of trees(external link):

There’s an Etruscan word, saeculum, that describes the span of time lived by the oldest person present, sometimes calculated to be about a hundred years. In a looser sense, the word means the expanse of time during which something is in living memory. Every event has its saeculum, and then its sunset when the last person who fought in the Spanish Civil War or the last person who saw the last passenger pigeon is gone.

Link: “Animated Changes in Population 10000 BCE to Present”

Original post found at: https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/b3frhb/animated_changes_in_population_10000_bce_to/

This Reddit post spawned some super interesting discussion and really I just want to go through it all with a fine-toothed comb and learn everything about what these population booms and busts over time tell us about the history of the world 😇 The graphic itself may not be super accurate (as you can imagine, we don’t exactly have reliable census figures from 10,000 BCE) but the discussion is great.

a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.