Sidelines

    On the record

    “I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.”

    NASA administrator Michael Griffin discusses climate change on US radio.

    “Global temperature is nearing the level of dangerous climate effects.”

    NASA scientist Jim Hansen and his colleagues express a rather different view in a recent publication.

    Scorecard

    Meditation

    Mitch Altman's Brain Machine (pictured) claims to induce a state of deep calm by synching users' brain activity to flashing LEDs and beeps.

    Concentration

    Researchers at University College London have developed a psychometric test to measure proneness to distraction. The test could help employers such as airlines that need staff able to... oh look, a chicken!

    Zoo news

    Cock up

    Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was ridiculed last week when its software automatically removed the word 'cock' from a forum posting about male blackbirds, replacing it with asterisks. Great tits (Parus major) are apparently still acceptable.

    Number crunch

    15 cm is the average length of an erect human penis, as determined by 11,531 measurements.

    12% of men in a survey of 50,000 believed that they had small penises.

    0% of men complaining of small penises in a similar study actually had a 'micropenis', defined as a flaccid length of less than 7 cm.

    Sources: NPR, Atmos. Chem. Phys., makezine.com, Psychol. Sci., Daily Telegraph, BJU Intl

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    Sidelines. Nature 447, 624 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/447624a

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