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Stop eating your pet's food

Apparently people are eating their pet's food, and they're getting salmonella poisoning in return...

A scientific reference manual for US judges

Science and our legal system intersect frequently and everywhere - climate, health care, intellectual...

Rainbow connection

On the way to work this morning, I noticed people pointing out the train window and smiling. From...

Neutrinos on espresso

Maybe they stopped by Starbucks for a little faster-than-the-speed-of-light pick me up....

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Becky JungbauerRSS Feed of this column.

A scientist and journalist by training, I enjoy all things science, especially science-related humor. My column title is a throwback to Jane Austen's famous first line in Pride and Prejudice

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If you feel like you have an achy breaky heart, you may not be imagining things. "Broken hearts" are indeed real, although in the medical community they go by the much less lyrical name of stress (tako-tsubo) cardiomyopathy.

A recent article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology described stress (tako-tsubo) cardiomyopathy as "a rapidly reversible form of acute heart failure reported to be triggered by stressful events and associated with a distinctive left ventricular (LV) contraction pattern." Oooh, romantic. Shakespeare couldn't have written it better.
Clogged arteries everywhere are taking sides in the sure-to-be epic battle for your cholesterol-induced death.

The Phoenix Sun Times opens the article with the following paragraph: "A battle of the bulge has broken out between two restaurants that feature sexy 'nurses' as waitresses, heart-attack-themed ambiance and towering burgers that would make a vegan vomit." Mmm, a heart-attack themed ambiance? Sign me up!

Several years ago, a guy opened up a restaurant called the "Heart Attack Grill" in Arizona. The HAG's site is jaw-dropping - they have burgers from single through quadruple bypass, flatliner fries, etc. People over 350 pounds eat for free. And the slogan? Yep, "a taste worth dying for."
To get it on or not get it on, that is the question for adolescents and teens. The Bush administration pushed abstinence-only education as the way to go, and anyone daring to discuss safe sex and contraceptives was excoriated. As Bristol Palin can attest, abstinence-only education isn't the slam dunk its proponents claim.

Many AOE programs were preachy, moralistic, criticized condom use, and advocated for abstinence until marriage. Unfortunately for children everywhere, these were the programs that were funded. Anyway, word got around more than Paris Hilton and the idea of AOE fell upon hard times.
Sorry to take the wind out of your sales, parents who use Andrew Wakefield's 1998 paper on MMR vaccine as the cause of their child's autism. Here are three related stories in the news:

BBC

Bloomberg

Reuters

The paper has since been discredited, but it took Lancet 12 years to fully retract the paper. Better late than never, I suppose...although tell that to the kids that got the measles.
Ever feel like you're just one of the sheep, phoning it in every day in your office cubicle? Well, Jean-Luc Cornec is the guy for you. Cornec constructed a herd of sheep out of rotary telephones and their cords, which was on display at the Museum of Telecommunication in Frankfurt. The repurposed phones are oddly perfect in their new form - if you saw the "sheep" quickly out of the corner of your eye, you'd think they were real! Don't be sheepish, it could happen to anyone. Ok, I'll dial back on the jokes. I just wanted to give this artist a ringing endorsement. Hopefully it impressed ewe as much as it did me.
The strangest idea for a reality TV show that I've heard to date comes courtesy of Slashdot this morning. "Terminal illness got you down? Does your future seems bleak? Channel 4 and production company Fulcrum TV would like to brighten your day by making you the star of an upcoming documentary."

A British TV station and production company are "currently keen to talk to some one who, faced with the knowledge of their own terminal illness and all that it entails, would nonetheless
consider undergoing the process of an ancient Egyptian embalming," according to an advertisement.