Green and Mean ?!

July 21, 2006

Tesla Motors has gotten a lot of press lately from Wired.com, CNET, Red Herring and others. They have built the first all electric performance roadster. 0-60mph in about 4 seconds, 250 miles per charge a top speed of over 130 mph and  a battery that lasts 100 000 miles.  No emissions.  135 mpg equivalent.  All this on a three -hour charge.  For only 80k.  Not bad.  The development story  at Wired.com is fascinating.  I will be passing the hat shortly, although they say that a sedan is in the works. 

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Advertisements
ScienceDaily: Baby’s First Stool May Provide Clues To Fetal Alcohol Exposure
Fetal alcohol exposure is usually determined through self-reported maternal consumption. Self-reported drinking, however, is often an unreliable measure. Researchers have found that the presence of certain fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs) in meconium may provide a dependable biomarker of fetal alcohol exposure.

The test involves taking small samples of meconium and doing a gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis.  This techniques separates different chemicals based on their mass.  The data from the analysis can be interpreted to show how much of a given chemical is present.  In this case the FAEE ethyl linoleate (formed when ethanol – alcohol – reacts with the fat linoleaic acid) concentration in the meconium is an accurate indicator of how much alcohol a mother has consumed during pregancy.

Although it is not discussed in the article, I imagine that this technique could be used to determine whether or not there is a “safe” level of alcohol consumption for pregnant women.

Technorati Tags: ,

ScienceDaily: Doctors Treating Pain From Circumcision More Seriously

One of the first things most little boys in the U.S. experience is something they’ll never remember – circumcision – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a painful experience. The debate over whether infants feel pain has ended, and the positive conclusion is catching up with obstetrical, pediatric and family physician training programs, 97 percent of which now learn effective pain relief techniques for circumcision. Just 10 years ago, only 71 percent learned how to ease pain during the brief surgical procedure.

Ummm, about freakin’ time.

Technorati Tags: ,

They called me a child pornographer | Salon Life

Jody Jenkins has tells a terrifying cautionary story about his ordeal of being accused of child pornography.  A drugstore employee called the police after developing some nude photos of the kids taken while on a camping trip.  The family, children included, were subject to lengthy questioning, as were their friends and teachers.  The police and family services treated them as though they were guilty from the start, and they were not even allowed to see the photos that were being used against them as evidence (the children took a bunch of photos, so Jenkins wasn’t even aware of all the pictures that had been taken).

As someone who loves to take pictures of my son, this is definitely a scary story.  Does this sort of thing enter your mind when you are photographing your children? 

Technorati Tags: , ,

ScienceDaily: Number Of Indoor Swimming Pools Per Capita Linked To Rise In Childhood Asthma

The prevalence of childhood asthma
and wheeze rises around 2 to 3 per cent for every indoor swimming pool
per 100,000 of the population across Europe, indicates research
published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The researcher are indicating that the important factor here is inadequate ventilation for the pools, which leaves high levels of chlorine and chlorine by-products in the pool air.  They are calling for studies of the long-term effects of the compounds on children’s respiratory systems.


Still Smoking Mom?

July 19, 2006

ScienceDaily: Nicotine Exposure During Development Leads To Hearing Problems
Scientists know that children of women who smoke during pregnancy can develop hearing-related cognitive deficits. For the first time, researchers believe they have evidence that not only implicates nicotine as the culprit, but also shows what the substance does to the brain to cause these deficits.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Science Daily 

To give your child an incentive to take out the garbage, you might offer to buy her a treat, or you might threaten to withhold her regular allowance. Does the child respond the same way to reward as it does to avoiding punishment? Psychologists have evidence from certain kinds of behavioral experiments to believe that avoiding punishment is itself a reward.

This one is tricky, but it seems as though the same part of the brain is activated when one earns a reward or avoids a punishment.