Feline Fatal Attraction

GermyCat

I’ve long maintained that toxoplasma gondii is a pernicious parasite, and that folks with outdoor cats are taking a huge health risk.  Turns out there’s solid research backing my opinion.

The psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey agrees… His opinion stems from decades of research into the root causes of schizophrenia. “Textbooks today still make silly statements that schizophrenia has always been around, it’s about the same incidence all over the world, and it’s existed since time immemorial,” he says. “The epidemiology literature contradicts that completely.” In fact, he says, schizophrenia did not rise in prevalence until the latter half of the 18th century, when for the first time people in Paris and London started keeping cats as pets. The so-called cat craze began among “poets and left-wing avant-garde Greenwich Village types,” says Torrey, but the trend spread rapidly—and coinciding with that development, the incidence of schizophrenia soared.

Since the 1950s, he notes, about 70 epidemiology studies have explored a link between schizophrenia and T. gondii. When he and his colleague Robert Yolken, a neurovirologist at Johns Hopkins University, surveyed a subset of these papers that met rigorous scientific standards, their conclusion complemented the Prague group’s discovery that schizophrenic patients with Toxo are missing gray matter in their brains. Torrey and Yolken found that the mental illness is two to three times as common in people who have the parasite as in controls from the same region.

When’s someone going to do toxo testing on cat ladies?

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Ooo, ooo! I have a better idea!

Those wily Brits have identified some major stumbling blocks in their education system:

Schools are removing analogue clocks from examination halls because teenagers are unable to tell the time, a head teachers’ union has said.

Teachers are now installing digital devices after pupils sitting their GCSE and A-level exams complained that they were struggling to read the correct time on an analogue clock.

TheClockmaker

It gets worse

Earlier this year, a senior paediatric doctor warned that children are increasingly finding it hard to hold pens and pencils because of an excessive use of technology. …”It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes. Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil.”

My remedy?  Establish some simple prerequisities: if you can’t hold the pencil, or read the analog clock, you fail the exam.

What a bunch of lightweights.

Tip from the GeekPress.

Silicon Valley meets the Urban Chicken Movement…

and does it in style.

ABlow-DriedChicken

It’s not uncommon here to see chickens roaming in their owners’ homes or even roosting in bedrooms, often with diapers on, according to Leslie Citroen, 54, one of the Bay Area’s most sought after “chicken whisperers,” who does everything from selling upscale chickens and building coops to providing consultation to backyard bird owners. Her services cost $225 an hour. Want a coop and walk-in pen (known as a run)? You can expect to pay $4,000 to $5,000 for a standard setup.

Fools and their money.  But as Kid Creole and the Coconuts sang “Whatcha gonna do when the money’s all gone?”

Tip from the Instapundit, where not everyone is willing to just give in to the absurdity.

Maybe NOT every job will be automated

Turns out there may be an upper limit to automating retail businesses.  When confronted with self-serve checkouts, many folks turn into thieves:

“There is NO MORAL ISSUE with stealing from a store that forces you to use self checkout, period. THEY ARE CHARGING YOU TO WORK AT THEIR STORE.”

It’s so pervasive that it’s not even called shoplifting any more; it’s “external shrinkage.”

TheBananaTrick

This is going to continue until retailers wise up to the idea that it’s cheaper to have a flesh-and-blood cashier ringing up–and collecting payment for–purchases, than it is to have the stuff just walk out the door.

Tip from the Geek Press.

Pandas

I just learned about the Chinese craze for pandas from Albinotronix, a new blogfollower, whose blog, The Curious Guy, is even more wide-ranging than mine.  I was particularly struck by his pithy summary of panda evolutionary foolishness:

Take a moment to think about this magnificent species

  • For no reason they decided to turn herbivores
  • For no reason they decided to stop reproducing

panda-bamboo
So this makes pandas the vegan hipsters of the Animal Kingdom. I shall henceforth refer to such persons as “Pandas.”

OK, so I’m just a little “fabulous.”

“Plus sized” is out, “fabulously sized” is in.  This is the latest spin from K-Mart:

Now, in a push to move beyond labels, Kmart is calling their line of plus-size fashions “Fabulously Sized.” This comes at a time when body-positivity and inclusivity is on the rise with fashion shows adding curvier models and celebs fighting back against body shaming.

Curvier models?  Curvier?  Only if they’re trying to hook up with one of these guys:

BibendumMichelinpillsbury-doughboystay-puft

 

 

 

Tip from the ever-skeptical Sarah Hoyt at the Instapundit.