FREAK-est Links

  1. Department of Obvious? Restaurants seat good-looking patrons at the best tables. (HT: Cyril Morong)
  2. Tel Aviv University discovers a bacteria-killing protein that could replace antibiotics. 
  3. The Gates Foundation condom-design contest winners: beef tendon and a “wrapping” condom.
  4. Mass killers want the spotlight: how to stop them.
  5. For lab rats, Oreos are as addictive as cocaine. (HT: V. Brenner)
  6. New research says “intrasexual competition” intensifies female aggression.

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  1. James says:

    Re the addictive Oreos and ““That may be one reason people have trouble staying away from them…”: It’d be interesting to hear ideas on why a lot of us have absolutely no difficulty staying away from them, or from other supposedly addictive things.

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    • Armando says:

      Because you don’t like them?

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      • James says:

        It’s not that I don’t like Oreos. I might eat them if they’re around, even buy the occasional package, say about one a year. Wouldn’t exactly call that an addiction, would you?

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    • Steve Cebalt says:

      Hi James: Good question why some people avoid addiction while others succumb. My sense is that it is a combination of innate variations in brain chemistry, just like some people have male-pattern baldness and others don’t; combined with a compulsion to self-medicate as a (dysfunctional) way of coping with life traumas.

      The word addiction is overused though. Not all addictions are bad, and among the bad ones, not all are equally bad. I believe the word should be used with greater clarity.

      Using economic terms, addictions are simply bad math in calibrating the ratio of pain and pleasure in life.

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  2. Anon says:

    Re: #2. The full article on that is here:

    This sounds like another case of a university press officer getting a little too hyped about research and putting a sensationalist title on a press release. It is extremely unlikely this protein would be used to replace any current antibiotics.

    Of note, the bacteria-killing protein is a 51 amino acid protein which has function inside the cells, getting a 51 amino acid protein inside cells is exceedingly difficult. Also the PNAS article barely mentions using this protein as an antibiotic, rightly so, instead they focus on using this protein to understand bacteria better and develop other different antibiotics later (which is the most likely use of this research).

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  3. Badger says:

    “Restaurants seat good-looking patrons at the best tables” is based on a quote from Le Canard Enchaîné, which is the French equivalent of The Onion (or perhaps The Private Eye in the UK).

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