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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Science News!

It's been way too long since there was a Science News post on my blog, so let's start there, shall we?

New research is showing that the old saw about "nipple confusion" is pretty much bunk. Giving a baby a pacifier when just born does not in fact impede breast feeding. Contrary to popular belief, it reduces the use of supplemental formula. (We'll just put that in the bucket of things I wish I'd known 5 months ago...) This isn't to say that there aren't a lot of things that get in the way of breastfeeding. In fact, two-thirds of new mothers have trouble with breastfeeding. There's also a strong mythology that anyone can produce enough milk, but as someone who has tried EVERYTHING (oatmeal, fenugreek, other herbal supplements, breastfeeding on demand all day, offering both breasts at every feeding, pumping frequently, pumping before feeding, pumping after feeding), I'm here to say it ain't so. Athena's refusal to nurse when tired and finding time in my workday between meetings are my current special challenges.

Meanwhile, there's an interesting post in Freakonomics Radio about the value of being a locavore. Turns out, it's not all that. The better thing to do is give up beef and lamb if you want to have a serious impact on the environment. The good news is that a little corporate pressure goes a long way to improving our food supply. For instance, restaurants like Chipotle are seriously impacting the way that that food is raised, and consumers are actually willing to pay for it.

There's nothing like taking up commuting again to make me long for the introduction of the self-driving car. Some folks say they wouldn't trust a computer to drive for them, but my primary takeaway from commuting is how can we allow these crazy selfish bastards drive on the road with all of us? A technology that may improve things sooner is adaptive cruise control. Looks like this is my next target for my next new car - it must be hybrid or partial electric and must have adaptive cruise control. Luckily, my Prius has several years left so hopefully technology will catch up in time.

In news that isn't science other than it is Robert Krulwich and he and Jad Abumrad are my favorite science news junkies/storytellers ever, there's this truly awesome commencement address from him at the College of the Atlantic that everyone should read.


  • After experiencing my company's Jeeps' Electronic Stability Program, I'd be terrified of driving on roads with American-made self-driving cars.

    By Blogger Anthony, at 11:09 PM  

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