Is integer arithmetic fundamental to mental processing?: the mind's secret arithmetic.
Unlike the ability to acquire our native language, we struggle to learn multiplication and division. It may then come as a surprise that the mental machinery for performing lightning-fast integer arithmetic calculations could be within us all even though it cannot be readily accessed, nor do we have any idea of its primary function. We are led to this provocative hypothesis by analysing the extraordinary skills of autistic savants. In our view such individuals have privileged access to lower levels of information not normally available through introspection. (+info
An evaluation of a theatre production to encourage non-smoking among elementary age children: 2 Smart 2 Smoke.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of a theatre production on smoking-related attitudes, norms, and intentions of children in grades 1-6 (aged 6-12 years). DESIGN: Seventeen schools were randomly selected among 160 that were participating in the implementation of the theatre production 2 Smart 2 Smoke. Schools that participated in the theatre production after 3 December 1997 were assigned as control schools. Assignment of schools to a given date for the theatre production was a random process. Students in grades 1-6 were surveyed before and after the theatre production and associated activities. The data were examined for pretest-posttest differences and intervention-control differences. The school was the unit of analysis. SETTING: Elementary schools in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. PARTICIPANTS: Students in grades 1-6 in 17 elementary schools. INTERVENTION: Two plays 2 Smart 2 Smoke for grades 1-3 (6-8 year olds) and grades 4-6 (9-12 year olds), respectively, with follow-up activities for the classroom and home. A national theatre company performed the plays at the schools. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Intention to smoke in the future, normative expectations about how many people smoke, functional meanings of smoking, expected outcomes of smoking. RESULTS: 10% more students reported that they would never smoke a cigarette after the theatre production. Students in grades 4-6 showed changes in the functional meanings and expected outcomes of smoking. Students in grades 1-3 showed changes in normative expectations. CONCLUSIONS: Further research on the impact of live theatre productions as a smoking prevention strategy is recommended. (+info
Babes and boobs? analysis of JAMA cover art.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the representation of the sexes in JAMA cover art. DESIGN: Review of 50 consecutive issues. SETTING: JAMA, March 1997-March 1998. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Numbers and nature of covers portraying men and women. RESULTS: Of the 50 covers, 34 depicted humans. 15 depicted women, 13 men, and 6 were of mixed or indeterminate sex. 11 pictures of women included a child and five included nudity. One cover showed a man with a child (not as a father) and none depicted nudity. Men were depicted exclusively in authoritative roles. CONCLUSIONS: Much of the cover art gives strong messages about sexual stereotypes that are inappropriate in modern society. JAMA should consider reviewing its policy for choosing cover art. (+info
The scientist's world.
This paper describes the features of the world of science, and it compares that world briefly with that of politics and the law. It also discusses some "postmodern" trends in philosophy and sociology that have been undermining confidence in the objectivity of science and thus have contributed indirectly to public mistrust. The paper includes broader implications of interactions of government and science. (+info
The myth of objectivity: is medicine moving towards a social constructivist medical paradigm?
Biomedicine is improperly imbued with a nomothetic methodology, which views 'disease' in a similar way to other 'natural' phenomena. This arises from a 300-year history of a positivist domination of science, meaning that objectivist research (e.g. randomized controlled trials or biochemical research) attracts more funding and is more readily published than 'softer' qualitative research. A brief review of objectivism and subjectivism is followed by a definition of an emerging medical paradigm. Current 'inappropriate' medical practices become understandable in this broader context, and examples are given. A constructivist paradigm can continue to incorporate 'objective' clinical findings and interventions, as well as the recent evidence for the doctor-patient relationship as a major contributor to patient outcomes. (+info
Using signs, artwork, and music to promote stair use in a public building.
OBJECTIVES: This study assessed the impact on stair use of improving the attractiveness of a stairwell. METHODS: Observations of stair usage were made in a university building during baseline, 2 interventions, and follow-up. The first intervention involved signs; the second intervention added artwork and music in the stairwell. RESULTS: More participants used the stairs during the music and artwork intervention than at baseline or when signs alone were used. CONCLUSIONS: Improving the aesthetic qualities of a stairwell can increase rates of stair usage in a public building. Designs for buildings should take accessibility and aesthetic issues into consideration. (+info
Emended descriptions of the genus Micrococcus, Micrococcus luteus (Cohn 1872) and Micrococcus lylae (Kloos et al. 1974).
Nine yellow-pigmented, spherical bacterial strains isolated from a medieval wall painting (strain D7), from indoor air (strains 3, 6, 7, 13C2, 38, 83 and 118) and from an activated-sludge plant (strain Ballarat) were classified by a polyphasic approach. Analyses of the 16S rRNA gene sequences of three representatives (strains D7, 118 and Ballarat) indicated that they all belong to the genus Micrococcus. The three isolates shared the highest sequence similarities with Micrococcus luteus DSM 20030T (97.9-98%), Micrococcus antarcticus AS 1.2372T (97.9-98.3%) and Micrococcus lylae DSM 20315T (97.5-97.9%). DNA-DNA reassociation studies clearly demonstrated that all nine isolates belong to the species M. luteus. However, neither their chemotaxonomic features nor their physiological and biochemical properties were consistent with those of M. luteus DSM 20030T. In contrast to M. luteus DSM 20030T, all isolates investigated possessed MK-8(H2) as the major respiratory quinone, and strain Ballarat had an A4alpha peptidoglycan type. On the basis of analyses of their Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy spectra, isolates D7, 3, 6, 7, 13C2, 38, 83 and 118 could be grouped into a single cluster separate from M. luteus DSM 20030T, strain Ballarat and M. lylae DSM 20315T. In addition, all these isolates could be distinguished from M. luteus DSM 20030T by their ability to assimilate D-maltose, D-trehalose, DL-3-hydroxybutyrate, DL-lactate, pyruvate and L-histidine and to hydrolyse casein. Strains D7, 3, 6, 7, 13C2, 38, 83 and 118 differed from both M. luteus DSM 20030T and strain Ballarat by their ability to assimilate acetate, L-phenylalanine, L-serine and phenylacetate. Furthermore, REP-PCR fingerprinting yielded one common band for these strains, whereas this band was not observed for M. luteus DSM 20030T, strain Ballarat or M. lylae DSM 20315T. On the basis of these data, the species M. luteus can be divided into three biovars that are distinguished by several chemotaxonomic and biochemical traits: biovar I, represented by M. luteus DSM 20030T; biovar II, represented by strains D7 (= DSM 14234 = CCM 4959), 3, 6, 7, 13C2, 38, 83 and 118; and biovar III, represented by strain Ballarat (= DSM 14235 = CCM 4960). On the basis of the results generated in this study, emended descriptions of the genus Micrococcus and the species M. luteus and M. lylae are given. (+info
Factor analysis of safety for visitors to a mega-event.
This paper investigated the safety factors considered by visitors to the Kwangju Biennale 2000 and analyzed the correlation between the safety factors and the demographic characteristics of the visitors. Global tourism increased throughout the 1990s, with the biggest surge occurring in the Asia-Pacific region. Long-distance travel is also increasing, and at a rate faster than the global average. The opportunities for event tourism appear to be strong almost everywhere, even though recessions may have an impact on these destinations. Along with this upward trend, competition for more desirable tourists is also surging (Getz, 1997). Therefore event tourism is appearing as a powerful method in the fierce competition around the tourism industry. (+info