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IQ – Good for the Heart

From the Scotsman (via John O’Hare)

INTELLIGENCE is one of the biggest risk factors in predicting whether someone will suffer heart disease or stroke.

Researchers have found that lower IQ scores are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). But previously it has not been clear how strongly IQ could be used to predict someone’s chances of developing the disease compared with other well-known factors such as obesity and high blood pressure.

Now, a large Scottish study, funded by the Medical Research Council, has found that a lower intelligence score is second only to smoking as a predictor of CVD. The analysis was based on data collected in 1987 in a cohort of 1,145 men and women aged about 55 and followed up for 20 years.

Researchers collected information about height, weight, blood pressure, smoking habits, physical activity, education and occupation. IQ was assessed using a standard test.

In homage to the researchers and to healthy hearts everywhere, here’s Ian Dury.


QI – Good for the Soul

People ask me “where do you get the time for all that blogging?” and the answer is always the same and very simple. I don’t watch much television.
I hardly watch television at all.
Of course regular readers will be familiar with my views on any pile of kak programme containing the word “celebrity” in its title. Dancing on Ice, Big Brother, X Factor – you name it, its all the same to me, absolute and complete Pot Noodle for the eyes and ears. Anathema is too mild a word for all that mindless pish.

This week I watched NO televison, EXCEPT for the brilliant QI last night. I love it. All those weird facts and popular misconceptions put over in such a fascinating and interesting way by Stephen Fry. And yet I have friends who detest this show finding Fry and the panellists generally smug and oh so middle class.

Their loss.

The show though is similar to watching half an hour of very funny stand up comedy. Try to remember a fraction of what was said and it’s like trying to remember where you put your car keys or the date of your wedding anniversary (is that just me?).

One item I do remember was the discussion on gravity. Of course if you drop two items no matter their weight, from the same height they will hit the ground at the same time. I was immediately thinking of Galileo famously dropping the two different sized cannonballs from the Leaning Tower of Pisa but that didn’t actually happen.

What Galileo might have looked like conducting his experiment.

They showed a US astronaut (Alan Bean, Apollo 15) on the moon dropping a feather and a hammer. With the lack of any air resistance they both hit the ground at the same time.

Alan Bean's gravity test

But here was the really fascinating bit. You stand with a bullet in one hand and a loaded gun in the other in a flat clear area, the gun at the same height as the bullet, pointing horizontally and parallel to the ground.

At exactly the same time, you fire the gun and drop the bullet. Which one hits the ground first?

The answer is that they both hit the ground AT THE SAME TIME. It doesn’t matter how powerful the gun is the result is the same.

The horizontal motion of the fired bullet depends on its initial horizontal velocity and the retarding force of air resistance. But its vertical velocity, as well as the vertical velocity of the dropped bullet, only depend on the attractive force of gravity. Gravity causes both bullets to increase their downward velocity at the same rate (g = 9.8 meters per second squared), and both bullets will hit the ground at the same moment. The fired bullet will be far away, of course, but on level ground, both will hit at the same moment.

Of course I cut and pasted that bit!

By the way, d’you know that red stuff that comes out of a steak?

It’s not blood.

It’s myoglobin, a single chain globular protein.

But of course you knew that.