1. Chocolate Combats Coughs!
In an article that appeared in the Telegraph and the Guardian, it has become clear that those deviled by lingering coughs need only head for the candy bowl.
Theobromine, an ingredient of cocoa, was found to be almost a third more effective in preventing coughing than codeine - considered the best available cough medicine. Researchers also found that it did not cause any of the potential side-effects of cough treatments, such as drowsiness, headaches or insomnia. Ten healthy volunteers were given theobromine, codeine or a placebo pill, not knowing which they were taking. They then took capsaicin, used to stimulate coughing. Those given theobromine needed around a third more capsaicin to make them cough compared with the placebo group. When they were given codeine they needed only marginally higher levels of capsaicin to cause a cough than with the placebo.
I think we all owe Neil a hearty thank you for that news!
2. When persistent emailers demand attention, there is a new bar for oddness:
Last month this arrived, from Matt, who likes Gilbert and Sullivan and molecular biology, but not necessarily in that order:
Dear Neil, What are your feelings about dressing up as a goat in order to follow someone surreptitiously?Yours a fan Matt
it was followed some days later by
Dear Neil, If I were to actually dress up as a goat and maybe follow you around, or perhaps hang around at the back of your next reading pretending to chew thistle, do you think you'd notice?Yours a fan Matt
not to mention
Dear Neil,So anyway, if someone turned up at a signing dressed as a goat, then do you think you'd be fooled into thinking it was a real goat and try to chivvy it away? Or would you realise it was a fan in a goat costume, and react accordingly? It's a bit of an unfair question, as I haven't specified whether it's a GOOD goat costume or not, but I'd still like your opinion.Yours a fan Matt
Dear Neil, Do you know where I could get a good 'goat costume' from? Yours a fan Matt
today's missive made me blink in horror (well, after I clicked on the link, anyway):
Dear Neil, Here, what do you think of these? http://www.marylen.com/farm2.htm
Yours a fan Matt
What do I think? I suspect an accurate-in-all-particulars Cthulhu costume would be less disturbing than M-53 Rally Ram...
I, for one, am very impressed by the quality of fan Neil garners. Nice enough to link in support of their weirdness. And a handy link at that!
3. Important news for all you comic book readers, and I count myself among their numbers.
no doubt you've already been sent the article from New Scientist (or seen it yourself; you've mentioned you read their site) about how people who think of superman when asked about superheroes are less willing to volunteer their time than people who think of other superheroes, but, in case you missed it, it's at http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996679 (My personal theory is that they are less willing to help than other people because their lives are not enriched by enough comics to make them well-rounded people, not because they are comparing themselves to superman and deciding not to help people because they don't measure up). David
Good old New Scientist...