Welcome to The Deep science and technology column where we cover topics from the deep sea to deep space and beyond.
Well, I looked in all the files, and didn’t see anything that really grabbed my interest this week until I wandered into the last one: the miscellaneous file. You know, the one where stuff goes that simply doesn’t fit anywhere else. So prepare for a slightly . . . stranger ride than normal.
Our first story is quite timely since we’re heading into the Super Bowl showdowns. So what happens when your favorite team has an upset? Do you get upset too? Well, according to a paper published the Quarterly Journal of Economics you just may get upset enough to beat your wife or girlfriend.
The paper’s authors analyzed the police reports following 900 regular-season National Football League games and discovered that calls reporting men’s assaults on their wives or intimate partners rose 10 percent in areas where the local NFL team lost a game they were favored to win.
The researchers report that the overall rise in violence between the intimate partners they studied was driven entirely by losses in games that matter most to fans. The timing of the calls to police also indicated that violence occurred within a narrow window roughly corresponding to the final hour of a game and the two hours after.
The authors compared the pre-game betting odds to the game results of regular-season games for six NFL teams — the Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans — between 1995 and 2006. This information was matched to records collected from 763 jurisdictions in the relevant states from the National Incident-Based Reporting System, a database of local police reports.
In one-third of the games they tracked, the local team was expected to win by four or more points. When the favored team lost, however, analysis revealed a spike in reports of violence by men against a female partner at home, as compared to weeks the home team didn’t have a game.
So . . . guys, here’s my new mantra for all you sports freaks out there. “It’s only a game. It’s only a game! It’s only a GAME!”
And now, as promised, something completely different! We all remember the news stories about how restaurants pouring oil and grease down their drains caused some big problems in Tumon, but I wondered at the time how slippery grease could block the drains. Now researchers from North Carolina State University have discovered something totally unexpected. Apparently, the fat, oil and grease (FOG) turns into soap!
I’m from far enough back in the sticks that my great-grandmother still made soap and I know that it’s made from FOG (in her soap it was pork fat) and sodium hydroxide, better known as lye. You can also make soap with calcium hydroxide, better known as slaked lime and that’s what’s happening in our sewers.
The researchers say that the FOG must be broken down into its constituent parts: glycerol and fatty acids. The fatty acids then react with calcium in the sewage collection system to form the hardened deposits.
Give the amount of calcium in Guam’s water system; I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that the sewers of Tumon are full of hardened soap. I wonder if we could turn it into a tourist attraction?