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Old 03-23-2018, 11:23 AM
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If head trauma is so bad for humans, how do woodpeckers manage?


The column: https://www.straightdope.com/columns...eckers-manage/

Interesting column - I learned a lot.

I noticed two typos, both bolded below. A misspelled word in this paragraph:

As you’re aware, the woodpecker makes its living by pounding its chisel-like beak into trees (20 times a second, maybe 12,000 reps a day), then extracting whatever chow is thus exposed. This is where the lextra-long tongue comes in, variously adapted depending on the species to probe deep crevices in the wood and haul up bugs, grubs, sap, etc.

And a formatting error in this one:

Bighorn sheep, known for their head-butting, may achieve the same result via different means. Hollow cores in their horns are connected to their respiratory tract, which, Myer thinks, enables them to send already-breathed air back through the system a second time. The higher CO<subscript>2<> content of the recycled air would cause their oxygen-hungry brain to retain more blood, again producing inflated vessels and added cushioning.
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Old 03-23-2018, 11:02 PM
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On the subject of football injuries, I seem to recall some kind of study or the like that suggested the best way to reduce all sorts of injuries would be to do away with helmets (and, I think, shoulder pads) altogether. Or did I just make that up?

At any rate, you can't tell me that the main purpose of most of that "protective" gear isn't to make a satisfying "crunch" on impact.
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Old 03-24-2018, 03:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastcheap View Post
On the subject of football injuries, I seem to recall some kind of study or the like that suggested the best way to reduce all sorts of injuries would be to do away with helmets (and, I think, shoulder pads) altogether. Or did I just make that up?
As I recall, the claim is that rather than making them safer their protective gear has encouraged them to ram into each other even harder, to such an extent that it more than makes up for any protection offered by the helmets and so on.
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:34 AM
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So which came first, the tongue-wrapped-around-the-brain adaptation or the rapid pecking behavior?
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:52 AM
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How come no mention of Colibri's 2004 staff report?

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Old 03-24-2018, 03:20 PM
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Ah, good point! I'd forgotten that.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
The column: https://www.straightdope.com/columns...eckers-manage/

Interesting column - I learned a lot.

I noticed two typos, both bolded below. A misspelled word in this paragraph:

As you’re aware, the woodpecker makes its living by pounding its chisel-like beak into trees (20 times a second, maybe 12,000 reps a day), then extracting whatever chow is thus exposed. This is where the lextra-long tongue comes in, variously adapted depending on the species to probe deep crevices in the wood and haul up bugs, grubs, sap, etc.

And a formatting error in this one:

Bighorn sheep, known for their head-butting, may achieve the same result via different means. Hollow cores in their horns are connected to their respiratory tract, which, Myer thinks, enables them to send already-breathed air back through the system a second time. The higher CO<subscript>2<> content of the recycled air would cause their oxygen-hungry brain to retain more blood, again producing inflated vessels and added cushioning.
Fixed.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by eastcheap View Post
On the subject of football injuries, I seem to recall some kind of study or the like that suggested the best way to reduce all sorts of injuries would be to do away with helmets (and, I think, shoulder pads) altogether. Or did I just make that up?
Plus a lot of players use their helmets to tackle their opponents.
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:28 AM
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The thing about pads and helmets not doing much protecting is an example of a common effect (probably has a name, but I don't remember it) with most safety devices. People will adjust their behavior so that the safety increase is mostly eliminated. That'll probably happen if the Q-collar Cecil discusses is implemented.

Some recent rule changes make using the helmet to tackle mostly against the rules. Doesn't mean it still doesn't happen, but hopefully it'll be reduced. That may be the only way to reduce CTE: making the behavior that causes it illegal. And then enforcing it better.
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Old 03-28-2018, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikecurtis View Post
How come no mention of Colibri's 2004 staff report?
Yeah, I was puzzled to see the 2018 date on the column, since I already knew about woodpeckers and their crazy tongues, and I was almost sure I'd learned it from a Straight Dope column. Of course I was actually remembering Colibri's report.
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