Feeds
The Register Columnists

Stephen Juan

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed
The Register breaking news

From what height can you survive a dive into water?

Also in this week's column: What happens when you are executed by electrocution? What type of person is accident-prone? Why do you sometimes lose bowel function when scared? From what height can you survive a dive into water? Asked by Jack Crompton of Liverpool, UK The cliff divers of Acapulco amaze tourists with their …
Stephen Juan, 20 Oct 2006
The Register breaking news

What type of person is accident-prone?

Also in this week's column: At what height can you survive a dive into water? Why do you sometimes lose bowel function when scared? What happens when you are executed by electrocution? What type of person is accident-prone? Asked by Charles Haywood of Cedar Rapids, Iowa "Accident-prone" means one suffers a greater number of …
Stephen Juan, 20 Oct 2006
The Register breaking news

Can stun guns and tasers cause death?

Also in this week's column: Why do we doodle? Can stun guns and tasers cause death? Asked by Ian Leonard of London The chance of dying after being shot by a taser or stun gun is about one in 870. Dr William P Bozeman, professor of emergency medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North …
Stephen Juan, 13 Oct 2006
The Register breaking news

Why do we doodle?

Also in this week's column: Can stun guns and tasers cause death? Why do we doodle? Asked by Leanne Ward of New York City We often do it. We often don't realise it. Often, when caught doing it, we are embarrassed to have to explain it. Surprisingly, these nonsense scribbles we leave behind on notepads, paper margins, …
Stephen Juan, 13 Oct 2006
The Register breaking news

What are the scientific reasons for having sex?

Also in this week's column: How does a cross-eyed person's view differ from others? What can you learn from the sound of someone's voice? What are the most widely practiced religions of the world? What are the scientific reasons for having sex? Asked by Jill Howard of Alexandria, Virginia, USA The reasons for not engaging …
Stephen Juan, 06 Oct 2006
The Register breaking news

What are the most widely practiced religions of the world?

Also in this week's column: What are the scientific reasons for having sex? How does a cross-eyed person's view differ from others? What can you learn from the sound of someone's voice? What are the most widely practiced religions of the world? Asked by Charlene Dupree of Toronto There are some 4,300 religions of the world …
Stephen Juan, 06 Oct 2006
The Register breaking news

What can you learn from the sound of someone's voice?

Also in this week's column: What are the scientific reasons for having sex? How does a cross-eyed person's view differ from others? What are the most widely practiced religions of the world? What can you learn from the sound of someone's voice? Quite a bit it seems. There is considerable evidence that the sound of a person's …
Stephen Juan, 06 Oct 2006
The Register breaking news

How does a cross-eyed person's view differ from others?

Also in this week's column: What are the scientific reasons for having sex? What can you learn from the sound of someone's voice? What are the most widely practiced religions of the world? How does a cross-eyed person's view differ from others? Asked by Michel Durinx of Leiden, The Netherlands The medical term for "crossed- …
Stephen Juan, 06 Oct 2006
The Register breaking news

Can flossing your teeth prevent a heart attack?

Also in this week's column: Why are people so often in denial? Can your hair turn white as a result of shock? What is the difference between a virus and a bacterium? Can flossing your teeth prevent a heart attack? Asked by Ginger Whitlam of Adelaide, Australia Ask your physician about this one, not a mere anthropologist. …
Stephen Juan, 29 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

What is the difference between a virus and a bacterium?

Also in this week's column: Why are people so often in denial? Can flossing your teeth prevent a heart attack? Can your hair turn white as a result of shock? What is the difference between a virus and a bacterium? Asked by Russell Stapleton of Melbourne, Australia Viruses and bacteria are both capable of killing humans and …
Stephen Juan, 29 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Can your hair turn white as a result of shock?

Also in this week's column: Why are people so often in denial? Can flossing your teeth prevent a heart attack? What is the difference between a virus and a bacterium? Can your hair turn white as a result of shock? Asked by Ingrid Smith of Chatswood, NSW, Australia Theoretically, any sudden severe shock, accident, illness or …
Stephen Juan, 29 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Why are people so often in denial?

Also in this week's column: Can flossing your teeth prevent a heart attack? Can your hair turn white as a result of shock? What is the difference between a virus and a bacterium? Why are people so often in denial? Asked by Ron James of Manchester, UK In the psychological sense, denial is a defense mechanism in which a …
Stephen Juan, 29 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Could you be addicted to the internet?

Also in this week's column: Why are we not irritated by the volume of our own voice? Is there a speed or stride where running is more efficient? Why are so many humans near sighted? Can you be addicted to the internet? Asked by Ian Anderson of Aberdeen, Scotland Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is one of the new …
Stephen Juan, 22 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Is there a speed or stride where running is more efficient?

Also in this week's column: Can you be addicted to the internet? Why are we not irritated by the volume of our own voice? Why are so many humans near sighted? Is there a speed or stride where running is more efficient? Asked by Ville Herva of Espoo, Finland Optimal stride What makes an optimal stride? It seems that nobody …
Stephen Juan, 22 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Why are so many humans near sighted?

Also in this week's column: Can you be addicted to the internet? Why are we not irritated by the volume of our own voice? Is there a speed or stride where running is more efficient? Why are so many modern humans near sighted? Asked by Alan Harper of Oakland, California, USA The eye receives rays of light and bends them so …
Stephen Juan, 22 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Why are we not irritated by the volume of our own voice?

Also in this week's column: Why are so many humans near sighted? Is there a speed or stride where running is more efficient? Can you be addicted to the internet? Why are we not irritated by the volume of our own voice? Asked by Vincent Rot of Heemstede, The Netherlands How can we stand our own shouting? After all, we're …
Stephen Juan, 22 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Are there people with no sense of smell?

Also in this week's column: Why does natural selection take so long to get results? Why isn't pubic hair the same colour as hair on your head? Are there people with no sense of smell? Asked by Lucy Altmann of St Kilda, Victoria, Australia People who cannot smell suffer from some form of nasal dysfunction. Anosmia is the …
Stephen Juan, 15 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Why does natural selection take so long to get results?

Also in this week's column: Why isn't pubic hair the same colour as hair on your head? Are there people with no sense of smell? Why does natural selection take so long to get results? Asked by Colin Jackson of Telford, UK The reader further asks, "when controlled breeding programs can get results in a relatively much shorter …
Stephen Juan, 15 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Why isn't pubic hair the same colour as hair on your head?

Also in this week's column: Why does natural selection take so long to get results? Are there people with no sense of smell? Why isn't pubic hair the same colour as hair on your head? Asked by Hannah Swain of The Hague, The Netherlands Just as with skin, the colour of hair is determined by the amount of melanin in the outer …
Stephen Juan, 15 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Can you become intoxicated by the power of suggestion?

Also in this week's column: Why can't I remember my own birth? Why don't we suffer from e. coli all the time? Why do some people feel the cold more than others? Can you become intoxicated by the power of suggestion? Asked by Jeff Johnson of Sheffield, United Kingdom Mind over matter goes a long way. Reports of intoxication …
Stephen Juan, 08 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Why don't we suffer from E. coli all the time?

Also in this week's column: Can you become intoxicated by the power of suggestion? Why can't I remember my own birth? Why do some people feel the cold more than others? Why don't we suffer from E. coli all the time? How soon does E.coli colonise in the intestines of a newborn baby, and how does it get into the intestines? …
Stephen Juan, 08 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Why do some people feel the cold more than others?

Also in this week's column: Can you become intoxicated by the power of suggestion? Why can't I remember my own birth? Why don't we suffer from e. coli all the time? Why do some people feel the cold more than others? Asked by Mick Higgins of Toronto, Canada Human body temperature is a measure of the body's ability to keep, …
Stephen Juan, 08 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Why can't I remember my own birth?

Also in this week's column: Why don't we suffer from e. coli all the time? Why do some people feel the cold more than others? Can you become intoxicated by the power of suggestion? Why can't I remember my own birth? Asked by Jon Bovard of London, United Kingdom The subject of birth memory is very controversial among human …
Stephen Juan, 08 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

What is a Confessing Sam?

Also in this week's column: What is the purpose of tickling? Why do your hands turn white when you wash the dishes? Why do you sometimes shiver when you wee? What is a confessing Sam? Asked by Casey Filocamo of Edmonton, Alberta "Confessing Sam" is the term in criminal psychology for a person who makes a false confession …
Stephen Juan, 01 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Why do you sometimes shiver when you wee?

Also in this week's column: What is a Confessing Sam? What is the purpose of tickling? Why do your hands turn white when you wash the dishes? Why do you sometimes shiver when you wee? Asked by John Rae of Clapham, United Kingdom Shiver wee? This is not to be confused with chivalry (the valorous qualities of a knight or …
Stephen Juan, 01 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

Why do your hands turn white when you wash the dishes?

Also in this week's column: What is a Confessing Sam? What is the purpose of tickling? Why do you sometimes shiver when you wee? Why do your hands turn white when you wash the dishes? Asked by Erin West of Oyster Bay, New South Wales, Australia</small Human skin is made up of three layers. The outer layer is called the …
Stephen Juan, 01 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

What is the purpose of tickling?

Also in this week's column: Why do your hands turn white when you wash the dishes? Why do you sometimes shiver when you wee? What is a confessing Sam? What is the purpose of tickling? Asked by Lou Portman of Los Altos, California, USA As every child knows, tickling is the act of touching a part of the body so as to cause …
Stephen Juan, 01 Sep 2006
The Register breaking news

What conditions disqualify you from donating blood?

Also in this week's column: What is the seven year itch? What makes a good swimmer? What is diptheria? What conditions disqualify you from donating blood? Asked by Patricia Lowe of Boston, Massachusetts, USA Some people are disqualified from donating blood because they have diseases that are transmissible via blood. Other …
Stephen Juan, 25 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

What is diptheria?

Also in this week's column: What is the seven year itch? What conditions disqualify you from donating blood? What makes a good swimmer? What is diptheria? Asked by Andrew Wallace of Edinburgh, Scotland Most doctors in developed nations have never seen a diphtheria case. It's a wonderful thing that we've come so far. Sadly, …
Stephen Juan, 25 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

What is the seven year itch?

Also in this week's column: What conditions disqualify you from donating blood? What makes a good swimmer? What is diptheria? What is the seven year itch? Asked by Jody Baktoo of Cronulla, New South Wales, Australia A comedy classic film, The Seven Year Itch (1955) starring Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, and directed by Billy …
Stephen Juan, 25 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

What makes a good swimmer?

Also in this week's column: What is the seven year itch? What conditions disqualify you from donating blood? What is diptheria? What makes a good swimmer? Asked by Carl Smiles of North York, Ontario, Canada The best swimmers tend to be tall and thin with long arms, long legs, long feet, and long hands. The size of their …
Stephen Juan, 25 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

Will eating spinach make me strong?

Also in this week's column: Do you feed a cold and starve a fever? What fluids should you drink when it's hot? What is amniotic fluid? Will eating spinach make me strong? Asked by Thomas Glass of Hartford, Connecticut, USA The Popeye Effect is the belief that eating spinach will give you big muscles. Unfortunately, this is …
Stephen Juan, 18 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

What is amniotic fluid?

Also in this week's column: Will eating spinach make me strong? Do you feed a cold and starve a fever? What fluids should you drink when it's hot? What is amniotic fluid? Asked by Giulia Rossi, age 13, of Rome, Italy As any baby could tell you (if they could talk), amniotic fluid is the clear, yellowish liquid that …
Stephen Juan, 18 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

Do you feed a cold and starve a fever?

Also in this week's column: Will eating spinach make me strong? What fluids should you drink when it's hot? What is amniotic fluid? Do you feed a cold and starve a fever? Asked by Elektra Filipo of Apia, Samoa Many people are confused about this. According to Dr Andrew Lloyd, an infectious disease physician in Sydney, …
Stephen Juan, 18 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

What fluids should you drink when it's hot?

Also in this week's column: Will eating spinach make me strong? Do you feed a cold and starve a fever? What is amniotic fluid? What fluids should you drink when it's hot? Asked by Andrew Wiseman of Cambridge, United Kingdom The claim is that drinking a cold drink is better as the cold drink comes in contact with the tissues …
Stephen Juan, 18 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

What is the use of the hymen?

Also in this week's column: What are zombie behaviours? Is it possible to swallow while standing on your head? Why do women have smaller feet? What is the use of the hymen? Asked by Marc Savage of Northampton, United Kingdom The hymen (or maidenhead) is a ring of tissue around the vaginal orifice. "Hymen" is a Greek word …
Stephen Juan, 11 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

Why do women have smaller feet?

Also in this week's column: What are zombie behaviours? Is it possible to swallow while standing on your head? What is the use of the hymen? Why do women have smaller feet? Asked by Nick Pettefair of Swindon, United Kingdom On average, human females are smaller in stature, have smaller bones, smaller skulls, and have …
Stephen Juan, 11 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

Is it possible to swallow while standing on your head?

Also in this week's column: What are zombie behaviours? Why do women have smaller feet? What is the use of the hymen? Is it possible to swallow while standing on your head? Asked by Troy Landis, age 12, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin Do not try it! Do not even think about trying it! But it is possible to swallow while standing on …
Stephen Juan, 11 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

What are zombie behaviours?

Also in this week's column: Is it possible to swallow while standing on your head? Why do women have smaller feet? What is the use of the hymen? What are zombie behaviours? Asked by Arthur Wasnegel of New York City Zombie behaviours? Sounds like the action from B-grade horror movie. Or perhaps what The Stepford Wives get up …
Stephen Juan, 11 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

Was human skin really used in book binding?

Also in this week's column: Does thumb-sucking run in families? Will eating crusts make your hair grow curly? How do I taste things? Was human skin really used in book binding? Asked by Jill Pascoe of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia The use of human skin to bind books would disgust us today, but it was fairly widely practiced …
Stephen Juan, 04 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

How do I taste things?

Also in this week's column: Was human skin really used in book binding? Does thumb-sucking run in families? Will eating crusts make your hair grow curly? How do I taste things? This is the work of your gustatory taste receptor cells (TRCs). Taste buds nestle inside the tiny bumps (papillae) you feel on your tongue. Each …
Stephen Juan, 04 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

Does thumb-sucking run in families?

Also in this week's column: Was human skin really used in book binding? Will eating crusts make your hair grow curly? How do I taste things? Does thumb-sucking run in families? Asked by Michael Woodhams of Palmerston North, New Zealand Thumb-sucking is a "childhood body-focused behaviour". Others are nail-biting, scratching …
Stephen Juan, 04 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

Will eating crusts make your hair grow curly?

Also in this week's column: Was human skin really used in book binding? Does thumb-sucking run in families? How do I taste things? Will eating crusts make your hair grow curly? Asked by Jill Rogers of Perth, Western Australia There is no medical evidence to support the myth that eating bread crusts will make your hair grow …
Stephen Juan, 04 Aug 2006
The Register breaking news

Can you die from testing a 9V battery on your tongue?

Also in this week's column: Why doesn't a hangover occur the night before? What issues are there for women in space? Why do babies always seem to have a runny nose? Can you die from testing a 9V battery on your tongue? Asked by Liam Johnson of Frankfurt, Germany Here's Liam's question in full: First the simple question: …
Stephen Juan, 28 Jul 2006
The Register breaking news

What issues are there for women in space?

Also in this week's column: Can you die from testing a 9V battery on your tongue? Why doesn't a hangover occur the night before? Why do babies always seem to have a runny nose? What issues are there for women in space? Asked by Richard Pierce of Lincoln, United Kingdom Menstruation is not an issue in space travel. Gravity …
Stephen Juan, 28 Jul 2006
The Register breaking news

Why do babies always seem to have a runny nose?

Also in this week's column: Can you die from testing a 9V battery on your tongue? Why doesn't a hangover occur the night before? What issues are there for women in space? Why do babies always seem to have a runny nose? Asked by Michael Woodhams of Palmerston North, New Zealand There are at least three reasons why infants …
Stephen Juan, 28 Jul 2006
The Register breaking news

Why doesn't a hangover occur the night before?

Also in this week's column: Can you die from testing a 9V battery on your tongue? What issues are there for women in space? Why do babies always seem to have a runny nose? Why doesn't a hangover occur the night before? Asked by Anna Ro of Newtown, New South Wales, Australia This type of headache is technically called a " …
Stephen Juan, 28 Jul 2006
The Register breaking news

The Minamata disaster - 50 years on

Also in this week's column: Is there any evolutionary advantage in snoring? What is deep vein thrombosis? Can leaving a baby to 'cry it out' cause brain damage? The Minamata disaster - 50 years on It is now 50 years since the most horrific mercury poisoning disaster the world has ever seen took place in Minamata, Japan. In …
Stephen Juan, 14 Jul 2006
The Register breaking news

Is there any evolutionary advantage in snoring?

Also in this week's column: The Minamata disaster - 50 years on What is deep vein thrombosis? Can leaving a baby to 'cry it out' cause brain damage? Is there any evolutionary advantage in snoring? Asked by John Edwards of Hitchin, United Kingdom We have addressed snoring many times in many ways. Points we have not made so …
Stephen Juan, 14 Jul 2006
The Register breaking news

What is deep vein thrombosis?

Also in this week's column: The Minamata disaster - 50 years on Is there any evolutionary advantage in snoring? Can leaving a baby to 'cry it out' cause brain damage? What is deep vein thrombosis? Asked by David White of Ramsgate, South Africa Deep vein thrombosis (aka deep venous thrombosis) or DVT is the formation of a …
Stephen Juan, 14 Jul 2006