Definition: Vaginal Seeding (aka microbirthing)

Vaginal Seeding (or Microbirthing)

Vaginal seeding, also known as microbirthing, is a procedure whereby vaginal fluids (and hence vaginal microbes) are applied to a new-born child delivered by caesarean section. … It involves placing swabs in the mother’s vagina, and then wiping them into the baby’s face, mouth, eyes and skin.


It all sounds very holistic and symbolically “romantic” in the sense of trying to bring something artificial a lot closer to natural. It seems plausible that this could imbue the baby with what it lost in artificial delivery compared to natural delivery.

But, alas, the research says not to do it.

The link is in this most fascinating of articles from the BBC.


What’s Your SUBJECTIVE Age?

The innovation discussed

Using how you feel, and really live, to accurately gauge your age, rather than what your birth documents would say, as shown by science. There are real consequences pending your subjective age. This isn’t just some feel good talk about how age is just a state of mind so you can just pretend it to feel younger and better. Age is definitely a state of mind, but one that really exists with you and your lifestyle rather than one you pretend to be for some short time.


What YOU can do with this innovation

Change your lifestyle to be more like that of someone of the subjective age you want to be, and can realistically be. You can extend it to lives over which you have a strong influence.

Continue reading

“Study” on Facebook Narcissism and Insecurity not REAL Research

A hot story has been circulating for a few days now regarding a study done by undergraduate student Soraya Mehdizadeh of York University about how more active users of Facebook are more narcissistic and insecure than the rest of us. Problem is there’s nothing good enough about it to be called either a “study” or “research”.

The media is also to blame. I’m not sure whether to call the editors who allowed it on their popular news sources “stupid” for running the story like it’s legitimate news, or “smart but immoral” for putting it out knowing stuff like that sells, even if there’s no substance to it.

The greatest shame, though, has to go to the “journal” of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking for publishing it as if it were worthy of being called “academic” quality (study PDF). York University should be just as disgraced for letting that pass its standard for “academic research”, push it for publication and then blabber about it as if they had some meaningful research on their hands.

An above average high school student could have done a better job on such a project! Soroya basically did a bad high school project, if you ask me.

Think of that as a challenge for you high schoolers out there looking for a good Science Fair or other project to do. It’s a project that should be fun and engaging if you’re a Facebook fan, and there should be at least a few of you out there who qualify. Then social network together to pool results and get a decent sample size… which Soroya never even came close. And fix some flaws critiqued here.

Here are a few tragic fatal flaws of that “study”.

Lack of sample size with just 100 subjects

For a site with 500 million users, all Soroya can show for it is 100 users? I know it was an undergraduate thesis, but people used to have to work for their thesis, you know? Also, in the electronic media for this day and age, you’d think she could get more than 100 people to do some tests! If you were going to target 100, call it a term project and leave it at that! Don’t go screaming you’ve got a study on your hands and seek attention.

Oh, wait. I think that’s narcissism!

Which professor let that be called research anyway??? Soroya did publicly admit the sample size was a weakness to the “study”, but that’s not a weakness. That doesn’t constitute a study in this case. If I did a study of 1, I could say the same thing. Of course, nobody would call it a study due to the sample size of just 1. So at how many do you call a study, and why? With that many users and statistically significant polls of merit needing around 1000 subjects, 100 subjects is still way too few to be enough data to call a study!

Soroya also had the audacity to talk about gender differences on a sample size of 50 or so people! Did she ever take statistics? And who vetted this to allow it???

All subjects were 18-25 years old

Since when did humans outside of 18-25 years old not qualify as “people”? You can’t draw a conclusion for “Facebook users” on this demographic alone. The media did that more than Soroya, but she implied it enough not to title the study “18-25 year old Facebook users” for a subject group. And were the 100 selected even representative of all 18-25 year olds? There must be literature to determine that “average” to compare to the test group narcissism and insecurity profile. Hey, maybe 18-25 year olds at York are just more narcissistic and insecure than the typical group and uses Facebook as a symptom of it!

You can make that call. 🙂

Causality… or lack thereof

So are more active Facebook users narcissistic and/or insecure? Or are narcissistic and/or insecure people use Facebook more actively? Does Soroya know the difference? In case she doesn’t, let me clarify. The first is what the media story and her so-called “study” suggests. So everyone who uses Facebook more actively are narcissistic and insecure. The second means only some of the people who use Facebook more actively are narcissistic and/or insecure, and that you can’t tell if they are by the level of their Facebook activity.

But that doesn’t sell or cause a stir or make anybody care as people could have told you that on their own instinct and be right. I’m not even sure if narcissistic and/or insecure people use Facebook a lot because you’d also have to look at the ones who don’t use Facebook and see what portion they make up, never mind those who don’t use it much.

Soroya’s pretentious “research” can’t prove any causality, but she comments on all kinds of causality.

If I had to bet on any connection between Facebook usage and narcissism and/or insecurity, though, I’d easily bet on the second reason. I’d bet narcissistic and/or insecure people use Facebook more actively, not that more active users are narcisstic.

Carefully constructed self-image???

Beyond the ridiculous conclusions drawn by Soroya on causality, she then dared to speculate on meanings of symptoms of narcissism and insecurity. For example, the more active users had carefully constructed images of themselves, to project their best features and hide their worst, or that their profile is nothing really like them. Um. Does Soroya even know anything about Facebook usage?

The active users are the ones who get caught for affairs, missing work, lying to their friends, or just plainly do other less than appropriate things. They’re the ones Facebook etiquette guides were written for, cause they’re so blind to what their actions says about them to know better!

Reasons for Facebook usage unaccounted for

Does Soroya have any idea if people in this subject use Facebook for the same reasons as other demographics by any division? I mean, seniors tend to flock to Facebook and social media to be better up to date and involved in the lives of their adolescent or older grandchildren. Is that narcissism or insecurity?

Or maybe it’s love and caring. But wait, that doesn’t sell.

Some musicians I know add friends like crazy not because they care, but because they can show potential promoters and labels a nice base of fan support. Is that narcissism or insecurity?

Or maybe it’s just good old fashioned business and public relations. But wait, that doesn’t sell, either.

Final thoughts

There are many more problems with Soroya’s “high school project”. I don’t need to bore you with more as I think I’ve discredited it enough to make it worthless. I’ll just throw in a few commentaries to conclude.

Who knew it was so easy to get 15 minutes of fame these days?

I wonder what Soroya thought of Canadians possibly being among narcissistic and insecure people in the world. We have 47.9%  of the population connected, a higher percentage than any nation with over 10 million people. We also have the 4th most users in the world (CTV, June 2, 2010), without anywhere near the 4th largest population in the world! Would she have said most of us use Facebook passively like we are on a lot of things? Sure we didn’t all sign up only to be passive, did we?

High school students reading this, or Parents of them, try the challenge I had for high school students at the beginning. Seriously!

And where did Soroya get accepted into medical school? I won’t fault the school in case she didn’t tell them about this work to get in. For the love of God, Allah and the Buddha, I hope Soroya never be allowed to do research until she learns some more about what research is about! Just stick to areas in Med School one only has to memorize things or use one’s hands or something that doesn’t require research type of critical thinking!

But to end positively, congratulations for raising awareness on the Facebook usage issue, Soroya. I just wouldn’t have used sensationalism in the name of research to get credibility and attention.

By the way, Soroya, how did you fare on your own test?

Good luck in Med School. Just don’t tell the media which one accepted you for your school’s sake!



Other Facebook issue posts on my site:

The Prejudices and Privacy Perils of Facebook Quizzes

How to Get Rid of Your Facebook Past

25 Things For Facebook You Can’t Steal My ID With

25 Things You Gave on Facebook to Help Get Your ID Stolen

Una Guía de Netiqueta Práctica para Facebook

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.0

Do Runners Divorce More? (Part 2 – The “Research”)

Article graphic

Running & family conflicts journal article (0.2 MB PDF)

In Part 1 of this mini-series of posts, I asked readers to take a quick sampling of runners they knew, figure out their divorce rate and compare it to the US national average. Now, I will share what the research says on the matter, with a follow up on things to think about soon.

At right is a 1997  academic paper [1] that is part “research” and part literature review on the topic. It talks about leisure-family conflict, with focus on runners because of parameters defined for “serious” leisure activities. If you are not familiar with academic papers, you shouldn’t be surprised there is a paper on something so specific. What you should be surprised at, though, is the poor quality of “research”. The data is old. The sample size is small, despite the pompous self pat in the back by the paper’s author that it was unusually large at 580 people queried and 342 responding (59%). Do you think they could have trouble finding more than 580 runners, even in the 1980s when the running boom was already well under way? The paper is from the Journal of Leisure Research. Seriously, if that were the quality of papers accepted by this journal, I respectfully suggest they change their name to the Journal of Leisurely Research.

I have highlighted some key passages in blue and red within the downloadable file, pending importance, should you want to read it for yourself. I will summarize and talk about the content in more plain language that more people can understand, and add to it.

From a referenced study in 1980, one-third of American families reported stress from leisure conflicts. This is the phenomenon this post is about, ultimately. Divorce is just an outcome. Now, I know life is very different now than in 1980, but this is a phenomenon that is hardly new, and I would argue is only worse today given all our options of leisure activities compared to in 1980.

The one good thing the paper did bring to the discussion was R.A Stebbins’ definition of leisure, which was a little more specific than the definition in the dictionary. Stebbins focused on serious leisure and serious leisure participants by virtue of six criteria (in plain language below):

  1. Participants must occasionally put up with difficulty.
  2. Participants have leisure “careers” with stages of development, turning points, and improvement.
  3. Serious leisure requires effort and application of acquired knowledge, training, and skill.
  4. Serious leisure provides durable benefits such as self-discovery, self-enrichment, enhanced self-image, and belonging.
  5. Participants pursue their activity within their own social circles with beliefs, norms, events, values, and traditions distinctly associated with the activity.
  6. Participants identify strongly with their activity. They speak frequently and proudly of their participation and present themselves in terms of it.

Sound any runners you know? Sounds like quite a few runners I know. That’s why runners were picked as the specific group to study among the many serious leisure participants out there. That, plus runners have numbers, a clock and/or distance by which they could measure improvement. But there’s more, as in the three types of commitment required, as defined by T. Buchanan in 1985:

  1. Consistent behaviour over time that could involve intense focus and some rejection of other behaviours that might be socially beneficial.
  2. Attachment is acceptance of norms and values of a role which has become a central life interest.
  3. Side bets are investments in things which maintain consistent behaviour due to the potential cost of quitting, e.g. practice time, equipment purchases, and friendships with others in the activity.

Now, I didn’t list these six criteria and three types of commitment for you to judge runners you know as being serious or not. If they train at all, they pretty much exhibit all these criteria. Rather, I wanted to show what was involved with serious leisure and its participants. Most people don’t ever sit to think about this, but the serious in serious leisure is well earned when you look at the commitment and sacrifices made, as well as the embracing of the activity into one’s identity. It is this last identity factor, to me, that is possibly the key to potential serious conflicts, like those leading to divorce. The person you know is changing, for better or for worse, because of the leisure activity, rather than just doing it like some repetitive task they don’t care a lot about. Keep this “load on lifestyle” in mind for future discussion.

The most interesting bits of the research paper to this post, albeit the most useless, was a statistic it gave regarding runners and divorce rates. Legendary New York marathon race director, Fred Lebow, had claimed New York marathon runners had a divorce rate 3.5X the national average. It has also been referenced in this most fascinating of articles by the New York Times in Jan 11 1988. The article suggested relationships improve more as women ran more, but essentially countered that point. I’ll talk more about its content in the next and final post to discuss issues more from a psychological perspective rather than a quantitative analysis.

But back to Fred Lebow’s claim. What divorce rate would Fred be talking about, exactly? Surely not the 50% of marriages end in divorce. You can’t have 150% of marriages ending in divorce. Even if it were the more correct 30.5% divorce rate I showed a few posts back, 3.5X that is still 106% and that’s not possible. Fred probably referenced the number of divorces per thousand rate that includes every living person, no matter what age. Unfortunately, he would be cheating because he would have no babies running the New York marathon. Whatever Fred did mean, though, the academic paper should have referenced it. To have left that out was ridiculous!

Equally ridiculous was this paper citing Fred Lebow, by B. Glover and P. Schruder, also citing a poll taken in the Boston area that found 40% of married runners who ran more than 70 miles a week got divorced. Have you tried running 70 miles a week any time? That’s pretty serious mileage for a week, never mind week in and week out. I’m frankly surprised that divorce rate wasn’t 100%. Besides, how many people could they have found to include in that sample to make it have any statistical significance?

Back to this journal paper, though. The paper also pointed out a few more interesting studies regarding what influence running has on relationships. These are quite believable despite lack of statistical data included, though I’m sure the original studies had data. They make for good conversation, regardless.

There is a consistent finding that husbands and wives who share leisure time in joint activities tend to be more satisfied with their marriages (D.K. Orthner & J.A. Mancini, 1990). However, high concentrations of independent leisure activities have a negative impact on marital satisfaction. These authors and others also found that commitment to leisure may result in leisure-family conflict if couples were not accepting of each others’ leisure interests. Some of these conflicts were over the use of leisure time and opportunities for companionship as specific problem areas in families. I can’t say this was surprising to me. Among my personal sampling of runners I knew, there were 4 runner couples, but two runner couples who have divorced. A common passion makes for a natural understanding and appreciation of sacrifices to be made, as well as more potential time to spend together. The runner couples I knew who divorced had two runners at significant different levels of achievement.

The authors of the journal article found that highly committed runners experienced more leisure-family conflict than less committed runners. That’s just more time and sacrifices made so it makes perfect sense to me. They also found runners with spouses less supportive of their running to have more conflicts. Both seem rather “obvious”, but I analogize it to being similar to what professional team athletes face. They just have it a more pronounced degree. I recall some hockey player saying you have to be a little bit selfish as a professional athlete because life doesn’t revolve around you, but a team schedule. Then, all those around you have to also put up with that, on top of your fatigue, practice and other related business like travels. He said without a wife supportive of that, his marriage would have ended up in divorce easily and he was very appreciative how supportive she was. It was an enlightening personal glimpse into the life of a professional athlete I admired and didn’t know or understand. However, I don’t name him here because I can’t remember which one of a handful so I don’t want to incorrectly attribute the quote.

Within the support factor came another interesting study, which was that men were less supportive of their wives running than wives were of their husbands running (K.S. Masters and M.J. Lambert, 1986). This was counterintuitive because a fit woman is a sexy woman, and may be all the more important a factor after she had put on some weight during childbirth. However, it seems a sexist point of view if one participant had what might have been a symbolic reaction, stating he perceived his wife valued running more than “saving her energy for family activities”. We’re over 20 years removed from 1986 now, but I don’t doubt some of that sexism still exist. However, I think it might be a bit of a sexist jealousy factor that they are “the man” and yet their wives were out there being the athlete. We’ll talk about that more next post.

If there were any jealousy, though, it did not come in the form of “side bets”, described above as being things like practice time, equipment purchases, and friendships with others in the activity. That did surprise me because couples show a lot of jealousy about new purchases and strong relationships, especially fun ones, their spouses have with others, whether on suspicion of unfaithfulness or just because they don’t have anything that deep and/or fun in their own lives.

Finally, the authors of the research paper above concluded a positive association between commitment to serious leisure participation and the potential for poor family relations, with runners accentuating this point from research. I’m not sure I’d risk my academic career on that based on the “evidence” they had, but I agree with the claim whole-heartedly based on intuition. You just shouldn’t be allowed to publish in academic journals based on it!

What needs to be done is to get a few race directors of medium-sized marathons, with half and 10K races at the same time, to put it on their forms a question regarding whether entrants have ever been married and divorced. It’s personal, but give people the choice to answer and tell them it’s for a study. Get enough answers to pool together from across the country so there is a small margin of error like those political polls of about 1,000 responses and call it a study. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so, and I might just give it a try!

Any thoughts? Know any multi-race, medium-sized race directors to recommend to me? 🙂

Please come back for the next post when I will bring Parts 1 and 2 together for a closing discussion.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.5




[1] The moderating effect of spouse support on the relation between serious leisure and spouses’ perceived leisure-family conflict

by Stephen J. Goff , Daniel S. Fick , Robert A. Oppliger

Journal of Leisure Research, Vol. 29, 1997, page 47+

Do Runners Divorce More? (Part 1 – Do your own experiment)

runners divorce

You can also try this for runners, triathletes or any other classification of people you know, not just runners. I have it for runners because I know many runners and have research to expand on the subject in future posts.

This experiment works best for people in North American culture because the “normal” rates used for comparison were based on United States 2004 census data. Other cultures have different social influences on divorce and so the national rates are probably different, which will lead to different answers to the question in the title. But it might be interesting to still try and speculate via approximation. In some cases, the answer someone gets will be so vastly different to the national ratio that the conclusion drawn would not be in much doubt. So get a pen or pencil, scrap piece of paper you can write a list on, and give this a try!

List all the runners you can think of.
No need to be too exact to time or capture everybody. You can stop where you start running out of names (no pun intended), but the more names you have, the more confident you can be in your personal experiment.

Cross off the never married people on that list, or anyone you aren’t sure about on that status.

Label the rest as either married to first spouse or divorced at least once.
You might want to keep track of runners married to another runner for an additional consideration. Cross off anyone you aren’t sure here as well.

Count the number in each remaining, then divide the divorced at least once by the total number of people you have.
That’s the number of people not crossed off. That’s because everyone you have not crossed off would have been married at least once.

You can do this calculation on Google by typing a number, a slash, and then the other number, like 23/44 and hit Return or Search.

If your answer is larger than 0.305, then Yes, runners you know divorce more than the national (US) average.

Please remember this is runners you know, not an end all and be all answer. And yes, I’m telling you the US divorce rate is closer to one-third than this mythical 50% due to the way “divorce rate” is measured, and misinterpreted in stating the results in words.

If you wouldn’t mind anonymously sharing your decimal results from above, please take the poll below and/or share your numerical score as a comment. I’d be curious to see some range among the results. The poll is not a scientific experiment, in case anyone was wondering, just a curiosity for me.

My score was 0.5, by fluke where I stopped being with 50 runners and I happened to have had a 25/50 total.

That’s definitely bigger than 0.305, but I don’t have enough people to create a respectable margin or error like those polls involving 1,000 or so people to conclude anything. Chances are, you won’t, either. But that’s why I said above that it’s for your situation only, not an end all and be all answer. I’ll write more by Sunday night to offer some real research on runners and their divorce rates relative to the general population.

Please get your friends to try if you want a comparison to your own that is not a totally anonymous result. This would be more effective with friends who don’t have a lot of friends in common with you because otherwise, it’d be a very similar result to yours. Your friends don’t need to be runners, just some people who know runners.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.1





Data presented came from the 2004 US Census Data, Table 3 for All Races (click to download Excel file).

The common “marriage and divorce” stat everybody knows is that 50% of marriages end in divorce. However, you can’t predict the marriages of runners currently married so that’s a useless baseline standard. What I did was to take the total number of men and women who have ever been divorced, and divided it by those who have ever been married. That’s two things you can figure out about the “marriage” status of people you know, and what you did in the experiment above. So in the US:

75.56 million men ever marry (i.e. married at least once)
22.70 million men ever divorce
0.301 = men who ever marry and end up getting divorced

87.32 million women ever marry
26.95 million women ever divorce
0.309 = women who ever marry and end up getting divorced

162.88 million men and women ever marry
49.68 million men and women ever divorce
0.305 = men and women, combined, who ever married and end up getting divorced

Essentially, these stats encompass all the men and women captured by the 2004 US Census. One could make a good argument the 0.305 value should be lower for this experiment because there wouldn’t be very many runners captured in the over 60 category, meaning some people who may divorce then are skewing the results to the larger ratio than might be to compare with for runners. However, I’ll stand on 0.305 to avoid speculation on a substitute value that would only invite criticism. I think you’ll find the results generally different enough from 0.305 that you won’t care about whether that 0.305 ratio should have been 0.25, 0.305 or some other similar value.

Your age, and thus the likely average age of the running people you know, might affect your result. After all, if you’re younger and know lots of young married runners, they may not have divorced yet (if ever, of course). Divorce takes time if they happen. However, you are comparing it to the general population so you can’t skew it too high, just too low a ratio. For the record, I’m 36 and about 2/3 of my list was older than me.

The degree of commitment shown by the runners you know, probably of some correlation to how good they are and/or the distance they run, could well be another serious factor. About half those I had on my list were marathon runners instead of the shorter distance types. And on average, they’re quite a bit better than the average runner. So that’s likely my skew, but I’ll talk more on that in following posts.