Day: April 22, 2017

Eternal Youth and the Blood of Babies

Blood from human babies makes brains of elderly mice young again” (Alice Klein, New Scientist)

Are were sure this was scientists? Stealing the blood of Christian babies to inject into animal familiars so that they become ageless? Has climate change led to a loss of habitat for the witches who live in the woods and driven them into cities to rummage through our unsecured garbage cans and scientific journals?

Provocative headline aside, the thing that’s been discovered is that the enzyme TIMP2, which is present in umbilical cord blood but can be synthesized in a lab, might be able to slow or stop the progression of Alzheimers. My usual caveat: MOUSE STUDY. But this could be great news, and does not require vampires out for young blood.


How is stirrup pronounced?


Help me with a totally nonscientific survey of accents: how do you pronounce the word stirrup? (As in stirrup pants, as in part of a saddle. Stirrup.) And where did you grow up?

Ciro and I say the word differently enough that he has trouble identifying that I’m saying the word. (He says “stir up” and I say “steer up.”) I’m trying to figure out how this could have happened, and whether either of our pronunciations is in fact odd. I suspect both are correct, and his is more common, but where on earth did I get mine from? It’s not like that’s how it’s spelled.


About 35 people responded, mostly from the U.S. and Canada, and basically all of them say stir-up. Only a handful had heard steer-up before, either in northern England or from some older North Texans. A costumer agreed with me that stirrup pants need to make a comeback. We noted the multiple pronunciations of syrup, and how appropriate it seems that syrup pronunciations seem to flow all kinds of different directions.