Livin' on the MDedge

Woman who faked medical degree practiced for 3 years


Speak louder, I can’t see you

With the introduction of FaceTime and the pandemic pushing work and social events to Zoom, video calls have become ubiquitous. Along the way, however, we’ve had to learn to adjust to technical difficulties. Often by yelling at the screen when the video quality is disrupted. Waving our hands and arms, speaking louder. Sound like you?


Well, a new study published in Royal Society Open Science shows that it sounds like a lot of us.

James Trujillo of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, who was lead author of the paper, said on Eurekalert that “previous research has shown that speech and gestures are linked, but ours is the first to look into how visuals impact our behavior in those fields.”

He and his associates set up 40 participants in separate rooms to have conversations in pairs over a video chat. Over the course of 40 minutes, the video quality started to deteriorate from clear to extremely blurry. When the video quality was affected, participants started with gestures but as the quality continued to lessen the gestures increased and so did the decibels of their voices.

Even when the participants could barely see each other, they still gestured and their voices were even louder, positively supporting the idea that gestures and speech are a dynamically linked when it comes to communication. Even on regular phone calls, when we can’t see each other at all, people make small movements and gestures, Mr. Trujillo said.

So, the next time the Wifi is terrible and your video calls keep cutting out, don’t worry about looking foolish screaming at the computer. We’ve all been there.

Seek a doctor if standing at attention for more than 4 hours

Imbrochável. In Brazil, it means “unfloppable” or “flaccid proof.” It’s also a word that Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro likes to use when referring to himself. Gives you a good idea of what he’s all about. Imagine his embarrassment when news recently broke about more than 30,000 pills of Viagra that had been secretly distributed to the Brazilian military.


The military offered a simple and plausible explanation: The Viagra had been prescribed to treat pulmonary hypertension. Fair, but when a Brazilian newspaper dug a little deeper, they found that this was not the case. The Viagra was, in general, being used for its, shall we say, traditional purpose.

Many Brazilians reacted poorly to the news that their tax dollars were being used to provide Brazilian soldiers with downstairs assistance, with the standard associated furor on social media. A rival politician, Ciro Gomes, who is planning on challenging the president in an upcoming election, had perhaps the best remark on the situation: “Unless they’re able to prove they’re developing some kind of secret weapon – capable of revolutionizing the international arms industry – it’ll be tough to justify the purchase of 35,000 units of a erectile dysfunction drug.”

Hmm, secret weapon. Well, a certain Russian fellow has made a bit of a thrust into world affairs recently. Does anyone know if Putin is sitting on a big Viagra stash?


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