The 404 1,450: Where we play by ear (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- That story of the marooned woman on a Hawaiian island getting saved thanks to Google Earth is totally fake.

- Chordify makes it easy to cover any song by transcribing sheet music from YouTube and Soundcloud links.

- Funk band games the Spotify system to fund upcoming nationwide tour.

- Virtual screaming babies squirm their way into teenage cellphones in new pregnancy campaign.… Read more

Text messages boost flu vaccine rates in pregnant women

For most of us, getting the flu is a pain. We feel bad, we miss work, then we move on with our lives. But for some, the flu is deadly -- and symptoms tend to be most severe in kids younger than 2.

So researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health set out to determine whether text-messaging pregnant women reminders to get the seasonal flu shot would provide a boost in adherence rates. Turns out it does, at least among "urban, low-income" pregnant women.

Reporting in a special issue of the American Journal of Public HealthRead more

New moms more likely to seek help for depression if it's online

Postpartum depression afflicts between 10 percent and 15 percent of new moms. But with some never seeking help, those numbers may be even higher. And in a new study out of Case Western Reserve, researchers found that many women don't seek counseling because of the stigma attached to depression and because they feel they simply don't have the time -- but they would go online for help if professionals were available and they could remain anonymous.

"Mothers cannot always find a sitter and then spend time driving to and from counseling," Judith Maloni, lead investigator and … Read more

Study links in-utero exposure to magnetic fields to child obesity

High electromagnetic field levels of household appliances (such as washing machines and hair dryers) and wireless devices (such as laptops and routers) may be at least partially to blame for the rise in childhood obesity in recent years, according to a 13-year study by Kaiser Permanente that followed hundreds of pregnant women and 733 of their children.

After controlling for several factors, including child gender, pre-pregnancy BMI, maternal age at delivery, race, education, breastfeeding, and smoking, researchers write in Nature's Scientific Reports that children exposed to high in-utero levels are nearly twice as likely to be overweight or obese … Read more

Anti-abortion Anonymous hacker arrested in U.K.

Shortly after hacking into Britain's biggest abortion provider's Web site and stealing 10,000 database records of women registered with the service, self-proclaimed member of Anonymous James Jeffery proudly touted his triumph on Twitter.

It was this misstep that quickly led to his arrest, court hearing, admission of guilt, and impending sentence, according to the Guardian.

It all started on Thursday when the British Pregnancy Advisory Service reported that there were 26,000 attempted break-ins to its Web site over a six-hour period. According to the Guardian, the site was also defaced with the Anonymous logo and a … Read more

Will it be a C-section? Childbirth simulator helps predict

Traditionally, doctors and midwives have used a technique called pelvimetry to measure the pelvis and try to determine its adequacy for giving birth. But pelvis size is just one factor in how smoothly labor will go, rendering the method largely insufficient.

Scientists in France have been working to take some of the guesswork out of labor predictions. Today, at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting, they are presenting results of a study showing that their newly developed software, called Predibirth, predicts birth outcomes quite accurately.

The researchers used their software to process magnetic resonance images of 24 … Read more

Message boards provide years of help for women who miscarry

With about one in six pregnancies ending in miscarriage or stillbirth, plenty of women have to endure the loss of a developing life. For those who turn to online message boards, a new survey finds, there can be great solace in the company of others who have experienced the same loss.

The survey of more than 1,000 anonymous women on 18 messages boards was launched by researchers at the University of Michigan and Georgia Health Sciences University to better understand how women use these forums and why.

The most common reason women gave for choosing to participate in message … Read more

Crave 59: Stop judging me (podcast)

Japan is killing it this week with a working demo of touchable 3D, subway rail lightsabers, and a pregnancy simulation vest that's a little too realistic. Plus, a $900 robot that will shame you into weight loss, and Eric's take on the upcoming Star Wars game The Old Republic.

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Will Mommy Tummy 8.0 simulator help guys get it?

Every once in a while a hilarious idea is actually well executed. Mommy Tummy 8.0 out of the Kanagawa Institute of Technology in Japan is looking to be one of those.

The idea is that a pregnancy simulator might help a dude (or a lady who has yet to experience the joys of pregnancy) better empathize with pregnant women.

Even setting aside the obvious issue that the simulator wearer is not experiencing hormonal changes, and that he can take the simulator off at any point (oh, the freedom), there is something downright bizarre about a man who appears to be pregnant. (See video below.)

Get past the oddity and the Mommy Tummy 8.0 is actually an impressive little (and then rather suddenly big) gadget. It comprises a water bag, touch sensor, acceleration sensor, and fetal air actuator to simulate the growth, weight, and even movement of a fetus.… Read more

The 404 875: Where we jump the Shark Week (podcast)

It's Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, so The 404 wants to remind everyone to stay safe when you're playing in open waters. Joey returns as a substitute for Jeff, and today we're chatting about a kid who changed his name to Emperor Spiderman Gandalf Wolverine Skywalker Optimus Prime Goku Sonic Xavier Ryu Cloud Superman HeMan Batman Thrash.

In other news, Boston schools are testing a class on Facebook breakup etiquette, GQ's list of the worst-dressed nerds, a pregnancy status addition to Facebook, and a bite counter that has a lot in common with the Shake Weight.

The 404 Digest for Episode 875

Dynamic duo take superhero names. Boston-area schools teach 200 teenagers Facebook breakup etiquette. Bite Counter helps you lose weight by keeping track of every bite you take. Mark Zuckerberg beats Steve Jobs for worst-dressed geek. Facebook adds pregnancy status.

Episode 875 Subscribe in iTunes (audio) | Subscribe in iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more