New coinages that reflect the latest wave of online political activism form a significant section of more than 300 new definitions in the database, which is a sister work to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Additions including “clicktivism” (a pejorative word for armchair activists on social media), “haterade” (excessive negativity, criticism, or resentment), “otherize” (view or treat – a person or group of people – as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself) and “herd mentality” (the tendency for people’s behaviour or beliefs to conform to those of the group to which they belong) all emerged during the 2016 battle for the White House, said head of content development Angus Stevenson.
Who exactly is the gatekeeper?:
“Craptacular” (remarkably poor and disappointing), “bronde” (hair dyed both blond and brunette) and “fitspiration” (a person or thing that serves as motivation for someone to sustain or improve health and fitness) all made the cut.
Today we’re saying hello to scifi author Orson Scott Card, by means of a giant flaming finger of fuck held aloft in his homophobic direction. Love the man’s writing but I can’t read it anymore without hating myself.
Today’s SFAM is a tribute to the works of Iain M Banks, recently deceased and author of numerous books including the excellent Culture series. Lucky for us, his work lives on. Perhaps he will again one day as well.
When an ambulance arrives at an emergency department with a cyclist injured on the road, a clinician needs to first know a few important details. How old is the patient? What are the vital signs? And finally … were they wearing a helmet?
That’s because ambulance officers, doctors and nurses have known for a long time that if a helmet is not being worn at the time a head strikes the road, pavement or cycleway, the chances of severe head injury are much higher.
Now this been shown in a one-year study I conducted, with two colleagues, of injured cyclists and motorcyclists presenting to seven major trauma centres in Sydney.
The risks of severe head injury were more than five times higher in cyclists not wearing a helmet compared to helmeted ones, and more than three times higher in motorcyclists not wearing a helmet at the time of injury.
Severe head injuries were defined as any with significant brain haemorrhage, complex skull fracture or brain swelling.
Some 70% of such patients end up on a ventilator in intensive care units; many patients with severe head injuries are left with permanent brain damage.
But it’s the things that can’t be calculated that are perhaps more crippling – the long-term personality changes, the seizures, the post-traumatic adjustment, and the interminable stress on family and carers.
Australia is one of the few countries in the world with mandatory helmet laws protecting both motorcyclists and pedal cyclists.
While helmet use in motorbike riders is generally accepted, compulsory helmet laws have been resisted by many experts.
Many argue that helmet use simply deters people from dusting off their two wheelers and pedalling their way to better health.
Diffuse axonal injury is widespread (rather than focused) damage to the brain, and is one of the major causes of unconsciousness and persistent vegetative state following head trauma.
The argument here is helmets apparently exacerbate head injury severity by causing the head to twist quickly on impact, thus creating rotational forces on the brain.
There have been no controlled studies in the clinical setting into the association between helmet use and diffuse axonal injury – until now.
We found no reports of diffuse axonal injury in pedal cyclists, helmeted or non-helmeted, and only a marginal increase in such diagnoses in non-helmeted motorcyclists.
Definitely worth helmet hair
This Sydney-based study was the first to place motorcyclists and pedal cyclists side by side and demonstrated that the protective role of helmets in both groups are important – and even better in pedal cyclists.
Some experts against this type of observational research cite small sample sizes, and flaws inherent in case control studies, such as not being able to take into account factors such as speed and intoxication.
But it is also true that the very same type of observational study designs was the basis on which the association between smoking and lung cancer was first described.
Once you get enough studies pointing in the one direction, the signal becomes harder to refute.
If mandatory helmets are good enough for motorcyclists, they’re certainly good enough for pedal cyclists.
And as more and more people use bicycles to go to work, work up a sweat or just spend time with the kids, they can rest assured that the helmet resting comfortably on their head is doing something much more than simply disrupting their hairdo.
Michael Dinh does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.