Fiber, not just for your guts!

Soybeans are a great source of dietary fiber. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Soybeans are a great source of dietary fiber. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Allergies have been on the rise in the last few decades – not just the highly publicized increase in peanut and gluten allergies, but also allergic asthma caused by allergens in the air (like dust mites, mold, or pollen). Poorly controlled asthma and asthma emergencies result in many ER visits. What is causing this trend of increasing allergies?

The hygiene hypothesis – lack of exposure to potential allergens due to homes that are too clean leads to kids being hypersensitive is popular with many folks.

A new paper, however, tests an alternative  hypothesis about the increased rate of allergies. Could low fiber consumption in Western diets be to blame?

Continue reading “Fiber, not just for your guts!”

Lake Vostok Bacteria & the Power of Social Media

Click here for full press release (PDF)
Click here for full press release (PDF)

Today, I had to explain to my 4-year-old that Daddy was a little later than usual (I was not “late”) picking her up from school because he was helping facilitate and curate a live tweeted translation/paraphrasing of a press release in Russian (by @PsiWavefunction) about the odd bacteria that may or may not have been discovered by a research program to drill into and investigate a gigantic sub-glacial lake that has been sealed off from the rest of the world for millions of years.

You can follow the translation by PsiWavefunction on the Storify I created as we went. The take home message from the press release was Russian scientists are not incompetent doofuses and:

My daughter’s response? “Antarctica is where penguins and King Cryolophosaurus live!”

The Walking Dead’s Bloody Mess 3

Did you know that there is research showing that being exposed to “spoilers” increases enjoyment of a story? True. Do I think you believe me or the research? No. In fact, I think you will treat this evidence with the same condescension political pundits applied to the predictions of Nate Silver. Furthermore, I think you will completely ignore the object lesson afforded you by the 2012 election forecasting. Is this the most overwrought and evidence-laden spoiler alert ever? Yes. You have been warned.

Let’s get the first major spoiler out of the way. At the end of The Walking Dead season 2, we discover that you do not need to be bitten by a zombie to become a zombie. You merely have to die. This leads to a lot of scenes of survivors sticking pointy objects into the brain cases of their recently deceased or mortally wounded friends in a practical act of mercy.

If you die, you kind of lie there for a little bit – just long enough for a father and son to share a moment – then you rise up and get your zombie on. This means that everyone in The Walking Dead universe has been exposed to the zombie pathogen. All survivors are carriers – zombies in potentia. This also means that the zombie pathogen is even weirder than it already had to be. Continue reading “The Walking Dead’s Bloody Mess 3”