Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

God made dirt, & dirt don’t hurt.

February 4, 2009

Earlier last week, I caught an article listed in the “most emailed” list on the NYT website that immediately resondated with, the oh-so-rambuncious child:

“What a child is doing when he puts things in his mouth is allowing his immune response to explore his environment,” Mary Ruebush, a microbiology and immunology instructor, wrote in her new book, “Why Dirt Is Good” (Kaplan). “Not only does this allow for ‘practice’ of immune responses, which will be necessary for protection, but it also plays a critical role in teaching the immature immune response what is best ignored.”

The article goes on to talk about how ultraclean environments don’t help build a baby’s (or any young child’s) immune system because it isn’t being put through this sort of must-have training. I knew all that digging in the yard did some good!

Long Overdue “Hey, 2009!” Link Post

February 1, 2009

Sunday Link Post

November 23, 2008
  • Here’s a short interview with lovely friend Jannese Davidson as she prepares to star in this season’s of Childplay‘s The Velvateen Rabbit. Running now through Dec 21st at Tempe Center for the Arts.
  • Friends Tom & Malora Mulhern discuss with the Calgary Herald their year-long (almost up!) quest to lead a compact life.
  • From David W. Dunlap of the New York Times; New York City 1978 vs. New York City 2008. My personal favorites are staple landmarks Grand Central Station & the now-missing Twin Towers (via kottke.)
  • While entering the Oval Office means Obama must give up his Blackberry (& email altogether!), for Bush, it means getting to send again. I’ll be honest: the latter be a tough transition for me, even if I’d still be connected to the world otherwise.
  • Don’t miss this unbelievable insight into the 2008 Presidential campaigns from Newsweek. I warn you – its long (7 “chapters”), but well worth the read.
  • Macworld’s 18 ways to protect your Mac – I’d emphasize using both built-in firewalls, ALWAYS installing Apple software/security updates, & not clicking links from email re: bank/sensitive accounts or even Facebook. (It’s just as easy to open another tab and go to the page directly on your own, and it can save you from phishing.)
  • If you are a fan of the insanely awesome “Caves” episode of Planet Earth, check out this from National Geographic: Crystal Palace. I think :O!!!!! sums it up quite nicely.


April 1, 2007

There was a very interesting article in the New York Times on Tuesday (that was later posted on Lifehacker) on the health benefits and dangers concerning what people drink on a daily basis. Obviously, there are a few givens; there are many nutrients found in milk, and the benefits are only seen with consistency. I would also imagine that soda=bad would be a given, but a few noteworthy points:

  • “About 21 percent of calories consumed by Americans over the age of 2 come from beverages, predominantly soft drinks and fruit drinks with added sugars…[and] the calories from these sugary drinks account for half the rise in caloric intake by Americans since the late 1970s.”
  • “The American Academy of General Dentistry says that noncola carbonated beverages and canned (sweetened) iced tea harm tooth enamel, especially when consumed apart from meals” while “cola consumption (regular and diet) [is linked] to the thinning of hip bones in women.”

However, for regular coffee drinkers, the outlook is much better:

  • “Several good studies have linked regular coffee consumption to a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer and, in men and in women who have not taken postmenopausal hormones, Parkinson’s disease.”
  • “And a study of more than 600 men suggested that drinking three cups of coffee a day protects against age-related memory and thinking deficits.”

As for Tea and Alcohol, the results are mixed:

  • “Tea lowers cancer risk in experimental animals, but the effects in people are unknown. It may benefit bone density and help prevent kidney stones and tooth decay. And four or five cups of black tea daily helps arteries expand and thus may improve blood flow to the heart.”
  • “Moderate consumption — one drink a day for women and two for men — has been linked in many large, long-term studies to lower mortality rates, especially from heart attacks and strokes, and may also lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes and gallstones. The panel found no convincing evidence that one form of alcohol, including red wine, was better than another.”

And let’s not forget that coffee and tea can help to prevent colon cancer, though I would boil it down to the fact that both beverages (and alcohol, for that matter), don’t exactly stay in your system that long.