AotM #12: United Nations Day

If you’ve never visited UN Headquarters in NYC before, it’s well worth the trip. Their gift shop is (exorbitantly) fun too. Happy UN Day!


  1. Writing with a pen and paper is actually faster and more accurate than typing, at least for kids. Let’s bring back the dying artform! Also, just out of curiosity, when was the last time you wrote someone a letter, essay, or report longhand? What about in cursive?
  2. Our sense of vision is amazingly protean, and we can learn to see and perceive new things. This ability reminds me of the Marine instructor I met at Quantico who was an award-winning shot, who was describing how he actually become able to see the bullets he fired as they arced toward the target. Pretty cool stuff.
  3. Clean smelling spaces make people behave better. So, warn your kids that in a few years all public schools will smell like Windex.
  4. And actually, something else that leads to better behavior (and health) is spending time surrounded by nature. Nature is good for you, simple as that…So put down the phone or mouse and go outside!
  5. What is this, like the third study in just the last few weeks telling us to eat our veggies? It’s obvious, of course. But, since only about 20% of adults in the US eat an appreciable amount of vegetables, and since we still don’t even really know how much nutrition is even in processed fruit and vegetable foods (both facts from previous AotM articles), further “obvious” news like this is a good thing.
  6. Finally, here’s are two hilariously accurate descriptions as to why one should take even science news with a large handful of salt: “How Science Reporting Works” and “The Science News Cycle“.

 

AotM #11: National Nut Day

Yes, that’s right, National Nut Day. So, barring any allergies, go nuts with some healthy snacks!


  1. In honor of National Nut Day, extremists are more likely to be vocal than the moderate majority. This certainly explains the reporting tendencies of the MainStream Media, the silliness of the Dems and the GOP, and many other arguments in life. Maybe we Moderate Majority people need to start speaking up as early and often as the whackjobs, ignoramuses, jerks, and idiots out there, and thereby do our part to bring balance to society.
  2. Here’s the full text of a book about exercise and health by one of the fittest amateur athletes in the world in the late 1800’s. Muller’s ideas about cross-training, stretching, diet, etc, were all way ahead of his time, and his exercises are still well worth doing. [EDIT: In fact, here’s a 2011 article about how the Muller System is still going strong.]
  3. Are you one of the millions of people who consider ketchup to be their favorite condiment? Are you one of the tens of people who’s wondered what the origin of the word “ketchup” is? Well wonder no more, and read on to learn how ketchup was originally fish sauce from Southeast Asia.
    The linked blog has a number of fascinating posts about the Language of Food, including this amazingly well-researched essay that goes into great depth on what “entree” actually means, and how American meals differ from French or Italian meals, etc. Anyone who loves food, loves eating at nice restaurants, or loves arguing with European gourmands would all love this article.

AotM #8

  1. If you click this link (although I’m not saying you should click this link), you might, possibly, find out that, if you want, uncertainty is more stressful than negative feedback. Makes perfect sense—when we don’t know where others stand, our minds make up all manner of extreme explanations, but if we know the players and the situation, even if it’s not ideal, we can make informed decisions and move forward. Tell it like it is, folks.
  2. The grass is always greener…White med students are more likely to be interested in alternative medicine and therapies, while their non-white classmates seem to reject their own cultures’ cures. This is not good, since a lot of medical wisdom from Asia, Africa, and India that could use thorough additional research might be lost before Western doctors can collect it.
  3. It seems to be a universal human trait that facial scars increase male attractiveness, at least in the short term (in other words, at least for making babies and spreading genes, but not for long term childrearing).
  4. Another reason not to worry so much about China—even in Asia, the US is the preferred security partner over China. This is probably largely because the US Navy is still (and will remain) the world’s largest and capable by far, no matter what China develops, and because the US still has a much more global outlook than China, which is a more regional power.
  5. Although I usually only include articles that confirm my personal anti-religious/pro-spiritual beliefs, this one is interesting and significant enough to share nonetheless—”attending religious services sharply cuts risk of death“. As the researchers in the article state, more study is needed to find out why this happens, but it’s certainly food for thought.
  6. As yet another reminder of how little we actually do know (i.e. too many people believe that our current level of scientific and medical knowledge are infallible and all-knowing), we only just now found out how bleach kills bacteria. Also interesting—our bodies produce the active ingredient in bleach as bacterial defense.
  7. You may have already noticed this, but food prices are rising a lot more than you may realize, since many companies are “secretly” reducing the volume of their packaging, so you get less for the same (or more) money. If only more people read packaging (ingredients, nutrition info, volume…) more diligently, everyone would benefit.
  8. And finally, for some fun and comedy…Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch is actually a couple millennia old. It’s kind of comforting to know that our ancient ancestors shared our sense of humor so closely.

AotM #6

  1. Idealistic female sexual & physical representations are unhealthy for both women AND men. Enjoy being You, right here right now, and don’t try to be anyone else!
  2. There is but one correct way to hang a roll of toilet paper. End of story. It still boggles my mind that anyone (aside from rambunctious cat owners) would ever even consider hanging toilet paper any other way. Please spread the word!
  3. A new “deep field” image was released, this one in ultraviolet light, from the Southern hemisphere. Almost every point of light in the image is a galaxy, not a star. It’s breathtaking how much there is to our Universe!

AotM #5: Let’s get a little more controversy going

Although I generally avoid specifically political or religious topics here (to each their own), I am a strongly opinionated person who enjoys rationally presented evidence, pushing people’s buttons, and exploring boundaries and assumptions. Forewarned is forearmed!


  1. Physical warmth makes for “warmer” interpersonal interactions. So, next time you throw a party, hand everyone a hot cup of tea, coffee, or cider as they come through the door. Or, even better, make them hot toddies or Irish coffees, since….
  2. …It seems that moderate drinkers are happier than teetotalers, in general. Although regular exercise and not smoking also help with happiness.
  3. The interesting contradictions between attitudes toward sex and actual sexual behavior in teens. My takehome: as always, openness, honesty, and love are more important than stricture or structure.
  4. Pregnant women should avoid flaxseed oil (only the oil).

AotM #4

  1. Simple sugars can activate proteins, not just phosphate compounds. It’s discoveries like this that reveal just how little we still know about the human body, and just how protean our bodies can be.
  2. Two studies that reveal just how much influence our subconscious perceptions have—especially with regard to what we conclude based solely on people’s faces. We change our votes based on how someone looks, and we can gauge physical ability with just a glance at a face as well. Whether you take this as a reason to question your every decision, or as a reason to more fully trust your subconscious senses, is up to you….
  3. Some more gorgeous photos of our amazing solar system—this time of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.