Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Causes of fatness

I had already read articles showing that, while diet and exercise are most important (in that order), other things also have an effect on weight gain. They include lack of sleep (the next most important), temperature (apparently shivering burns calories), stress and medication/chemicals. But last year's New Scientist that I just borrowed from the library (December 2011, No2844/2845 Australia) had a couple I hadn't heard before.  

One is pollution. Rats had 50% more abdominal fat after 10 weeks of being subjected to polluted air than rats on the same diet living in clean air. It can also "make your cells less sensitive to insulin, increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes." (p64) The link for diabetes has also been shown in humans. Nasty.

More startling is that the common cold virus, or at least one incarnation of it, has a strong link to obesity. Adenovirus-36 (Ad-36) increases both the number of fat cells and their size, and the effect lasts for years. One study claims "children with Ad-36 antibodies weighed an average of 23 kilograms more than children without them." (p63) And another 10 microbes have a fat-increasing effect. One researcher hoped that this means we can do something about obesity.

Maybe I don't have big bones. Maybe I have the fat virus.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Passionfruit parfait

Donkey talks about parfait on Shrek when Shrek says he is like an onion (with layers) -- apparently everyone loves parfait. I wasn't really certain what it was, other than a desserty thing. But today I made some. It involved sieving the seeds out of passionfruit (which is mainly seeds), whisking yolks over heat without ending up with scrambled eggs, making sugar syrup and adding it to other ingredients without getting little lumps of boiled lolly as it cools, 3 saucepans and 2 sets of beaters. The end result tastes, rather pleasantly, like passionfruit folded through whipped cream. I could have folded passionfruit through whipped cream with a lot less time, trouble, and dirty saucepans. And egg all over the floor when I dropped the whisk (twice).

So I'd be happy to order this in a restaurant, but I won't be making it again in a hurry.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The speed of bees

According to a quirky snippet of info printed on the wrapping of this morning's sanitary product, bees fly at an average of 15 miles per hour. I don't particularly put my faith in this, some of the other "facts" have been highly suspect. But it could be true.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Termites are descended from cockroaches. Yuck.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


The Muppet Show, a great source of information, had a sequence on Vets Hospital with a patient (a pig) from Hawaii. A joke revolved around the fact that Hawaii used to be called (by Europeans, presumably, not the natives) the Sandwich Islands. I didn't know that. The Muppets are always teaching me something new.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Another blogger (in England) mentioned seeing a dunnock when she was collecting her morning milk from the doorstep. I had no idea what a dunnock was, so I looked it up -- it is a small bird. I don't think we have them in Australia. But there you go.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cell regeneration

Received wisdom is that every cell in the body is replaced every seven years, but according to COSMOS magazine it varies by body part. 2-3 days for the lining of the small intestine, 7 days for the outer layer of the cornea (and apparently the rest of the eye doesn't regenerate at all), 180-400 days for the liver, 10 years for the brain, 15 years for muscles. The heart only regenerates about 1% of its cells each year in a young adult and less as you age.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fish faking the big O

Apparently a female trout will act as though releasing eggs into the water (shaking her body vigorously) so that an undesirable male will ejeculate. He rolls over and goes to sleep, figuratively speaking, and she heads off and finds herself a more attractive trout to actually fertilise her eggs.

I suppose everyone wins.

Doesn't matter, had sex.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


While I don't think I have better hearing than anyone else (well, maybe a bit, I certainly prefer the TV and music turned down lower than the rest of my family), I do find certain sounds very annoying. Doesn't everyone? Apparently not. My husband can sleep through a dripping tap, no problems, while I lie awake. Sniffing drives me crazy. But the worst is the sound of someone eating. It's ok if I am eating too because then I can only hear myself, which doesn't bother me. But other people! Yuck! The sound of the food smooshing around their mouth makes me feel ill. My husband usually gets home too late to have dinner with me and the kids, and I'm sure he would like me to sit with him to chat while he has his meal; but I just can't.

And there is a name for this ... disorder!

COSMOS magazine says that misophonia has been recognised in the last decade, and describes the inability to tolerate certain patterns of sound. And they quote someone saying: "I can't handle listening to people eat," he says. "It's the chomping and clicking sound - saliva getting sloshed around in there." (p43)

So, there is name for it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Ever wondered how many hairs you have on your head? According to "The Doctors" on TV, everyone has about 100,000 hair follicles (I'm sure it varies a bit), of which 90% are in use at any given time.

So you have in the vicinity of 90,000 hairs. Quite a lot.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fecal Transplants

If someone has persistant diarrhoea that doesn't respond to antibiotics, one solution of last resort is to give them a fecal transplant to replenish good bacteria in their intestine. Yes, that's right, they transfer someone else's poo into them.

Whose? Apparently someone they live with is best because this gives a match for the balance of bacteria creative by diet and environment. So generally a spouse or family member. I guess a flatmate would do. Kinda weird tho.

How? Well they used to do surgery on the colon to insert it, nowadays they find it is much quicker and less invasive to put a tube down your nostril. Yup, they pour poo down your nose. Someone else's poo. As a medical treatment.

We live in interesting times.