Some rather surprising stats were revealed in a study this week out of Ruskin University in Cambridge. Numbers show that, worldwide, lesbians are paid 12 percent more than straight co-workers, while gay men earn 9 percent less than heterosexual males. In the United States, specifically, lesbians get 20 percent more than straight women (go lesbians!) and gay men make 16 percent less than heterosexuals (ouch!).
I’ve seen my fair share of vegetarian friends hop back on the meat-eating train: One of my co-workers ditched his years-long vegetarianism for a Pat’s cheesesteak; my good friend, who was vegetarian for years, moved to Israel and got tired of turning to hummus for protein at every meal, so she went for meat; my cousin gave up her 16-year stint of eating meat-free when her pregnancy cravings kicked in; one friend ended her vegetarianism with a drunken dose of David’s Mai Lai Wah sweet and sour chicken at 1 a.m. one Saturday; and a friend, who’d never tasted meat in his life, became a chef and realized that he really needed to know what steak tasted like if he was going to be cooking it for hundreds of people each night. And I’m sure you have a long list of lapsed-vegetarian stories, too.
So I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising that, according to new research from the Humane Research Council and Harris International, 84 percent of vegetarians and vegans eventually become meat eaters again.
Lately, there have been loads of studies suggesting that exercise boosts brainpower in some form or another—it improves long-term memory; it increases the brain’s plasticity; it improves focus—but what these studies haven’t taken into account is the placebo effect. Could these post-exercise boosts in brainpower simply be the placebo effect at work? After all, we know that we’re exercising, and we’ve been told time and time again that exercising is good for our brains, so the placebo effect seems pretty plausible. Well, as The New York Times reports, a new study published in PLOS One took a look at just that and found that no, the improvement in post-exercise brain function is not all in our heads (well it is, but you know what I mean).
If you scroll through the music on my iPod, you will find a series of playlists titled Whatever, Who Cares?, Ughhhh, and so on, each one filled with enough sad John Mayer songs to make even the most emotionally stable human being shed a tear. The only reason I’m not horribly embarrassed to divulge this information to you is because these playlists were created over five years ago, after my first-ever breakup and, apparently, there’s a scientific excuse for their existence. A new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that when you’re down, listening to sad songs truly does make you feel better, the Today Show reports.
Still no confirmation on whether the whole “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” saying holds true, but it does look like an apple a day might keep weight gain away: A recent study published in Food Chemistry found that apples are loaded with non-digestible compounds that up the number of good-for-you bacteria in your gut, which is associated with weight loss, Prevention reports. So, who’s up for an apple-picking party this weekend?
Here’s some shocking news for you: According to Google’s research on holiday shopping trends, 26 percent of shoppers will have already started their holiday shopping by Halloween this year. Yes, you read that right. As of today, about one-quarter of Americans have already started holiday shopping.
We stumbled upon this curious study on Fashionista and immediately hated these people. They’re sort of like those annoying people at college who finish writing papers weeks before they’re due. Isn’t procrastination half the fun, that frenzied jaunt to the mall seconds before it closes? Hell, I haven’t even bought Halloween candy, let alone Christmas presents.
But is it really so crazy?
Did you just yawn? And are you a little bit grumpy? Because if this new data is any indication, you probably didn’t get enough sleep last night: Jawbone, a company that makes fitness trackers that also track sleep patterns, analyzed thousands of their users’ sleep patterns throughout the country, and it turns out Philadelphians are not getting enough Zzzs.
I have some gardening cleanup to do this week, including clearing out a patch of wild mint. For once, I won’t mind the chore, because at least I’ll know I’m not going to die in the next five years. Mint, you see—specifically peppermint—was one of five odors a team of researchers recently tested to see if the loss of the sense of smell could predict death. And OMG, it totally did.
There were two pieces of good news this week, and—surprise!—they both had to do with sugar.