The Checkup: Autism Rate Up 23 Percent in Two Years

Plus—vegans are pissed at Starbucks, and you're sitting in a cloud of germs right now.

• Is autism on the rise, or is it just being better identified and diagnosed? That’s the question experts are asking after new government data released yesterday shows a 23 percent increase in the autism rate in just two years. Whatever’s behind the uptick, it’s clear that autism is “common and needs to be effectively served,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Thomas Frieden in this AFP article. But there’s a caveat: The CDC survey only looked at data from 14 states, so it’s not considered nationally representative. Assuming, however, that the trend holds true for the rest of the country, the new data would put us into double digits in terms of autism prevalence, from 1 in 110 kids previously to 1 in just 88.

• Vegans are not very happy with Starbucks right now. Why? Because the coffeehouse super-chain started using a beetle- (yes, beetle as in bug) based food coloring to tint its strawberry Frappuccinos pink. What irks me most about this article is the fact that the beetle-derived coloring is apparently very common, cropping up in everything from Pop-Tarts to yogurt. Ew.

• Check out this lede: “A person’s mere presence in a room can add 37 million bacteria to the air every hour, a new study finds.” Gah!