Interesting Articles: May 2nd-22nd 2006

Lots of interesting articles built up over the last few weeks that I hadn't previously had time to post. And remember, if the NY Times link requires a payment, just search on Google for the title of the article plus new york times. You'll frequently find a site that reprinted the article. Also, many articles, when you click through to them from a google search result page will be free, even if the link from this blog requests payment.

Food & Health:
* Dementia off the Menu: Mediterranean diet tied to low Alzheimer's risk (Science News). The title pretty much says it all, but the abstract of the article, Mediterranean diet and risk for Alzheimer's disease (Annals of Neurology), is available online.
* Hot-pepper ingredient slows cancer in mice (Science News). Again the title says it all. The abstract of the article, Capsaicin, a component of red peppers, inhibits the growth of androgen-independent, p53 mutant prostate cancer cells (Cancer Research), is available online.
* Bottlers Agree to a School Ban on Sweet Drinks (New York Times). Good news: a step toward youth health that didn't receive much coverage.

General Health:
* Lactic Acid Is Not Muscles' Foe, It's Fuel (New York Times). The badness of lactic acid is a pop-sci ideas that has been disproved for years. And I never knew.
* If You've Got a Pulse, You're Sick (New York Times). An intelligent counterpoint to the recent study (New York Times) that claimed, after normalizing for features like socioeconomic class and education, British are healthier than Americans.
* Decent Interval; Well-spaced babies may have advantage (Science News). A neat result: "Babies conceived between 18 months and 5 years after their mothers' previous birth are healthier than are babies conceived before or after these two points in time." It's unclear whether this effect is causal. Details at Birth spacing and risk of adverse perinatal outcomes: A meta-analysis (Journal of the American Medical Association).

* To Leap or Not to Leap: Scientists debate a timely issue (Science News). Keeping time isn't so simple. The earth's rotation changes over time, general relativity is an issue, and more. A neat though not deep read.
* A Question of Resilience (New York Times). A bit of a muddled tale that reports some interesting results regarding genetics and environment interaction along with a human story about child abuse.

* Study Points to a Solution for Dread: Distraction (New York Times). An study right up my alley, combining economics, psychology, and the rationality of behavior. It is a study, however, that I'm happy I didn't participate in.
* The Birth-Month Soccer Anomaly (New York Times). The freakonomics guys, in a much more bland article than usual, are reporting that talent is a myth. Instead: practice. (A related article, although more about intellect than practice, might be a better read: Malcolm Gladwell on The Talent Myth (The New Yorker).)

* Talking It Up (New York Review of Books). On the history of the art of conversation.
* Money Changes Everything (New York Times). A human piece about the social effects of wealth disparities.
* Let's I.M. as You Read This (New York Times). On multitasking and lack of actual thought.
* Scan This Book! (New York Times). An exploration of what will happen once all books have been scanned and are online.

* The Rehabilitation of the Cold-War Liberal (New York Times). I usually don't like politics and policy pieces, but this long article had a sizable interesting section on the history of the philosophy of American foreign policy during the last half a century.

* Baseball Is a Game of Numbers, but Whose Numbers Are They? (New York Times). I had previously thought this legal issues was cut-and-dry, but reading the latter half of this article made me think it is more complex and much larger in scope than I'd imagined.


Anonymous said...

Lactic acid is a product of glycolysis. It you don't have enough oxygen to run the TCA cycle, you basically stop at lactate, and hang onto the lactate until you get oxygen. Its not like the lactate can just disappear. Athletes move oxygen better, so can keep burning the lactate, and get more energy from it.

That stuff about lactate causing muscle soreness is crap. I wish I hadn't beleived it. =)

Anonymous said...

with the lactate: interestingly, this is exactly how e. coli and yeast behave (but they make acetate or ethanol) and then when they run out of other easy carbon sources they go back and eat the acetate or ethanol. fun fun.