Interesting Articles: March 12th-April 28th 2007

* Diet Study (Science Friday) (the second program in the hour). A new, well designed study by Stanford researchers shows Atkins is more effective than some other diets, and works with no immediately discernible health risks. I chose to link (above) to the Science Friday interview with one of the authors of the paper, not one of the many sensationalistic articles published about the study. For original sources, read Stanford diet study tips scale in favor of Atkins plan (Stanford press release) (and watch its videos, such as "Why low-carb diets work so well in the short-term") and read the abstract of the primary article, Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women (Journal of the American Medical Association). Also, the article Real Food for Real People (Slate) is an interesting read for its commentary on how others have reacted to the study.
* Cocoa compound increases brain blood flow (Science News). The title says most of the story. Cocoa sold in the United States is usually too processed and has most of its flavonoids removed. The abstract of the source article, Aging and brain blood flow response to flavanol-rich cocoa (American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting), is available online.

* Miracle Mystery Fruit Turns Sourness Sweet (NPR's All Things Considered). A funky fruit I'd never heard about.
* Odes to Greasy Spoons Net Pulitzer Prize (NPR's All Things Considered). This guy is a true chowhound. Chewing the Fat With the Restaurant Critic Who Ate His Way to a Pulitzer Prize (Washington Post) is another portrait of the man and his opinions. And this piece, Eating to Live (WNYC's On The Media via NPR), is nice because one can hear him speak.

Philosophy and Culture:
* Pearls Before Breakfast: Can one of the nation's great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let's find out. (Washington Post). A staff member at the Post convinces a world renowned violinist to play in a Metro station to see how people react. This article, longer than it should be by a factor of ten, is simply interviews with people who saw and mostly ignored him, philosophical ramblings about unappreciated beauty, and a smattering of short anecdotes about people who recognized something about the musician or his music. Sadly, it's not like the typical newspaper article in which the important or interesting points are at the top. Some sections are worth reading/scanning. But shame on the editors for letting this long-winded piece go out as it is. Also, listen to this follow-up: Bell The Ringer (WNYC's On The Media via NPR). In addition, the story told at the beginning of this interview with the author (Washington Post) is entertaining.

* Bad Influence: TV, movies linked to adolescent smoking (Science News). If the title were the whole story, it wouldn't be worth posting. Rather, the scientists found a relationship for white teenagers but found no correlation for black teenagers. How interesting. The abstract of the source article, R-rated movies, bedroom televisions, and initiation of smoking by white and black adolescents (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine), is available online. The full article may be as well.

* Body clock affects racing prowess (Science News). A creatively designed experiment shows athletic performance varies by time of day. The best time is around 11pm. The abstract of the source article, Circadian variation in swim performance (Journal of Applied Physiology), has more details.

* Tell your boss you'll be in later (American Public Media's Marketplace via NPR). Danish companies are being rated by how friendly they are to people arriving and leaving work later than normal. I wonder if such a rating system will ever come to the states?
* The local money is much prettier (American Public Media's Marketplace via NPR). Although a number of the reasons for having alternative currencies to the Euro are silly, getting people to buy locally seems like a reasonably justifiable one.

* Stopping Light (Science Friday) (the second program in the hour). Physicists are getting closer to making teleportation a reality. This time, they've figured out how to transfer light into matter, move the matter, and reconstruct the light. Okay, while teleportation would be matter-light-matter, this is still an important step.

Research Methods:
* Games Theory: Online play can help researchers tackle tough computational problems (Science News). Although I'd previously seen the ESP Game and been impressed that it was both fun and useful for research, many of the other games described in this article I hadn't seen.

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