Sunday, March 9, 2014
Pagan Kennedy, writing for the New York Times:
To find out, Dr. Blaser and his colleagues have spent years studying the effects of antibiotics on the growth of baby mice. In one experiment, his lab raised mice on both high-calorie food and antibiotics. “As we all know, our children’s diets have gotten a lot richer in recent decades,” he writes in a book, “Missing Microbes,” due out in April. At the same time, American children often are prescribed antibiotics. What happens when chocolate doughnuts mix with penicillin?
The results of the study were dramatic, particularly in female mice: They gained about twice as much body fat as the control-group mice who ate the same food. “For the female mice, the antibiotic exposure was the switch that converted more of those extra calories in the diet to fat, while the males grew more in terms of both muscle and fat,” Dr. Blaser writes. “The observations are consistent with the idea that the modern high-calorie diet alone is insufficient to explain the obesity epidemic and that antibiotics could be contributing.”
Fascinating idea, that overheating taped the cowrie imbalance may itself be a symptom of something else.
Friday, March 7, 2014
I’m not 100% sure I like the new SAT format, though it’s pretty clear the old one wasn’t great. I’ll reserve judgment until I can take a look at a few sample tests.
But one particular passage did catch my eye.
Todd Balf, writing for the New York Times:
A report released last month by William C. Hiss, a former dean of admissions at Bates College, and Valerie W. Franks, a former Bates assistant dean of admissions, supports Wake Forest’s experience. They reviewed 33 colleges and universities that did not require SAT or A.C.T. scores and found no significant difference in college G.P.A. or graduation rates between those who had submitted tests and those who had not. Specifically, they saw that students with good high-school grades did well in college, even if they had weak SAT scores. But students with weaker high-school grades — even with strong SATs — did less well in college. Those who didn’t submit SATs were more likely to be minority students, women, Pell grant recipients or the first in their families to go to college.
So…college GPA and graduation rates correlate with high school GPA, that’s nice. Do any of these correlate with life happiness or financial success or anything that, you know, might actually matter?
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Mark Leibovich, writing for the New York Times:
All is fair in the fog of fake outrage. McConnell and Grimes may be the main combatants, but the front lines of affront in this Bluegrass State battle are occupied by the competing spokeswomen, Norton and Cooper. They brim with enthusiasm for their jobs, their candidates and their country. But perhaps more important, they are fluent in the lingua franca of chagrin, and eager to share with us — via clinically composed news release, email, tweet or whatever — how deeply troubled and appalled they are by something their opponent did, didn’t do or might possibly be associated with (they’ll leave it to the people of Kentucky to decide). Recently Cooper was beside herself that Grimes would accept a campaign donation from Woody Allen. Norton was horrified that McConnell, the Senate minority leader, would “laugh in the faces of more than 18,000 unemployed Kentuckians.”
I’ll be honest: I can’t stand the fake outrage. I stopped reading any of the political garbage in my inbox when it became email after email if “you won’t believe what XXX said today” — to me, it’s the equivalent of those “1 weird trick” and “doctors hate her” ads that reek of scams.
I guess this approach works on some people. But to me it just seems so desperate.