Learning! Roundup: Delicious salty goodness, generosity revealed, and the origin of bums upended

Learning! Roundup: Delicious salt fights headaches, brain scans for generosity, more benefits to exercise, and the origin of bums
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons. By Steven G. Johnson

Salt is good for more than just the earth

Okay, I know salt isn't actually good for the earth - people salt the earth to destroy it so that invading forces can't grow food and die. But there's also the saying "salt of the earth" and that means that the person in question was good to have around, doesn't it?

Regardless of either of these things, there is now correlational evidence that people who eat a lot of salt have fewer migraines and headaches. First, let's all recite the scientific mantra together: "correlation does not equal causation." Second, let's get excited, because eating salt is DELICIOUS and at least now when people give us sideways looks for putting too much salt on things because we're "going to give ourselves heart attacks", we can rebut that at least we won't have migraines in the meantime.

Brain scans for generosity

Now we can scan your brain and find out if you are actually kind and generous, or faking it. (Although really, if you are faking generosity, is the outcome the same?)

Two studies on exercise

Study one: people discuss anecdotally a lot how keeping in shape is good for your brain. Recent research shows that, indeed, physical fitness does improve mental performance and speculates as to the reason (perhaps it has something to do with circulating blood that happens to be full of nutrients up into the ol' brain hole or increased neurogenesis.)

Study two: turns out the placebo effect applies to exercise. The more you believe exercise will be good for you, the better it will be.

So this means we've got to keep exercising no matter how much we hate it, and just like with faith healers, we have to really believe it's going to work. Come on, guys! Let's do this!

Share memories, share lives

You know that annoying thing couples do where they seem incapable of remembering things on their own and they need to remind each other of their shared memories and you want to shout at them, "Are you an individual human or not??? Do you even have your own brain???"

Turns out that this is called "interconnected memories" and that in couples and friendships alike, this shared memory increases closeness and helps people have stronger relationships.

The origin of bums upended

Bet you never thought you'd watch a video of a comb jelly pooping, did you? Well, now you can, and you will be watching evidence that we got the origin of bum holes all wrong. We used to think that life evolved from blob-like creatures with one hole that they used for both intake and output into elongated creatures with mouths and anuses.

The original comb jelly has been placed very early in the evolution cycle of life - they should be one-hold eating-pooping machines. And yet, scientists JUST witnessed it poop for the first time ever - not through its mouth hole. NOW WHAT, SCIENCE???


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