Learning! Roundup: Bread wars, leaning trees, uptalk, safe shrooms, imagination, and more!

Photo credit: edwardconde via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND


Bread Wars

Turns out that there is no difference in how our bodies react to factory-made white bread and artisanal, whole grain sourdough. So... eat whatever makes you happy.

Carbs Make You Vindictive?

When I went on keto (an aggressively low-carb diet), I became a less happy person. But apparently, eating a low-carb breakfast makes people more tolerant and less likely to punish behaviour.

Vegetarian Diets are Better for Weight Loss

In further diet-related news, a small study has shown that people on a vegetarian diet lost more weight, more sustainably, than those on a low-calorie diet.

Leaning Trees

You know how, if you're lost in the woods, you're supposed to look at which side of the trees the moss is growing because that's the east side, or the west side, or the north side, or something like that? (I should really look that up... okay, it's the north side, but it's not exclusive, so this is terribly unhelpful for navigation.) Well, if you're in a forrest with Cook pines, you can just look at which way they are leaning. Cook pines lean in to the equator, always. So then all you need to do is know which side of the equator you're on.

The Secret of Uptalk

You know what uptalk is, right? It's one of the many ways we criticize women for how they talk, this time for sending their voices up at the end of the sentence as if it's a question? Well, turns out that this is a technique that comes from trying to stop people from interrupting you (something else that happens a lot to women.) Raising one's voice at the end of a sentence invites more active listening and indicates that there is more to say so the other person should just shut their mouth.

There's Safety in Shrooms

A new study has shown that mushrooms are the safest recreational drug a person could choose to take. This is measured by how many people required medical aid after doing mushrooms versus other drugs, so it's not a measure of overall safety, but it's something, I guess.

Use Your Imagination to Increase Willpower

Next time you're tempted to do something you shouldn't do, imagine the consequences of it. According to new research, that will help increase your willpower to resist the temptation or delay gratification. This could be an especially useful tool when tired, as willpower tends to go down at that time.

Baby Sleep Spaces

Just to add to the mountain of research new parents are supposed to try to keep track of, a new study has shown that babies sleep better after four months in their own room. This goes against the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation to share a room for 6-12 months.

Three Days in Nature

Perhaps there is a magical power to spending three or more days in nature. It may, among other things, increase your creativity.


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