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News Round Up [June 23, 2017]

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Alaska Fiscal Crisis Averted...For Now



Interesting Study: Consumption of garlic positively affects hedonic perception of axillary body odour


Highlights:

--In 3 studies we tested the effect of garlic consumption on quality of axillary odour.

--Garlic ingestion positively affects perceived body odour attractiveness.

--Garlic's beneficial health influence might be responsible for the observed effect.

Abstract
Beneficial health properties of garlic, as well as its most common adverse effect – distinctive breath odour – are well-known. In contrast, analogous research on the effect of garlic on axillary odour is currently missing. Here, in three studies varying in the amount and nature of garlic provided (raw garlic in study 1 and 2, garlic capsules in study 3), we tested the effect of garlic consumption on the quality of axillary odour. A balanced within-subject experimental design was used. In total, 42 male odour donors were allocated to either a “garlic” or “non-garlic” condition, after which they wore axillary pads for 12 h to collect body odour. One week later, the conditions were reversed. Odour samples were then judged for their pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity and intensity by 82 women. We found no significant differences in ratings of any characteristics in study 1. However, the odour of donors after an increased garlic dosage was assessed as significantly more pleasant, attractive and less intense (study 2), and more attractive and less intense in study 3. Our results indicate that garlic consumption may have positive effects on perceived body odour hedonicity, perhaps due to its health effects (e.g., antioxidant properties, antimicrobial activity). [Source]

A surprisingly simple explanation for the shape of bird eggs

By Elizabeth Pennisi

A sandpiper’s egg is shaped like a teardrop, an owl’s like a golf ball, and a hummingbird’s like a jelly bean. Now, for the first time, scientists have a convincing explanation for this stunning diversity: The shape of a bird’s egg depends on how much its species flies.

Princeton University evolutionary biologist Mary Stoddard has long been fascinated that eggs are so diverse, even though they all basically do one thing—nourish and protect the developing chick. Fortunately, over the past century, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in Berkeley, California, has amassed thousands of egg shells from 1400 species and put digital photos of them online.

Stoddard and her colleagues wrote a computer program, Eggxtractor, that picks out the egg in any image and measures its length, width, and shape. The team used those measurements to determine how far from perfectly spherical each of nearly 50,000 eggs was—that is, how pointy or elongated it was. Some eggs are both pointy and elongated, some are one but not the other, and some are neither. But no eggs are short and pointy—approximately the shape of a hot air balloon.

As part of the work, the team also evaluated whether a proxy for flying ability—the ratio of a bird’s wing length to its width—had an effect. “There was an obscure hypothesis that egg shape could be related to flight ability that no one had paid any attention to,” Stoddard says. To her team’s surprise, flying ability matters, they report today in Science. Good flyers like sandpipers and murres tend to lay eggs that are more elongated and more asymmetrical—a bit like the shape of a Zeppelin—likely because lots of time in the air requires lightweight, compact bodies. Meanwhile, birds that spend little or no time in the air, like tropical pittas and trogons, have more spherical eggs.

The reason, Stoddard speculates, is that round eggs require a wider pelvis than ones that are more elongated. Thus, just as birds that spend most of their time airborne have evolved more streamlined bodies and lighter, small skeletons, they have also evolved streamlined egg shapes to fit through the pelvis, she says.

“I’m surprised, but I’m also convinced,” Sander says. “Based on this data set, they are making a very good case.” He and Hauber are pleased that now they can guess how good a flyer a species is just by the shape of its eggs. “You can take this study and look at the egg and vey immediately get some general information,” Sander says. [Source]

California named state with the worst air quality (again)


High ozone levels and a quickly growing population are making it tough to implement regulations to reduce pollution, says a Cal State LA professor.

The quality of the air in California may be improving, but it's still dire.
That's according to the American Lung Association's recent "State of the Air 2017" report, which labeled the state and region a leader in air pollution, with the highest ozone levels.

"The Los Angeles basin is exposed to the highest ozone levels in the country," explains Steve LaDochy, Ph.D., professor of geosciences and environment at California State University, Los Angeles, an expert in air pollution and climate. "It is getting better here, but it's still the worst."

The air quality in the state was significantly better in northern California, found the report. Nonetheless, more than 90 percent of Californians still live in counties with unhealthy air.

LaDochy suspects that California's continuously growing population is largely to blame for the state's failing grades on "State of the Air" reports and more residents is also behind the Central Valley's recent drop in air quality, according to the report. [Source]

Bill Cosby planning motivational speaking tour

By Lia Eustachewich
Bill Cosby is headed back out on tour — but instead of comedy, he’ll be focusing on another one of his other legendary talents: dodging sex-assault claims.

The fallen funnyman — who narrowly avoided conviction in a Pennsylvania sex case last week with a mistrial — plans to celebrate his legal good fortune by touring the nation giving lectures to young people and “married men” about the dangers of sex-crime allegations, his spokesman said.

Wyatt said that the comedian, once known as “America’s Dad,” will issue a dire warning to his audience about getting snared by sex-crime claims.

“This issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today, and they need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things that they shouldn’t be doing. And it also affects married men,” Wyatt added with a laugh. Cosby’s tour will kick off next month with visits in cities including Birmingham, Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia, Wyatt said. [Story]

The maximum safe dose of Tylenol has been reduced from 4g/day to 3g/day for adults.


Before reaching for a bottle of Tylenol, popping a DayQuil pill or downing a dose of Tylenol Cold and Flu this flu season, Americans should know these popular drugs and their generic counterparts may harm their liver.

Acetaminophen effectively lowers fever and relieves minor aches and pains without stomach discomfort and heart issues associated with ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). For years, Tylenol – and the drug’s manufacturer Johnson & Johnson – has claimed it is the pain reliever most recommended by doctors.

But, earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urged healthcare providers to stop prescribing combination drugs products that contain more than 325 mg of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol and similar products, over concerns of liver damage.

“By limiting the maximum amount of acetaminophen in prescription products to 325 mg per tablet, capsule, or other dosage unit, consumers will be less likely to overdose on acetaminophen if they mistakenly take too many doses of acetaminophen-containing products,” FDA spokesperson Eric Pahon told the Arthritis Foundation.

If a person then reaches for liquid Tylenol Cold and Flu Severe to take care of congestion, they are getting 650 mg of acetaminophen in each dose. So if someone takes 2 doses of Tylenol Cold and Flu at 650 mg that equals 1,300 mg plus the three doses of Extra Strength Tylenol would put them at 4,300 mg.

One study reported a staggering 40 percent of patients who suffered acute liver failure because of unintentional acetaminophen overdose took two or more products containing the drug at the same time. [Read the full report]

1.4 million illegals working under stolen Social Security numbers: Audit


Most illegal immigrants who pay taxes have stolen someone else’s legal identity, and the IRS doesn’t do a very good job of letting those American citizens and legal immigrants know they’re being impersonated, the tax agency’s inspector general said in a new report released Thursday.

The theft creates major problems for the American citizens and legal foreign workers whose identities are stolen, and who have to deal with explaining money they never earned.

But the IRS only manages to identify half of the potentially 1.4 million people likely affected by the fraud in 2015, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said in its report.

“Cases of employment identity theft can cause significant burden to innocent taxpayers, including the incorrect computation of taxes based on income that does not belong to them,” said J. Russell George, the inspector general.
It’s long been a conundrum in the federal government.

The IRS knows of 2.4 million people a year who file taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is generally given out to immigrants who aren’t authorized to work. But the IRS is not allowed to talk with Homeland Security to help agents identify who and where those taxpayers are. [Source]

TIL: The Only Japanese Who Survived the Titanic Lost His Job Because he was Known as a Coward in Japan for Not Dying With the Other Passengers


Masabumi Hosono (15th October 1870 – 14th March 1939) was no ordinary man; he was the only Japanese, who travelled on RMS Titanic, the world famous ship. Not only that, he turned out to be one of those passengers, who survived the disastrous fall of the ship. When he returned on the land, he was surrounded by the government as well as his people, who objected his decision of saving himself, instead of staying with the ship and going down with the hundreds of others, who lost their lives.

According to Japan, instead of saving the women and children and having an honorable death, Hosono saved his life and disgraced Japan in the eyes of the world. He was even demanded to commit suicide from letters to newspapers. Since government could not afford to drop such a highly trained expert just returned from the government sponsored study abroad, he was rehired on his job on contract basis and worked their till his death in 1939. Even after the death of this man, his story had put a stigma of shame on the heads of his family members as well as loved ones. Everybody in his family was quite ashamed of his cowardly return from the ship. [Source]



Read More: News Round Up [June 22, 2017]

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