Daily Smart Fact

Your daily dose of smart. So you don't feel so dumb.

Daily Smart Fact #33: This is My Nightmare

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Key Takeaway: Lampsilis Mussels spend their youth living inside of a large-mouth bass.  They get in their by their doting mom, who lures the bass in by pretending to be a darter fish and then…get this…SQUIRTING her babies into the fish’s mouth when it takes a bite.  The babies then clamp onto the mouth until they develop into maturity.  Ever heard of the movie…ALIENS?!

I stumbled upon this video about Lampsilis Mussels – they have a tough life cause, you know, they don’t have legs.  Seems like a big problem since they need to spend a portion of their lifecycle inside the mouth of a large-mouth bass. (Do they have small-mouth bass? Seems kind of rude to point out someone’s unattractive feature as a part of their name.  Like Big Butt Brenda or Small Hands Larry).  Anyway, since these mussels don’t have legs, they get pretty creative in camouflaging themselves as darter fish.  Watch the video, it’s incredible.  These freaking mussels make themselves look like fish!

The moment the bass gets tricked and tries taking a bite, BAM, the mussel literally squirts hundreds of babies into its mouth.  How freaky deaky is that?  Watch the video below and let me know what kind of nightmares you have later tonight…you’re welcome.

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Written by Bea

July 18, 2013 at 11:30 am

Posted in Biology, Science

Daily Smart Fact #32: Why You’re Fattest at Night and Skinniest in the Morning

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waterTakeaway: You lose more than a pound every night from breathing.  That’s because you breathe in oxygen (O2) and breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2 – two oxygen atoms plus a carbon atom), “so there’s an extra carbon atom leaving in every round trip.”

I like weighing myself.  Call it my own personal body experiment, but I enjoy seeing the fluctuations of my weight throughout the day – in the morning, after I eat, before/after I go to the restroom, right at night.  It might sound obsessive, but I’m not trying to lose weight – it’s just fascinating to observe the fundamentals of input/output on your own body. Eat a POUND of cheese?  Yeah, you’ve just gained an immediate pound.  Drink 24 oz of water?  Yeah, you just gained 24 oz. on that scale.

Anyway, I stumbled upon a neat article that my friend (hi Li!) posted on Facebook and found it intriguing: Every Night You Lose More Than a Pound While You’re Asleep (For the Oddest Reason).  Basically, this guy records himself over a couple of days weighing himself at night and then again in the morning, wearing the same clothes.  He interviews people and eats hamburgers and goes to the bathroom, fun stuff.  Not the most rigorous scientific experiment.  But his finding at the end is that, just breathing at night, thousands of breaths over a typical 8-hour sleep, results in us losing about a pound or more just from the extra carbon that gets expelled.

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Written by Bea

June 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Daily Smart Fact #31: Boiler Rooms, Pump and Dump, and Leonardo DiCaprio

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DiCaprio with a puppy, just because.

DiCaprio with a puppy, just because.

Takeaway: Jordan Belfort, the inspiration for the movie Boiler Room and the upcoming DiCaprio flick The Wolf of Wall Street, spent 22 months in jail for “crimes related to stock market manipulation and running a boiler room“.  He cooperated with the FBI and was indicted in 1998 for a “pump and dump” scheme that resulted in a $200 million loss for investors.  Jordan now lives in L.A. as a motivational speaker and lives the high life with hookers and cocaine. Fine, the last part may or may not be true. But 22 months seems a little light for screwing over thousands of investing suckers, don’t you think? Life is unfair.

Leonardo DiCaprio.  Dammit, what can’t that man do.  His most recent movie The Wolf of Wall Street is yet another testament of his abilities to make drugs, hot women taped in hundred dollah bills, and midget-throwing just look so darn fun.  I recently viewed the new movie preview and it inspired me to look into the man who inspired the movie – Jordan Belfort.  In the 90’s, Belfort founded a brokerage firm that functioned as a Boiler Room.  Boiler Room, you say?  Like that awesome movie with Ben Affleck and Giovanni Ribisi and quotes like “don’t pitch the bitch” movie?  Yup, the very one – since that movie was also inspired by Belfort.

Knowing little to nothing about Wall Street, I thought I would use today’s post to highlight these key terms and some interesting tidbits about Belfort’s life:

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Written by Bea

June 19, 2013 at 11:30 am

Daily Smart Fact #30: Science! Top 10 Catchiest Songs of All Time

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Badass mofos and arguably the best band of all time.

Badass mofos and arguably the best band of all time.

Takeaway: “Science” (I don’t know why that’s in quotation marks, just seems right) has identified the top 10 catchiest songs based on 4 guiding principles: 1) They contained long and detailed musical phrases; 2) The chorus (or hook) had several pitch changes; 3) The singers were male (pfft); and 4) There was a noticeable higher male vocal level.  Shockingly enough, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, and Robin Thicke are not mentioned in this list.

I’ve been driving myself and my husband crazy the past couple of days because I have been humming Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” non-stop. This earworm has been consistently in my brain, “hey hey hey”, driving me batty.  Which made me think…why is this song so catchy?  What makes any song so catchy, and more importantly, how do we replicate this for my next successful career in pop rock?  Well, look no longer…appears I just need to be a man, with a high singing voice.

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Written by Bea

June 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Science

Daily Smart Fact #29: Why Coffee Always Smells Better Than It Tastes

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coffeeKey Takeaway: Humans have two senses of smell. One sense is when we inhale and the other is when “the air comes out of you up the nasal passage and is breathed out through the nose.” The receptors in our nose react to odors differently depending on which direction they are moving in.

I’m a coffee lover. More for the morning routine and warm fuzzies I associate coffee with than the actual taste (or the much-needed jolt of caffeine to avoid the afternoon slump).  But I have always found it odd that coffee smells so much better than the actual, somewhat bitter, taste.  I recently learned that we have two senses of smell (source).  “One sense is when you inhale things from the environment into you, and the other is when the air comes out of you up the nasal passage and is breathed out through the nose.”

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Written by Bea

June 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Food

Daily Smart Fact #28: You’re Probably Pooping Wrong

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japanes toiletTakeaway: Humans were not meant to sit on toilets while doing #2, but rather “squat in a field.”  The modern toilet aka porcelain throne aka poo bucket forces our bodies into a position that is not optimal for doing our business.

Growing up, my family and I would sojourn to Korea every other summer to spend time with our extended family.  I have very fond memories of hanging out with my grandparents in their home near the rice fields, catching frogs and sleeping with mosquito nets and those coils. A not-so-fond memory was the outhouse at our grandparents’ home.  They didn’t have a “modern” bathroom with a porcelain toilet – the outhouse, which was a stone throw away from the main house, was a hole in the ground. A big, stinking hole. To us 3 granddaughters visiting from the U.S., going to the bathroom was a nightmare.  And forget about middle-of-the-night bathroom trips, we held it.

One summer, our grandfather, being the resourceful and awesome man that he was, built a spanking brand new American-style bathroom for us.  The bathroom was beautiful, blue tile with a sink and sparkling white porcelain toilet.  Side note, my grandparents still used that outhouse and the new bathroom went largely unused when we weren’t visiting.

Anyway, that’s a long story to note that squatting over a hole may have been the best way to poop.  According to this article, the “ideal position for defecation is in the squatting position” – and there is a growing following who believe in this position (hehe, pun intended).  These squat evangelists attest that this squatting posture is “more natural” and “wards off all sorts of health problems, from Crohn’s disease to colon cancer.”

You can try this position yourself by 1) going to your backyard, digging a hole and doing your business or 2) purchasing a “health squat” device for $63.

Either way, you may be warding off cancer! excess strain! Chron’s disease! and more!  Good luck.

Written by Bea

June 15, 2013 at 11:39 am

Posted in Biology

Daily Smart Fact #27: Cranky, Overweight, or Tired? There’s an easy remedy for that.

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Note to self: Don't look up "shower" ever again on flickr.

Takeaway: A cold shower can increase fat loss, enhance pain and stress tolerance, strengthen immunity, ward off depression, and the list goes on and on and on.

A friend of mine recently shared an article about the great benefits of taking cold showers on Google+ (you know that facebook-like technology that only your friends who work at Google use?) and I found it quite intriguing, especially because I had heard something similar from Timothy Ferris’ 4-hour Body book about the benefits of cold showers, especially in the area of boosting metabolism and burning fat.  Essentially, Ferris recommends taking a 5 to 30 minute cold shower (working your way up in time, and working your way down in temperature) because “cold temperature activates brown fat, the fat-burning fat tissue in your body that burns energy to keep you warm.”

Besides boosting metabolism and increasing your ability to burn fat, cold showers have other great health benefits like:

  • Increasing and improving blood circulation
  • Increasing alertness (better than caffeine!)
  • Helping with insomnia
  • Improving skin texture and minimizing pores
  • Reducing stress
  • Stopping hair loss
  • Decreasing chronic pain

And the list goes on.  One of our good friends only takes cold showers and he happens to also be tall, skinny, and athletic – coincidence?? Probably, but still, I thought I would give it a try.  So I did. And holy crap I was miserable…for the first 30 seconds or so.  But then my body became acclimated and I felt good, dare I say, rejuvenated.  Nay, I felt freaking awesome.  I liked it, a lot.  I probably won’t be taking only cold showers but I’ve resolved to end my showers with an icy cold rinse, which is good for now.  And maybe I’ll become tall, skinny, and athletic too…

Photo credit: uzi978

Written by Bea

March 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm