Daily Smart Fact

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

Daily Smart Fact #26: Fear Factor ain’t got nothin’ on you. I guarantee you are eating insects.

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Takeaway: For every chocolate bar you eat, the FDA allows you to consume 60 insect parts.  That’s 60 little insect legs…yum, protein!

So I thought this was common knowledge (being this brilliant keeps me in a bubble sometimes…JOKE) but after talking to some folks, I realized that some people may still be surprised that the FDA provides allowances for insect parts in foods, including chocolate.  Not only insect parts but rodent hair – yay!  I’m not one to get disturbed by this, I figure every bite of insect just toughens up my body in preparation for other horrific things (like giving birth to the world’s largest baby).

For your amusement (if you dare), here’s a list of other FDA allowances (from The FDA Handbook)

  • 60 insect parts per 100 grams of chocolate: What does that even mean?  It means nothing until I took a bite into a chocolate bar yesterday and realized that 100 grams is the size of a regular Godiva chocolate bar.  I’m not usually that shi shi but it was free, and my Korean butt can’t say no to free.
  • Fly eggs in fruit juices: 5 Drosophila and other fly eggs per 250 ml or 1 or more maggots per 250 ml.  Drink Odwalla juice?  The usual bottle size is 450ml – that means there could be close to 10 fly eggs in that bottle. (This fear mongering is making me feel like Dr. Oz)
  • Parasites in Red Fish and Ocean Perch: 3% of the fillets examined contain 1 or more parasites accompanied by pus pockets…I don’t know what that means but the word “pus pockets” made me want to share. You’re welcome.
So what does this all mean?  Probably nothing except that we eat a lot of crap.  So the lesson today, kids, is don’t eat more crap than you really have to.  Say no to junk food, processed foods, and soda!
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Written by Bea

June 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Daily Smart Fact #25: Key to a Successful Marriage? A Much Hotter Wife

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Key Takeaway: Studies have shown that the best predictor of “both husbands and wives displaying positive marital behavior was wives being more attractive than their husbands.”

We are in full swing of wedding season.  Our close friends are now all getting married (see my Prima Nocta post) and it’s made me question: What makes a successful marriage?

Ok, obviously there’s a lot of factors that go into this.  Not to de-emphasize hard work, similar values, love, compromise, religion, etc…but I DID find this study about hotter wives really interesting and wanted to share it with you.

Here are some key findings from this study:

  • Attractive levels of husbands and wives didn’t matter (they both could be celebrity-level hot or both ugly slobs), it was the disparity in attractiveness between the two, and in particular, the wife being hotter than the husband, that mattered the most.
  • Hotter husbands weren’t good spouses because “attractive men have available to them more short-term mating opportunities which may make them less satisfied and less committed to maintain the marital relationship through their behavior.”
  • Uglier wives are meaner to their husbands, because hot husbands are mean to their ugly wives – “Because physical attractiveness is less important to wives, in contrast, relative attractiveness may only affect them through its effect on husbands. That is, because the satisfaction and behavior of husbands’ should positively predict the satisfaction and behavior of wives, less attractive wives’ may be less satisfied and behave more negatively in response to their more attractive husbands.”
  • Hotter women, on the other hand, don’t care about looks as much – “more attractive wives behaved more constructively during social support interactions with their husbands.”
Just another reason why my marriage works so well, I guess! 🙂

 

Written by Bea

June 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Biology

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Daily Smart Fact #24: How to Lose 23 lbs and 12 oz in 1 day. Have the World’s Largest Baby.

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Takeaway: The world’s largest baby to ever be born was 23 lbs, 12 oz and 30 whopping inches.  To put that into context: you know how people give the analogy that giving birth is like forcing a watermelon through the size of a lemon?  Well, the average weight of a watermelon is 3 lbs.  So the mother to the world’s largest baby was carrying around EIGHT watermelons.

Today’s post is dedicated to babies, because Eric and I are the proud auntie and uncle to our new baby niece – Hana Bahn Feng!  We were at the hospital last night awaiting her arrival and it spurred me this morning to check out some cool baby facts.

Here’s what I found:

  1. The biggest baby ever born was 23 lbs and 12 oz but died only after 11 hours of life.  The biggest baby ever to be born and survive was 22 lbs, 8 oz in Italy.  It must be all that pasta! (Source: Pregnancy & Baby)
  2. May babies are the heaviest babies, weighing an average of 200 grams more than their non-May baby peers.  I found this fact in multiple places but can’t seem to find the explanation behind this.  (Source: Online Nurse Practitioners)
  3. Men are best at changing diapers: on average they take about 1 minute to change diapers whereas women take about 2 minutes on average.  So…NO EXCUSES MEN, change your baby’s diapers. 🙂 (Source: Infobarrel)
  4. Breast Milk can benefit adults: Some adults are taking breast milk to help fight some diseases like Crohn’s Disease and Cancer.  Just additional evidence that women are freaking awesome. (Source: Yahoo Associated Content)
  5. Babies can’t cry: That’s right, you heard me, they can’t technically cry.  They don’t produce tears until about 3 weeks in and in some cases not until 4 or 5 months.  I just rocked your world.  (Source: Online Nurse Practitioners)

Written by Bea

June 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Daily Smart Fact #23: The Mongolian Spot is Most Prevalent in Native American Babies

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Key Takeaway: If you have never heard of or seen a “Mongolian spot” you are probably not Asian, Native American, or Latino.  The Mongolian spot is a dark bruise-like pigmentation that occurs usually above the buttocks of babies with darker pigment.  Sometimes these spots are mistaken for bruises.

My 3 year old nephew who is 3/4 Korean and 1/4 Japanese has the cutest little butt with a perfectly blue dot right above his crack.  I know, lovely picture, but as a biased Auntie I find it absolutely adorable.  Anywho, as  Korean, I figured the Mongolian spot was common knowledge for people; Asian babies have a blue dot above their butt.

What I didn’t realize was that the Mongolian spot, also known as the “blue spot”, isn’t prevalent only in East Asian babies.  In fact, over 90% of Native American babies have the spot, followed by East Asian babies (80%) and Latino babies (70%). [Source: Dr. Greene]

“The Mongolian spot is a congenital developmental condition exclusively involving the skin. The blue colour is caused by melanocytes,melanin-containing cells, that are deep under the skin. The spots are completely harmless.”

These spots usually go away by the age of 2 years old and completely go away by the age of 5 years old.  Because the spot can sometimes look like bruises, there have been stories where babies have actually been removed from their homes because of mistaken child abuse.

The interesting thing is that my other nephew and niece, who’s 1/2 Korean and 1/2 White, DON’T have the Mongolian spot.  We joke that they truly aren’t Korean but perhaps their skin is too fair for the Mongolian spot.   Although the irony is that they speak more Korean than the rest of our family!

Anyway, for those of you who had never heard of the Mongolian spot, I hope this post was enlightening.  For those of you who thought Mongolian spots were only for East Asian babies, I hope you learned something new.

Written by Bea

June 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Posted in Biology

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Daily Smart Fact #22: Real Zombies roam the earth via brain-eating fungi

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Key Takeaway:  The fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, invades its host ant’s brains and forces the ant to do its bidding.  The fungus uses the ant as a walking food source and damages the muscle and ant’s central nervous system, resulting in a “zombie walking.”

I was having a conversation about my blog with my sister and brother-in-law, and he excited exclaimed that I should write about the brain-eating fungi from Planet Earth because those suckers are probably one of the creepiest things known to man.  I concurred. They’re creepy and unbelievably real.

If you don’t know what I’m referring to, here’s a video:

Once the fungus reaches the ant’s brain, it causes the ant to climb up and up and up, and then causes the insect to “clamp-down on the underside of a leaf which locks in place as its jaw becomes dislocated — subjecting the ant to a painful, self-inflicted death.”

According to News.com,

The fungus attacks the ants on two fronts. Firstly by using the ant as a walking food source, and secondly by damaging muscle and the ant’s central nervous system, resulting in zombie walking and the death bite, which place the ant in the cool damp understorey.

Together these provide the perfect environment for fungal growth and reproduction.

Begin the theme from the Twilight Zone….freaky deaky!

Written by Bea

June 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Biology

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Daily Smart Fact #21: The Brothers Grimm fairy tales included rape, cutting of limbs, and death by shoes

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Key Takeaway: The Brothers Grimm original versions of now-famous fairy tales were much darker and freaky than their current Disney counterparts. Exhibit A: Sleeping Beauty was actually raped and had a pair of twins while still in her coma.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were German brothers in the early 1800s who published various books of fairy tales that were dark and violent.  The only reason I even started digging into this was because a friend of ours, at a recent barbecue, mentioned that the original Sleeping Beauty was raped multiple times while she was “asleep” and only woke up because she gave birth to twins and one of them sucked out the poisonous thorn!  After some digging around, lo and behold, this indeed was true.  Here’s some other interesting tidbits I found about the Grimm fairy tales:

  • Cinderella – The step-sisters, in desperation to fool the prince that their humongo feet are tiny and dainty like Cinderella’s, cut off parts of their feet. Straight up lops them off. What alerts the prince to their trickery?  Pigeons. Pigeons and the sisters’ bloody feet.  Oh yeah, and if that weren’t enough punishment, the pigeons peck out the sisters’ eyes. They end up spending the rest of their lives as blind beggars. Revenge is a bitch. (from National Geographic)
  • Snow White – In the original tale, the Queen actually asks for Snow White’s liver, heart, lungs, and (in some versions, intestines) because she wants to EAT them for dinner.  Probably with a side of fava beans and Chianti (tongue/mouth making noise Hannibal style).  Also, Snow White is supposed to be super young, like 10 years old.  So unless the prince was also 10 years old…he was one six-pack short of meeting Chris Hansen.  Also in the original, Snow White wakes up when she is jostled by the prince’s horse as he carries her back to his castle – not from a magical kiss. And in the Grimm version, the tale ends with the Queen being forced to dance to death in red hot iron shoes!
  • Rumpelstiltskin – In the version we’re familiar with, the queen guesses his name and he’s angry but honors his word and gives back the baby.  Turns out in the original version, he’s not just angry but freaking pissed to the point he stamps his feet to the ground, gets stuck, and then RIPS HIMSELF IN HALF.  Fun times.
To end on a happy note, here’s a cute sloth flying to R. Kelly’s “I believe I can fly”:

Written by Bea

June 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Posted in History

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Daily Smart Fact #20: Kim Jong Il is a crazy man, in case you didn’t know

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Key Takeaway:  Kim Jong Il is one crazy mofo and has known to do some wild and outrageous things, including claims that he is the world’s greatest golfer and that on the day of his birth, thunderstorms broke out and a brilliant double rainbow displayed across the sky.

Kim Jong Il is a crazy guy, which I’m sure is not a big surprise to you.  However, did you know how crazy?

  • He is said to wear nearly 5-inch platform shoes to increase his height, which is normally about 5′ 3″.
  • He has told his people that he invented the hamburger
  • According to “state-sponsored statements,” Kim’s birth on Mount Paektu was accompanied by “flashes of light and thunder, the iceberg in the pond of Mount Paektu emitted a mysterious sound as it broke, and bright double rainbows rose up.”
  • He is known to have recruited “young girls of junior high school age to take part in ‘Joy Brigades'” to help him and his officials relax.
  • Kim is the greatest golfer in the history of existence. He routinely finishes 38 under par, and he averages four or five holes-in-ones per game.
  • According to a book written by one of Kim Jong Il’s ex-staff members, he was once injured by falling off his horse when it slipped on loose rocks. He was afraid of becoming addicted to the painkillers that his doctors prescribed him, so he had members of his administrative staff injected daily with the same dosages he had to take.
  • In preparation for the World Festival of Youth and Students in 1989, Kim Jong Il had disabled residents removed from Pyongyang. The government also distributed pamphlets advertising a wonder drug that would increase the height of short people. Those who responded to the pamphlets were sent away to different uninhabited islands along with the disabled in an attempt to rid the next generation of their supposedly substandard genes.
Whew! Puts my bouts of craziness into context. 🙂

Sources: Time, listverse, World Tribune

Written by Bea

June 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Posted in History

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