Summary of “Growing Up Surrounded by Books Could Have Powerful, Lasting Effect on the Mind”

Respondents, who ranged in age from 25 to 65, were asked to estimate how many books were in their house when they were 16 years old.
The surveys, which were taken between 2011 and 2015, showed that the average number of books in participants’ childhood homes was 115, but that number varied widely from country to country.
Across the board it seemed that more books in the home was linked to higher proficiency in the areas tested by the survey.
Growing up with few books in the home resulted in below average literacy levels.
Being surrounded by 80 books boosted the levels to average, and literacy continued to improve until libraries reached about 350 books, at which point the literacy rates leveled off.
The researchers observed similar trends when it came to numeracy; the effects were not as pronounced with information communication technology tests, but skills did improve with increased numbers of books.
What are the implications of the new study? Take adults who grew up with hardly any books in the home, but went on to obtain a university degree in comparison to an adult who grew up with a large home library, but only had nine years of schooling.
Further research is needed to determine precisely why exposure to books in childhood fosters valuable skills later in life, but the study offers further evidence to suggest that reading has a powerful effect on the mind.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss”

In places where long-term insect data are available, mainly in Europe, insect numbers are plummeting.
A study last year showed a 76 percent decrease in flying insects in the past few decades in German nature preserves.
The latest report, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that this startling loss of insect abundance extends to the Americas.
A recent analysis of climate change and insects, published in August in the journal Science, predicts a decrease in tropical insect populations, according to an author of that study, Scott Merrill, who studies crop pests at the University of Vermont.
The authors of a 2017 study of vanished flying insects in Germany suggested other possible culprits, including pesticides and habitat loss.
He is not convinced that climate change is the global driver of insect loss.
The Portland, Ore.-based Xerces Society, a nonprofit environmental group that promotes insect conservation, recommends planting a garden with native plants that flower throughout the year.
The loss of insects and arthropods could further rend the rain forest’s food web, Lister warned, causing plant species to go extinct without pollinators.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘Flexitarian’ diets key to feeding people in a warming world”

If the world wants to limit climate change, water scarcity and pollution, then we all need to embrace “Flexitarian” diets, say scientists.
Without action, the impacts of the food system could increase by up to 90%. Fast on the heels of the landmark report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change comes this new study on how food production and consumption impact major threats to the planet.
The authors say that the food system has a number of significant environmental impacts including being a major driver of climate change, depleting freshwater and pollution through excessive use of nitrogen and phosphorous.
“We can eat a range of healthy diets but what they all have in common, according to the latest scientific evidence, is that they are all relatively plant based,” said lead author Dr Marco Springmann from the University of Oxford.
“You can go from a diet that has small amounts of animal products, some might call it a Mediterranean based diet, we call it a flexitarian diet, over to a pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan diet – we tried to stay with the most conservative one of these which in our view is the flexitarian one, but even this has only one serving of red meat per week.”
If the world moved to this type of diet, the study found that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture would be reduced by more than half.
“Tackling food loss and waste will require measures across the entire food chain, from storage, and transport, over food packaging and labelling to changes in legislation and business behaviour that promote zero-waste supply chains,” said Fabrice de Clerck, director of science at EAT who funded the study.
“Feeding a world population of 10 billion people is possible – yet only if we change the way we eat, and the way we produce food,” said Johan Rockström, director designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who is one of the authors of the study.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This major discovery upends long-held theories about the Maya civilization”

Nearly a century later, surveyors once again took flight over the ancient Maya empire, and mapped the Guatemala forests with lasers.
In the past, archaeologists had argued that small, disconnected city-states dotted the Maya lowlands, though that conception is falling out of favor.
These included: 60 miles of causeways, roads and canals that connected cities; large maize farms; houses large and small; and, surprisingly, defensive fortifications that suggest the Maya came under attack from the west of Central America.
“The scale of information that we’re able to collect now is unprecedented,” Parcak said, adding that this survey is “Going to upend long-held theories about ancient Maya society.”
Extrapolated over the 36,700 square miles, which encompasses the total Maya lowland region, the authors estimate the Maya built as many as 2.7 million structures.
These would have supported 7 million to 11 million people during the Classic Period of Maya civilization, around the years 650 to 800, in line with other Maya population estimates.
Archaeologist Arlen Chase, a Maya specialist at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas who was not involved with this survey, said for years he has argued that the Maya society was more complex than widely accepted.
“There is still much more ground to cover and work to do,” said Acuña, who will continue to study the large ancient Maya city of El Tindal.

The orginal article.

Summary of “When to Stick with Something”

If you scored 13 or more, then you are very good at disengaging from old goals.
If you scored 26 or more, the you are very good at setting new goals.
People with a growth mindset were not more likely to improve if they took the test again, nor were they more likely to even try to take the test again.
If they stopped playing baseball, they would be more likely to find alternative employment which was more secure, paid more, and had a more defined career path.
The researchers found students who had a tendency to “Maximize” their options and were fixated on achieving the best possible job possible did end up getting 20% more in terms of salary.
These same people were more likely to be willing to suffer monetary losses just so they could continue doing a task.
Another study of would-be inventors found that over half would continue with their invention even after receiving reliable advice that it was fatally flawed, sinking more money into the project in the process.
People who struggle to disengage with impossible goals tend to feel more stress, show more symptoms of depression, be plagued by intrusive thoughts, and find it difficult to sleep.

The orginal article.

Summary of “After century of removing appendixes, docs find antibiotics can be enough”

After more than a century of slicing tiny, inflamed organs from people’s guts, doctors have found that surgery may not be necessary after all-a simple course of antibiotics can be just as effective at treating appendicitis as going under the knife.
The revelation comes from a large, randomized trial out of Finland, published Tuesday, September 25, in JAMA. Despite upending a long-held standard of care, the study’s finding is not entirely surprising; it follows several other randomized trials over the years that had carved out evidence that antibiotics alone can treat an acute appendicitis.
Those studies left some dangling questions, including if the antibiotics just improved the situation temporarily and if initial drug treatments left patients worse off later if they did need surgery.
Nearly two-thirds of the patients randomly assigned in the study to get antibiotics for an uncomplicated appendicitis didn’t end up needing surgery in the follow-up time, the Finnish authors, based at the University of Turku, report.
For their initial look at the simpler appendicitis treatment, researchers led by Paulina Salminen randomly assigned 530 patients that showed up in the hospital with an acute, uncomplicated appendicitis to get either a standard, open surgery to remove their inflamed organ or a course of antibiotics.
A couple of patients were lost in follow-up, including one from an unrelated death, leaving 272 patients in the surgery group and 256 in the antibiotic group.
Still, going with antibiotics first meant fewer complications and faster recoveries overall.
Future studies could find that shorter, less intense courses of antibiotics could also do the trick, further reducing complication rates and treatment time.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Uber drivers and other gig economy workers are earning half what they did five years ago”

The gig isn’t as good as it used to be for people working through online transportation apps in the U.S. On average, drivers who transport people or things through an app made 53 percent less in 2017 than they did in 2013, according to a new study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute that looks at online gig economy payments into Chase checking accounts.
The share of the working population that has participated in the online gig economy at any point in a year rose from less than 2 percent in 2013 to nearly 5 percent in 2018.
There are a number of potential reasons why the average pay for gig economy drivers has gone down.
“The study’s findings reinforce what we and many others have said for some time: That the growth in on-demand work is driven, in large part, by people who use platforms like Uber on the side,” the Uber spokesperson said.
In the U.S., more than 50 percent of drivers work less than 10 hours a week, according to Uber, whose previous research found that although trip prices have declined, the number of trips per hour has increased, offsetting changes in wages.
The JPMorgan research is further evidence that online gig economy jobs supplement regular nine-to-five jobs rather than serve as full-time employment in their own right, as traditional employment alone is no longer enough to make ends meet for many Americans.
The gig economy is notoriously difficult to measure, including anywhere from 5 percent to 40 percent of the population, depending on the parameters.
This JPMorgan study focuses on jobs that are mediated through online platforms – what many of us think of when we think of the gig economy – while other studies often include freelance and contract work arranged by traditional methods.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Your gut is directly connected to your brain, by a newly discovered neuron circuit”

The human gut is lined with more than 100 million nerve cells-it’s practically a brain unto itself.
The gut actually talks to the brain, releasing hormones into the bloodstream that, over the course of about 10 minutes, tell us how hungry it is, or that we shouldn’t have eaten an entire pizza.
A new study reveals the gut has a much more direct connection to the brain through a neural circuit that allows it to transmit signals in mere seconds.
The study reveals “a new set of pathways that use gut cells to rapidly communicate with the brain stem,” says Daniel Drucker, a clinician-scientist who studies gut disorders at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto, Canada, who was not involved with the work.
Enteroendocrine cells, which stud the lining of the gut and produce hormones that spur digestion and suppress hunger, had footlike protrusions that resemble the synapses neurons use to communicate with each other.
They would have to send the signals through the vagus nerve, which travels from the gut to the brain stem.
That’s much faster than hormones can travel from the gut to the brain through the bloodstream, Bohórquez says.
Additional clues about how gut sensory cells benefit us today lie in a separate study, published today in.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is Too Much Apple Cider Vinegar Bad for You? A Doctor Weighs In”

Our friends and colleagues will regale us with stories of the healing power of apple cider vinegar for whatever problem we may have just mentioned.
As a practicing physician and professor of medicine, people ask me about the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar all the time.
A few examples are that of the famous Greek physician Hippocrates, who recommended vinegar for the treatment of cough and colds, and that of the Italian physician Tommaso Del Garbo, who, during an outbreak of plague in 1348, washed his hands, face, and mouth with vinegar in the hopes of preventing infection.
The most reliable evidence for the health benefits of vinegar come from a few humans studies involving apple cider vinegar.
One study demonstrated that apple cider vinegar can improve after-meal blood glucose levels in insulin-resistant subjects.
In 11 people who were “Pre-diabetic,” drinking 20 milliliters – a little more than one tablespoon – of apple cider vinegar lowered their blood sugar levels 30 to 60 minutes after eating more than a placebo did.
Is There Any Harm in It?Is there any evidence that vinegar is bad for you? Not really.
Unless you are drinking excessive amounts of it, or drinking a high acetic acid concentration vinegar such as distilled white vinegar used for cleaning, or rubbing it in your eyes, or heating it in a lead vat as the Romans did to make it sweet.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Remembering the past won’t save us from the future”

History, especially the history of war, remains a popular subject.
It falls to us history teachers – and the students who dare follow in our footsteps – to validate the study of our discipline however we can.
Why take Western Civ II over some other gen-ed? Because, in addition to three “Easy” credits, maybe, maybe, you’ll learn how to help keep us from screwing up the future as badly as the past.
Even if we “Understand” history in this way, then what? The alternative is not so much a positive future as just not the same bad past as we think we know it.
It invites delusion, as though we can replay history like loading a video game from a save point and trying again, now that some of us, at least, have the walkthrough.
So what use is history when staring down such a future? I would argue that studying how the Anthropocene came about can, at least, help us imagine a fate other than utter devastation – but only if we study it as the product of human agency in specific contexts of time, place, and, crucially, power.
Learning history in the Anthropocene cannot mean learning it to avoid the repetition of past “Mistakes.” History can provide no lessons toward building a better capitalism.
In the history of resistance, and especially of collective action, we can provide students of history the only “Marketable skills” that will matter.

The orginal article.