Fats Aren’t to Blame, Sugar is the Real Culprit

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Healthy foods tend to focus on how they’re low in fat. So does everything else that tries to sell you something. From candy, cereal, bread, to ice cream, everybody wants you to know that their product is low in fat. Low in fat means eating it won’t make you fat, which makes sense right?

Turns out not so much. While there are certainly “bad” fats, and you can eat too much of anything, fats aren’t really the culprit, at least according to dozens of studies. Low-fat diets don’t lead to weight loss, and that’s because while we were avoiding all those fats, we were relying really heavily on carbohydrates and sugars. And those two things do turn into fat, because we tend to eat a lot of them, far more than we really should.

Carbs and sugar, like fat, aren’t always bad. The problem is that a lot of food, especially in the United States, uses a lot of processed carbohydrates and refined sugar. Neither of those are particularly good for you, especially in the high doses that they tend to appear in. So what happens is that we eat a ton of carbs and sugar, and that gets turned into glucose quickly. The result is that these kinds of foods give us energy, then we “slump” and lose that energy. You get hungry again soon after, and go for more of it. But while that stuff becomes glucose, it doesn’t all get used, because there tends to be way more than you need, and instead it gets stored as fat.

Reducing sugars and carbs is hard, as they’re all over the place. But you can replace them with a lot of other things that are good, including better quality carbs and sugar, as well as more protein and the good fats.

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Alien Civilizations Had to Exist

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

We’ve been asking ourselves if we’re alone in the universe for a long time, but the general lack of data about the rest of the universe means that the question has so far been impossible to answer. Generally, people are either optimistic that aliens exist, or pessimistic about the idea. Since 1961, we’ve been relying on the Drake Equation, developed by astronomer Frank Drake, to figure out the chances of alien civilizations existing. Generally, the equation says it’s unlikely, but we honestly didn’t know much about the universe then.

Fast forward to, well, the present, and we’re finding other planets all over the place. We used to think that very few stars had planets, and that even fewer could possible support liquid water (which we’ve assumed is required for life). Turns out that the percentage of stars with planets is probably a lot closer to 100%, and maybe as many as a quarter of those planets are the right distance for liquid water. We also know so much more about life, even on this planet, that it seems possible life could develop in very different ways.

Which brings us to this: while we don’t know if there are other technological civilizations out there right now, there’s basically no chance that we were the first such civilization to arise. Adam Frank and his colleague Woodruff Sullivan have been doing some updated math, and they’ve discovered some interesting numbers to share. If there is less than one habitable planet out of 10 billion, then yeah, we might be the first. But, even if there is only one habitable planet per 10 billion planets, then there has been about a trillion civilizations during the life of the universe.

Those are absurdly big numbers, but they boil down to one simple point: even if we’re alone right now, we’re not the first to feel that way.Alien Civilizations Had to Exist

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How Will Brexit Impact Laws in the United States?

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

England’s vote to leave the European Union has implications on legal issues that will take years to figure out. This decision is expected to have an impact on legal rights and commercial obligations of all business sectors. Many leaders in the business, financial, and legal community are developing strategies for managing the results of this decision.

The full impact of the Brexit decision’s impact on law in the US remains to be seen. We will need to pay attention to the observations of leading legal analysts like Kendall Coffey as changes in business, politics, and law impact the European Union, Great Britain, North America, and Canada.

Here are some of the issues that may impact both the US and the international community, as well as England itself.

Big Business in London Will Get Small

London is home to many international businesses. It functions as a gateway to Europe and currently houses more European business headquarters than any other city on the globe. It’s a popular location for many US banks, too. If these companies and organizations begin to leave London, other companies, and those that support them, may also leave to find work in other cities.

US Companies Will Restructure European Offices

After Brexit, some US companies will need to readjust their organization and tweak their structure. Law firms with EU jurisdictions may not be allowed to operate in the UK because it’s no longer a part of the EU. Companies from the US may need to resolve competition issues since France and Luxemburg have strict laws preventing foreign attorneys from practicing law in their borders.

Many Lawyers Will Get Very Busy

David Cameron, the British prime minister, has announced his resignation. His resignation has the same effect of a starter pistol at the beginning of a marathon. Governments and industries are trying to figure out what Brexit means to their business. Many law firms are now offering 24-hour hotlines to answer questions from their local, regional, and international clients.

Brexit poses some serious problems. The UK has the world’s fifth largest economy. It is now leaving the world’s largest economic grouping—the EU. No one really understands the exact results this change will have on international economics. It’s even more important to stay informed on international affairs, since they may have an impact on your job or the way  your company works with other businesses.

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Pokémon Go Isn’t Just Popular, It’s Helping People

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

In case you somehow missed it, Pokémon Go is a mobile game that uses your phone’s camera to let you find Pokémon out in the real world and catch them. If you’ve been on social media at all since it came out, you’ve probably seen pictures of the little cartoon creatures sitting on people’s dogs or other silly places. Some people are sick and tired of hearing about the game already, but then some people just hate everything.

But if you thought the game was just silly nonsense, time to think again. In the game’s first week of actual availability, many people have been reporting some very positive side effects of playing. Namely, they’re going outside to catch ‘em all, which is resulting in people exercising and even talking to strangers, both of which are notoriously hard for people with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

A number of studies have shown that going outside, and especially spending time near trees, rivers, and other natural things, is good for one’s mental health. But for people with anxiety or depression, leaving the house can be hard, especially if you’re not keen on interacting with strangers, or even people you know. Exercise is also good for mental health, but it has the same problem.

With this in mind, lots of apps have been developed to try and get people outside and moving around, for both their physical and mental health, but most of those apps have poor retention rates since people lose interest or the developers’ attempts to make the app “fun” fall flat. Pokémon Go wasn’t developed with this in mind, but was developed simply as a game that was supposed to be fun. The result is that it has effectively tricked people into getting at least slightly healthier. Good job, Nintendo!

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Scientists Found Baby Dino Wings in Amber

A black and white illustration of different dinosaur footprints.

Image: Shutterstock

It has long been the consensus among scientists that birds evolved from dinosaurs, and there is a lot of evidence to support this idea. Much of the fossil evidence supporting this comes in the form of impressions from feathers, left in the rock around the bones that fossilized. Feathers don’t generally survive that process, though like footprints or scales they can leave impressions that still tell us quite a bit.

But a recent discovery puts those impressions to shame, and it’s all thanks to amber. Amber, which is fossilized tree sap, is translucent, so when things get caught inside it and it hardens, we can get a pretty good look at those objects. Finding bugs trapped in amber is probably the most common example, and everybody’s familiar with that from Jurassic Park. But scientists just found a piece of amber that contains two wings from baby dinosaurs that are about 99 million years old.

The wings have claws, a common feature of a group of transitional dinosaurs known as enantiornithes, which also had teeth unlike modern birds. The wings are really well preserved, allowing us to see the still intact feathers. Those feathers, and the way they’re laid out and attached to the wings themselves, are remarkably similar to the feathers of modern birds. This tells us that claws and teeth lasted well longer than feathers themselves.

The feathers are brown and white, and the wings are from two different specimens, which are likely the same species, but that remain to be seen. There are also what appears to be claw marks inside the amber, which implies that the creatures were alive when they got trapped in the sap and tried to escape. That’s a bit of a grim ending surely, but it did allow the creature to be preserved for millions of years, at least in part, and will be a huge clue in our understanding of the past and of evolution.

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