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Anecdotes from the Archive

You (posthumously) light up my life

Human Fat Candles and Soap article

The Cemetery of the Innocents in Paris was one of the most well known in the city and its grounds were in high demand by those wishing to be buried in a Christian graveyard between the 12th and 18th centuries. While many couldn’t afford an actual plot, the majority of corpses ended up in mass [...]

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Thin Body of Evidence: Why I Have Doubts about Gary Taubes’s Why We Get Fat

When someone divides a complex phenomenon into two basic categories, he invariably oversimplifies and distorts reality. Anyway, there are two basic styles of science journalism, celebratory and critical. Celebratory journalists help us appreciate the cool things scientists discover, whereas critical journalists challenge scientists’ claims. Gary Taubes practices critical science journalism, although calling Gary "critical" is [...]

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Dog Spies

Do You Know a Fat Dog When You See One?


We’ve all met dogs with a small head and large body who bear a striking resemblance to the people with shrunken heads from the movie Beetlejuice. Some dogs naturally come with this particular head-to-body ratio, but for others, it’s often man-made. Yes. Some dogs are overweight. Peter Sandøe, professor of bioethics at the University of [...]

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Poor Diets Lower Sperm Counts

sperm count

Fellas, want a better chance of passing along your genes? Try laying off the fried food. A more healthful diet will not only help you get fitter, but, new research indicates, it might also increase the odds that your sperm are in better shape, too. A whole host of factors might impair male fertility—including alcohol [...]

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Newly Discovered Hormone Boosts Effects of Exercise, Could Help Fend Off Diabetes

Hormones aren’t just for sex—they help control everything from the times when we feel hungry to the timing of our heart beats. Dozens have been described, but there is now a new one on the scene. It might help explain some of the health benefits of exercise and point the way to preventing obesity and [...]

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Sleep might help dieters shed more fat

woman sleeping, which might be key to helping body lose extra fat

Laying up for a solid night’s sleep might not sound like the best recipe for weight loss, but loads of research has pointed to the importance of sufficient shut-eye to losing weight. And a small new study shows that not getting enough sleep might severely cut into people’s ability to lose extra fat.  Researchers found [...]

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Confused circadian rhythm could increase triglycerides

body clock can change triglyceride levels at cellular level

Having a mixed up body clock has been linked to a vast array of ailments, including obesity and bipolar disorder. And researchers are still trying to understand just how these cyclical signals influence aspects of our cellular and organ system activity. Now, a study published online August 3 in Cell Metabolism shows that in mice, [...]

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Burning bunnies for biofuel?


The Swedes, those latter-day descendants of bloodthirsty Vikings, have found a new use for rabbits: heating fuel. According to Der Spiegel, stray rabbits in Stockholm are being shot, frozen and then shipped to a heating plant to be incinerated. In the Swedes’ defense, the bunnies are a menace; a plague of wild and stray pet [...]

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