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Is Breakfast Necessary?

The idea that early eating is essential makes perfect sense for farm laborers and small children. Whether it matters for normal, sedentary adults is a different question. Many—if not most—studies demonstrating that breakfast eaters are healthier and manage weight better than non-breakfast eaters were sponsored by Kellogg or other breakfast cereal companies whose businesses depend on people believing that breakfast means ready-to-eat cereal.  Independently funded studies tend to show that any…

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Why won’t the University of Maryland talk about the chocolate milk/concussion study it was so eager to promote?

I took note of this University of Maryland chocolate milk press release while prepping a freshman writing class. What a PR disaster. Here’s an update: University of Maryland issue multiple news releases about a health research project… and then decline to talk about it? That’s just one of the questions piling up about research involving high school football players, concussions and a brand of chocolate milk. […] While the University of…

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NASA Releases New Earthrise Image

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured a unique view of Earth from the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit around the moon. “The image is simply stunning,” said Noah Petro, Deputy Project Scientist for LRO at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The image of the Earth evokes the famous ‘Blue Marble’ image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture.” In this composite image…

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The Strangest, Most Spectacular Bridge Collapse (And How We Got It Wrong)

At a glance of the edited footage, it’s tempting to think that Gertie was brought down by resonance, given the vivid visual evidence of a bridge that undulates before it collapses, not unlike the wine glass that shatters under the vibrations of a singer’s voice…. How did the incorrect explanation persist for so long? In their paper about the event, Bilah and Scanlan cite 30 sources that mention resonance as a…

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Scaring People Can Make Them Healthier, But It Isn’t Always The Way To Go

As my freshman writing students assemble sources for their term research paper, I will point them towards this article, which raises ethical concerns about using fear as a persuasive tool. (Aristotle said that the appeal to fear, like that of lust, reaches our baser emotions; appeals to love, justice, patriotism, etc. are harder to create, but they lead us on the path that makes us better people in a better…

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The reluctant wisdom of a science major in my freshman writing class.

“There’s nothing left to say,” said a science major in my writing class. I had called on her during a classroom discussion of a peer-review activity. “Everyone’s already said everything.” “You can at least provide a new example from your own paper, or express an idea in your own words,” I said. The student looked skeptical. “What about the revision process?” I prompted. “What’s your next step? Give it a try.”…