Nature is Fascinating

So, we’ve all heard about how bacteria are starting to adapt to our antibiotics, right? (It’s standard-issue survival of the fittest stuff–the bacteria that can best survive antibiotics survive and reproduce, leading to more antibiotic resistant bacteria.)

Well, apparently, there are now bacteria that literally eat our antibiotics. The bacteria cited in the article can, if necessary, live only on antibiotics.

The good news is that these bacteria aren’t the kind that attack humans, but the bad news is that they’re “closely related to those that cause cystic fibrosis (Burkholderia cepacia) and blood infections (Serratia marcescens).”

On the one hand it’s terrible, because as we continue to overuse antibiotics and antibacterial soaps and the like, this is going to happen faster and faster until the antibiotic-resistant strains of our most dreaded diseases are the most common strains. On the other hand, it’s fascinating to hear about these new strains of bacteria evolving right before our eyes.

Restaurant Portion Survey Distortion

According to the Spartanburg Herald Journal, my local paper, “Restaurant Portions [Are] Swelling Like Waistlines.”

Many restaurant chefs are serving Americans two to four times more food than is recommended by dietary guidelines, according to a new study authored by a Clemson University food scientist.

Most of the surveyed chefs think the extra-large portions they’re dishing out are actually regular-sized, said Marge Condrasky, assistant professor in the food science and human nutrition department at Clemson. Perceptions of what is “normal” are skewed, she added.

I don’t know about you folks, but almost every time that I go to a non-fast-food restaurant, I eat about half of my entrĂ©e and then take home the other half in a box to eat for lunch the next day.

Now, I would still say that these were normal-sized portions. I would be upset if I got half as much food as I was expecting. But that doesn’t mean that I’d be eating it all in one sitting.

In fact, that’s really the only way I can justify the high cost of the food in these restaurants. A $14 steak dinner isn’t as bad for your wallet if you split it over two meals.

The point is that this survey is being used to say “restaurants are helping to make America fat by serving too-large portions” when, in fact, it proves nothing of the sort.

Why Kids Hate Broccoli

You aren’t supposed to like broccoli. Broccoli contains chemicals that (most of) our brains are wired to read as “poisionous.” It’s a defense mechanism that prevents animals (and, if we had any sense, people) from eating the nasty green plants.

Actually, I don’t mind brocolli so much, provided that it’s not soaked in cheese or anything. With a little ranch dressing, broccoli is pretty good.

On the other hand, green beans have no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

How does a ten-dimensional universe work?

I’d always wondered what physicists meant when they referred to a ten dimensional universe. I can really only understand four (length, depth, width, and time); any more than that seemed out of reach and absurd.

But this morning I found a neat flash animation entitled “Imagining the Tenth Dimension” that helped me get my head around the concept. It’s pretty interesting stuff.

(Via Marginal Revolution)

UPDATE: Fixed the link; you gotta be careful where you put those quotation marks.