This is my third installment of Smatterings! Let me know if you think these mental tidbits are fun for you to read once a week (catch up on my first ones!).
Do you know about shrinkage?
Get your mind out of the gutter! I'm talking about the little connections between your brain's neurons. Some new research shows sleeping is SO important because those connections shrink back 20 percent when you're asleep. They need their rest so they can fire away the next day and help you stay on top of your game.
Without this reset, known as "synaptic homeostasis," synapses could become overloaded and burned out, like an electrical outlet with too many appliances plugged in to it.
And since we're already on the topic of brains, here are five fun facts about them:
A meat substitute that bleeds
Ever been at that barbecue where you see the serving tray full of proteins hot off the grill with all the juices running down the burgers and then in one corner are a few shriveled little pucks of veggie burgers for the non-meat eaters in the crowd? As someone who is usually the recipient of said shriveled pucks, I was incredibly excited to hear this story the other day...
There's a new fake burger out that is supposedly almost identical to an animal burger. So real, in fact, that it bleeds when you cook it! A company called Impossible Foods has created a plant-based burger that smells, looks, and tastes like the animal variety. The patty is made up of wheat protein (for firmness and chew), potato protein (to allow it to hold water and go from soft to solid during cooking), coconut with the flavor removed (for fat), and this new ingredient called soy leghemoglobin (for meat flavor).
What's exciting too is that the energy required to produce this non-meat patty is far less than what goes into a beef patty. Did you know that 10% of greenhouse gases are caused by bovine flatulence (read: cow farts)?
One new fitness craze: bungee dancing!
I've been thinking a lot about writing out a new list of personal goals since it's been awhile since I updated mine. One I'm thinking about adding this year is to try new forms of exercise. I'm usually a little timid in new workout situations (Exhibit A), but even I would love to get on board with this latest craze of working out while attached to a bungee!
You wear a hip harness attached to a bungee and use the walls and floor to give yourself a killer cardio and core workout. I think this would be so fun! Watch a video to see what I see.
Give an inch, take a predator
I love science in case you haven't figured it out yet! This story caught my eye—2,879 fake inchworms made out of clay were distributed to locations that spanned 31 sites (from the Arctic to Australia). There, scientists strategically glued them in a bunch of places to see if they are more likely to get preyed on near the equator. They monitored the worms and checked for marks from birds, bugs, and other predators. Here's what they found:
The fake caterpillars revealed that, indeed, predation is highest near the equator and lowest near the poles; for every 1 degree of latitude north or south of the equator, the odds of a caterpillar getting attacked decreased by 2.7 percent. So a caterpillar in Zackenberg, Greenland was about 87 percent less likely to get bitten than a caterpillar at the equator.
When female athletes squash their adversaries
Mother Jones always has great articles but I especially loved this one about 16 times female athletes crushed the competition. Maybe you've heard of the time Billie Jean King played a tennis match against Bobby Riggs after he claimed he could beat any of the top women players (spoiler alert: SHE WON!). To give you an idea of the heavy pressure King had on her to win the match, here's a lovely quote from Riggs:
"Number one, the woman should stay in the bedroom. Number two, they should get to the kitchen. Number three, they should support the man!"
A few other famous battles won by women?
Have a smattering to share? Send it to me! christina (at) therunningnoob (dot) com!
(Almost) daily blogger. Sober runner. Mental sh*t stirrer. Pro gender equality in tech. Family first.