Bunnies yawning

“One day I was flipping through a friend’s rabbit book, and in it was a picture of a bunny yawning. I had never seen anything so adorably funny. I can’t quite explain it, what exactly makes me smile, but I began searching for pictures of bunnies yawning. You see, the yawn takes about two seconds, and then it is over. Therefore, bunny yawn pictures are extremely rare.” talkingegg.com

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Soy frustrating

“It may no rank up there with milk, eggs and peanuts, but in terms of being a problem, it’s unsurpassed… Soy is used as filler in meats and sauces, commercially baked products, chewing gum, snack foods, milk substitutes and even cosmetics… One other problem is labelling. It’s one thing to read in a label that a product has soy, but another to try to decipher such ingredients as edamame, miso, mono-diglyceride or vegetable proteins.” Toronto Star’s Peter Krivel, on the problems associated with soy allergy

Aphrodisiac

“The first bite into the yolk isn’t so bad. But then I see it. The little head with the little eyes, closed as if in prayer, the barely shaped wings crossed angelically across its chest. There is little left to do but bite off its face.” Globe and Mail reporter Deirdre Kelly, on the Filipino delicacy balut, a nearly developed duck embryo served as a boiled egg

Balut

Bad science and bad religion

“The problem with studying religion scientifically is that you do violence to the phenomenon by reducing it to basic elements that can be quantified, and that makes for bad science and bad religion.”
Dr. Richard Sloan, professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University

Not worthy of time and talents

“The tasks of housekeeping and child rearing [are] not worthy of the full time and talents of intelligent and educated human beings. They do not require a great intellect, they are not honored and they do not involve risks and the rewards that risk brings.” Linda Hirshman, self-described feminist philosopher

The gay animal kingdom

“Male big horn sheep live in what are often called ‘homosexual societies.’ They bond through genital licking and anal intercourse, which often ends in ejaculation. If a male sheep chooses to not have gay sex, it becomes a social outcast. Ironically, scientists call such straight-laced males ‘effeminate.’ Giraffes have all-male orgies. So do bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, gray whales, and West Indian manatees… As this list of activities suggests, having homosexual sex is the biological equivalent of apple pie: Everybody likes it.” Jonah Lehrer on Stanford University biology professor Joan Roughgarden’s controversial book, Evolution’s Rainbow

Information junkies

“Neuroscientists have proposed a simple explanation for the pleasure of grasping a new concept: The brain is getting its fix. The ‘click’ of comprehension triggers a biochemical cascade that rewards the brain with a shot of natural opium-like substances… The brain’s craving for a fix motivates humans to maximize the rate at which they absorb knowledge.” Edward Vessel, on a recent study by the University of Southern California

What I really really want

“Why does one grab your attention, make you snap your head up, and why is the one that’s pure sweet, and imitating a fragrance that’s one of nature’s most beautiful, almost unbearable? Here’s why. Because, at the center of the expensive perfume, underneath the ‘good’ scents, there’s a bad scent, intentionally placed. A smell that if that was all you got in the bottle, would likely make you throw up. There’s a deliberate element in there designed to slap you right across the goddamn chops, and before you can be appalled, the ‘good’ mix of scents takes root. On the other hand, all Wal-Mart thinks you want in your bath ball is an overpowering floral smell. And it turns out, we don’t really want that.” Gail Simone

Blink?

“The Nobel laureate, Francis Crick, is well known for his discoveries about the double helix of our genes, but he later worked in the field of neuroscience. He and his colleagues postulated that humans needed to develop what he termed ‘zombie thinking’ in order to deal efficiently with the massive sensory input we continuously receive about the external world. This mode of thinking is thus necessary to allow us to react rapidly to external events, so that these cognitive illusions are ‘built in’ to us, almost certainly for evolutionary reasons. None of us is immune to them, not even those trained as scientists or judges. Our capacity for rational thinking is limited. Propagandists and advertisers are all too well aware of this.” Neurologist Simon Gandevia

Lactic Acid Is Not Muscles’ Foe, It’s Fuel

“Everyone who has even thought about exercising has heard the warnings about lactic acid. It builds up in your muscles. It is what makes your muscles burn. Its buildup is what makes your muscles tire and give out… But that, it turns out, is all wrong. Lactic acid is actually a fuel, not a caustic waste product. Muscles make it deliberately, producing it from glucose, and they burn it to obtain energy. The reason trained athletes can perform so hard and so long is because their intense training causes their muscles to adapt so they more readily and efficiently absorb lactic acid.” Gina Kolata, New York Times