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Is Kale Killing You?

Jeff Wasserman/Shutterstock

Kale is either going to kill you or save your life depending on which media report you read. Let’s sort superfood fact from fiction.

With every health trend, every celebrity-endorsed “superfood” and faddish juice cleanse comes the inevitable backlash.The irrigation of colons and flushing of kidneys with $10 (and typically green) juice concoctions are as dubious as they are ubiquitous, so the Wall Street Journal and Slate — to name merely two examples — took a hatchet to some of the juicers’ more grandiose health claims. In January, it was kale’s turn. A New York Times story highlighted a potential link between the trendy leafy green and hypothyroidism, fueling a flurry of concern (and some predictable outrage) from kale evangelists.


Special Ops’ Weapons Wish List

U.S Airforce

America’s special operators are already some of the best-equipped troops in the world. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use a laser blaster or two.

Laser rifles. Canine air conditioners. There are lots of gadgets that U.S. commandos would love to have, except for the fact that these items don't even exist.That's why the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), which includes the Army's Special Forces and Rangers, has published a long list of equipment that it wants private industry to develop and build.What is fascinating about this list isn't just that it tells us what capabilities U.


The Greatest Polio Threat Ever


First Syria, now Iraq—polio is spreading through these war-torn countries, and the challenges to get the spread under control are great.

The three-year long civil war in Syria, which has claimed an estimated 150,000 lives, has come to affect the infants and children of the region in a new way. From the start, bombs and chemical weapons brutally harmed many kids as well as adults, but now young ones are at risk from something new: the spread of infectious diseases.With the war-related deterioration of the government’s ability to provide even rudimentary services, the vaccination of infants can no longer reliably be performed.

Sickness and Health

AIDS Patients Flock to Obamacare

Astrid Riecken/MCT, via Getty

Early drug claims suggest exchange plan enrollees are sicker than average, but experts say it’s too early to draw conclusions about the impact on premiums.

Offering a first glimpse of the health care needs of Americans who bought coverage through federal and state marketplaces, an analysis of the first two months of claims data shows the new enrollees are more likely to use expensive specialty drugs to treat conditions like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C than those with job-based insurance.The sample of claims data—considered a preliminary look at whether new enrollees are sicker-than-average—also found that prescriptions for treating pain, seizures, and depression are also proportionally higher in exchange plans, according to Express Scripts, one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit management companies.

Babies Having Babies

Teens: Sex Leads to Pregnancy?!

Catalina Martin-Chico/Cosmos, via Redux

A new CDC report finds significant progress in reducing teen pregnancy, but finds sexual education seriously lacking.

More than 80 percent of teens ages 15-17 have had no formal sex education before they have sex for the first time, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday.These findings point to the fact that although significant progress has been made in reducing teen pregnancy, further targeted measures are necessary in order to delay sexual intercourse and increase the use of effective forms of contraception for sexually active teens.


Gov't Stops Counting Drug Users

Andrew Burton/Getty

The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring survey (ADAM) was terminated in March, and not one congressmen tried to save it. Now the U.S. is without an accurate estimate of its drug users. That means less funding for research and treatment.

A new study revealing 67 percent of Americans want the government to focus on treatment for drug abusers was met with joy last week. A “truce” in the war on drugs, experts opined, may be just around the corner.But while the public looks poised to make good, the government is quietly quitting. In March, the nation’s richest source of information about cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine abuse was terminated. Not one congressman tried to save it.


Raw Milk: Got E. Coli?

Mike Kemp/Tetra Images/Getty

Supporters of raw milk claim it provides good bacteria and enzymes. But throughout history, it’s made people extremely sick (especially women and children).

As a parent, I try to avoid absolutes in raising my kids. While I have definite preferences about television watching and fast food and various other aspects of their care, sometimes a little wiggle room is necessary. I keep the “never ever” list pretty short. For example, my sons will never play tackle football (a topic for another time, perhaps). So long as I have any say about it, none of my kids will ever ride a motorcycle. And my children are never, ever to drink unpasteurized milk.


No, Animals Can't Sense Disasters


That video of bison fleeing Yellowstone in anticipation of a volcanic eruption? Yeah, not so much. The buffalo are actually running toward the park.

In the last few weeks, interest in a YouTube video purporting to show bison fleeing Yellowstone National Park has rocketed around the Internet. The video, which has racked up nearly two million views since publishing on March 20, is titled "ALERT! Yellowstone Buffalo Running for Their Lives!"The animals are supposedly evacuating themselves in anticipation of an eruption at the park, which sits on a huge volcanic system. Curiosity about the claim was surely fueled by the recent magnitude 4.


Death by Pot Cookie?

Bob Berg/Getty

A Denver teen reportedly ate a marijuana cookie, began acting strangely, and fell from a balcony to his death. But science says you can’t die from a pot overdose. So what happened?

According to the headlines, Levi Thamba Pongi, 19, a native of the Republic of Congo, ate a marijuana cookie, began behaving erratically, and fell off a hotel balcony in Denver.The coroner says the death was caused by the injuries he incurred from the fall. The medical report lists marijuana intoxication as a contributing factor, because it was found in his blood at an intoxicating level.Let’s pause for a moment. First, medical science has proven time and time again that it is impossible to die from a marijuana overdose.

Body Image

The Problem With ‘Skinny’ Apps


Flawless skin, perfect hair, and bright white teeth are all just a swipe away. Now a new app promises to shrink you by 15 pounds. What happens when young girls start downloading it?

Instagram and its co-conspirators have single-handedly transformed us from a bunch of fuglies into a flock of filtered, fair weathered gods and goddesses. There are now picture editing apps that can tone you up, slim you down, smooth your skin, and tousle your hair. But at what point do they stop being harmless re-touchers, and start contributing to society’s spiralling self-esteem problem?SkinneePix is the latest image-enhancing app to hit the market, and has already reached the number one spot in the iTunes store’s photo and video category.

500 Days And Counting

Secret Spaceplane, Mystery Mission


Nearly 500 days into its mission, the Pentagon still won’t say what its drone space shuttle is doing in orbit, or when it might come back.

The Air Force’s secret space plane has been up in orbit for nearly 500 days—a space endurance record. But nearly a year and a half into the mission, the Pentagon still won’t say what the X-37B is doing up there, or when it might come back.  The U.S. Air Force boosted the robotic X-37B atop the nose of an Atlas-5 rocket in December 2012. Since then it’s orbited the Earth thousands of times, overflying such interesting places as North Korea and Iran.

Dream On

Can You Craft the Perfect Dream?


Can you control your dreams through sound? One psychologist says yes, and a new study backs him up.

Professor Richard Wiseman started his career as a magician. Now, he claims he has the power to control your dreams. But there's no magic here--it's hard science. Today, Wiseman is a respected psychologist and has developed a new app, Dream:ON. A study has shown the app helps people craft what they dream about right before waking up, and thus, they rise feeling happy and refreshed."I'd like to think this is my best trick yet," smiles Professor Wiseman, who teaches in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, UK.

Put a Ring on It

The Cronut of Space

L. Calçada/Nick Risinger/ESO

Chariklo was discovered in 1997, but astronomers recently discovered its two rings. It’s also likely to have one or more moons.

Saturn’s rings make the planet one of the most beautiful objects in our Solar System. Though the rings look solid, they consist of a huge number of icy particles that reflect sunlight back. Thanks to telescopes and space probes, we also know that other worlds have less showy ring systems: the giant planets Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune have them, along with the asteroid Chariklo(roughly pronounced “KAReekloe”), which was recently revealed to have two narrow rings made of water ice.

Up to a Point

P.J. and the Owl-Monkey Project

David Howells/Corbis

Studies confirm what scientists suspected all along: there’s a huge difference between !!, !!!, and !!!!!!.

Social Science Eats the News… Print journalism is succumbing to “Studies show…”  This is understandable. Real news reporting requires reporters, news, and other expensive stuff. But  “Studies show…” items can be clipped and pasted by…  By people like me. The clippings don’t even have to be news in the sense of new. Daily papers and slick monthlies aren’t reluctant to trumpet “findings” older than New Math. Below are examples gathered over the past six weeks from The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and The Atlantic.

Find Your Niche

Reddit’s Toaster Love & Dragon Sex


Deep within the Web’s weirdest recesses, hundreds of other fans of monarchism and intercourse with German Panzers are waiting for you. Warning: NSFW photos of avocados.

In case you have missed any of the dozens—hundreds!—of articles on the topic, Reddit has become the de facto center of the Internet. Last month, it had almost 115 million unique visitors, which is a lot—it’s not that far from Facebook, which had 166 million unique visits in February.But despite its popularity, Reddit manages to retain a glorious, dark, unabashed weirdness that positively thrives there. It remains the receptive petri dish to any and all sorts of colonies of humanity that finally managed to find one another.

Better. Faster. Stronger.


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Home Screen

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Video Games Make You (More) Racist



Lincoln Center, NYC | APRIL 3-5, 2014

The Women in the World 2014 Agenda

The Women in the World 2014 Agenda

The fifth annual summit hits New York's Lincoln Center stage April 3-5, 2014. Hear stirring true stories that stretch from war zones to Washington, and learn how you too can get involved. Watch LIVE on The Daily Beast starting today at 6:30PM EST!