Artificial Sweeteners: Good or Bad? #newsfornerds

Category: Cool Science
  • 9/19/2014 |
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Artificial Sweeteners: Good or Bad?  #newsfornerds
Another week, another story about the dangers of artificial sweeteners. Millions of Americans use sweeteners such as Splenda every day, either directly in their coffee, or indirectly in diet sodas or other "sugar-free" foods. But a new study published in the journal Nature adds more credence to the idea that these products are still pretty bad for you. For years, conventional logic held that since artificial sweeteners cannot be digested, they don't contribute to conditions like diabetes. This new study, however, brings a new factor into play: gut microbes. It appears …

Smart Is Cool at Barnes & Noble

  • 9/16/2014 |
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Smart Is Cool at Barnes & Noble
It's a party this weekend at the Barnes & Noble on Colorado Blvd in Denver! Come out and get your signed copy of Smart Is Cool, my latest non-fiction book. If you have kids in elementary, middle school, or high school, you'll find out about the silent epidemic that too many students deal with on a regular basis: academic peer pressure to dumb down. I'll be chatting about the book, signing copies, and giving away some great prizes. Plus, because lots of people have asked, we're going to also have copies of the first three volumes in the award-winning Galahad s …

The Ballad of the Second Born Child #newsfornerds

Category: Cool Science
  • 9/12/2014 |
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The Ballad of the Second Born Child  #newsfornerds
One of the big news stories of the week was the announcement that England's royal family is expecting a new addition next year. That's right, Will and Kate are having another baby. Among the most interesting elements of this story, however, is the question of birth order. More specifically, how does birth order affect our personalities? And what might that mean for a child born into such fame and privilege? This blog post from Time Magazine has a very clever perspective, but I wanted to dig a little deeper. Here are a few interesting nuggets that I found, courtesy of the jou …

The Weird Science of Coffee Naps #newsfornerds

Category: Cool Science
  • 9/5/2014 |
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The Weird Science of Coffee Naps  #newsfornerds
If you need an afternoon pick-me-up, which is a better option: taking a nap, or drinking coffee? Would you believe that the answer is doing both? It's called a coffee nap, and it's a real thing. You see, the caffeine in coffee really does keep you awake and give you that slightly-buzzed feeling. But it takes about 20 minutes for that caffeine to get absorbed through your small intestine, pass into your bloodstream, and land in your brain. Once it gets there, the caffeine fits into receptors that are normally filled by a similarly-shaped molecule called adenosine, which tends …

School Starts Too Early #newsfornerds

Category: Cool Science
  • 8/29/2014 |
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School Starts Too Early  #newsfornerds
This week's batch of News for Nerds stories: Why do schools start classes so early? The waiting is the hardest part . . . but it's good for you Why you'll lose friends in mid-life Monkeys don't own the rights to their own selfies A robot rides a hovercraft! * * * * * It's easy to pick on kids for being lazy and sleeping too much, but would you be surprised to learn that the truth is just the opposite? In fact, The American Academy of Pediatrics says that most kids are dangerously under-rested, leading to issues as wide-rangin …