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While You Were Sleeping: October 2013



It seems that 2013 has called for an influx of chicken consumption that has spread across the globe. With a 262 percent increase in their population, chickens outnumber humans nearly three to one with more than 20 billion versus our approximate 7.2 billion. With a variety of ways to be cooked and in multiple forms, UC Davis professor and poultry expert Dr. Rodrigo Gillardo claims chicken and eggs act as the perfect meal for humans. And, as they are produced in number and account for the cheapest protein on grocery shelves, there is no wonder why humans are gobbling down the feathery creatures more than ever.
Source: Mother Jones

Epitomized by TLC's hit television program "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," the consumption of fizzy drinks at an early age may dictate the rambunctious behavior of those who consume them. A team from Columbia University presented a questionnaire to mothers of five-year-olds that evaluated the role of soda in their children's lives. Out of the near 3,000 children examined, aggression linked directly to more than half the kids that consumed one fizzy drink daily. The study, through evaluating children of families more susceptible to break-ups and poverty, may suggest researcher Dr. Shakira Suglia's argument that the desire for sugary drinks could be a result of illnesses that cause aggression and mood swings. However, the consumption of sugar and products high in caffeine remains consistent with multiple health ailments. Such implications have fueled food campaign group Sustain in their attempts to apply a sugary drink tax to such products.
Source: Daily Mail (UK)

Talk about blurred lines. It seems that geography is not a strong suit for many Americans, but when you have members of the Department of Defense failing to identify the location they might soon bomb, that's a recipe for disaster. In a game designed by Us Vs Th3m, participants provided with a blank map were expected to identity Damascus, Syria. Though more than half of US citizens who participated were within a 200-mile range, only 57 percent of answers from the DOD employees displayed the same accuracy. With the exception of the reasonable answers of Damascus, Oregon and Damascus, Maryland, hotspots for the location appeared in Greece, areas east of the Caspian Sea, Libya, and Egypt.
Source: Us Vs Th3m

Have you ever been to a foreign country and wondered why the food tastes so fresh? Chances are, you're on to something. It seems that the American food industry has reverted back to the days of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, but instead of finding human appendages in dinners across the country, Americans are likely to find harmful chemicals. Foods such as farm-raised salmon and meat tainted with ractopamine (a chemical used to promote leanness in animals), proven to cause illnesses ranging from poor eyesight to human cardiovascular disorders, are banned outside of America, the latter product being banned in over 160 countries. Drinks containing flame-retardant chemicals, including citrus-flavored sodas and sports drinks, arsenic-laced chicken, and dairy products containing recombinant bovine growth hormone can all be found in groceries across the US, though they remain illegal in countries across the world.
Source: REALFarmacy

Are those in poverty stuck within a vicious cycle they cannot escape from? Researchers from Harvard, Princeton, and other universities say yes. In a recent study, research has shown that poverty not only shrinks the size of one's wallet, but also the size of one's brain. The study revealed that cognitive functions are dulled since those in poverty focus heightened levels of mental energy on their immediate circumstances, leaving little room for mental growth. Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan claims, "Our results suggest that when you are poor, money is not the only thing in short supply. Cognitive capacity is also stretched thin." With IQs decreasing up to 13 points, those in poverty are more likely to make bad decisions and therefore perpetuate the cycle of poverty. In another test evaluating those in low and middle income families, participants exhibited a decrease in mental capability when confronted with poverty-like circumstances.
Source: Huffington Post

Society has come a long way since the days of the Stonewall riots and Harvey Milk. The IRS now promises federal recognition for same-sex spouses to claim taxes regardless of state marriage laws. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in June, leaving the question of federal benefits up for Washington to decide. As of August 29, same-sex spouses will no longer be permitted to file their taxes as "single," but must select either "married filing jointly" or "married filing separately." Place of residence and marriage certificate remain entirely insignificant so long as the marriage is identified on a national level. Couples with higher incomes will surely suffer from the "marriage penalty," paying more in taxes than would they if single. However, couples that make less of an income can apply for amended refunds for years past, though couples that suffer the marriage penalty can choose not to have their taxes revised. Both Medicare and Social Security rights are also granted to same-sex couples, the latter differing depending on state laws.
Source: New York Times

A study performed on nations across the globe measures the level of sustainability of each country, not solely in terms of energy, but rather in terms of survival. With Sweden ranking first, the US ranking ninth, and Nigeria ranking last, the study as performed by RobecoSAM considers seventeen factors, including renewable energy sources, education, labor participation, and income equality. The central differences between better-placed countries, such as Norway, Denmark, and the UK, as opposed those in last, including Russia, Venezuela, and Egypt, are the quality of institutions and political stability.
Source: Fast Company

Product placement in music videos has become a growing trend in the pop culture scene, but did anyone realize the overt endorsements found in the song lyrics themselves? A recent study led by Dr. Michael Seigel of the Boston University School of Public Health found that out of 720 hit songs from the pop, rock, country, and urban genres, 167 refer to alcohol and 46 quote specific brands. Seigel claims that artists receive revenue from these companies in exchange for endorsing their brand. More than two-thirds of these cases come from urban genres, consisting of an R&B/Hip Hop/Rap hybrid, while rock music surprisingly did not mention one particular brand.
Source: Salon

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