Thursday, April 24, 2008

Interesting things I have learned lately:

- There are more than one thousand species of bananas. Of all these, you have only ever seen one in your whole life, or maybe two or three if you shop upscale markets. This is because this is the only strain of banana that growers deem both amenable to shipping and resistant to Panama disease, a fungus which wiped out the strain of banana that our grandparents used to eat. Apparently bananas really were better back in the old days.

- Also in banana-related news, researchers claim that a genetically-modified banana is the ideal delivery system for a Hepatitis B vaccine. Seriously.

- A meta-analysis of studies of multivitamin use has shown that not only do vitamins generally have no health benefits, they actually correlate with a small but significant increase in mortality. They also, as media outlets across the country have been happy to share, give us the most expensive urine in the world; given the known effects of prescription drugs on environments into which human wastewater flows, I think it's logical to say that it's also likely that all these vitamins could be having significant effects on ecosystems. This is actually not really new news, but I read it again lately and I thought I'd share.

- Recent discoveries about regolith composition on Mars were the result of a broken wheel on the Spirit rover, which dragged behind - actually in front of, since because of the wheel they had to drive it in reverse - and gouged a shallow trench in the Martian surface, revealing bright white and yellow layers under the red surface which contain, respectively, lots of silicon, and lots of sulfur compounds.

- Hillary Clinton has no integrity or respect whatsoever.

That's all for today.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Oooh! I knew the stuff about bananas already. Thank you NPR interview with a guy who wrote a book about bananas. J hated me when I came home & talked about nothing but bananas for about an hour.