bytes that won't turn your stomach (unless the animal kingdom wigs you out)

woman in black long sleeve shirt sitting on floor

Doctors Ignore Medical Guidelines

Many think that patients fail to follow prescription drug guidelines either because the guidelines are too complex or the patients do not trust their doctor. But if either is true, then physicians themselves should be the best at adherence. Surprisingly, they’re actually the worst. A decade of data from all of Sweden shows that the general population sticks to medication guidelines 54.4% of the time but doctors and their families only 50.6% of the time. The difference in adherence is greatest in the case of antibiotics, which has guidelines that minimize their use to reduce the risk of bacteria developing resistance to them. In the case of doctors, they may know that the guidelines maximize societal benefit at the slight cost to the individual and thus ignore the guidelines for their own benefit. Tsk tsk!

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Sustainability is Trash to Treasure

It’s becoming clearer that recycling isn’t working out as well as we’d hoped (Bloomberg), but a number of programs are popping up to create a more “circular economy” to help. Circular economies reuse materials, turning them into new products rather than allowing them to go to landfills. One company is processing produce too “ugly” for supermarket shelves into bulk, ready-to-use produce for school kitchens. Another is taking old NFL banners and turning them into handbags. And, of course, making a product last as long as it can is key to reducing waste so fix-it clinics for household items are also cropping up. These individual efforts will hopefully be bolstered by policy as well. For example, some states now have extended producer responsibility laws that require all packaging to be recyclable or compostable by 2023.

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Doc's Orders: Visit Mu

Belgium is experimenting with a new form of treatment for depression: museums. Patients of the six month pilot project will be prescribed (free) visits to participating museums as a way to coax patients out of the isolation of mental illness. The point of the therapy is to ensure patients go out and meet new people (as long as such environments are accessible and suitable to the patient). The project will end in March but interest is only growing with other cultural institutions and doctors clamoring to participate.

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Oh, Wasp a Prick!

For those in the know, male wasps don’t have stingers so it’s far less scary when they’re buzzing about. Right? Well, as it turns out, male wasps have spines on their genitals (used to hold female wasps in place during mating) that can also be used against a predator. The retractable genital spines are used by wasps to stab their predators, but it’s still not as effective as a female’s stinger. Tree frogs spat out female wasps 87.5% of the time (if they even attempted to eat them) and only 35.3% of the time for males.

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What is this? Milk for ants?

Ants are fascinating to watch for their incredible social cooperation and much observation has been made over the years, but their pupal stage, being almost inactive compared to the rest of the colony, is less studied. But a recent experiment has exposed them as fraudulently dull! Turns out, these larvae produce and excrete a milk-like substance that is then consumed by adult ants who groom and move the larvae around. Young larvae were also often deposited on milk-producing ones and observed to consume the milk as well. This discovery has made some wonder how important this milk is to the social cohesion of ant colonies. Are ants incentivized to care for their young because of the nutritious milk? Is this the root of ants’ sharing economy?

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Drought Spurred Attila’s Huns

There’s no shortage of stories about climate change and the massive migration patterns of both humans and animals in response. But drought and other climate problems have occurred in the past. So what resulted from those challenges? As it turns out, the whole reason for the Huns becoming violent raiders may be because of drought! Researchers looked at climate data reconstructed from tree rings alongside other archaeological and historical evidence, such as isotopic analysis of skeletons for information on diets, to conclude that drought reduced crop yields and pasture for animals and led the Huns to desperate measures. In fact, the most devastating Hunnic incursions coincided with extremely dry summers, turning herders into raiders.

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It's not happy hour yet, folks. The babies still need tending.

Oh don't be a party pupae-r. We'll do both!

Art Credit: ASCII Art Archive,

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