That strange sense of feeling younger than you are is very common

Image: Pixaby

When I look in the mirror, I see someone way older than my brain expects. My mind is stuck at around age 30, shaving a whopping 28 years off reality. It’s a strange sensation that leaves me feeling like the kid in a room of adults who are all around my age, or has me referring to a stranger in his fifties “some old guy.” Turns out I’m not alone, and science actually has a term for this very common internal time warp.

After about age 25, most people think of themselves as younger than their chronological age. …


You never know what you might find when you just get out there. Photos by the writer

I feel like a kid again, and it keeps me in shape

Exercising sucks. I’ve always thought so. Yet I’m in pretty good shape these days. My secret: I don’t exercise much. Instead, I mostly play. Vigorously and often. Mountain biking is my latest (renewed) passion. I’m back into it in a big way after more than two decades of feeling too old.

And I gotta tell ya: No matter your age, ability or fitness level, you can’t beat a good trail ride for getting in shape and having a great time without the dreaded, unnatural, germ-infested, against-all-evolution act of exercising in a gym.

If you’re the cautious type, you’ll absolutely revel…


Image: Pixabay

Marijuana’s lesser-known effects on creativity, productivity, memory and cognition

Seth Rogen, the highly productive comedian, writer, actor, director, producer, ceramic artist and now entrepreneur, smokes a lot of pot. “I smoke weed all day every day,” Rogen said recently on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “It is 100% intrinsic to my functionality and my life.” Amid all the self-deprecating humor and tangential streams of consciousness, the co-creative force behind such films as “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express” emphasized how rigorously he has tested each strain of marijuana sold by his new cannabis company.

Toward the end of the interview, the obvious question finally came up:

Kimmel: “Are you high right now?

Rogen


If it feels good, do it — not a bad guideline for pre- or post-shot workouts. Image: Pixabay

There’s little research on this, but common sense can guide you

Before heading out for my first of two Covid-19 vaccine shots, I worried I might not feel like exercising later in the day. So I dropped to the mat in our bedroom for 40 quick push-ups (my current max) and then did a quick set of curls. Afterward, feeling some mild shoulder soreness, I pondered a bike ride. But then I wondered: Would exercise before or after the shot enhance or inhibit vaccine effectiveness? And might getting my blood pumping make me feel better? Or worse?

There’s not a lot of research on this, especially specific to the Covid-19 vaccines…


The elimination diet, which should be undertaken only with advice from a health care provider, can cause cravings and leave you hangry, but it can also reveal foods that might cause gas, bloating, diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues. Image: Pixabay

The ‘elimination diet’ is a tool for identifying causes of bloating, excess farting, diarrhea or other food intolerances

Years of growing gastrointestinal issues you don’t want to know about — increasingly frequent need to go №2 with increasing urgency and lots of uncomfortable bloating and risky farting — grew so frustrating I recently embarked on a draconian, challenging, weeks-long diagnostic food journey.

I stopped eating almost everything.

At the outset, I limited my intake to a wee handful of relatively benign foods, tummy-wise, a mere 27 basic items even counting water, various spices and oils, and a multivitamin.

The experiment, based on a strategy called the elimination diet, involves stripping your food choices down to a spartan level…


Image: Unsplash

Seriously, we’re just going to let another wave wash over us?

Call it another wave, another painful lesson, another avoidable surge. However you characterize the situation, Covid-19 is — yet again — poised for a heartbreaking comeback. And again, it’s from a high level of existing infections: With boatloads of people infected across America, the rising tide of new cases in more than half of U.S. states [NYT | WSJ] threatens to lift all corners of the country to higher levels of transmission, followed by increasing numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the weeks to follow.

If this sounds eerily, frustratingly familiar it could be because it’s the third time journalists…


An invisible virus exposes critical blind spots in science and society. But will we learn?

Photo: MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram/Getty Images

Plaguing the world for more than a year, the coronavirus has forced reckonings in everything from scientific understanding to heart-wrenching inequities in health care and the economy. Given the human tendency to ignore history, here, for the record, are seven vital lessons we can take from the Covid-19 pandemic, which could start benefiting us now and for generations to come.

1. Virus science just underwent a paradigm shift

Sanitizing groceries and drowning our homes with bleach was wrongheaded, in hindsight. That early advice reflected an outdated view of how the coronavirus, influenza, and other respiratory viruses spread, some of it based on experiments done in the 1930s.

Combining…


Image: Pixabay

Purveyors of BS are likely to eat it up, too, new research finds

The common wisdom that you can’t bullshit a bullshitter is a bunch of BS. Rather, people who habitually exaggerate stories and distort facts with the intent to persuade or impress others are more likely than straight shooters to be fooled by misinformation themselves, a new study of people in the US and Canada finds.

“It probably seems intuitive to believe that you can’t bullshit a bullshitter, but our research suggests that this isn’t actually the case,” says Shane Littrell, a cognitive psychology PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo in Canada and lead author of the research paper, published in…


This is the first image NASA’s Perseverance rover sent back after touching down on Mars today, Feb. 18, 2021. The view, from one of Perseverance’s Hazard Cameras, is partially obscured by a dust cover.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Welcome back to the newsletter. After months of dreary coronavirus updates, this week let’s just focus on some cool, interesting and even useful science and health news. Feel free to let me know if that works for you…

Coffee and Tea Are Really Good For You

New research adds a cup or two of good news to a pot of mounting evidence indicating that both coffee and tea — and apparently lots of it — can help people live longer, healthier lives. There’s just one catch: The evidence suggests you’ll want to eat well and exercise, too. Caffeinated drinks won’t make up for copious doughnuts and couch time.

Scientists Hack into Sleepers’ Dreams and Chat a Bit


Study team member Christopher Mazurek wears the electronic headgear used to monitor dreamer’s activities. Image credit: Christopher Mazurek

Breakthrough points to greater understanding of consciousness

Scientists have figured out how to hack into people’s sleep and communicate with them while they dream. The finding is a breakthrough in dream research and suggests study techniques that could be used to better grasp human consciousness.

The discovery was made during lucid dreaming, when people are aware that they are dreaming and, in some cases, are able to manipulate their dreams.

During the most common dream phase of sleep, called REM (rapid eye movement) and while dreaming vividly, some participants were able to follow instructions, answer yes-no questions and even do some simple math. …

Robert Roy Britt

Explainer of things, independent health and science journalist, author, former editor-in-chief of LiveScience and Space dot com.

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