Friday, February 25, 2011

10 Things You Didn't Know About You

by Ben Mauk, Yahoo.com


INTRO: Your Skin Has Four Colour

All skin, without coloring, would appear creamy white. Near-surface blood vessels add a blush of red. A yellow pigment also tints the canvas. Lastly, sepia-toned melanin, created in response to ultraviolet rays, appears black in large amounts. These four hues mix in different proportions to create the skin colors of all the peoples of Earth.


9. The World Laughs With You

Just as watching someone yawn can induce the behavior in yourself, recent evidence suggests that laughter is a social cue for mimicry. Hearing a laugh actually stimulates the brain region associated with facial movements. Mimicry plays an important role in social interaction. Cues like sneezing, laughing, crying and yawning may be ways of creating strong social bonds within a group.


8. Big Brains Cause Cramped Mouths

Evolution isn't perfect. If it were, we might have wings instead of wisdom teeth. Sometimes useless features stick around in a species simply because they're not doing much harm. But wisdom teeth weren't always a cash crop for oral surgeons. Long ago, they served as a useful third set of meat-mashing molars. But as our brains grew our jawbone structure changed, leaving us with expensively overcrowded mouths.


7. Cell Hairs Move Mucus

Most cells in our bodies sport hair-like organelles called cilia that help out with a variety of functions, from digestion to hearing. In the nose, cilia help to drain mucus from the nasal cavity down to the throat. Cold weather slows down the draining process, causing a mucus backup that can leave you with snotty sleeves. Swollen nasal membranes or condensation can also cause a stuffed schnozzle.


6. Puberty Reshapes Brain Structure, Makes for Missed Curfews

We know that hormone-fueled changes in the body are necessary to encourage growth and ready the body for reproduction. But why is adolescence so emotionally unpleasant? Hormones like testosterone actually influence the development of neurons in the brain, and the changes made to brain structure have many behavioral consequences. Expect emotional awkwardness, apathy and poor decision-making skills as regions in the frontal cortex mature.


5. Thousands of Eggs Unused by Ovaries

When a woman reaches her late 40s or early 50s, the monthly menstrual cycle that controls her hormone levels and readies ova for insemination ceases. Her ovaries have been producing less and less estrogen, inciting physical and emotional changes across her body. Her underdeveloped egg follicles begin to fail to release ova as regularly as before. The average adolescent girl has 34,000 underdeveloped egg follicles, although only 350 or so mature during her life (at the rate of about one per month). The unused egg follicles then deteriorate. With no potential pregnancy on the horizon, the brain can stop managing the release of ova.


4. Much of a Meal is Food For Thought

Though it makes up only 2 percent of our total body weight, the brain demands 20 percent of the body's oxygen and calories. To keep our noggin well-stocked with resources, three major cerebral arteries are constantly pumping in oxygen. A blockage or break in one of them starves brain cells of the energy they require to function, impairing the functions controlled by that region. This is a stroke.


3. Bones Break (Down) to Balance Minerals

In addition to supporting the bag of organs and muscles that is our body, bones help regulate our calcium levels. Bones contain both phosphorus and calcium, the latter of which is needed by muscles and nerves. If the element is in short supply, certain hormones will cause bones to break down ½upping calcium levels in the body�until the appropriate extracellular concentration is reached.


2. Body Position Affects Your Memory

Can't remember your anniversary, hubby? Try getting down on one knee. Memories are highly embodied in our senses. A scent or sound may evoke a distant episode from one's childhood. The connections can be obvious (a bicycle bell makes you remember your old paper route) or inscrutable. A recent study helps decipher some of this embodiment. An article in the January 2007 issue of Cognition reports that episodes from your past are remembered faster and better while in a body position similar to the pose struck during the event.


1. Your Stomach Secretes Corrosive Acid

There's one dangerous liquid no airport security can confiscate from you: It's in your gut. Your stomach cells secrete hydrochloric acid, a corrosive compound used to treat metals in the industrial world. It can pickle steel, but mucous lining the stomach wall keeps this poisonous liquid safely in the digestive system, breaking down lunch.


Friday, February 11, 2011

20 Secrets Your Waiter Won’t Tell You

By Michelle Crouch from Reader's Digest December 2009


1. What You're Really Swallowing
In most restaurants, after 8 p.m. or so, all the coffee is decaf because no one wants to clean two different coffeepots. I’ll bring out a tray with 12 coffees on it and give some to the customers who ordered regular, others to the ones who ordered decaf. But they're all decaf.
-Charity Ohlund

2. What You Don't Want to Know
We put sugar in our kids' meals so kids will like them more. Seriously. We even put extra sugar in the dough for the kids' pizzas.
-Waitress at a well-known pizza chain

3. What We Lie About
If you're a vegetarian and you ask if we use vegetable stock, I’m going to say yes, even if we don’t. You’ll never know the difference.

4. What You Don't Want to Know
At a lot of restaurants, the special is whatever they need to sell before it goes bad. Especially watch out for the soup of the day. If it contains fish or if it’s some kind of 'gumbo,' it's probably the stuff they're trying to get rid of.
-Kathy Kniss, who waited tables for ten years in Los Angeles

5. What You Don't Want to Know
Now that I’ve worked in a restaurant, I never ask for lemon in a drink. Everybody touches them. Nobody washes them. We just peel the stickers off, cut them up, and throw them in your iced tea.
-Charity Ohlund, Kansas City waitress

6. What You Don't Want to Know
If you ask me how many calories are in a particular dish, I'm not allowed to tell you even if I know. I'm supposed to say, 'All that information is available online.'
-Waitress at a well-known pizza chain

7. What You Don't Want to Know
I've never seen anybody do anything to your food, but I have seen servers mess with your credit card. If a server doesn’t like you, he might try to embarrass you in front of your business associate or date by bringing your credit card back and saying, 'Do you have another card? This one didn’t go through.'
-Charity Ohlund

8. What You're Really Swallowing
Skim milk is almost never skim milk. Very few restaurants outside Starbucks carry whole milk, 2 percent milk, skim milk, and half-and-half; it's just not practical.
-Chris

9. What You're Really Swallowing
Some places buy salad dressings in one-gallon jars, then add a few ingredients, like a blue cheese crumble or fresh herbs, and call it homemade on the menu.
-Former waiter Jake Blanton, who spent ten years in restaurants in Virginia, North Carolina, and California

10. What Drives Us Crazy
The single greatest way to get your waiter to hate you? Ask for hot tea. For some reason, an industry that’s managed to streamline everything else hasn’t been able to streamline that. You've got to get a pot, boil the water, get the lemons, get the honey, bring a cup and spoon. It’s a lot of work for little reward.
-Christopher Fehlinger, ma�tre d’ at a popular New York City restaurant

11. What We Want You to Know
In many restaurants, the tips are pooled, so if you have a bad experience with the server, you’re stiffing the bartender who made your drinks, the water boy who poured your water, sometimes the hostess, the food runners, and maybe the other waiters.
-Christopher Fehlinger

12. What We Want You to Know
Even at the best breakfast buffet in the world, 99 times out of 100, the big pan of scrambled eggs is made from a powder.
-Jake Blanton

13. What We Want You to Know
People think that just because your food took a long time, it's the server's fault. Nine times out of ten, it's the kitchen. Or it's the fact that you ordered a well-done burger.
-Judi Santana

14. What We Want You to Know
When you’re with the woman who's not your wife, you’re a lot nicer to us, probably because you know that we know it’s not your wife.
-Caroline Radaj, waitress at a members-only club outside Milwaukee

15. How to Be a Good Customer
It’s much easier to be recognized as a regular on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays. Once you’re recognized as a regular, good things start to happen. You’ll find your wineglass gets filled without being put on your bill, or the chef might bring you a sample.
-Christopher Fehlinger

16. How to Be a Good Customer
Avoid Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day like the black plague. It’s crazy busy, so they’re not going to be able to pay as much attention to quality. Plus, they bring out a special menu where everything is overpriced.
-Steve Dublanica

17. How to Be a Good Customer
If the restaurant is busy and your child is shy, please order for him. Kids can sit there forever trying to decide, or they whisper and you can’t hear them. Meanwhile, the people at the next table are yelling at you to come over.
-Derek Dudley, a waiter at a casual pizza restaurant in Phoenix

18. What You Need to Know About Tipping
The best tippers tend to be middle-class or people who have worked for everything they have, not the really wealthy or the kid who inherited the trust fund. Which is not to say that we mind if you use coupons. But when you do, tip on the amount the bill would have been without them.
-Judi Santana

19. What You Need to Know About Tipping
First dates, especially blind Internet dates, are great for tips. You know he’ll probably order a bottle of wine and leave a 20 to 25 percent tip because he's showing off.
-Jeremy Burton, waiter at a grill in southwest Michigan

20. What Else We’d Like You to Know
Don’t order fish on Sunday or Monday. The fish deliveries are usually twice a week, so Tuesday through Friday are great days. Or ask the restaurant when they get theirs.
-Steve Dublanica