FACTOIDS: Gay-dar revisited; Casinos Cure Obesity in Children; Plus, Preschoolers can do Algebra and more

Are you smarter than a 5-year-old? 
Preschoolers can do algebra
Millions of high school and college algebra students are united in a shared agony over solving for x and y, and for those to whom the answers don't come easily, it gets worse: Most preschoolers and kindergarteners can do some algebra before even entering a math class. A new study finds that most preschoolers and kindergarteners, or children between 4 and 6, can do basic algebra naturally.

  • Naturally, they can.  Which is why we wait until they can't to teach it.



'Gaydar' revisited: 
New insight into how women perceive 
emotions, thoughts, personality, and sexual orientation
A recent study out of Northeastern University sheds new light on the phenomenon known as "gaydar," or the ability to determine another person's sexual orientation. The study found that women who identified as lesbians were better at detecting sexual orientation in other women, but that straight women were more attune to detecting emotion and personality in their peers.

While the lesbians were better at determining sexual orientation, the straight women were better at assessing thoughts and emotions. They were particularly good at this when the targets they were judging were also straight. Both groups did an equally good job of evaluating personality traits.
Interestingly, the straight targets were generally more transparent (to both straight and lesbian judges) in comparison to their lesbian counterparts. Both groups of judges had a consistently easier time detecting each criterion for the straight women.

  • So to be perfectly perceptive, one must be a gay straight woman?



Opening a casino linked with
lower rate of overweight children 
The opening or expansion of a casino in a community is associated with increased family income, decreased poverty rates and a decreased risk of childhood overweight or obesity, according to a study published in one of The JAMA Network Journals. The authors speculate that the association found in this study between casinos and childhood overweight/obesity may be from both increased family-individual and community economic resources, but emphasize that further research is needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying this association.

  • It's simple, really.  Get the kids hooked on gambling and they won't have time to eat.


Meat and cheese may be as 
bad for you as smoking
A high-protein diet during middle age makes you nearly

  • twice as likely to die and 
  • four times more likely to die of cancer, 

but moderate protein intake after age 65 is good for you.  In other words, what's good for you at one age may be damaging at another. Protein controls the growth hormone IGF-I, which helps our bodies grow but has been linked to cancer susceptibility. Levels of IGF-I drop off dramatically after age 65, leading to potential frailty and muscle loss. The study shows that while high protein intake during middle age is very harmful, it is protective for older adults: those over 65 who ate a moderate- or high-protein diet were less susceptible to disease.

Crucially, the researchers found that plant-based proteins, such as those from beans, did not seem to have the same mortality effects as animal proteins. Rates of cancer and death also did not seem to be affected by controlling for carbohydrate or fat consumption, suggesting that animal protein is the main culprit.

  1. Beans, beans the musical fruit, the more you eat, the longer you live.
  2. Good news for me!  I smoke, but don't eat animal protein.  

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