Sunday, December 31, 2006
On this day:

50 Things We Know Now (That We Didn't Know This Time Last Year)

Check this out. Here are my faves:

1. U.S. life expectancy in 2005 inched up to a record high of 77.9 years. (Do these life expectancy numbers still apply only to those who are born today?)

6. Cheese consumption in the United States is expected to grow by 50 percent between now and 2013. (Scientists are now studying how the resulting increase in cheese-cutting will affect global warming.)

9. Scientists have discovered that certain brain chemicals in our tears are natural pain relievers. (I never knew that there were "brain chemicals in our tears." Does that mean that our brain leaks everytime we cry?)

19. Red wine contains anti-inflammatory chemicals that stave off diseases affecting the gums and bone around the teeth. (Just in case you need a reason for having that second glass of wine.)

20. A substance called resveratrol, also found in red wine, protects mice from obesity and the effects of aging, and perhaps could do the same for humans. (Or yet another.)

32. Just 30 minutes of continuous kissing can diminish the body's allergic reaction to pollen, relaxing the body and reducing production of histamine, a chemical cell given out in response to allergens. (Hmmmm...imagine what "just 2 hours" of heavy petting would do.)

36. DNA analysis determined the British descended from a tribe of Spanish fishermen who crossed the Bay of Biscay almost 6,000 years ago. (This particular tribe were notorious in their native land for their bad food.)

40. The queens of bee, ant and wasp colonies that have the most sex with the largest number of males produce the strongest and healthiest colonies. (Reason number 2567 why it may not be a good idea to establish human moral codes based on behavior of lesser animal species.)

41. By firing atoms of metal at another metal, Russian and American scientists found a new element - No. 118 on the Periodic Table - that is the heaviest substance known and probably hasn't existed since the universe was in its infancy. (The element has been named Barrium, due to its remarkable resemblance to Roseanne Barr's derriere.)

45. During the past five years, the existence of a peanut allergy in children has doubled. (Upset that you can't get peanuts on planes? Blame the children.)

46. Photos taken of Mars in 1999 and 2005 show muddy sand, indicating there may have been a flood sometime between those years. (Climate change on Mars? How could it be? Last I heard, there aren't any humans there.)

48. Red wines from southwest France and Sardinia boast the highest concentrations of chemical compounds that promote heart health. (Whaddya know? Yet another reason to have a glass of wine.)