In early March, D.C.'s famed cherry blossoms were ready to pop. An unusually balmy February had nudged the trees from the naked skeletal branches of dull dormancy into full flower production mode. Although most of the flowers were still young—little more than buds—some had reached a status worthy of peeping, with full “puffy white” blossoms. And then came a week of not wholly unexpected back-to-back hard freezes. It was early March, after all, and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration doesn't declare Washington free from frost risk until the end of April.
Botulinum toxin is one of the most potent poisons on Earth—less than a millionth of a gram in your bloodstream would kill you—and is perhaps also the most lucrative. It generates over $3 billion in revenue every year for the pharmaceutical industry, where it goes by the name botox.
The supplement aisles of most grocery stores and pharmacies in the United States are bursting with probiotics. These billions of bacteria stuffed into once-a-day capsules claim to provide digestive relief, among other benefits. They're extremely popular, with sales of $36.6 billion in 2015. And for good reason. For many people, various gastrointestinal issues come and go pretty much forever, causing chronic discomfort or worse. But according to gastroenterologists and other scientists, these tiny bugs might not be doing the jobs they claim to do.
Many rain jackets have zippers at the armpits that, when opened, let out perspiration and funk that would otherwise stay trapped inside. But researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a prototype of a wearable that vents itself automatically in response to sweat—and it does so using bacteria.
In addition to being delicious, mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, the plant chemicals that may stave off cell damage. They're also stuffed with beta glucans, a type of soluble fiber that may improve immune system function and help control cholesterol levels. Studies suggest that foods rich in antioxidants and beta glucans are the foundations of a healthy diet (effects, researchers emphasize, that cannot be mimicked by taking supplements). And not only are mushrooms nutrient-rich, but these famously fun guys are high in protein while low in calories and in fat. In other words, mushrooms are a low calorie, highly nutritive food. Junk food and candy, by contrast, are highly caloric but low in nutrients.
Let's start with the gross stuff: up to ten grams of poop can wash off a little kid's butt in a pool. Ten grams is a pretty small amount, but now multiply that by the number of children in your average public pool. Think about how much poop that is. And now think about the last time you got an infection from swimming in a pool.