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October 20, 2017

Weekend reads: A 'bittersweet' update on the love life of Jeremy the snail

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    So you've jumped into a pool of lava. Now what? To understand what would happen to the human body if someone jumped into a pool of lava, Digg spoke to Adam Kent, a volcanologist and the geology program director at Oregon State University. And according to Kent, the reality of the situation is a little different than what you might see in the movies: Since lava is essentially liquid rock, and thus far denser than the human body, you would float—not sink—and your body wouldn't steadily incinerate so much as explode. "The basic idea is that the gases in a body would expand rapidly and probably cause a series of minor explosions," Kent said.

    Study finds link between sugar and cancer—but don't put down the candy yet. In a study in Nature Communications, researchers found that yeast with high levels of glucose overstimulated the same type of proteins that are frequently found in human tumors in mutated form—a finding that the researchers said marks a breakthrough in the study of a link between sugar and cancer. "This link between sugar and cancer has sweeping consequences," the researchers wrote. "Our results provide a foundation for future research in this domain, which can now be performed with a much more precise and relevant focus." However, according to USA Today's Ashley May, while the study represents a groundbreaking finding for cancer research, "it's not a medical breakthrough" and it "doesn't prove that eating a low-sugar diet could change a cancer diagnosis."

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    Legally, tomatoes are a vegetable. The next time some smart aleck informs you that "tomatoes are actually a fruit," whip out this piece of trivia: The Supreme Court in a case on produce import taxes ruled tomatoes are vegetables—not fruits. "Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans, and peas," Justice Horace Gray wrote in 1893. "But in the common language of the people, whether sellers or consumers of provisions, all these are vegetables."

    Jeremy the snail has died. Earlier this year, we reported on Jeremy the Snail, a snail whose bid for a suitor with the same rare genetic condition ended in a love triangle. Jeremy was found dead earlier this month, Camila Domonoske reports for NPR's "The Two-Way." However, according to the University of Nottingham, "the sad news comes with a bittersweet twist." According to the university, "Shortly before his death, Jeremy was finally able to produce offspring after mating three times with another 'lefty' snail, ensuring that his legacy will live on through continuing genetic studies into his rare mutation."

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