March 23, 2018

Weekend Reads: Being nice to yourself could be good for you

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    The mysterious, unavoidable canker sore. Medical and dental experts have posited several theories as to what causes canker sores, but no one yet knows the precise cause. According to experts, possible causes including viruses, allergies, a weakened immune system, a mouth injury, poor nutrition, or simple stress—however, they are quick to distinguish between canker sores, the ulcers that afflict anyone on the tongue or on the inside of the lip or cheek, from cold sores, which are caused by the herpes simplex virus and form on the outer lip. "[Canker sores are] just one of those things where the exact cause has yet to be determined," Sally Cunn, a dentist and spokesperson for the American Dental Association, said.

    Have some compassion for yourself, it might make you healthier. People who have higher levels of self-compassion—showing understanding for yourself when you make mistakes—typically handle stress better, with fewer physical and mental reactions to stressful events, according to a study in Health Psychology Open. Further, the study found that people with higher levels of self-compassion are more likely to adopt healthy behaviors and stick to them in the long-term.

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    When did you last eat German food? Once an influential taste in American dining, German food is dwindling in popularity, as diners increasingly opt for other cuisines. In fact, according to Yelp data scientist Carl Bialek, German food ranks at a lowly 83 among the 100 biggest restaurant categories in terms of growth. Thomas Hauck, who unsuccessfully tried to revive a failing German restaurant in Milwaukee, said people think of the food as "Grandma's food." As experts explained, German cuisine's declining moment in the spotlight is likely linked to its focus on heavy, starchy foods—not exactly what modern diners are seeking—as well as its stodgy reputation (and the fact that most of the food is various shades of brown does it no favors in the Instagram age).

    Meet the new stinkbug. Writing for The New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz traces the rise of a new stinkbug in the United States: the brown marmorated stinkbug. The creature, which is native to East Asia and was first identified in the United States in the mid-late 1990s in Pennsylvania, has since cropped up as far away as California. Researchers suspect it came over from China on a shipping pallet. For its part, the bug lives up to its name: Not only does the insect destroy crops, but it also invades homes in hordes.

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