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January 31, 2020

Weekend reads: Meet the doctor playing in the Super Bowl

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    He's playing in the Super Bowl, and he's a doctor. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif earned his doctor of medicine degree from McGill University in 2018, but he won't be practicing medicine this Sunday. Instead, he'll be playing as the right guard on the offensive line for the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Duvernay-Tardif is unsure when he'll begin his residency, but he said he does plan to do it in the future. "We'll find a way, but I think this year I wanted to focus more on football," he said.

    These jungle cats are really into cologne and perfume—especially Calvin Klein. On Tuesday, the Banham Zoo in New Zealand put out a call for any unwanted perfumes or colognes, as the zoo's jungle cats seem to love them, especially designer brands. Mike Woolham, the zoo's animal manager, said, "For some reason, Calvin Klein perfume is a huge hit with all big cats but in all honesty any perfumes work well and we do like to offer them a variety of different smells." Earlier this week, the zoo released a video showing leopards pawing a tree and a tiger rubbing its face on a log to show how the cats "respond very positively" to the fragrances. According to Mandy Aftel, a perfumer, cats are attracted to an ingredient called in the perfume called civetone, a pheromone long used in perfumes that came from the civet, a small mammal that marks its territory with a scent from its anal glands. Today, most civetone is made in a lab, according to the Washington Post. Aftel described the scent as fecal floral, saying it's "kind of poopy, but kind of floral," which created a musky scent when used in perfume.


    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    No, the coronavirus has nothing to do with Corona beer. As the outbreak of the new coronavirus worsens, people across the world are becoming more interested in how the virus works. Worldwide searches for "coronavirus symptoms" shot up by 1,050% compared with the previous week, Jelisa Castrodale reports for Vice. But some of the popular searches indicate that people are still very confused about where the virus is coming from. According to BoingBoing, there has been a spike in searches for "corona beer virus" in North America, western Europe, Australia, India, and other countries over the last few days, indicating that some people may think the virus has something to do with the beer brand. But according to Castrodale, the shared name doesn't mean the virus and the beer have anything to do with one another. "[T]he only thing that Corona beer and [the virus] have in common is the origin of their names. In Latin, corōna meant 'crown,'" she writes. "Coronaviruses were named because of the crown-like spikes on its surface, and anyone who has ever peeled the label off a bottle of Corona Light has noticed the crown." 

    The deal with buying teeth aligners online. Two years ago, Taylor Weakley, an environmental scientist in Denver, ordered teeth aligners from SmileDirectClub to fix some crowding in her teeth. The aligners cost $1,850, which is cheaper than braces, but Weakley found the aligners didn't straighten her teeth. However, when Weakley asked SmileDirectClub for a refund, the company agreed to do so only if Weakley signed a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) that, according to Weakley, would bar her from "say[ing] anything" about the experience. According to the New York Times the NDA, which prohibits former customers from discussing the refund and requires them to delete negative reviews, is an effort on part of SmileDirectClub to prevent customers from discussing any bad experiences with the products. But Weakley was not the only one to have this experience. The Times talked to seven other people who claimed the aligners didn't work, and two of them also signed an NDA. According to the Times, these "actions underline the risks of ordering products from young companies that are bringing start-up-style 'disruption' to health."


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