November 30, 2018

Weekend reads: How long does it take to pass a Lego through your digestive system? These pediatricians want to know.

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    In case you were wondering In a study published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, six pediatricians swallowed small Lego heads to see how long it would take to pass it through the body, and whether it would affect the digestive tract. To do this, the pediatricians swallowed the Legos and then monitored their bowel movements until they were able to find the toy. The researchers measured their pre-ingestion bowel habit using the "Stool Hardness and Transit score," and measured the time taken to find the toy using the "Found and Retrieved Time score." Ultimately, the researchers found it took 1.71 days on average to pass a Lego, and that the toy had no effect on the digestive tract.

    This small island has a population of 500—and they speak nine different languages. The Warruwi Community, a small settlement on South Gouldburn Island, off the northern coast of Australia, has just about 500 residents—but nine distinct languages. According to The Atlantic's Michael Erad, the island is "one of the last places in Australia—and probably the world—where so many indigenous languages exist together." However, while one might expect that the residents of such a small community to speak multiple languages, or to have developed a pidgin language, so as to communicate with each other, individuals generally speak only the language of their family and clan, even if they understand multiple languages. Erard explained, "One can only speak the languages one has a right to speak, and breaking this restriction can be seen as a sign of hostility."

    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    Meet Knickers, the giant steer. A large, dairy breed steer captured the world's attention this week. The steer, Knickers, is 6 feet 4 inches tall— only three inches short of the Guinness World Record for largest steer. He weighs over 2,800 pounds. His owner called Knickers a "standout steer" and said his size saved him from slaughter last month, when buyers refused to bid on Knickers because he was too big to fit in slaughter equipment.

    I'll have six 'starch bombs' with that. How many calories are in an order of fries? A large fries from McDonald's, for instance, comes in at 510 calories—nearly as many as the 540 in a Big Mac. Given their calorie count relative to their nutritional value, it's not surprising that nutritionists don't endorse them. However, if you can't resist fries, nutritionists suggest sharing portions or getting the smallest order possible. As Eric Rimma professor in the departments of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, suggested, "I think it would be nice if your meal came with a side salad and six French fries"—or rather, as he refers to them, "starch bombs."

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