6 of the most inconvenient things evolution left us with

  • Evolution has left its mark on the human body in ways that….are less than ideal.
  • While wisdom teeth were once useful, they often plague our smaller jaws and require surgery to remove.
  • Some evolutionary quirks can be deadly. Humans and other apes can’t produce their own vitamin C, unlike most other animals. This can lead to a terrible disease called scurvy, in situations where you can’t get enough of the vitamin from your diet.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: Millions of years ago, wisdom teeth were dead useful. Those hefty molars helped us grind up fibrous veggies. Then, around 1 million to 2 million years ago, we invented cooking, which softened food so we didn’t need to chew as much. That put wisdom teeth out of a job. Around 10,000 years ago, we began to farm and cook our food even more. With less work to do, our powerful jaws shrank, making it harder for those extra teeth to fit in our mouths. And today, we suffer the consequences. Gum infection, tooth decay, even tumors. But, unfortunately, annoying extra molars aren’t the only way evolution screwed us over.

Narrator: All primates, including humans, have something in common: We have incredibly bony feet. Each one contains 26 bones. Together, that’s almost a quarter of all the bones in our body. Now, this foot design makes perfect sense to our ancient primate ancestors, because all those tiny moving parts made their feet flexible enough to cling to branches. But here’s the problem: Once our ancestors left the trees and started walking upright, we needed a more rigid, stable foot to balance and propel ourselves from one step to the next. We didn’t lose a single bone. The result? Our feet are too flexible, and they can easily twist the wrong way, which leads to all sorts of foot-related ailments, like sprains, stress fractures, and tendinitis.

Narrator: If that’s not bad enough, walking upright also messed up our spine. In animals that walk on all fours, the spine arches like a bridge, which helps support the weight of their internal organs dangling beneath. Then, 6 million years ago, our ancestors first stood up and forced that smooth arch into an S shape. The top is curved outward to support the weight of our head, and the bottom is curved inward to keep our torso in line with our feet, so we can balance. Unfortunately, this design isn’t very sound. That bend in our lower back puts a tremendous amount of pressure on our backbone. So it’s no wonder that 60% to 70% of people worldwide experience lower-back pain sometime in their life.

Narrator: Speaking of pain, let’s talk about getting hit in the testicles. Unlike most of your organs, they hang outside your body, so they aren’t protected by muscles, fat, and bone, which makes them a prime target for incoming soccer balls. So why are we, and many other mammals, stuck with such a risky arrangement? Well, it turns out, sperm are healthiest when they’re stored in a cool place. So we hold them as far away from the body as possible to keep them a few extra degrees below body temperature. And humans have it especially bad. Since we walk upright, gravity pulls on our exposed testes, which can lead to a potentially excruciating condition called inguinal hernia.

Narrator: And while this might feel like the worst thing ever, other evolutionary quirks can be deadly. Take the dangerous way our throat is structured. It contains two important tubes, the trachea, or windpipe, where air travels, and the esophagus, where food travels. These pipes are nestled so close together, it’s just plain stupid. Because when you swallow, food can slip into your windpipe and block airflow, causing you to choke or suffocate. Every year, about 5,000 Americans die by choking on food. Meanwhile, other animals have a more sensible arrangement, where their windpipe and esophagus are far away from each other. So, why don’t we have that setup? Well, by sticking the pipes together, we can open up extra space in our throats, which acts like an echo chamber to amplify sound to help us talk. But evolution doesn’t always come with a silver lining.

Narrator: In the 18th century, millions of sailors suffered from a horrible disease called scurvy. Their gums would swell and bleed as their skin disintegrated and their brains decayed. The culprit? Away from shore for months on end, the sailors had no access to fresh fruits and vegetables, key sources of vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in how our body repairs damaged tissue, bone, and nerves. Now, humans, along with other apes, guinea pigs, some bats, birds, and fish, are the only animals that would ever have this problem, because everyone else can produce their own vitamin C, no oranges needed. Meanwhile, humans have a gene mutation that prevents us from doing the same. Which normally wouldn’t be a problem for our ancient, fruit-eating ancestors, who didn’t trap themselves on ships without fresh fruit for months. Now, there doesn’t seem to be any benefit to this mutation, which just goes to show, evolution isn’t always helpful. In fact, it can make life a whole lot worse.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in December 2019.

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This $133 designer bag is made from trash

  • New York used 23 billion single-use plastic bags per year before the state banned them in 2020.
  • A typical bag is used for about 12 minutes, then thrown out, and only 10% are ever recycled.
  • One company is making $133 reusable totes each made from 95 plastic bags.
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Clams have a retractable foot inside their shells

  • Like oysters, mussels, and scallops, clams are bivalve mollusks – aquatic invertebrates encased by a shell made of two valves.
  • Inside their shell, they have a retractable foot, which they use to bury themselves underground.
  • Research has shown that razor clams can use their foot to liquefy the ground around them, essentially turning it into quicksand.
  • Giant clams farm microalgae. In exchange for a place to live, the algae provide the clams with byproducts of photosynthesis, such as sugars, allowing them to grow into giants.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

What’s inside a clam? A retractable foot, a siphon for sucking up water, powerful muscles, and, sometimes, a pearl. And you thought oysters were fancy.

Following is the transcript of the video.

Narrator: What you’re looking at is a clam’s foot. That’s right, clams have a foot. And some species can extend it several inches. But as it turns out, a foot is just one of the many bizarre features you’ll find inside a clam. Like oysters and mussels, clams are bivalves, a kind of mollusk that’s encased in a shell made of two valves, or hinging parts. And that shell comes in all different sizes.

There are small clams, like these, which are often used for cooking. And then there are giant clams, which can grow more than a meter long and weigh as much as 250 kilograms. But no matter their size, clams have some truly bizarre stuff going on inside. And to get a closer look, we went clamming.

Benji Jones: Oh, God. [laughing]

Narrator: That’s marine biologist Soren Dahl, who took us clamming on Long Island. At first, we didn’t have much luck.

Benji: I got one, but it looks like it’s dead.

Soren Dahl: Old shell.

Benji: Oh, I got a crab.

Narrator: Then we stumbled upon what’s known as a honey hole. It’s basically a clammer’s code word for jackpot.

Benji: Hey! I got two! [laughing]

Soren: All right!

Narrator: And in the end, we found about a dozen hard clams.

Benji: This right here is my recently collected, my recently collected clams, and I have a lot of them.

Narrator: Now, to see what’s inside, you can’t exactly pry one open with your bare hands. And that’s thanks to these two muscles. They run from the inside of one shell to the other, and when clams sense a threat or find themselves out of water, they contract, causing the clam to, you know, [snapping] clam up. So, to get one open, you need to cut through those muscles.

Soren: Now, you have your, this is your hard-shell clam.

Benji: Both of, so those two muscles together create a muscle that goes from here to here?

Soren: Yep, this goes from this side to that side.

Narrator: And what about that strange foot?

Soren: This is the foot, right here.

Narrator: So, it might not be as impressive as this, but that’s just because here the foot is retracted. Soren: And they’ll extend this out of the clam, and they can push themselves along the bottom and use it to dig a hole to help bring themselves into, like, a burrow.

Narrator: And some clams are particularly dexterous with their foot. The razor clam, for example, can bury itself 70 centimeters underground. It uses rapid movements of its foot to fluidize the ground around it, essentially turning it into quicksand. But if you think clam feet are bizarre, check out this thing: the siphon. Siphons are essentially two connected straws that clams stick out of their shells. One pulls in water, which contains food particles and oxygen, and the other expels waste. And none is more impressive than the one belonging to the geoduck clam.

It’s so big the clam can’t even close its shell. While siphons allow clams to eat and breathe, some clams have another, more advanced tactic for getting nutrients. Instead of just sucking food out of the water, giant clams farm it themselves. Like coral, they have a symbiotic relationship with microalgae.

The clams provide algae with a place to live and photosynthesize, and in exchange, algae gives the clam byproducts of photosynthesis, such as sugars, which enables the giant clams to grow, you know, giant. Now, on rare occasions, there’s something else you might find inside a clam: a pearl. That’s right, oysters aren’t the only pearl producers out there. Clams, too, will form these shimmering clumps to trap irritants that enter their shells. In fact, a fisherman once found a 34-kilogram pearl inside a giant clam.

So, yeah, clams aren’t just fascinating; they might also be precious. Plus, they actually play an important role in their environment. By sucking up particles to eat, they function like natural water filters, making marshes, lakes, and other habitats more livable. And, on top of that, they’re delicious to eat. Not to mention, really fun to collect.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in January 2020.

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A doctor breaks down what apple cider vinegar actually does to your body

Following is a transcript of the video.

Benji Jones: Wait, how zoomed-in are you? The internet is good for many things, but providing trusted advice on natural remedies is definitely not one of them, especially when it comes to apple cider vinegar. A quick Google search will show you that people use it for everything from cleaning their teeth to curing yeast infections. So if people on the internet are doing it, it’s worth trying, right? Definitely wrong. Because not only is there little evidence to support most of the uses for apple cider vinegar, but some of them are straight-up bad for you. Apple cider vinegar is basically just fermented juice. Yeast turns the sugars in apple juice into alcohol, and bacteria then turns that alcohol into acetic acid, the chemical linked to most of cider vinegar’s alleged benefits. But here’s the thing: This process isn’t unique to apple cider vinegar. In fact, acetic acid is in all types of vinegar, from white wine to balsamic. The main thing that makes cider vinegar different is that it might be easier to swallow than a straight-up swig of balsamic. And if you are so inclined to gulp it down, there’s at least one benefit you can look forward to. Research shows that drinking cider vinegar after a meal may help lower your blood-sugar levels.

Edwin McDonald: So studies have demonstrated that when people eat a high-starch meal and follow it with a little bit of apple cider vinegar, the blood sugars after eating those meals may not go up as much compared to when you eat placebo.

Jones: That’s doctor and trained chef Edwin McDonald. He says that ingesting as little as 20 grams of apple cider vinegar has been shown to slow the release of food from your stomach into your intestines. That’s where your body breaks down starches like pasta into sugars, and as a result…

McDonald: You’re not gonna absorb those sugars as quickly. So when you don’t absorb sugars as quickly, your insulin levels really don’t rise as much, and your blood sugar doesn’t rise as much.

Jones: And that’s great news for anyone who’s diabetic or pre-diabetic. Now, despite what you read online, it probably won’t help you lose weight.

McDonald: I also run a weight-management clinic, and this question comes up all the time.

Jones: But lowering your blood sugar after a meal is just about the only benefit of drinking apple cider vinegar. Research does suggest that acetic acid can slow down the accumulation of body fat and prevent metabolic disorders in mice and rats. But there’s little evidence that it has the same effect on humans. In one weight-loss experiment, 30 volunteers drank two tablespoons of either apple cider vinegar, malt vinegar, or a placebo drink, twice a day, for two months straight, and none of them lost weight. In an older study with a similar design, participants did lose weight, but only about a third of a pound each week, which McDonald says isn’t much. But if not for weight loss, what about using cider vinegar to whiten your teeth?

McDonald: I caution people against that.

Jones: That’s because cider vinegar is an acid. In fact, most brands have a pH between 2 and 3, which is similar to stomach acid, so swishing it around in your mouth can over time wear down the enamel around your teeth, leaving them feeling rough to the touch and more susceptible to cavities and decay. Yikes. Then there are the people who use apple cider vinegar as a shampoo replacement. And as it turns out, there’s actually a pretty good reason for that. Because cider vinegar is so acidic, Dr. McDonald says it can kill some of the microbes that make your hair stink, and it can also limit the population of a type of fungus that can lead to dandruff. But there’s a flip side. Because cider vinegar is so acidic, it can also burn or irritate your scalp. So you should always dilute it with water. Oh, and despite what you read online, cider vinegar is not effective against head lice. In fact, one study found that among six home remedies that people use to eliminate lice, like olive oil and mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar is the least effective. None of them worked though. The claims of what apple cider vinegar can do don’t stop there. Just keep in mind that at least for now, none of them is supported by a large body of scientific research. Now, of course, we’re not talking about taste. When it comes to cooking, there’s no uncertainty: Apple cider vinegar is delicious. I use it all the time when making dressing, pickles, and sauces. Yes, I cook. I just don’t walk away from meals thinking I’ve just swallowed some ultimate cure-all.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in June 2019.

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How volcanologists sample lava from hard to almost impossible

Following is a transcript of the video.

Jeff Karson: Here we go.

Abby Tang: This is lava. And this is also lava. One’s man-made, and one’s, well, coughed up by Mother Earth. But both these scientists are working toward the exact same goal: figuring out how to predict the unpredictable.

Arianna Soldati: To be able to make the best decisions about how to keep people safe, it’s important to be able to predict what is lava going to do once it starts flowing out of the vent.

Abby: One-tenth of the world’s population lives within the danger zone of a lava flow, which means knowing how lava works and reacts to elements like water, metal, and ice is key. So on this episode of “Science Skills,” we’re going to look at two ways scientists study lava, starting with DIY.

This huge furnace behind me is Syracuse University’s personal volcano and brainchild of an unlikely scientist and artist duo. That’s professors Jeff Karson and Bob Wysocki, and they didn’t feel like waiting for a volcano to spit up lava. So they decided to make their own.

Jeff: The project originated really when Bob came into my office and said he wanted to make lava. I thought that was a pretty crazy suggestion at that time. But the more we talked, the more we saw that he had a really good idea of what needed to be done.

Abby: And the first thing that needed to be done? Figure out what to make the lava in, which is where this came in. The tilt furnace is really the statement piece of the whole operation. It can hold hundreds of kilos of lava and execute experiments about viscosity, morphology, structures, and formations. But she’s a little bit finicky when it comes to lava-making.

Bob: The furnace literally melts itself and tears itself apart over a very short period of time.

Abby: These were originally made to melt bronze and aluminum, but the Lava Project has repurposed one of them to melt up to 800 pounds of billion-year-old basaltic rock shipped all the way from Wisconsin. The process takes hours. Bob and his team pile the rocks into a receptacle called the Crucible, turn up the furnace, and gradually bring the rocks up to temperature.

If we were doing just lava and melting stuff, the furnace would be on about medium and we would just never turn it down or up.

What temperature is medium?

Medium is a sound out there that I hear in the flame. I can adjust the furnace blindfolded and tell you what it’s doing, and it’s all sound.

There’s just a butterfly valve in here, and — [furnace rumbling]

Abby: Oh, you can hear it.

Bob: That’s it.

Abby: We looked this up later. Medium is also somewhere between 2,000 and 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. So pretty darn hot. Which means these scientists really have to suit up. These suits made of aluminum can withstand radiant heat up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bob: We used to wear welding leathers, but it dries out from the heat. When you start to smell barbecue, ’cause it’s pigskin, you knew that you were too close to something, ’cause you’re cooking. Your clothing is cooking.

How do you know you’re too close with these guys?

Bob: You don’t.

Abby: You don’t?

Bob: These are the spats. The apron, which I wear around my waist. The jacket, which, put your arms out. Right, because you don’t need it in the back.

Abby: No. It’s like campfire style.

Bob: Exactly. And it’s just that.

Abby: Back half of me is cool, front’s warm.

Bob: So there’s that. And then the helmet, it looks like it’s a regular tinted thing like sunglasses, but this is 24-karat gold.

Abby: Ooh, fancy.

Bob: That is a sheet of it.

Abby: What is it about the gold? Is it just the reflective quality?

Bob: It’s so highly reflective, and it’s why you see satellites and stuff, why they have the gold foil on.

And is this really similar to some of the stuff that volcanologists would use in the field, right?

Same stuff.

Yeah, but maybe with a back?

Bob: They have a back on it.

Abby: Yeah, in case the volcano’s behind them. Do you want to show us how it works?

Yeah, let’s go talk about this.

Do we need any of the gear?

It is sweltering! How hot is it up here?

Bob: Well, the bright yellow you see back there, that’s about 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit. So right now the lava in there is too hot. When we dump it out of here, about the meter it falls from the spout to the trough and through the trough, we lose about 275 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time it hits the end, we want to be at 2,150 Fahrenheit. And that’s the magic spot for the lava.

Abby: Researchers are looking for that sweet spot between 1,600 and 2,200 degrees, the range for natural lava. Knowing the lava’s temperature at what time and where is crucial. So the team has an array of 10 digital cameras to capture 3D images of the flow, and a thermal camera, which can read up to 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit. That way, researchers like Arianna Soldati can analyze both the lava’s movement and temperature, leading to a key piece of data.

Arianna: Viscosity is possibly the most important property in volcanology. It really controls everything, from eruptive style to appearance of the flow. And the main physical property that controls viscosity is temperature. The hotter something is, the less viscous it is, and the cooler it is, the more viscous. So it’s really important that we can tell what temperature the lava is, because we want to match that with the viscosity.

Abby: With this, the team can study how different variables, like metal or crystals, affect how fast the lava cools, and therefore its viscosity. But there’s the lab, and then there’s the real world, where unplanned and unpredictable factors come into play. That’s where this guy comes in.

Ben Edwards: Well, this is a piece of the earth that we call the mantle.

Abby: That’s a piece of the mantle?!

Ben: This is a piece of the mantle. And this is one of the sidelights that make some volcanoes incredibly important to study.

Abby: This is Ben Edwards, and he likes to get lava data straight from the source. Here’s him collecting a sample from a flow in Russia back in 2013. As you can see, Ben’s protective gear has more coverage than what they use at Syracuse. Because sampling from a natural lava flow can be a 360-degree experience.

If you’re going next to a lava river to sample, even in this suit, like, I was doing this in Russia from a lava river that’s maybe 10, 15 meters wide. And after being there for a minute or so making some measurements, I could hear my Russian colleagues saying, “Ben, move back! You’re smoking.” [laughing] But it was getting hot enough in the suit that even after about 30 to 45 seconds, I had to back up.

Abby: When Ben’s around to witness an eruption, he’s prepared to collect data. A lot of data.

Ben: Am I going to focus on taking lots of lava temperatures? Am I going to focus on getting lots of samples of lava? Am I going to focus on using drones and trying to map very carefully how fast the lava’s coming out?

Abby: To pull a sample out of the flow, Ben usually uses a rock hammer, but …

If I was trying to collect really hot samples, I would probably use some sort of an iron bar that wouldn’t catch fire. Like, this is OK for short —

Abby: That’s made of wood! Ben: Yeah. Abby: Here’s a clip of Ben’s colleague Alexander Belousov using an iron bar to collect a sample.

Ben: He rests the bar on top of a rock, and he uses a lever to pry the sample out. Because it’s kind of nonintuitive. It’s a lot stickier than it looks. If you’re just watching it flow by, it’s like, “Wow, that must be pretty fluid, ’cause it’s moving pretty fast.”

Abby: That dollop of forbidden honey is then dumped into a bucket of water. Not just to cool it down, but to cool it down fast, because …

Ben: As the sample cools naturally, it does produce these crystals. Abby: The crystals, yeah. Ben: And if you want to see what was in the sample as it was moving down the lava stream, then you want to cool it like that to kind of take all the heat out and basically turn the heat off so that you preserve the sample. And you preserve the crystal content and the sizes of crystals that were actually in the active lava flow.

Abby: Crystal size impacts viscosity, so extra growth would lead to inaccurate measurements.

To take the temperature of that flow, Ben might use a handheld FLIR camera, like Arianna did in the lab, or a four-channel data logger.

Each one of these yellow things is a separate thermal probe. So with this recorder, I can record four temperatures at once. For example, if I’m interested in figuring out how fast the lava’s cooling, right? So here’s my lava surface. I might want to put one of these in, just barely in, and the other one I might want to have a little bit deeper. So I can put two of these together, and I’m measuring different temperatures now in that same cooling surface.

Abby: But you probably won’t get those probes back.

Ben: I’ve got wires that are buried in Kamchatka, because once you get two feet of this underneath the lava flow, you’re not gonna get it back out.

Abby: That’s not yours anymore.

Ben: No. It’s one of the great things about the Syracuse lava lab, right, ’cause I do a lava flow there, and in the end I take my big hammer and I recover my equipment. [laughing]

Abby: If you don’t have probes to spare, you might try thermal-mapping the flow from above. And so drones are really revolutionizing what we can do to study active earth processes.

Abby: You can strap a FLIR camera, a regular camera, or gas sensors to a drone — potentially even all three if you get a drone big enough.

Ben: They basically become a volcano-observation platform, as opposed to just a drone. And one can envision even someday a drone that would have some sort of a tool that would hang down that would allow you to, if not sample lava, because it is tough to get your little sample bucket out, and you wouldn’t want your drone to get pulled into the lava flow. But you might be able to catch volcanic ash. You could hang a big piece of duct tape that’s 20 feet long from the drone and fly it through a diluted ash cloud, and some of the ash particles would stick to the duct tape.

Abby: It’s just like a fly trap. Exactly.

Abby: But until robots officially take over, we’ll need humans on the ground, risking their lives and arm hairs, to study lava flows.

It’s like the lava domes of Montserrat. The only reason we know there’ve been three or four domes, I can’t remember which, is because there’ve been people watching and sampling. And, “Yep, there’s a dome,” and then, boom, “Ope, the dome blew way.” “Oh, there’s another dome, ope, and it blew,” right? And if there wasn’t someone there to watch, we might not necessarily know.

So, it’s important to be in the field for posterity?

Well, and for science. Right? If we’re trying to understand that volcano and what it does over time to predict it in the future. And that’s the challenge we face when we go to older volcanoes and try to understand what we see in the older volcanoes, because there was no one there watching.

Abby: Data gathered in the field help shape safety plans for people in specific regions. But applying those learnings around the world would be almost impossible without careful testing in the lab.

Arianna: As geologists, we always need that starting point of what happens in the field, what happens in reality. But unfortunately, you know, in nature, there’s no repeatability. Every time there’s a lava flow, every time there’s an eruption, it’s going to be different. You have no control over any of the parameters. Here we can vary things in a systematic way, and this allows us to isolate what could be the cause and what could be the effect and tie them together.

Abby: Roasting marshmallows is an art form.

Arianna: I would say it’s a science.

Abby: [laughs] All right, all right.

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Podiatrists debunk 12 feet myths

Following is a transcript of the video.

Sarah Haller: “You have warts because your feet are dirty.” No!

Brad Schaeffer: No, no, no.

Haller: “Bunions are caused by wearing heels.” Leave your stilettos out of this. The stilettos did not cause your bunion.

Schaeffer: “Cutting the sides of my toenail will prevent an ingrown toenail.” No, absolutely not.

Haller: I am Dr. Sarah Haller. I am a foot and ankle surgeon, and I practice in New York, New Jersey. I got into foot and ankle because I wanted to be a ballerina. I wanted so badly. But I was not that good, so I ended up being a doctor instead, and my feet definitely thank me.

Schaeffer: And I’m Dr. Brad Schaeffer. I’m a doctor of podiatric medicine. We treat everything below the knee. And today we will be debunking all the myths about feet.

Schaeffer: “Pedicures gave me toenail fungus.”

Haller: I think yes and no. I mean, you can get fungus from anywhere. It can be in a carpet. So I can’t prove that it’s not going to happen here, but I can’t prove that it will either. I definitely take precaution when I go to a pedicure salon. I bring my own nail polish. And if this is part of your self-care ritual, don’t stop going, but at the same time, just be cautious. That’s all.

Schaeffer: You can get toenail fungus from anywhere. Pedicures are safe if they’re done in a safe, sterile environment.

Haller: They do clean their instrumentation. They have these sanitary bags that go inside of the bathtub soaks, and that should be changed out between every person that comes through. So they do take precaution, but at the same time, again, anywhere there’s a warm, hot, moist environment, it’s like a breeding ground for fungus.

Schaeffer: “Cutting the sides of my toenail will prevent an ingrown toenail.” No, absolutely not. When you cut your nail, you’re supposed to cut it straight across. So, when you do that, the nail doesn’t grow into the corner, creating an ingrown, which can create infection and a lot of pain.

Haller: So, what everyone thinks, sometimes, is if they cut the actual nail round it’ll grow out rounded. That’s not true, because the actual nail matrix, where the nail grows from, from behind the actual skin, it actually grows as a square. You only see the rounded part. So by actually cutting it how you want it to grow, it’s not going to change the actual root of it and how it’s meant to grow.

Schaeffer: Right. I couldn’t agree more. What’s going to cause ingrown toenails is your toenail. So, when that gets cut too short, it grows right into the corner of your skin. It’s like a little pin. Once that starts penetrating the skin, it creates an infection. Pus, swelling, redness. Not a good look. It hurts. So just cut them straight across. You’ll be in the clear.

Schaeffer: This is one I know I get all the time. Oh, gosh.

Haller: All right. “You have warts because your feet are dirty.” No!

Schaeffer: No, no, no. You do not get warts because your feet are dirty. Warts are a virus. You get viruses from all kinds of things.

Haller: Viruses can hide anywhere, and they just lay on surfaces. They can be on yoga mats, any kind of exercise equipment.

Schaeffer: Pools, gyms, showers. They’re everywhere. But don’t be afraid. Live your life. Just make sure you wear those shower shoes. Wipe down your mats if you’re doing yoga or in a gym, and, you know, don’t overly share your stuff.

Haller: If you look at your feet, there are small cracks between each of these skin layers, and you don’t even feel them. They’re not bleeding, they’re not cuts, they’re just microscopic tears in your skin, and that’s how the viruses get in.

Schaeffer: When you do get a wart, which ultimately is caused by a virus, that little wart can spread into a huge wart cluster. That’s why you want to get checked out to make sure that that little thing can be treated real quick. When you come to our office, we do an acid treatment, and what the acid does is it really just eats down at the wart, so it exfoliates out the good skin and kills the virus. Sometimes there’s a surgery that’s needed and you actually pare out the wart, but if you get it checked early enough, you don’t have to do that, and you can get it treated in one treatment.

I actually love this one. So, it’s, “Only athletes get athlete’s feet.” That is a straight no! So, athlete’s feet is actually a fungus, and it’s called tinea pedis, right? So, when you have a fungus like that, usually it comes from warm, moist environments, a lot of times in our socks and shoes when we sweat. It’s kind of like harboring a little petri dish in there. Once all that gets in there, it festers, and it can create a very good-looking environment for fungus, bacteria, all types of not-good things. That’s why you’re always told to change out your socks when they start getting sweaty. If you’re just working and walking around every day, your feet can still sweat too. Not just athletes have those warm, moist environments. Everybody does. So change out your socks, change out your shoes, and use some powder from time to time. That’ll help too.

Haller: “Bunions are caused by wearing heels.” No, absolutely not. Leave your stilettos out of this. The stilettos did not cause your bunion. Mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, somebody in your family, your family tree, passed it down to you.

Schaeffer: Baby you were born this way. [laughing]

Haller: A bunion is actually, it’s not a bump growing off the side of your foot, which everyone seems to think. It’s actually a deformity, meaning the bone behind your big toe is actually shifting from this straight-up-and-down position and tilting sideways.

Schaeffer: It’s like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, right?

Haller: It’s not the actual stiletto that’s the problem. It may be worsened by wearing the stiletto where it pushes on the bunion and makes it bigger, but it’s not actually caused by the actual shoe you’re wearing. So what I tell patients that have bunions that they want to wear a cute stiletto, maybe go a little bit lower. So I recommend something where your actual bunion can maybe come out the side of it.

Schaeffer: You can definitely support and help bunions, right, but they’re not just going to go away. They will develop throughout time and, unfortunately, sometimes get worse as we age.

Haller: There’s no way to get rid of a bunion without surgery.

Schaeffer: Those things out there called YogaToes, or, like, toe spacers, are out there to help us. But when you remove them, not doing much good, are they?

Haller: They’re kind of like eyeglasses. They only work when you wear them.

Schaeffer: Very true. “My feet are fine because I trained them to walk in stilettos.”

Haller: I think yes and no. I mean, I don’t think they’re good for you, but I definitely think you can train your feet, because you can get used to them. So, when you’re wearing these things, your heel’s going here, and it attaches to your Achilles, and that’s what actually shortens. As you persistently wear these, over time, your Achilles gets shorter and shorter, which actually causes a ton of issues with the front of your foot. The insert’s down here, this is where the ball of your foot is, and that’s where all of the pressure goes, to five little bones in the base of your foot. So I do think you can kind of train your feet to walk in stilettos, but in no way, shape, or form is it good, healthy, or give you longevity. It’s like a valet shoe. You know you’re going to park, you’re going to get out somewhere, you’re going to walk for maybe two steps and sit down, that’s a great shoe. But other than that, not a long-term shoe.

Schaeffer: “You can’t do anything for a broken toe.” Myth. We get this question all the time. Oh, my gosh! And it’s frustrating. When you have a broken toe, that’s a bone. You broke a bone in your foot. Right?

Haller: There’s definitely stuff you can do for the broken toes. With a toe, it may not just be a simple fracture where the actual bone is cracked. You can actually dislocate it, which basically means not only is the bone cracked, but the ligaments are actually loosened up, so it pops over to the side. You need to get it popped back into place, and then it needs to really structurally be supported by the other toe beside it, otherwise it can re-dislocate and cause major issues down the line. So it’s really important that you get your toe checked out if you think you may have fractured or even bumped it wrong, you see black and blue, you need to go in and have it buddy taped, basically when the toes can get taped together. Your doctor will teach you how to do it so it can safely heal. It takes four to six weeks for a bone to heal, so you better just get in there faster, and it should start healing in a natural process so it doesn’t have to be a reset again.

Haller: “It’s normal for your feet to hurt from standing all day.”

Schaeffer: It is not normal. My feet kind of bark at the end of the day, especially when I’m in surgery for a long time, but, ultimately, we have tips and tools where your feet should not hurt at the end of the day.

Haller: Supportive shoes, compression socks, inserts, all of these can help prevent fatigue.

Schaeffer: We have to support our arches. I mean, they are critical for the stability of our feet. You have 26 bones and over 100 ligaments in the foot. There’s a lot that can go wrong with our feet.

Haller: Appropriate shoe gear is the key. None of these, like, flimsy shoes in the office. Anything with a good sole and especially with a little bit of a higher heel, so you have the nice support under your Achilles, I think really makes a big difference, especially if you’re standing or walking all day. “

Haller: All inserts are the same.”

Schaeffer: Get this a lot.

Haller: False. False! Absolutely no. My foot is way different than Dr. Brad’s foot. We wouldn’t need the same insert. And I’m sure your foot is different, and everybody has something else going on, so just getting an over-the-counter insert for some people is OK, but sometimes you need a custom one.

Schaeffer: Right. I mean, I couldn’t agree more. So, if you look at my shoes, I just wear an over-the-counter insole. These insoles have nice arch support. These are game changers. And other people, they have bigger problems, so they need custom inserts, and those are called orthotics. And those are absolutely amazing too. So it really just depends.

Haller: If you have big-toe arthritis, if you have arthritis in your midfoot, it helps a lot of arthritic conditions, which you may think is an old-person thing; young people can get arthritis too. So orthotics can help anybody, young to old. If you have really flat feet as a kid, those are really important to help stabilize the growth plates as the kid is growing.

Schaeffer: “Sprained ankles are no big deal.” False!

Haller: Thank you. Yes, I agree.

Schaeffer: Dude, we get this a lot in our practice. When you sprain your ankle, there are so many things that can go wrong. So, there are three ligaments on the outside of your ankle, and when you roll it, they basically blow out. So what you have to do is you have to stabilize that ankle so the ligaments hold in a natural position. Other than that, it’ll just grow back floppy and scarred down. So that’s not going to be good for anyone, and you’re not going to be able to play the sport that you love. So whenever you roll your ankle, you have to stabilize it so it heals normal.

Haller: Yes. When it sprains, you also run the risk of the bones hitting into each other, so then that can cause cartilage damage. Cartilage damage is a really big thing, because if it happens and then you don’t follow up, you’re prone to early-onset arthritis, and arthritis is in no way good.

Schaeffer: “If I can walk after an injury, I don’t need to see a doctor.” False, absolutely false. Just no, no, no. This is not true.

Haller: So, I had a patient come in last week. He fell off a porch while he was hanging out with friends. But he broke his ankle and had no idea. He walked on it for two weeks. When I showed him the X-ray, he was flabbergasted. He walked around for a week and a half without even knowing that he broke it.

Schaeffer: There’s also a lot of patients that we see that don’t necessarily feel their feet. Like diabetics out there, sometimes you get stuff called neuropathy, and that can be tingling, numbing, burning sensation in your feet, and you just don’t feel those injuries. So it’s important to just get it checked out by Dr. Sarah or I, and we’ll tell you if there’s any cause for concern.

We debunked a lot of myths here.

Haller: We went through a lot, but definitely change your shoes regularly, make sure that you don’t share shoes with each other, trim your toenails appropriately, and go and get things checked out. Don’t wait until the last minute, ’cause it be broken even if you’re still walking on it.

Schaeffer: Let’s check my feet.

Haller: Yeah. Oh, flexible.

Schaeffer: What?!

Haller: Yeah, I mean it’s kind of —

Schaeffer: That’s pretty close.

Haller: It is more impressive than I thought it was going to be.

Schaeffer: Oh, my gosh, I hurt my hip. Come on!

Haller: You need to stretch more, Brad.

Schaeffer: I hurt my hip debunking these myths.

Haller: You gotta stretch.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Debunking 13 of the biggest climate change myths

  • Climate scientists Deepti Singh and Ben Cook debunk 13 myths about global warming.
  • They talk about the relationship between climate and weather and renewable energy.
  • Singh and Cook dive deep into the role of carbon dioxide and more on this episode of “Debunked.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Benjamin Cook: “Global warming is caused by cow farts.”

Deepti Singh: It’s not by their farts, but it’s by belching.

Cook: “A few degrees’ difference is not a big deal.” And the way I always like to think about it too is like your body’s temperature. If your temperature is three or four degrees warmer, then you’re seriously sick.

“It’s too late to do anything about it.” Unless you’re Elon Musk and gonna head off towards Mars, we’re all stuck here, so we should try to figure out how we can make it the best planet we can.

Singh: I’m Deepti Singh. I’m an assistant professor in the School of the Environment at Washington State University. I’ve been studying climate change for about 11 years, and I study extreme weather events and how human activities are influencing them.

Cook: My name is Benjamin Cook, and I’m a climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. I’ve been working there for about 14 years now. And I study how droughts are changing with global warming and climate change.

Singh: And today we’ll be debunking myths about global warming.

Cook: Myths from pop culture. Oh, boy, I’m glad you got this one, Deepti. “The sun is causing global warming.”

Singh: Changes in the amount of energy we get from the sun do affect our climate. But over the last 150 years, we know that because the amount of energy we’re getting from the sun has not changed significantly over this period. Satellites have been recording the amount of solar radiation that our planet receives. I think Ben has a graph that shows that.

Cook: And what we’re looking at here on the yellow is the amount of energy that’s coming from the sun, and red is global temperatures. It’s pretty clear that the amount of energy we’re getting from the sun has been more or less flat for the last several decades, even as temperatures continue to go up and up.

Singh: “Scientists don’t agree on what causes climate change.”

Cook: 100% of the climate scientists on this Skype call agree.

Singh: If you review the published literature in reputable journals by reputable scientists, all those papers agree that climate change is caused by human activities.

Cook: There’s really no other explanation that fits the data. We’ve looked at the sun. We’ve looked at just natural variations in circulation in the ocean, in the atmosphere. We’ve looked at volcanoes. We’ve looked at changes in ecosystems. And at the end of the day, the only thing that can adequately explain the degree of warming that we’ve seen over the last 150 years is human greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. There’s a real clear incentive for people to find some other explanation. Nobody can come up with even a plausible alternative hypothesis.

“Global warming is caused by cow farts.”

Singh: It’s not by their farts, but it’s by belching. Agriculture is a pretty substantial contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, close to 25%. It’s not the whole 25%, but it’s a good chunk.

Cook: It’s important to note, too, that even the cow burps that are producing this methane is not natural. It’s all part of a kind of human agricultural system. So blaming it all on cows doesn’t take people off the hook.

Singh: “Plants and animals will adapt.”

Cook: So, we know that in the past, plants and animals have adapted to climate change, but there’s a few fundamental different things now that are very likely to make it quite difficult. In addition, it’s not just climate change that’s threatening plants and animals, it’s habitat fragmentation, it’s pollution, it’s a variety of other environmental stressors. And so once you kind of put climate change on top of pollution, on top of habitat loss, then it becomes much, much more difficult.

Singh: And just to add to that, I think the extinction rate of species is much higher than the natural extinction rate. And it’s partly driven by the processes that Ben just mentioned.

Cook: Myths from social media.

Singh: “Global warming is natural.”

Cook: So, we know in the past that climate can change really dramatically from natural causes. The climate during the time of the dinosaurs is very different from the climate during the time of the last ice age. But the changes that we’re seeing right now for the most part are not natural. The warming that we’re seeing is very likely the fastest warming we’ve seen anytime in the last several thousand years. It coincides directly with the industrial revolution and the burning of fossil fuels and widespread deforestation. You can look at almost any natural cause, and none of them are sufficient to explain the warming that we’ve seen in recent decades.

Singh: “Carbon dioxide is the problem.”

So, CO2 isn’t the problem. It’s the increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere that is resulting in the rapid warming we’re seeing over the last century, which is the problem.

Cook: So, carbon dioxide is one of these gases that we call greenhouse gases, because they’re responsible for the greenhouse effect, which basically helps trap energy on Earth and make things much, much warmer than it otherwise would have been. It’s not a big stretch then to observe that if we start increasing CO2 concentrations, we’re gonna trap more energy and we’re gonna warm up.

Singh: Before the industrial revolution, CO2 levels were close to, like, 280 parts per million. And now we’re at close to 418 parts per million. So that’s a pretty large change in the concentration.

Cook: And the fact is that pretty much anytime the world was warmer, CO2 levels in the atmosphere were higher. And anytime the world was cooler, CO2 concentrations were lower.

“A few degrees’ difference is not a big deal.” And the way I always like to think about it too is like your body’s temperature. We’re all supposed to be about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Even one degree or two degrees of warming is considered a low-grade fever. And if your temperature is three or four degrees warmer, then you’re seriously sick.

Singh: So, just to give you a sense, the Earth has warmed by about one degree over the last century. That one degree is an average temperature around our planet. That means some parts of our planet are warming faster than others. I come from India. We have a lot of people that live below poverty in the country. And most of those people, for example, don’t have an air conditioner to deal with extreme heat events. So it depends on who we’re talking about when we say it’s not a big deal, because there are some people around the planet that have the capacity to adapt or cope with these kind of extreme events and with the warming that we’ve experienced, and then there are billions of people that do not have the capacity to cope with even small changes.

Myths that we, climate scientists, hear the most.

“Global warming will destroy the planet by 2030.”

Cook: Just like there’s kind of climate deniers who don’t know what they’re talking about, there’s climate doomists who also don’t know what they’re talking about. This whole idea of the planet being destroyed by 2030 comes out of discussion about, how much time do we have to keep global warming under two degrees? And so it’s very likely that we need to kind of get emissions under control by 2030 to keep it under two degrees. It doesn’t mean that the world is going to explode or we’re all going to be consigned to a fiery “Mad Max” kind of hellscape. It just means that it’ll be warmer than we maybe wanted it to be.

Singh: When they say it’s gonna destroy the planet, well, the planet’s not going to blow up. But it does mean that the way of life and the livelihoods and the things people depend on are going to be affected. There are already people who have been displaced because of sea-level rise, people that are experiencing life-threatening heat conditions.

Cook: The impacts of climate change are not going to be equally felt. These kind of blanket statements are very, very dismissive. And I think they can take attention away from the people who are likely to be most vulnerable to climate change.

Singh: It’s not really helpful to put a date on it. I think we just need to know that delaying action on climate change is going to just cost more to society.

Cook: “Global warming is China’s fault.”

Singh: So, to address that myth, I think there’s one important fact we need to understand. When CO2 is emitted, it can stay in the atmosphere for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The CO2 concentrations we’re seeing today are a consequence of emissions that have happened over a much longer period, over the last century. And most of those emissions are associated with the industrial revolution and development of countries like the US and industrialized nations in Europe. If we look at emissions this year specifically, sure, the emissions from China are close to what the emissions from the US are. But those emissions are being used to produce products and goods that are being used in other parts of the world. So I don’t think it’s fair to say that China’s responsible when we’re all benefiting from the products that are produced there.

Cook: I think even today, it’s worth thinking not just about how much is a country emitting, but how much are they emitting per person? And I have another visual aid here. You can pretty clearly see the highest-intensity emitters are places like Australia, the US, Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia. China isn’t even in the top 10.

Singh: It’s also a complicated problem because the well-being of people is tied to their consumption of energy. So as long as we’re doing that in a sustainable, cleaner way, I think we all have to benefit from it.

“Renewable energy is too expensive to be realistic.”

Cook: Renewable energy is getting cheaper all the time, even faster than we expected. And there’s a lot of places where it actually can outcompete some fossil fuel sources. For example, I believe wind and solar is more cost-effective than coal in pretty much the entire United States.

Singh: The cost of producing solar panels today is a fraction of what it was just a decade ago. I keep going back to India because that’s another region I’m very familiar with. There are a lot of villages there that have been provided energy because they’re using solar and wind, which would not have been possible if we were still depending upon CO2. Now, there’s still challenges.

Cook: We’re not going to kind of be able to switch everything overnight, but it’s like any other technology. It’s getting cheaper over time. It’s getting more efficient. And the more we kind of invest in it, then the faster we’ll get to the point that we’ll be able to use it for most of our needs.

“Extreme weather isn’t caused by global warming.”

Singh: So, the right question to ask is not whether an extreme event would have been possible without warming, but it’s to ask how the event itself was affected by warming. For example, a tropical storm or a tropical cyclone might result in heavier precipitation because a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture. And so there’s more moisture, more fuel in the storm, which results in heavier precipitation and likely more flooding.

Cook: I think a good analogy is a professional athlete on steroids. Athletes need to have some kind of innate fitness and ability, but if you go on steroids, you’re a bit more likely to hit a home run. So CO2 is kind of like the steroids of the climate system, and it’s just intensifying everything that’s already there.

Singh: “The temperature record is unreliable.” What do you have to say about that, Ben?

Cook: The record we have of warming for the last 150 years is constructed from basically thousands of thermometer records from around the world. Climate scientists often get accused of modifying the temperature record to make it look like it’s warming more than it actually is. At least half a dozen groups around the world who are all independently putting together these records and estimating the global temperature changes that we’ve seen over the last two centuries, and they’re all basically getting the same answer. All this data is publicly available! Anybody can go and get this data and come up with their own calculation. And the fact is that nobody has shown one that is credibly different.

“It’s too late to do anything about it.”

Singh: It’s easy for us to say, “Well, it’s too late to do anything about it. Let’s throw our hands up and not do anything about it.” But there is a lot we can do about it, both individually as well as at the international level. It doesn’t have to be a major change, but reducing our consumption of certain meat products that are extremely energy-intensive is one way in which we can affect greenhouse emissions.

Cook: The decisions we make today, we are going to have to deal with, our children are going to have to live with. I will never say that people should not recycle or reduce their car use or eat less meat. But at the end of the day, the big lever is just going to be government. And ’cause the government can set policies that can incentivize actions.

Singh: It’s also a weird time to say that it’s too late to do anything about it, because we’re at a point in time when we have so much information. There are people working on technologies to address climate change and to make our environment cleaner and better. So this is not a time for us to put our hands up. It’s our time to take action.

Cook: Climate change itself is not pass-fail. Keeping warming to three degrees is better than four degrees. Keeping warming to two and a half degrees is better than three degrees. Keeping warming to two degrees is better than all of those things. We’re all stuck here, so we should try to figure out how we can make it the best planet we can. Climate change is a global problem, and it’s going to require a global solution and people to actually kind of work together.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in March 2021.

Read the original article on Business Insider

What would happen if you never washed your sheets

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: No one likes making their bed, let alone washing their sheets. Especially single men. In one survey, 55% of single men between 18 and 25 reported changing their sheets only four times a year. And to be clear, those are beds that you would not want to sleep in.

You shed about 15 million skin cells each night, but they don’t just pile up in your sheets. Because something else is already there waiting to gobble them up: dust mites. And the longer you wait between washes, the more food these critters will have and the more they’ll procreate and multiply. So if you don’t wash your sheets, you’ll be sleeping with hundreds of thousands of arachnids.

Now, for the estimated 20 million Americans with dust allergies, it gets worse. Dust mites and their feces produce proteins that cause red and itchy eyes, runny noses, and other cold-like symptoms in people who are allergic. And dust mites, well, they’re actually not the only allergen in a dirty bed. If you never wash your pillow sheets, a community of fungus can also build up there. One study found that a typical pillow has as many as 16 different species of fungus and literally millions of fungal spores. And the most common among them, Aspergillus fumigatus, is potentially dangerous. In addition to allergic reactions, it can infect your lungs and other organs.

And it’s not just fungi joining the party. You see, bacteria also love a good unwashed pillow case or sheet a lot. Another study found that unwashed pillow cases and sheets had up to 39 times more bacteria than pet-food bowls and several thousand times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Like Staphylococcus aureus, which in some rare cases can be deadly.

Now on a slightly less or perhaps more frightening note, dirty sheets can also give you acne. Each night, the oil, lotion, and other cosmetics on your skin transfer to your sheets and build up over time until eventually your bedding is basically a giant used makeup wipe. Then during the following nights, all that gunk transfers back onto your body, clogging your pores, and, voila, you’ve got acne.

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to avoid all of these problems: Wash your sheets, and wash them often. Experts recommend about once a week using the hottest water possible. That’ll kill a lot of bacteria and dust mites, get out stains, and remove oils.

Plus, as awful as making your bed might be, there’s simply nothing better than slipping between clean, crisp sheets.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in May 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Making these three lifestyle changes will help you take the best poop, according to science

Following is a transcript of the video.

There’s honestly nothing more satisfying than a good poop. On the flip side, a bad poop can ruin your day. You know what I’m talking about. Too hard, too soft, too sudden, not soon enough. If this isn’t ringing any bells, congrats on being the world’s only perfect pooper! A title to wear with pride.

For the rest of us, we have to work at it. The good news is we have science on our side. There are a bunch of things we can do to smooth out the kinks in our digestive system, and some of them are very literal. But real quick, let us introduce you to the Bristol stool scale, a handy-dandy chart listing the different types of poop your body can make. They range from type one, hard lumps, to type seven, totally liquid. When it comes to No. 2, you actually want to be a type three or four. Anything before indicates constipation; anything after gets closer to diarrhea. Depending on where you land on the scale, there are a number of things you can do to get that coveted smooth snake. Let’s start with short-term solutions. [mooing] Mooing like a cow, or making a similar noise if you aren’t feeling particularly bovine, can help reduce straining. You’ll want to lean forward with your elbows on your knees while you do it. The idea is to open up your belly and get yourself in a more efficient pooping position.

You see, sitting toilets were designed all wrong. Sitting straight up with your feet planted on the ground actually makes it harder to squeeze one out. Too much straining and pushing can lead to hemorrhoids, most of all, but sometimes even prolapse. Thanks to how our bodies are built, we’re better off in a squat. It’s all in the gut. Look at the angle of her rectum when she stands up. It’s bent at about 80 degrees right where it meets the anal canal, fittingly named the anorectal angle. Sort of like kinking a hose, this bend helps you control your bowels, along with the muscles in the same area.

When you sit, that angle unfolds to about 100 degrees, and squatting opens it even further. Opening up that pathway makes it easier for stuff to slide on through. But even though our porcelain thrones aren’t suited for squatting, there are ways to adapt. You can throw your feet up on a stool or even just a couple of rolls of toilet paper. Or the dedicated can buy a product specifically made for this purpose, like the Squatty Potty or Nature’s Platform. One study followed over 50 healthy poopers through 1,000 collective bowel movements using the Squatty Potty. The experiment started with a two-week control period of unassisted pooping.

Then, participants spent another two weeks using the Squatty Potty. 90% of the participants strained less, and over 70% spent less time on the toilet. Speaking of, we are very sorry, but put down your phone. Even you, person who’s watching this on the can right now. Taking your phone or a book to the bathroom just encourages you to stay in there longer, which, again, leads back to straining and putting excess pressure on your rectum and anus. Getting up off the toilet can help you in more ways than one.

Generally the more you move, the more you poop. Exercising can jostle around your innards, helping shake up food, gas, and waste to move through your system. That means less time for your lower intestine to absorb water from your stool. And wet, soft poops are easier to pass. So going for a quick jog could be helpful if you’re constipated. Not so much if you have diarrhea. What you eat can also help. Yep, we’re talking fiber. Fiber is helpful no matter which end of the stool scale you’re on, but not all fiber is created equal.

There are actually two main types: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, turning gooey and spongy. It comes from things like fruit flesh, root vegetables, and cooked grains. This stuff takes its time sliding through your digestive track, which helps regulate movements. You want to start introducing this type of fiber to your diet if you’re hovering around a type six or seven. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, mostly keeps its shape when wet. This fiber from fruit skins, leafy greens, and the outer layer of most whole grains adds to the bulk of the stool. It puts pressure on your colon walls and stimulates movement. So this is what you’re looking for to fix a type one or two, but you don’t want to load up on either fiber all at once.

First, you want to suss out if fiber is really your issue at all. If you normally eat plenty of insoluble fiber but you’re still constipated, then more probably isn’t gonna help. And too much fiber too quickly can make you bloated or gassy. When in doubt, go see your doctor. They might recommend probiotics, which can help reduce bloating and gas as well as constipation. When you first start taking them, you might end up in type six or seven territory for a few days, but that should go away. And if adding stuff to your diet doesn’t help, maybe try taking stuff away. Dairy, caffeine, meats, spicy foods, alcohol, grease, certain fruits, and artificial sweeteners have all been known to cause diarrhea. Cutting all or some of that stuff could help relieve those bowel-control issues.

Keeping a food diary to find connections between snacks and symptoms is also recommended, and that way you don’t have to give up on all the good stuff at once. If you’re not the world’s only perfect pooper, taking the perfect poop isn’t always easy. But it should never be as hard as a type one. With these tips and tricks in your back pocket, you are well on your way to the throne. Now go eat, drink, and jog your way to the best poop of your life. You earned it, champ.

Everybody deserves a perfect poo, but always make sure to check with your doctor before you make significant changes to your diet or lifestyle. But you could probably moo all you want without a doctor’s note. And subscribe below if you want more ways to optimize your life with science.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in September 2020.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Here’s what you’ll find inside a turtle’s shell

  • A turtle can’t crawl out of its shell, just like we can’t crawl out of our own skeletons.
  • In fact, the shell is actually part of a turtle’s skeleton, comprised of the ribcage, vertebrae, and sternum.
  • But if you could peer inside a turtle shell, you’d find some of the most unusual features in the animal kingdom.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: A turtle’s shell is as much a part of its body as our rib cage is of ours. In fact, it is their rib cage, and their spine, and their vertebrae, and their sternum. Basically, a turtle’s skeleton is inside out. And just like you can’t take a skeleton out of a person, right, you can’t take a turtle out of its shell either. But if you could, you’d probably be surprised by what you’d discover.

Maria Wojakowski: Here’s the inside of a turtle.

Narrator: That’s Maria Wojakowski, a biologist who’s been studying turtle ecology for more than a decade.

Wojakowski: Here’s your shoulder girdle. Here’s your hip girdle.

Narrator: Notice how those hips and shoulders are actually inside the turtle’s rib cage? Turtles are one of the only land animals on the planet with this feature. They’re also some of the only animals that can breathe with their butts. You see, inside a turtle shell is a very particular respiratory system.

Wojakowski: You will see the lungs towards the top here.

Narrator: Now, most land animals breathe by expanding and contracting their ribs, which creates a natural pump that guides air in and out of their lungs. But turtles can’t do this because their rigid shells don’t expand. So instead they rely on sheets of muscles within their shell to pump in oxygen through their mouths.

That is, most of the time. Then there are other times when turtles breathe out the other end, more specifically, through what scientists call the cloaca. It’s the same opening that turtles use to urinate, defecate, and lay eggs. And in some cases, it can double as a set of gills, sucking in water and absorbing the oxygen within. Scientists think that turtles do this when they’re spending long periods of time underwater, like when they’re hibernating.

And if you look really closely at the inside of a shell, you’d discover another feature that helps with hibernating underwater: a scaffold-like structure that can store and release chemicals. That structure actually helps turtles breathe without any oxygen at all.

It works like this: Many turtles hibernate in frozen ponds that are starved of oxygen, and to survive, their metabolism switches over from aerobic to anaerobic. That means they stop using oxygen for energy and start using glucose instead via a process called anaerobic respiration. And the byproduct of that is lactic acid. Now, theoretically, this acid could build up in a turtle’s body and kill it.

That’s where the shell’s structure comes in. It can absorb the lactic acid as well as release a bicarbonate to neutralize that acid. It’s essentially Tums, but for turtles. So as it turns out, having a shell is pretty handy for certain situations. In fact, scientists think that turtles originally got their shells for digging, likely more than 200 million years ago.

Wojakowski: They dig, like, really, really complex burrowing structures underground.

Narrator: And of course, shells are incredibly useful for defense against predators, no matter how fierce they may be. Turtles are amazing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in July 2019.

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