The Secret World of Caffeine.

giant-coffee-cupBy Justin Beach, Daily Digest News
Somewhere in the world, 71 cups of coffee are consumed every second of every day for a total of 2.25 billion cups per year. Worldwide the consumption of coffee provides 26 million jobs and $15.4 billion in exports, much of which goes to very poor coffee producing countries.
Those numbers do not even take into account the consumption of tea, chocolate and other caffeinated beverages.
No one is sure, however, exactly why plants such as coffee, tea and cocoa produce caffeine in the first place. New research published in the September 5 edition of the journal Science provides new information, but also produces more mysteries.
“Coffee is as important to everyday early risers as it is to the global economy. Accordingly, a genome sequence could be a significant step toward improving coffee.
By looking at the coffee genome and genes specific to coffee, we were able to draw some conclusions about what makes coffee special,” said Philippe Lashermes, a researcher at the French Institute of Research for Development (IRD), in a statement.
The newly sequenced genome of the coffee plant sheds light on the evolution of caffeine.
Interestingly, the plants which produce caffeine appear to have evolved separately to produce the same chemical. In other words, coffee, tea and cocoa do not appear to share a common caffeine-producing evolutionary ancestor.
via Coffee genome reveals secrets about the world’s most popular drug, caffeine | Daily Digest News.

Dad’s Alzheimer’s by Gary Ramage

Dad’s Alzheimer’s
‘From shallow mass graves in Kosovo to the bloody battlefields in Helmand province, I have covered some pretty tough photographic assignments in my life.
But this has been, by far, the hardest of all: documenting the day my father moved into full-time care facility for people with stage four dementia/Alzheimer’s.’
Image Credit; Photograph by Gary Ramage
Source: Moran contemporary photographic prize 2019 – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian

Why you should always stand, not pass others, on the escalator.

It’s not just rude to pass on the escalator; it’s inefficient. (Photo: renaissancechambara/Wikimedia Commons)
There are at least two types of escalator riders: walkers and standers.
Walkers think that escalators exist to quicken their pace, while standers typically see them as moving rest stops.
Both walkers and standers therefore run the risk of operating under two differing rules of etiquette, each accusing the other of being impolite.
Walkers see standers as obstructions that prevent them from moving briskly along, while standers see walkers as impatient passersby who rudely cut them off.
The truth is, though, that the general purpose of escalators is to direct and coordinate the flow of pedestrian traffic, not to speed us up or to enable laziness or inactivity.
So the question of whether it’s the walkers or the standers who are in the right actually has an objective measure;
it’s not just a subjective matter of preference. Science can weigh in.
Which escalator strategy, then, is more efficient at moving pedestrian traffic?
Should you walk or stand?
The simple answer: you should stand.
To understand why, consider the numbers. First of all, we know that there are far more standers than walkers.
For instance, a 2013 study showed that 74.9 percent of pedestrians choose to stand on the escalator instead of walk, reports The Conversation.
This is important because we need to consider the way that most people are choosing to move naturally when weighing efficiency.
Walkers might move faster, but they’re also causing more relative disruption.
Read on via Source: Why you should always stand, not pass others, on the escalator | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Zebras Have Stripes to Shoo Away Flies.

by Ed Yong
Joren Brugginkof and Jai Lake with a horse that’s pretending to be a zebra.
Are you sure this is a zebra?
it was surprisingly easy to dress horses like zebras.
Several vendors were already selling coats with black-and-white stripes, often as fun gimmicks.
But, as Tim Caro learned, such coverings have an unexpectedly serious effect. “There are enormous benefits to having a striped coat for a horse,” he told me.
Caro, a biologist at the University of California at Davis, has spent years thinking about why zebras are striped, and has even written a book about this mystery.
In his latest bid to get clear answers, he and his colleagues traveled to Hill Livery, a stable in southwest England that keeps several captive zebras alongside domestic horses.
By comparing these two species, as well as horses that were comically cloaked in zebra-striped coats, the team found fresh evidence for what Caro thinks is the only plausible explanation for the striking stripes:
They evolved to deter bloodsucking flies.
Source: Why Do Zebras Have Stripes? To Shoo Away Flies. – The Atlantic

Early Patients of Brain Surgery.

0(Photo: Cushing Tumor Registry – Cushing/Whitney Medical Library/Yale University)
For more than three decades, two amazing relics of medical history lay rotting underneath a Yale University dorm—Dr. Harvey Cushing’s collection of brains, and his collection of patient photography.
The former has been given its own exhibition space in Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, Yale University, open to the public since 2010.
About 500 brains sit in the $1.4 million-dollar Cushing Center, carefully preserved in the leaden glass jars in which they arrived.
The 10,000 glass plates, though, have only just begun their journey to public consumption.
Its contents are finally beginning to be seen—the pictures in this story have only been digitized in the past year and they are published here for the first time. The images are staggering.
Babies with distended skulls sit on a mother’s knee.
Neat scars form patterns on patient skulls, like farmland seen from an airplane window. Often, the photos are taken in profile, or are a close-up of hands.
Some of the most bewitching pictures involve a patient staring at the camera head-on, with a directness rare in today’s selfie-strewn world.


“They just keep revealing themselves,” says Terry Dagradi, Cushing Center Coordinator, “
They are amazing not because they were shot to be amazing.
See more Images via See These Stunning Photos Of Brain Surgery’s Earliest Patients | Atlas Obscura.