Anna

Get this: The more chocolate a population consumes, the more Nobel laureates it has? That may not be a direct correlation, but a different study suggests chocolate—or cocoa to be precise—might boost brain power. Researchers found that cognitive function in elderly people with mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease was improved by ingesting high levels of natural compounds found in cocoa called flavanols. I really love those flavanols!

But before you reach for the candy jar, some not so sweet news: “Tragically for chocoholics, most methods of processing cocoa remove many of the flavanols found in the raw plant. Even dark chocolate, touted as the “healthy” option, can be treated such that the cocoa darkens while flavanols are stripped.”

And, here’s more bad news for sweet tooths like myself. Pointing to the link between added sugar and diabetes, Mark Bittman writes, “Sugar is indeed toxic. It may not be the only problem with the Standard American Diet, but it’s fast becoming clear that it’s the major one.” He calls sugar “the closest thing to causation and a smoking gun that we will see.”

Something’s gravely wrong with this picture: Female veterans are the fastest growing segment of America’s homeless population.

The World Bank made this nifty video about the dangers of climate change. Now how ‘bout they stop funding coal?

Oh, and while we’re at it, Shell thinks you should get ready for a warmer, more dangerous world too. “At current trends,” Royal Dutch Shell’s chief executive Peter Voser said, greenhouse gas emissions “will far exceed what is widely to believed the upper limits for climate change.” To their credit, even Shell emphasizes the need for climate policy solutions:

One conclusion that can be drawn from the New Lens Scenarios is that substantive change will not come about by itself—as a result of pricing signals or policy responses delayed until crises become apparent. A positive outcome requires a series of proactive, far-sighted and coordinated national and international policy developments that, to date, seem beyond the bounds of plausibility.

Alan

At this time of year Cascadia’s best known Orca pod is down south, off the Redwood Coast of California. NOAA Fisheries tracks the pod’s whereabouts daily, and you can follow along here.

  • The nutrition and health book that has most impressed me is Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy. It’s my food Bible. And it basically recommends a Mediterranean diet. So I was gratified and fascinated to see the news about the blockbuster study released this week on the Mediterranean diet. Yay, olive oil and nuts! Yay, fruits and veggies! Yay, whole grains and a little fish!

    Clark

    Cool: now you can search for a hotel based on its Walk Score.

    Matt Damon? Toilet strike? I’m probably late to this party, but this is pretty funny—and in service of a very worthwhile cause.

    From the New York Times: the joys of long-distance train trips.