Daily Archives: August 13, 2010

Current Events in Human Evolution

I will be interviewed on Sunday Morning by Lynn Fellman on Minnesota Atheist Radio. We’ll be covering the recent and almost recent news in several areas of human evolution, and discussing “Lucy, Ardi, Frodo, and us: what old bones and new genetics are revealing today”

… but since news from the field comes in so quickly, we may never get to our intended topic, since we can also talk about monkeys and very ancient cut marks on stone tools.

Tune in on Radio 950 KTNF Twin Cities, or catch the Podcast later. I don’t think there is a streaming thingie.

Inside a Political Campaign

There was an election in November of 2008, but you probably knew that already. You cast a vote for a presidential candidate, and if you were especially interested, put a bumper sticker on your car and a sign in your yard. If you’re a typical Minnesotan, somewhat more engaged in the process than is usual with Americans, statistically speaking, you also voted for a U.S. Senate candidate, and you remember who it was, even if your candidate didn’t win. That’s already quite a bit going on for one election cycle, but of course there was also an election for the U.S. House of Representatives in your district, and at least two candidates who wanted your attention, badly. Those candidates had plenty of help from staff, interns, and volunteers who wanted your interest and your vote. The technologies used by the campaigns to get your attention are changing rapidly, and so too are the effects of those technologies on a rational, responsible political discourse, or as 2008 often proved, a lack thereof.

Read the rest here.

Does Cranberry Juice Help Repress or Reduce Urinary Tract Infections? A study in skeptical juice drinking.

This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.orgAfter I reported this recent and interesting research paper about urinary tract inflictions, a number of conversations broke out on that post, on my facebook page, and via email, and some of these conversations raised the question of cranberry juice and whether the idea that it prevents, reduces, or shortens the duration of UTIs is real or woo.

Added: After further discussion elsewhere, I would like to clarify what is being asked here: Imagine you are a person who drinks apple juice and cranberry juice as your main hydrating substance. Also, you are are a person who is concerned with UTIs. One day, you ask yourself: “I want to switch to drinking only one kind of juice, apple or cranberry. Should I make it cranberry, with the idea that it could prevent UTIs, to some degree, for me? No biggie if it does not, but is there a reasonable chance that it will?” This is NOT a post about whether or not cranberry juice in any concentration or form can treat a UTI. Obviously.

So, I decided to use Gooogle Scholar (which is a version of Google that you should probably use more often than you currently do) to find out what the peer reviewed literature says. First I entered a few appropriate search terms (bladder infection UTI cranberry, for example) and looked at the first few references provided, then I narrowed the search for the most recent five years. That narrowing gave me a recent review article (which is what I was hoping for).

I came to a conclusion about cranberry juice after just few minutes of looking at abstracts and a couple of full text papers, and then spent considerably more time summarizing my results for you. Here is what I found:
Continue reading Does Cranberry Juice Help Repress or Reduce Urinary Tract Infections? A study in skeptical juice drinking.