Kate Dailey

Stories by Kate Dailey

  • Farrah Fawcett, 1947-2009

    After a long, brave, public battle with cancer, Farrah Fawcett passed away today....
  • The Sweet Science: How Our Brain Reacts To Sugary Tastes

    "Sweetie," "Sugar," and "Honey." There's a reason we call our loved ones flavor-derived nicknames. "We're all born liking sweet tastes," says Dr. Alexei B. Kampov-Polevoi, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. "It's kind of the yardstick for all pleasures." But what does it mean for food to taste sweet? And how does that taste affect our brains and our bodies?  The desire for sweetness is hardwired into humans--give babies a little sugar on their lips and they'll smile. That's because up until the advent of artificial additives, sweet flavors signified calorie-dense foods. "If you're sitting there on the savanna and trying not to be eaten by something else, you want to be able to make a quick decision about what's good to eat," says Steven Munger, an associate professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland. A sweet snack indicated...
  • John Mayer, Perez Hilton, and the Politics of Victim Blaming

    Yesterday, Perez Hilton got punched in the face. This lead to karma jokes, and "I've been wanting to punch him in the face for years" jokes, and all sorts of tacky, tasteless comments that make light of the fact that someone was the victim of violence. Yes, Perez is a pain; a pain who ridicules both gay rights activists and gay rights critics when not drawing crude genitalia on paparazzi photos. Did he deserve a beating? No: no one does. And yet that fact gets obscured when the victim of said beating is a churlish gadfly. ...
  • The Science of Sit-ups: Video Edition!

    Last week, we interviewed Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, in a piece about the dangers of sit-ups and crunches. McGill, author of Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance (Stuart McGill, 2004) was kind enough send us a video demonstrating a better way to work your abs—including a modified move, called the "McGill crunch" by school children all over Canada. Take a look and adjust your workouts accordingly. For more information, visit McGill's site, backfitpro.com  
  • Good News About Birth Control

    The withdrawal method of birth control—otherwise known as “pulling out”—is often seen as a last-ditch, almost comical measure to prevent pregnancy. In terms of both effectiveness and sexual sophistication, it’s seen as just a rung or two above using Coke as some kind of post-coital spermicide (which, seriously—according to every single pregnancy myth website, cola-as-contraception is some kind of epidemic. Does it really happen?). However, the stats don’t support this dismissive attitude to the withdrawal method. “We’ve been recommending it to clients if they don’t have any other access to birth control handy,” says Yvonne Piper, director of San Francisco Sex Information. The effectiveness rate for pregnancy prevention using the withdrawal method is about 96 percent. Condoms, on the other hand, are about 98 percent. (That’s when both are used perfectly. Otherwise, the success rate for both withdrawal and condoms can drop as low as 76 and 79 percent, respectively). These stats aren’t...
  • The Consult: Is Obesity a Disorder, and Other News From Around The Web.

    Is obesity a disability? Advocacy groups want to classify obesity as a disability; doctors think it will prevent them from discussing obesity with their patients. At the same time, overweight patients often find that, like women in menopause, their size becomes a blinding factor to any other potential medical problem. Knee problems? Lose weight. Chest pain? Lose weight. Bleeding from the eyeballs? Lose weight. There's got to be a happy medium... (MSNBC)  ...
  • Top Chef Lee Ann Wong Changes Diet, Reaps Rewards

    Lee Ann Wong, the fan favorite from season one of Bravo's , has a lot going on: she's now the executive chef for Kogi New York: the original Kogi, in LA, is the insanely popular Korean BBQ truck locatable only via Twitter. On Sunday, she was working along side Justin Timberlake as he launched his new tequilla, 901 Silver, in New York City. (She, along with former contestants Sam Talbot and Huang Huynh, created some drinks and snacks made with 901 that were served at the event). And somehow, in the middle of all this, she's lost 55 pounds. Wong says she enlisted the help fellow contestant Andrea Berman (the health food enthusiast) and lost the weight despite "never setting foot in a gym." Prior to spending her days in a kitchen and her nights in the late-night burger bars frequented by New York's culinary set, Wong was a size four, and notes that "keeping the weight off is not all that hard." The ease with which she says the weight came off,...
  • Friends With Benefits: Do Facebook Friends Provide the Same Support as Those In Real Life?

     I have a friend named Sue. Actually, “Sue” isn’t her real name, and she isn’t really a friend: she’s something akin to a lost sorority sister—we went to the same college, participated in the same activities and had a lot of mutual respect and admiration for one another. But since graduation, we’ve fallen out of touch, and the only way I know about Sue, her life and her family is through her Facebook updates. That’s why I felt almost like a voyeur when Sue announced, via Facebook, the death of her young son. I was surprised she had chosen to share something so personal online–and then ashamed, because since when did I become the arbiter of what’s appropriate for that kind of grief?The more I thought about it, the more I realized Facebook might be the perfect venue for tragic news: it’s the fastest way to disseminate important information to the group without having to deal with painful phone calls; it allowed well-meaning friends and acquaintances to instantly pass on condolences,...
  • Pages of Wrath: A New Book Looks At Why We Seek Revenge

    After she was hired to write a blog about a fictional scorned woman who exacts 14 Days of Wrath on her cheating husband, Eva Nagorski realized just how pervasive the theme of revenge is -- from ancient times to the digital age.  In her new book The Down and Dirty Dish on Revenge: Serving It Up Nice and Cold to that Lying, Cheating Bastard (St. Martin's Press), Nagorski looks at the  psychology of revenge, why it's important to talk about this very human reaction, and dishes up lots of juicy stories.  Excerpts:  So you've confirmed that the bastard who wasted the last few years of your life has been cheating on you or is about to kick you to the curb.  That all the times cleaning up after him, taking care of him when he was sick, dealing with his psycho, overbearing parents, listening to his problems at work or his frustration about not doing what he wants to do, has literally meant nothing.  That everything you invested in him has just been flushed down the toilet,...
  • The Consult: Gender Bias in Babies and Judges, and Other News From Around The Web

    Sotomayor Is Not A Bully She's a smart, tough legislator who challenges lawyers on both sides. Nina Totenberg delivers an in-depth look at the judge's temperament and determines that her style of questioning and habit of interrupting is no worse than anyone else on the bench. A Sotomayor mentor who investigated rumors about her style determined that her questions and tone were the same as men on the Appellate Court, and goes right ahead and calls those rumors "sexist." Totenberg, after questioning other lawyers, judges, and analyzing audio tapes of Sotomayor's performance, concludes thusly: "If she sometimes dominates oral arguments....if she's feisty, even pushy, then she should fit right in on the US Supreme Court." (NPR)...
  • The Consult: Cigarettes Are Not Candy And Other News From Around The Web

    Nicotine Delites? We've heard of candy cigarettes, but this is ridiculous. RJ Reynolds is introducing a tobacco-based mint for adults (because grown-up loooove candy) sold in shiny packaging. It makes business sense for tobacco companies to try and branch out to smokeless products now that it's illegal to light up at so many bars and restaurants, but candy? Come on. When your product makes Camel Snus look like a good idea, it's time to fire your development team. (MSNBC.com)...
  • Chemistry Is Not Boring: Video Proof

    Via Andrew Sullivan, a fun little video about the elements. (If one finds same-sex slow dancing NSFW, this video is NSFW.)...
  • The Consult: Fruit for Free, And Other News From Around The Web

    Just Do It, Already: Rates of colorectal cancer are up in 27 of 51 countries worldwide between 1983 and 2002. A new study shows that the increase in cancer rates is likely due to an increase in Western diet and lifestyle habits across the globe. Since most of this blog's readers probably already have Western lifestyle habits, this is a good chance to remind those over 50 to schedule that colonoscopy. (Eurekalert)...
  • The Consult: Back to Bed, and Other News From the Web

    Sleep On It: Feeling blocked? Researchers from the University of California at San Diego say a nap can help boost creative powers. They say that "sleeping on" a dilemma really does boost a person's ability to problem-solve and make clear decisions: ...
  • Really, Really Dirty Dancing: More On Daggering

    This article is an update to the post we published on FridayIn the video, (NSFW) a young woman stands on her head, legs spread. Two men stand straight on either side of her. As crowds look on, the two men begin to push her back and forth by her ankles until finally she’s flipped over and thrown into one man’s arms, legs over his shoulders. As he gyrates and thrusts onto her limp body, the DJ in the background urges them on. The woman is then thrown back to the other man, who grabs her from behind and begins to grind into her.This isn’t Internet porn—it’s a YouTube video of “daggering,” a type of dance popular with some of Jamaica’s poorest citizens. It’s exuberant, vulgar, and may be responsible for a string of highly painful and personal injuries occurring out of the clubs in the bedroom. Music associated with daggering has been banned from the airwaves due to its lewd content, and the super-suggestive moves have the guardians of Jamaican culture sounding the alarm. But is...
  • The Consult: Easing Into Monday, And Other News From The Web

    A Woman's Victorious Tale of Cancer Survival: A nice read for those of you (like me) moving a little slowly this morning. No need to rush into the work week head on! (Pharmablog)Tickling Gorillas: Will be the name of the NEWSWEEK.com house band. It's also part of a process scientists are using to categorize human laughter. This is old news to fans of public radio, since it was featured on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me this weekend, but if you want more of the science behind punchlines, check out this very interesting (and only slightly nerdy) post. (Scienceblogs) The Science Behind Science: A week after Sharon Begely wrote her great piece on gender inequity in math, Slate examines a study on creating parity between men and women in science: hire more female science teachers.When a...
  • Andrew Sullivan's Brave and Brilliant Abortion Blogging

    Take some time today to visit Andrew Sullivan's blog over at the Atlantic, where one of the most capital-F fascinating discussions in recent blog history (which is pretty much all of blog history) is taking place. ...
  • EMT Charged in Facebook Crime-Scene Photo Leak

    Last month, NEWSWEEK's Jessica Bennett's wrote a heartbreaking story about the Catsouras family, who are fighting to scrub the internet of gristly accident-scene photos taken moments after their daughter Nikki's death. Now, another tale of private, post-mortem photos posted online has made the news. ...
  • The Consult: The Sum Of Your Parts, And Other News From Around The Web

    When Is A Donor Kidney Not a Donor Kidney? When it comes from the body of a convicted killer. A very small British study showed people were strongly wary of organ transplants if the donor had questionable morals (or no morals, in the case of a murderer). The students polled were much more likely to prefer donors who were good people. No word on how those scores would change were the students polled in dire need of an organ transplant. (BBC)...
  • Oprah Responds To NEWSWEEK's Cover Story

    According to Entertainment Tonight, Oprah has responded to NEWSWEEK's cover story this week, “Crazy Talk: Oprah, Wacky Cures & You.” Sayeth Oprah: For 23 years, my show has presented thousands of topics that reflect the human experience, including doctors' medical advice and personal health stories that have prompted conversations between our audience members and their health care providers. I trust the viewers, and I know that they are smart and discerning enough to seek out medical opinions to determine what may be best for them. That's very similar to the statement she issued to reporters Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert, who wrote the NEWSWEEK story, but it doesn't address the questions raised by the article. Read Kosova and Wingert's original article here.Read the response from the web here.Read Raina Kelley's take on whether criticizing Oprah is appropriate here.
  • Noah Cyrus, Situation Critical: Miley's Little Sis Is 9 Going On 29.

    A few months ago, NEWSWEEK published an article called "Generation Diva," about the increased interest tween girls show for things like pedicures, facials, cosmetics and other beauty treatments previously considered grown-up luxuries. (One could argue that "diva" is a pejorative term that puts...
  • Is It Racist To Criticize Oprah? Raina Kelley Responds

    Not everyone responded positively to the NEWSWEEK cover story on Oprah's role in promoting questionable medical advice. Several commentors questioned if this article is another example of how, as reader Doris Grayson (graysond) writes, "the media can't accept a powerful, decent Black woman as a role model."  Another reader, pencilcase, thinks, "Oprah's being attacked because the thought of a poor overweight black looking black woman from the ghetto transforming herself into one of the richest & most influential people in the world (& daring to use thatt influence to help make a black man president) makes the white media elite's stomach turn." ...
  • Stop Doing Sit-Ups: Why Crunches Don't Work

    Everyone knows that the road to flat, tight abs is paved with crunches. Lots and lots and lots of excruciating crunches. Or is it?As it turns out, the exercises synonymous with strong, attractive abs may not be the best way to train your core—and may be doing damage to your back.  “We stopped teaching people to do crunches a long, long time ago,” says Dr. Richard Guyer, president of the Texas Back Institute.  That’s because the “full flex” movement—the actual “crunch” part of crunches – puts an unhealthy strain on your back at its weakest point. The section with the most nerves (and most potential for nerve damage) is in the back of the spine, which is the very part that bends and strains during a sit-up.“There are only so many bends or a ‘fatigue life’,” in your spinal disks,” says Stuart M. McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo. Inside each disk is a mucus-like nucleus, he says, and “if you keep flexing your spine and bending the disk over and...
  • Hey, Did You Hear We Took on Oprah? The Blog-o-sphere Reacts

    Yesterday, the latest issue of NEWSWEEK hit the stands, featuring Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert's smart, gutsy cover story on what one might call the Oprah Winfrey Medical Misinformation Complex, were one not so afraid of a lawsuit. Shorter version (though you should read the whole thing): Oprah, who has tremendous influence and credibility, promotes health "cures" that may be at best ineffective and at worst dangerous. Both media and medical bloggers took note of the story, and have been discussing its merits online. Some examples:...
  • The Consult: 50-percent video addition, and other news from around the web.

    Sad News For Children With Autism An anti-depressant commonly used to treat the repetitive behaviors of children with autism is as effective as a placebo—but with worse side effects. Citalopram improved repetitive behaviors—like flapping—in 33 percent of autistic children in a trial. Sounds impressive, except that 34 percent of those taking the placebo also improved.  (LA Times) ...