Lifestyle

Marie Kondo’s life is messier now—and she’s fine with it

January 30, 2023

In the chill of January, we often examine how we are living. And right now, many of us are revisiting the tidying principles of Japanese lifestyle queen Marie Kondo.

But the ever-organized Kondo, it seems, is a bit frazzled since giving birth to her third child in 2021. Like most of us, she’s having trouble keeping up with all of it, reports The Washington Post.

Never fear, though: She is still sparking joy. It’s just that, these days, that doesn’t hinge on having a tidy house. Her new rituals turn inward, to more thoughtful things than a drawer full of perfectly folded T-shirts or an Instagram-worthy spice cabinet.

In her latest book, “Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life,” Kondo expands on the Japanese concept of kurashi, or “way of life.” She elaborates on simple ways to bring calmness and happiness to everyday things. Yes, that can mean cleaning out your purse every night, but it can also mean playing classical piano music during breakfast. Or making your mom’s recipe for black vinegar chicken wing stew. (The recipe is included in the book.)

This book is a bit of a reality check. Kondo, 38, has caught up with the rest of us—trying to corral the piles on our kitchen counters while on hold with the plumber and trying not to burn dinner. The multitasker seems somewhat humbled by her growing family and her business success; maybe realizing that you can find peace in some matcha, even if you drink it in a favorite cracked mug rather than a porcelain cup.

“Tidying up means dealing with all the ‘things’ in your life,” Kondo writes in the book. “So, what do you really want to put in order?”

Kondo says her life underwent a huge change after she had her third child, and external tidying has taken a back seat to the business of life. “My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life,” she said through an interpreter at a recent media webinar and virtual tea ceremony.

She encourages everyone to create their own rhythm, their own routines, based on what makes them happy, and she offers more than 125 serene photographic examples to inspire. (Most are not, however, from her own house.) Her assignment for readers: Come up with a doable joy routine and stick with it for ten days. Then see whether the daily habit changes are making you feel better.

Kondo says that, for many, the perfectly organized space is not realistic. “Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times,” she said at the event. “I have kind of given up on that in a good way for me. Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home.”

Although her two Netflix series showed her helping people overwhelmed with emotion about their stuff, Kondo now drills down to a more tightly focused approach, helping people identify little activities to bring peace and joy on a deeper level.

Among Kondo’s personal joys: buying 100% silk or organic cotton pajamas, because they feel good and help her sleep; perusing her tea-leaf drawer and drinking tea three times a day to bring a sense of calm; and opening her childhood sewing box, which brings back warm memories.

Previously, the decluttering diva has seemed to be a bit of a tough cookie when it comes to sharing details of her inner thoughts or how she finds time to relax. But now Kondo writes in her book that, although she loves her work, “sometimes I pack my schedule so tightly I feel frazzled or am overcome with anxiety.” As a tidying professional, she says, she puts pressure on herself to always keep her house in order.

She and her husband, Takumi Kawahara, president of KonMari Media, the company she founded, carefully plan their days to spend time with their children while still getting other tasks done. (Kawahara, by the way, goes to bed at the same time as the kids and gets up at 4 a.m.) She gets through the day by flinging open her windows for some fresh morning air, lighting incense and wiping the soles of her shoes. And, yes, she does thank her shoes for supporting her when she is cleaning them after a day of service.

Kondo says people have been asking her about her own lifestyle and personal rituals since her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” published in the United States in 2014. “Tidying our homes, tidying our environment is also a way of tidying our minds,” she says. By organizing our hearts and minds, it becomes clear what we really want, Kondo says, adding that these are the things she is struggling with right now.

Kondo says she realizes that, as her children grow up, her way of life will change again. “I will keep looking inward to make sure I am leading my own kurashi,” she says. Good luck with that, Marie.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Michigan police department releases mugshot of K-9 accused of ‘stealing’ coworker’s lunch

January 27, 2023

Michigan police department has jokingly released a mugshot of a K-9 officer who allegedly stole another officer’s lunch, reports Fox News.

The Wyandotte Police Department in southeastern Michigan posted a photo of alleged lunch thief Ice, who reportedly nabbed the half-eaten lunch of Officer Barwig in the break room when Barwig was called to assist at the jail, according to a January 12 Facebook post. The post had received nearly 20,000 interactions as of Wednesday, January 25.

“Stealing is not only a crime but it is morally wrong too. Some jobs, like that of being a police officer, require you to take an oath prior to starting. Within the officer’s sworn oath is the promise to protect person’s property,” the department wrote.

“That being said, it saddens me to report that a current officer of the Wyandotte Police Department is under investigation for stealing!”

Police said when Barwig returned to the break room, he found his lunch had disappeared and that Ice was seen “leisurely strolling out of the room licking his chops.”

The police added that Ice had invoked his Fifth Amendment right to silence and “quite frankly is not cooperating with the investigation.”

Police also noted Ice “has a history of rummaging through trash cans that are within his reach” and that he has faced previous allegations of taking coworkers’ food from their hands.

The department appealed to its Facebook followers regarding how best to proceed with its investigation, prompting some users to offer pro bono legal representation for the K-9.

“I’ll be this officer’s attorney pro bono if need be,” one user wrote. “If the teeth don’t fit,you must acquit,” the user said in a parody of the famous line in the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995.

Research contact: @FoxNews

Losing face: Weight loss drugs may cause facial aging

January 26, 2023

How many injections are you willing to endure to preserve the structural integrity of your face and derrière? For a certain segment of the 1%, there’s no such thing as too many pricks, reports The New York Times.

After giving birth to her first child at 41, Jennifer Berger struggled to lose the last 20 pounds of the 50 she gained during her high-risk pregnancy. “I was doing a mix of cardio and weights three to five times a week—tracking everything I ate—and I still couldn’t lose that last bit of baby weight,” said Berger, a fashion merchandiser in New York City.

At her wits’ end, Berger visited a doctor who suggested she try tirzepatide, marketed under the brand name Mounjaro, a buzzy new diabetes drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration in May 2022. Mounjaro regulates blood sugar, suppresses appetite, and—if one is to believe the hushed accounts recently exchanged at an Upper East Side hair salon—makes excess pounds disappear into thin air.

“Everybody is either on it or asking how to get on it,” said Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York. “We haven’t seen a prescription drug with this much cocktail and dinner chatter since Viagra came to the market.”

The once-a-week injection works in a similar way to semaglutide treatments like Wegovy and Ozempic—the drug rumored, without evidence, to have helped Kim Kardashian fit into the tiny Marilyn Monroe gown she wore to the Met Gala; Kardashian has denied those rumors. In recent months, these drugs have been prescribed so frequently off-label that shortages prevented some diabetics and obese people from getting their medication.

Many doctors worry that the drugs’ current popularity, fueled in part by social media, has resulted in people taking them without sufficient medical supervision — a risky move considering the possibility of rare but serious side effects like thyroid cancer, pancreatitis, and kidney failure. And drugs like Ozempic can also cause less serious but still debilitating symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and racing heartbeat, as many videos on TikTok attest (see: #ozempic).

Some of the side effects are “extremely rare if the medication is being prescribed at the right dose and with careful medical supervision,” said Dr. Rocio Salas-Whalen, an endocrinologist in New York, who said she has prescribed this family of medication and its predecessors to more than 8,000 patients since 2005.

“Mounjaro is like the Apple 14 of these drugs,” Dr. Salas-Whalen, who did not treat Berger, recently told the Times. Dr. Salas-Whalen said it has the same ability to control blood sugar as Wegovy and Ozempic, but that in her practice, she had seen “almost double the weight loss and close to none of the side effects.”

The FDA has reported that in its clinical trials—which were done on diabetics—patients taking Mounjaro lost, on average, 12 pounds more than those taking drugs like Ozempic. Dr. Salas-Whalen, who has done work for Novo Nordisk, the maker of Wegovy and Ozempic, said she has seen similar results in non-diabetic patients.

While Mounjaro may sound like the closest thing to a weight loss magic bullet since gastric bypass surgery was first performed in 1954, it is not without risk. The Mounjaro packaging contains a black box warning about thyroid C-cell tumors. Like the first generation of these drugs, Mounjaro increased the risk of a rare type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma when it was tested on rodents.

None of these drugs come cheap: Unless a patient is obese and has at least one other “weight-related condition” (such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes), insurance usually won’t cover the medications, which can cost upward of $1,000 for a month’s supply. (Mounjaro is $975 per month; Ozempic, $892; Wegovy, $1,350.)

The rise of the ‘Ozempic face’

Berger, who had undergone fertility treatments to get pregnant, said she didn’t think twice about sticking a needle in her abdomen once a week—or shelling out nearly $1,000 a month for the drug. And Mounjaro lived up to its expectations. Within three months, she had lost those last stubborn 20 pounds.

“It was like flipping a switch,” she said. “I would look at food and it wasn’t even appealing, and I am someone who loves food! I almost had to remind myself to eat. It just took away all the cravings.”

Berger was thrilled with her new body. There was, however, a major downside to losing the weight so quickly. Her face suddenly looked gaunt.

“I remember looking in the mirror, and it was almost like I didn’t even recognize myself,” she said. “My body looked great, but my face looked exhausted and old.”

Dr. Oren Tepper, a plastic surgeon in New York, said that it’s common for weight loss to deflate key areas of the face, leading to a more aged appearance. “When it comes to facial aging, fat is typically more friend than foe,” he said. “Weight loss may turn back your biological age, but it tends to turn your facial clock forward.”

Indeed, as Catherine Deneuve is purported to have said: “At a certain age, you have to choose between your face and your ass.” But these days, in certain moneyed circles, that adage no longer seems to apply, with the now common combination of weight-loss drugs and volume-restoring filler.

“I see it every day in my office,” said Dr. Frank, who said he coined the term “Ozempic face” to describe the condition. “A 50-year-old patient will come in, and suddenly, she’s super-skinny and needs filler, which she never needed before. I look at of the time. It’s the drug of choice these days for the 1 percent.”

Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, a dermatologist in New York whose famous patients include Martha Stewart, has observed the same trend in his office. “We are seeing more and more patients on the medications coming in,” he said. “Generally, it’s people in their 40s and 50s who are losing significant amounts of weight and are concerned about facial aging and sagging that occurs as a result.”

While noninvasive procedures like Fraxel can improve skin texture and wrinkles, Dr. Frank said that fillers are the only noninvasive way to restore volume (cost: $5,000 to $10,000). To bring back a youthful fullness to Berger’s face, Dr. Frank injected Radiesse and hyaluronic acid-based fillers in strategic places all over her face — around the temples, under the eyes, in the buccal hollows and around the jawline, the mouth and lips.

To restore volume, Dr. Bhanusali uses Radiesse in combination with Sculptra, an injectable that stimulates collagen production and can last for up to 24 months. (Dr. Bhanusali has been a consultant to Galderma, the maker of Sculptra.) “The idea is to balance the face to offset the hollowing and downward projections at the cheeks, jowls and other areas,” he said.

‘A high-end luxury drug’

Some people suffering from facial wasting caused by rapid weight loss—40 to 50 pounds, say—may require a more radical approach. “When there is this much weight loss, plastic surgery is sometimes the only way to restore the volume loss,” Dr. Tepper said, noting that more than half of the patients he sees for weight-loss-related surgery are taking these drugs.

“The success rates are astonishing,” he said of the drug treatments. “For many patients, it’s like suddenly winning a lottery Mega Millions. But then they realize there’s a tax that comes with it—the loss of fat in the face—so it may not be quite the windfall they imagined.”

Dr. Tepper said he can eliminate any vestige of “Ozempic face” with a deep plane face-lift, which costs $75,000. He typically combines this with a procedure in which fat is transferred from other parts of the body to the face (an additional $8,000 to $12,000).

While the jaw-dropping prices of these treatments are clearly beyond the reach of the average person, for patients like Berger, who stopped taking Mounjaro after she returned to her pre-baby weight, feeling healthy and confident again is worth every penny she spent.

“I can’t tell you how good I feel about myself now,” she said. “I used to hide from my husband when I came out of the shower. I would literally walk backward so he wouldn’t see my backside. Now I don’t care. Because I feel good. I feel like myself again.”

Some doctors say that most patients who are taking these drugs need to stay on them indefinitely to keep the weight off, but Berger maintained the same strict portion control after she stopped taking Mounjaro. It also helped her ease off wine, which some other people taking the drug have noticed as well.

“I learned to find other ways to deal with my stress because I just didn’t have the taste for it,” she said.

Perhaps most important, the drug allowed her to stop obsessing about food and exercise. “Sure, it was expensive,” Berger said. “But you know what? I saved a lot of money on trainers and not buying wine! To be honest, the most expensive thing so far has been buying new clothes.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Ronald the puppy finds his perfect home after 14 failed adoptions

January 25, 2023

North Carolina nurse Kierstin Davis is sharing the story of how she adopted a 63-pound white puppy called Ronald after he’d suffered 14 failed adoptions in just five weeks, reports People.

Speaking with The Washington Post, Davis said she knew she had to act fast after a post looking for Ronald’s 15th home by the SPCA of Wake County went viral.

After submitting an application, Davis, 28, received the happy news that “Ronny” was coming home to her family on January 12.

“Everything’s been really good at the house,” she said. “He really just fits in perfectly.”

As for why the energetic, playful dog kept getting returned, SPCA spokesperson Samantha Ranlet told the Post: “It was all just different versions of that combination of being really playful and kind of clumsy and goofy and still working on his manners, in combination with his large size.”\

The outlet didn’t note how many of the families had children, which also can be a big deciding factor.

Despite his string of failed adoptions, staff at the SPCA had grown to love the “sweet, cute” dog, Ranlet added. It is partly because of this that she took to Facebook for help getting the word out, writing “Help us break Ronald’s unlucky streak! 14 adoptions have fallen through for this lovely guy — mostly due to being too big/strong.”

“It’s true, he’s a big boy! But for his large frame, he only weighs 63 lbs,” added Ranlet. “Ronald knows his commands, takes treats super gently, and is 100% sweet. He truly is a very good boy.

“Now and then, if he gets excited, he might stand up and put his front paws on you or become a little mouthy. But he is a big puppy, after all! As long as you have reasonably sturdy footing, you’ll have no problem with Ronald. Plus, he loves treats and practicing his tricks, so he’ll be a great student for any training.”

Davis was one of the thousands who saw the post.

“I was like, ‘Oh, there’s no way I’m going to get him,'” she told the Post. “Someone, I’m sure, is going to scoop him up so fast. But I applied anyway.”

Her luck was in: Davis, who has two young boys, 4 and 7, along with a black Australian shepherd she rescued a couple of years ago, happened to be first on the list.

Agreeing to a five-week trial, she brought Ronald back home, surprising her kids with their latest family member in the living room.

They “just screamed with excitement,” said Davis of her kids. “Just right off the bat … I was like, ‘Oh, he’s perfect. He’s staying.'”

Research contact: @people

Takeaways from Sundance’s secret Brett Kavanaugh documentary

January 24, 2023

“We’re getting more tips,” Amy Herdy announced Friday night, January 20, after the Sundance Film Festival premiere of “Justice,” a documentary she produced about the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, reports The Washington Post.

The film’s existence was a surprise, with the festival only revealing on Thursday–its opening night—that it was making a very last-minute addition to the lineup: the first documentary from “Swingers” and “The Bourne Identity” director Doug Liman. Within half an hour of the news getting out, Liman said in the post-screening Q&A, the film team started hearing from people who had sent the FBI tips before Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which the agency did not further investigate.

Suddenly, what was finished began anew. The tips were compelling enough for the team to start investigating and filming again with plans to add footage to the completed film, Liman said. In a wild and rare move, the finished documentary had converted back to a work in progress.

“I thought I was off the hook,” said Liman, who self-funded the film to retain independence and keep it secret. “I was like, ‘We’re at Sundance. I could sell the movie.’ … And yesterday, Amy’s like, ‘We’re not done.’ Seriously. Monday morning, they’ll be back at it.”

The film, which Liman said in a news release is meant to “[pick] up where the FBI investigation into Brett M. Kavanaugh fell woefully short,” debuted to a packed house of nearly 300 people. Someone asked if he’d show it to Kavanaugh. The answer was a joking yes. “We’re looking for buyers,” said Liman, “and it had occurred to us that he might buy it.”

The justice’s fall 2018 confirmation process, which took place just before the midterm elections, became chaotic when Palo Alto-based psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford accused the Trump nominee of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. After the Post published Ford’s story, two more women accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Deborah Ramirez, one of those women, told The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer that Kavanaugh thrust his penis in her face during a party when they were at Yale University. The FBI interviewed Ramirez, whose attorneys said the bureau never followed up with any of the 20 witnesses who might have been able to corroborate her story. The FBI’s investigation into Kavanaugh generated 4,500 tips that largely went un-investigated.

After reviewing an FBI report compiled in one week, which Democrats decried as rushed and incomplete, the Trump White House declared it found no corroboration of the claims against the justice. Kavanaugh, who was part of the conservative 6-3 majority that overturned Roe v. Wade, has categorically denied all accusations and does not appear in the film outside of archival footage.

The public information office of the Supreme Court did not return The Post’s request for comment on the documentary. The FBI’s national press office did not have a comment on the documentary—but reiterated that their services in a nomination process are limited to fact-finding and background investigations.

“The scope of the background investigation is requested by the White House,” an agency spokeswoman told The Post in a statement. “The FBI does not have the independent authority to expand the scope of a supplemental background investigation outside the requesting agency’s parameters.”

Liman told the Sundance audience he started thinking about making this movie in 2018 while watching the hearings and “knowing that something very wrong was happening.”

After all, the director grew up around the law. His father, Arthur Liman, was chief counsel in the Senate’s investigation into the Iran-Contra Affair and helped lead the investigation into the Attica prison uprising. Doug Liman’s older brother, Lewis, is a federal judge in the Southern District of New York.

Liman and Herdy, an investigative journalist who made the 2015 sexual assault documentary “The Hunting Ground,” kept their Kavanaugh investigation secret for a year by using nondisclosure agreements —an impressive feat in the small world of documentary film.

Liman intersperses archival footage with testimonies from Ramirez, Ford’s friends, and Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates—who said the justice was often severely inebriated—but the film feels unfinished. (Variety called it “an exercise in preaching to the choir.”) Although, one potent moment reveals a previously unheard recording of a tip to the FBI about another accuser.

Liman gives Ramirez the public platform she never got in front of the Senate. A long, emotional interview with the Boulder-based former Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s forms the movie’s spine. Although the interview doesn’t contain much that hasn’t already been reported, it’s powerful to hear someone who doesn’t enjoy being in the spotlight tell her own story with all the anguished starts and stops that come with trying to recall a nearly 40-year-old traumatic event.

Ramirez discusses her Catholic upbringing and early desire to be a nun. She also talks about entering Yale in 1983 as the shy, half-Puerto Rican daughter of parents who didn’t go to college—and trying to fit in to the predominantly wealthy, White, male institution that only had started admitting women 15 years prior. She offers a detailed recounting of getting inebriated at a party and looking up to find a penis in her face, which—having never touched a penis before— she accidentally brushed with her hand. All her friends began laughing at her.

She’d blocked the memory, but as Farrow interviewed her, she says details resurfaced, and she’s positive Kavanaugh was her assailant.

“The prominent memory is the laughter,” she says in the documentary, echoing what Ford had said in her testimony. “I have never forgotten it in 35 years.”

The film opens, rather curiously, with the camera trained on Liman sitting on a white couch, as a blonde woman asks why he would want to get into something this contentious. The audience only sees the back of Ford’s head in that moment, then a little more of her at her sons’ basketball game right after the opening. Otherwise, she is seen only in footage of her hearing.

Instead, her close friends tell her story. One says Ford told him about the Kavanaugh assault without naming him in 2015, when Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner received a lenient sentence after being convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious female student, Chanel Miller.

Liman said in the Q&A he felt Ford didn’t need to be subjected to another interview after baring everything on the national stage. He preferred to turn the camera and allow her to ask some questions.

“I felt that Dr. Ford has given so much to this country,” he said. “She’s done enough for ten lifetimes.”

If there’s a smoking gun in Liman’s film, it’s a voice message left on the FBI tip line from Max Stier, the president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, who attended Yale with Kavanagh and Ramirez.

In the previously unheard recording, Stier says classmates told him not just that Kavanaugh stuck his penis in Ramirez’s face, but that afterward, Kavanaugh went to the bathroom to make himself erect before allegedly returning to assault her again, hoping to amuse an audience of mutual friendsv. In the film, Ramirez says she’d suppressed the memory so deeply she couldn’t recall this second incident, even when Farrow explicitly asked her about it.

Stier’s message to the FBI also cites another incident involving a different woman, whom he says he witnessed “firsthand” a severely inebriated Kavanaugh, his dorm mate, pulling his pants down at a different party while a group of soccer players forced a drunk female freshman to hold his penis.

The woman’s friends told The New York Times in 2019 that she did not remember the incident and did not want to come forward after seeing the treatment of Ford. Stier does not appear in the film to elaborate nor did he give further interviews when his tip first surfaced in 2019.

The filmmakers told the audience Friday that they have a website, JusticeFilm.com, where people can send tips. “I do hope that this triggers action,” said Herdy. “I do hope this triggers additional investigation with real subpoena powers.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

This husband-calling contest is real and it’s as hilarious as you would think

January 23, 2023

 

If you’ve ever had trouble getting your husband’s attention, you might want to take some tips from participants in the Iowa State Fair‘s husband-calling contest. And, if you aren’t sure what husband-calling is, just take a look at the viral video that’s amassed over 17 million views on TikTok.

 

This clip from the Iowa State Fair shows contestants hollering for “Bob,” “Keith,” “Darryl,” and more fellas. And judging by their performances, you won’t want to mess with these women, reports My Modern Met.

 

  While the video is from a 2017 PBS Iowa broadcast, it gained new attention once it was posted by @_rhinestonecowboy on TikTok. The hilarious video shows a wide range of techniques, from operatic pleading to a good old-fashioned shout. 

 

Bonnie Swalell Eilert took home top prize in that year’s contest with a dressing down of her husband, Roy. Starting with a high-pitched shriek of his name, she made sure he knew that he better not be late. Her performance was convincing enough to make her the winner and to make anyone watching the video get moving just a bit quicker.

 

In a follow-up, @_rhinestonecowboy posted a clip from the 2021 competition. Swalell Eilert was among the contestants, telling Roy to “get yourself in here.” As always, the approaches to the calls were all different but equally amusing. Winner Camellia Pohl made an impression by trilling her r’s while lovingly calling out “Randy,” and telling him that dinner was ready.

 

So what does one win for being an expert husband caller? While everyone who participates gets a ribbon, only the lucky winner gets the prized blue ribbon and $5.

 

Husband calling isn’t the only unique contest that people can sign up for at the Iowa State Fair. The fair, held annually in August since 1854, features other events—including mom calling, chicken calling, cow chip throwing, and yodeling.

 

This year’s fair will be held from August 10 through August 20 in Des Moines.

 

Research contact: @mymodernmet

Erectile disfunction pills may be linked to reduced risk of heart attack, scientists say

January 20, 2023

Good news for dudes. Taking erectile dysfunction drugs may not just help you get your mojo back—it may, per a new study, be linked to lowered risk of heart problems, too, reports Futurism.

Published in the journal, Science Advances, the study—out of the Huntington Medical Research Institute in Pasadena, California—has found what appears to be a link between taking ED meds like Viagra and Cialis and reduced rates of heart problems, including heart disease and death from a heart attack.

Known as Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) Inhibitors or PDE-5i medications, this class of drugs—generally used to manage erectile dysfunction—has in the past been accused of leading to high blood pressure; but in the past 20 years, studies have suggested that they can both improve heart health and help with diabetes and cancer, too.

Looking at a large insurance and Medicare database, and drawing from prior research about ED drugs’ potentially cardioprotective effects, the HMRI team, along with researchers from the University of California-San Francisco, found that, compared to their ED-having counterparts who didn’t take medication for it, men who take PDE-5i drugs for their advertised purpose seemed to experience a 17%t lower rate of heart failure, a 15% lower need for angioplasty or heart stints, and a whopping 39% lower rate of death from heart disease-related complications.

What’s more, the researchers also observed a “25 [%] lower rate of death due to any cause” among men who take ED drugs than those who don’t take them, a press release about the study notes.

Drawing from anonymized patient records in an American private insurance and Medicare claims database, the researchers looked at a huge cohort of information gleaned from 2006 until 2020 — and of those claims viewed in retrospect, the researchers found that the greatest benefits seemed to be found in men who had heightened risk for cardiovascular problems, including those with diabetes. Part of the explanation, of course, may be related to the fact that sex, itself ,appears to be correlated with a longer life expectancy.

As with most data-based retrospective studies of this kind, the paper’s authors cautioned against declaring a direct correlation or cause between taking PDE-5i’s and lowering one’s risk for heart problems and advised further study on the subject. They also noted that they can’t name the exact nature of this link until more research is done on it.

All the same, this research is extremely promising—and, if nothing else, could reduce the stigma against taking ED medication.

Research contact@futurism

Treasure hunters swear NYC’s East River contains prehistoric woolly mammoth bones

January 19, 2023

Ask people what you might find buried in the muck at the bottom of New York City’s East River and they’d likely say “mob boss” before thinking of prehistoric wooly mammoth bones, reports amNewYork Newsletter.

But several groups of treasure hunters have taken to the waterway in recent weeks after hearing a guest on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast claim a boxcar worth of potentially valuable prehistoric mammoth bones was dumped in the river in the 1940s.

Despite a lack of evidence to back up the story, treasure seekers using boats, diving apparatuses and technology like remote-operated cameras have gone searching, in hopes the murky waters are hiding woolly mammoth tusks.

“I think the chances are just as good as the lottery. And people buy those tickets every day,” said Don Gann, 35, of North Arlington, New Jersey—a commercial diver who’s been out on the water since early last week with his brother and two workers.

It all started when John Reeves, an Alaskan gold miner with a passion for fossils, came onto “The Joe Rogan Experience” for an episode that aired on December 30 to talk about his land, where he has personally uncovered numerous age-old bones and tusks. In the first half of the 20th century, under previous ownership, digging for gold unearthed a trove of prehistoric mammal remains.

Some of that material was brought to New York City decades ago to be handed over to the American Museum of Natural History. Reeves cited a draft of a report put together by three men—including one who worked at the museum—that included a reference to some fossils and bones deemed unsuitable for the museum being dumped into the river.

“I’m going to start a bone rush,” Reeves told Rogan, before reading from the draft and giving out a location: East River Drive, which is now known as the FDR Drive, at around 65th Street.

“We’ll see if anybody out there’s got a sense of adventure,” he said, later adding, “Let me tell you something about mammoth bones, mammoth tusks—they’re extremely valuable.”

After the episode aired, the American Museum of Natural History threw water as cold as the East River on the tale. “We do not have any record of the disposal of these fossils in the East River, nor have we been able to find any record of this report in the museum’s archives or other scientific sources,” it said in a statement.

When reached by The Associated Press via telephone, Reeves refused to talk and instead told a reporter to read the pages of the draft he had posted on social media before hanging up. He didn’t answer other calls and emails.

The pages posted on social media identify three men as the authors: Richard Osborne, an anthropologist; Robert Evander, who formerly worked in the American Museum of Natural History’s paleontology department; and Robert Sattler, an archeologist with a consortium of Alaska Native tribes.

Reached by The Associated Press, Sattler said the story about the dumped bones came from Osborne, who died in 2005.

The document cited by Reeves was real, he said, and written in the mid-1990s. But it wasn’t something intended for an academic journal. It was a starting point for something—maybe a book—based on Osborne’s knowledge of a period in Alaska when mammoth remains were being discovered in plenty. Osborne’s father worked at a company involved in the digging.

Sattler said Osborne spent time around the operation as a young man and probably heard the story about surplus bones being dumped in the river secondhand. Sattler said he didn’t have any specifics beyond Osborne’s recollections.

“He would have had some knowledge from somebody telling him that they dumped some excess material in the East River,” he said.

Mammoth remains discovered in Alaska did wind up at the American Museum of Natural History, including some still on display today.

The section of the Manhattan shoreline where Reeves claimed the bones were dumped underwent major changes in the 1930s and 1940s, as the East River Drive, later renamed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was constructed on fill and pilings. The highway opened fully to drivers in 1942, raising questions about how someone would have dumped a huge trove of bones without disrupting traffic.

Gann said he’s seen about two dozen other sets of fossil hunters in the time he’s spent searching for mammoth remains out on the East River.

Visibility in the East River is extremely poor, he said. On a good day, you can see maybe a foot in front of you. The current at the bottom is strong.

But the avid diver, who appeared in Discovery’s “Sewer Divers,” has a thing for searching out unusual finds — although mammoth bones are admittedly on a different scale than finding a Paul Revere spoon at an estate sale.

“I’ve hunted for weird artifacts my entire life, so this one, it just kind of fits into my repertoire,” Gann said.

He and his crew haven’t found anything, which he admits is disappointing, but it has spurred him to do some of his own digging into history. He’s switched his sights to a location off of the southern part of Brooklyn—saying it would have been a more likely site for cargo to be dumped than the East River off Manhattan.

“If I find nothing, then I find nothing. I gave it an honest shot,” Gann said.

Research contact: @amNewYork

How McDonald’s’ latest ad got everyone talking about an everyday facial expression

January 17, 2023

Advertising from fast food chain McDonald’s tends to feature its products–burgers being bitten into by delighted-looking customers, food items merrily bouncing as if freshly flung into buns by a cheerful chef—or in former years, a clown. But a new ad for the chain, initially released in the UK, upends that tradition, reports Quartz.

British filmmaker Edgar Wright—best known for comedy movies like Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Baby Driver (2017)—has raised eyebrows with his use of quirky choreography and one suggestive gesture.

The “double eyebrow raise”—a person raising both his or her brows twice in quick succession—is, of course, not new. But the Wright ad does cleverly align the oft-used facial expression to suggest that something like “this is a bit cheeky” with the McDonald’s “M” logo, sometimes referred to as the “golden arches.”

At the same time, the ad’s narrative captures the zeitgeist of the times. In it, two female workers instigate a comedic exodus from a dull-looking office, using their raised eyebrows to signal to colleagues that they should all go for lunch—a reminder of the months of debate over post-COVID workplace practices that really have seen workers refuse to return to their desks in favor of more flexible work lives.

The ad, set to 1985 track Oh Yeah by Yello, is also reminiscent of dance trends popularized by Tik Tok and other apps in which groups of people, often wearing ordinary clothes and in everyday settings, break into well-rehearsed coordinated dance moves.

A Twitter conversation between Tom Sussman, head of planning at the agency behind the Wright ad, Leo Burnett, and another advertising agency executive, also shone a light on the creative process behind the ad. Sussman explained that ethnographic research suggested the eyebrow raise as the starting point for the ad, and only later was that gesture linked to the McDonald’s logo, and the ultimate music choice.

Fans of Wright’s films have debated online whether he did well to accept a commission from a company that many associate with corporate America, industrial food production, and even obesity. But many others seem simply to be enjoying the sight of “ordinary” workers wielding the power of their brows to take collective action on… getting some lunch.

Research contact: @qz