16 Things You Need To Know Today (April 13)
1. Strawberries are really cheap right now, which is not necessarily a good thing.
While not officially in season, California has now joined Florida and Mexico in mass production, giving us a glut of strawberries all over the U.S. for cheap. Demand for strawberries has increased over the past two decades, driving more production but not necessarily improving flavor. In fact, out-of-season strawberries aren't that great—you can either roast them or wait for the real deal. (Bon Appétit)
2. Are big cities conducive to tiny homes?
The New York Times tackled this question in a recent feature on Miko Mercer—a Brooklyn resident who is building her own tiny house. (NY Times)
3. Coral bleaching now affects more than half of the Great Barrier Reef.
In what's being called the worst bleaching event in history, warming waters are killing off the algae in a huge part of the reef. (The Guardian)
4. The FDA moves to ban cancer-causing pork antibiotics.
The drug, carbadox, is fed to almost a third of baby pigs in the U.S. The FDA said it's taking steps to rescind approval because the antibiotic may leave trace amounts of a cancer-causing residue that could end up in pork products, especially pork liver. A recent re-analysis of the drug's safety suggests that there could be potential risk to human health. (CBS News)
5. Light therapy may ease the side effects of cancer.
A recent study focused on the signs of depression in cancer patients and found that they were ameliorated by light therapy. The reason why is not fully understood, but cancer patients typically have disrupted circadian rhythms that light therapy can help with. (WSJ)
6. Levi's Apparel is making sustainable changes.
The jean and clothing brand just teamed up with fiber supplier Aquafil to create a line made of recycled materials. (Science World Report)
7. These are the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides.
The EWG released its annual Dirty Dozen list, a ranking of produce that is produced with the highest pesticide load, and strawberries are at the top of the list. (mindbodygreen)
8. The Zika virus might be scarier than we thought.
U.S. health officials announced that Zika-carrying mosquitoes are more widespread than originally thought, and the list of associated health conditions is growing. "The more and more we learn, the more you get concerned about the scope of what this virus is doing," said the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease. The organization, together with the CDC, urged Congress to pass more emergency funding to fight Zika. (CNN)
9. A good night's sleep could help you avoid a cold.
A study finds yet another reason to make sure you're getting enough shut-eye: People who sleep five or fewer hours a night were 28 percent more likely to have caught a cold in the past month than those who regularly slept longer. And short sleepers were 80 percent more likely to have had a flu, ear infection, or pneumonia in the past month than those who slept at least seven or eight hours. While researchers aren't entirely sure why, it could be because T-cells, which help fight off infection, don't work as well when you aren't well-rested. (HealthDay)
10. The gluten-intolerant will soon be able to enjoy Chick-fil-A.
The chicken chain is currently testing new gluten-free buns. This will make it the first of its competitors to roll out gluten-free options for its sandwiches. (Brand Eating)
11. Kerry Washington is saying no to Hollywood beauty standards.
She shared with Oprah, on an episode of SuperSoul Sunday, that "another young woman I grew up with was much fairer-skinned than I was, with much straighter hair, and that meant that she was prettier ... I think part of that was because how that impact sort of rippled out with other people culturally were the images I was getting. Honestly, I’ve never had this thought before sitting here with you, but I think I spent the first 20 years of my life trying to be somebody else, so I just don’t have the energy at this point." (USA Today)
12. Craft breweries are fighting against pro-discrimination laws.
A new law in North Carolina makes it easier to legally discriminate against LBGTQ people, but two of the state's craft breweries have come together to create a beer to speak out against the law. It's called Don't Be Mean To People "a golden (rule) saison" and it sounds delightfully on the right track. (Eater)
13. Your yoga mat might be making you sick.
Recent research shows us that oily, sweaty yoga mats really are gross. Dr. Robert Lahita, a professor of medicine at Rutgers, said, "Many yoga mats are pocked with little holes and these organisms like to live in that, especially if you're sweating and you're providing a very nice environment of warm saline, which comes from your skin." Read all the dirty details in Elle's report. (Elle)
14. New York is paving the way to get rid of the "tampon tax."
New York's Republican-led Senate unanimously passed a bill exempting feminine hygiene products from sales tax—reclassifying them as necessities rather than "luxury goods" (duh!). The bill now goes to the state’s governor Andrew Cuomo, the father of three daughters, who has made assurances in the past that he would sign the bill into law. (mindbodygreen)
15. Unsafe lead levels in water have been found at hundreds of schools.
Responding to the crisis in Flint, Mich., there has been countrywide testing for lead in the water at schools. Environmental Protection Agency data showed that 278 violated federal lead levels at some point during the past three years. Roughly a third of those had lead levels that were at least double the federal limit. The problems can be traced to aging buildings with lead pipes, older drinking fountains, and water fixtures that have parts made with lead. (CBS News)
16. Listening to live music can reduce your stress hormones.
New research shows that attending a live music performance can actually noticeably lower a person's levels of cortisol—no matter their age or familiarity with the music. (Telegraph)