8 Things You Need To Know Today (December 7)
1. Lena Dunham's response to being asked if she was pregnant has women around the world rejoicing.
After attending an event in support of the Los Angeles Review of Books, Lena Dunham's Shakespearean look incited an "Are you expecting? You look beautiful" comment on Instagram. As Dunham fans immediately jumped on the remark, she quickly backtracked with, "I don't think it is bad to ask. Just like asking someone when they're due... I never said anything rude or mean. I asked if she was expecting and told her she looked great." But it was Dunham herself who shut all of them down. "Thank you!" she wrote. "I'm not expecting but I did enjoy a large box of gluten-free crackers before taking this image." (Yahoo Style)
2. We always loved the platypus for its charm, but it turns out its venom might be helpful for people with diabetes.
Research discovered that the platypus, a mammal that lays eggs instead of giving birth (aka a monotreme) produces venom that contains the same hormone we use to regulate insulin. In people with type 2 diabetes, this hormone rapidly degenerates, but in monotremes likes the platypus and echidna it is much more stable and could be used in treatment of type 2 diabetes. Thank you, Mother Nature, for your healing powers. (Science Daily)
3. Could self-destructing toys be the key to saving the environment?
In his Penn State lab, Scott Phillips is working to modify plastic to make it biodegrade on contact with chemical triggers. With an estimated 250 million tons of plastic polluting the planet, Phillips' invention, if successful, could have applications far beyond toys. (New Scientist)
4. Breast milk's black market is growing.
As formula continues to fall out of favor with parents, breast milk is in high demand. While some moms donate their excess breast milk to hospitals to feed NICU patients, others are turning to an online black market to earn $2.50 an ounce or more for their milk. (Houstonia)
5. Headphones could be damaging children's hearing.
Don't believe everything you read—especially on packaging. Studies show that headphones often labeled safe for children's ears don't actually cap the volume at a safe level, which could cause lasting damage and eventual hearing loss. The key is keeping the volume at a max of 60 percent and making sure kids take a break every hour. (NYT)
6. Most teens are probably addicted to their smartphones. Now what?
Half of teens admit that they think they're addicted to their phones, and 59 percent of parents believe their children are. Setting hard and fast rules about phone usage at home and making a consistent effort to spend time away from one's phone—essentially, making an effort to be more present—could help prevent addiction. (CNN)
7. Here's why you'll be drinking orange wine in 2017.
Also known as the "fourth wine," orange wine is produced with white grape skins left on, which produces tannins that leave the wine spicier, herbier, and drier than most. Made by small, dedicated producers, these wines generally don't come cheap, but their fame is spreading. Cheers! (Independent)
8. Climate change regulations are working wonders for our food.
A new study just delivered encouraging news about the relationship between climate change prevention measures and our fish supply. Since more and more coal-fired power plants have started shutting down, traces of mercury in our tuna population have declined by 20 percent. (EWG)