Snippets #59, Monday, 12.Jul.2004 (ISSN 1530-9622)
_______________S N I P P e T S
_________________________from James S. Huggins' Refrigerator Door
___________________________________#59, Monday, 12.Jul.2004
_____1. Can Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat?
_____2. Doctors and Technology
_____3. Austin Wireless
__________1. CAN ARTIFICIAL SWeeTeNeRS MAKe YOU FAT?
No, they can't. But they might make it harder for your body to know when to stop eating.
It seems that if you drink low calorie foods, the body gets confused. The researchers at Purdue found that the body seems to "learn that the taste and feel of food by the mouth suggests the appropriate caloric intake. Much as Pavlov's dogs learned that the sound of a bell signaled food, people learn that both sweet tastes and dense, viscous foods signal high calories. This learning process begins very early in life and perhaps without conscious awareness, according to the researchers."
"Without thinking about it, the body learns that it can use food characteristics such as sweetness and viscosity to gauge its caloric intake. The body may use this information to determine how much food is required to meet its caloric needs."
The theory was that the body would become "conditioned". Just as Pavlov's bell triggered responses in dogs, our consumption of lower calorie foods would confuse the body. It would begin to think all foods are lower calories and then want us to eat more of everything.
The research suggests that theory might just be right.
If the research is right, it might have so interesting ramifications, particularly as they related to the food we feed children.
Ok, so it was research with rats. But it's an interesting theory.
Science Daily: Artificial Sweetener May Disrupt Body's Ability To Count Calories, According To New Study
Original News Release
__________2. DOCTORS AND TECHNOLOGY
Been to the doctor lately? Have you seen one use a keyboard? A tablet PC? A PDA? Or did they write their notes in chicken scratch in your file, then reach into their white coat, pull out that prescription pad and order drugs.
A recent article in Wired notes that U.S. hospitals are less computerized than the Department of Motor Vehicles.
In 1999, the the Institute of Medicine estimated that as many as 98,000 Americans die each year because of medical mistakes.
Next time that doctor scribbles on that little prescription form, just make sure you know what it says so you don't die because the pharmacist can't read the form.
Wired: Dragging Doctors to the Info Age
Internal Bleeding: The Truth Behind America's Terrifying epidemic of Medical Mistakes.
__________3. AUSTIN WIReLeSS
The Austin Chronicle has an interesting article about the proliferation of free (as in it doesn't cost money) wireless connections for your laptop. While some wireless hubs (e.g., Starbucks) require subscriptions, there seems to be a counter movement brewing: free wireless connections.
The article also describes an interesting philosophy. Quoting the Less Network's home page:
"It's not about more money and more stuff. It's about knowing the difference between a life well-lived and a life that's purchased. It's about how much you can do with what you have. The founders and employees of LeSS Networks have created a company based on the Philosophy of Less."
Can it work? I'm not sure. But I recently heard a radio interview with an executive from Schlotzsky's. Schlotzsky's has gone totally Wi-Fi, and, unlike Starbucks, it is free. This executive explained it simply. In order to cover the cost, they needed to sell something like one extra meal each day. (And apparently revenue has increased as much as 6%.) The other comment he made was that paying for Wi-Fi is like paying for toilets. We used to do that. Now we don't. We just provide restrooms as part of the service.
Anyone out there in Austin? What's it like?