States reporting new cases of swine flu are lighting up the country like election night. Celebrities are wearing masks, thousands of children will be out of school for weeks, and many are canceling their travel plans for fear of a virus that is currently on level 5 out of 6 on the World Health Organizations pandemic alert level.
Gardeners have always known a certain joy when getting their hands and feet in the soil. But now scientists have made it official that getting dirty is good for your soul.Mycobacterium vaccae is a harmless bacterium found in dirt that recently has been proven to lift your mood as well as boost your immune system. A recent article in the magazine Neuroscience reports on a study done by neuroscientist Christopher Lowry at the University of Bristol in the U.K. Heat-killed inoculations of these bacteria given to cancer patients showed fewer symptoms as well as improvements in the patients’ physical and emotional health.
My grandmother hides meat in my food. Beef is buried in my mashed potatoes, bits of chicken lurk in my rice like tiny insurgents--edible enemy combatants, undercover and waiting to strike. I love my grandmother dearly, but I've learned never to accept soups from her--the murkier, the riskier--and to keep a sharp eye should we sit next to each other at restaurants. For an 83-year-old, she's got surprisingly nimble little hands.
Image: Matt Callow
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