September 2010

The Truth About Hand Sanitizers

As a new mother, I always used hand sanitizer. I kept giant bottles all over our home. We had a premature baby, so not only did I make everyone wash their hands—I also made them use the sanitizer. I’d also read some study or another that claimed if you used hand sanitizer before you changed a baby, stomach bugs were less common in the home. (Looking back, I bet the study was “hand washing” rather than sanitizing!)

I know it was overkill. I know, also, that most new moms—with preemie kids or not—are probably just as psycho over cleanliness and germs when it comes to their babies, too. I remember reading an article once about how Katie Holmes wouldn’t let Suri Cruise, her daughter, play at the playground until she’d sanitized the whole thing with wipes. I’m not going to judge other parents, nor am I asking people to understand what I did; we all do crazy things to protect our kids sometimes.

Cultural Ills: Yeet Hay

I had never heard of yeet hay until someone mentioned it off-handedly on a message board this week.  Yeet hay is an illness that befalls people who have the misfortune of eating too much greasy and/or spicy food.

I'm fascinated by culturally-specific illnesses and fears.  For example, a common belief in Southeast Asia - particularly Taiwan -  is that a fan can kill you if you leave it on all night.  As you can imagine, this is an unfortunate belief in a tropical climate.  

The fear, called "fan death," even leads manufacturers to build sleep settings into their fans.  In Taiwan most air circulation fans have a button you can push for "blow air for an hour then stop."

New and Improved Study Techniques

How can someone study the most effectively? Researchers concluded long ago that the traditional collegiate methods including staying up all night consuming caffeine-laden energy drinks in major cram sessions are not effective for students’ long-term memories and have now found that some of the more traditional study methods do not work either. The New York Times recently ran an article detailing some of the more effective study methods that students of all ages can use in order to retain more information.

Here are a few of the techniques recommended for improving study habits: