The Health Benefits of Daily Fasting

via NPR:

During the fasting period, participants were encouraged to stay hydrated with water. Each day, they logged the timing of their meals and their sleep in an app.

“We saw a 3% reduction in their weight and a 4% reduction in abdominal visceral fat,” says Taub.

“We didn’t ask them to change what they eat,” she explains, though participants consumed about 8.6% fewer calories — likely as a result of the limited eating window.

In addition to the weight loss, “we saw that cholesterol levels improved and blood pressure [levels] also improved,” Taub explains. There was also some reported improvement in sleep quality, and many of the participants reported more energy.

“We are surprised that this small change in eating time would give them such a huge benefit,” says Satchidananda Panda, a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and a co-author of the study. Panda and Taub have some theories that may help explain the reduction in belly fat and weight loss.

Revisiting the Tram Diaries

About 15 years ago I worked with a talented team of people that helped bring the world’s attention to the diaries of a Vietnamese doctor killed in battle in 1970. An American G.I. recovered the young woman’s diaries, which spoke of war-weary sadness and longing for her family, from a battlefield and decades later donated them to the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University.

I vividly remember the day Dr. Dang Thuy Tram’s family visited the university to view her diaries. I watched as her mother clutched the small book to her chest and wept.

I’m reproducing some of my work on the Tram Diaries here and again here:

On Oct. 6, Doan Ngoc Tram entered a room in the Vietnam Archive, then fell to her knees and sobbed at the sight of her daughter’s diaries, which sat elegantly at a table beside a picture of a smiling Dang Thuy Tram. The elderly mother clutched the handmade books to her chest and wept as her daughters held her. It was the closest she had come to hugging her late daughter in almost 40 years.

For at least an hour she sat and held the diaries to her body, running her aged and delicate fingers across its pages and binding. She hugged her daughters and walked around the room viewing pictures of Dang Thuy Tram, whose absence was achingly felt and obvious to the 40 or so spectators present.

“I thought it was her. I wanted to hold her but I couldn’t,” she says through an interpreter. “It was like she was there with me when I held the diaries for the very first time.”

Schools in Rural Texas Find Workarounds to Address Lack of Broadband, Digital Divide

A new report from my office looks at how the lack of broadband in rural Texas communities is crippling business and agriculture, and forcing schools to find creative ways to provide online access to students:

To close the gap, students often create “workarounds” to connect with online resources, such as gathering outside businesses and school campuses to tap free Wi-Fi. Hetherington says Bandera students were often seen waiting in line at the Bandera County Library after school to use its high-speed internet. Today, Bandera ISD’s BEC-provided Wi-Fi has been incorporated into its curriculum; for example, Alkek Elementary students take iPads down Main Street on digital “scavenger hunts” to hone their online skills. Texas school districts such as Huntsville ISD and South Texas ISD have outfitted school buses with Wi-Fi so students can study during the ride home, while Weatherford ISD has provided signage and even recycled hardware for local businesses that want to offer students free internet access.

The Home Computer Christmas War of 1983

Fantastic article on the battle royale between computer and gaming manufacturers in the runup to Christmas in 1983:

Coleco had entered the videogame console market late, introducing the Colecovision in mid-1982 just as Atari was beginning to wear out its welcome with the public. With its superior graphics and sound, and Donkey Kong as its pack-in game, it sold well before Christmas, but was not immune to the plague ET subsequently cursed the industry with and when Coleco management saw consumer sentiment was turning toward home computers they saw an opportunity to jump trains. The marketing department decided their ideal customer was parents of less-technically savvy teenagers who needed to do school assignments and wanted to play arcade conversions, and so they suggested adding a printer, keyboard and tape storage to the existing Colecovision console, rather than develop an entire new machine. It was hoped this could get the computer, christened the Adam, to market faster, but adding all those peripherals was trickier than expected, and despite promises to retailers Coleco failed to deliver most of the units in time for Christmas – and many of those they did deliver were defective. Poor reviews and disappointed potential customers coloured public sentiment and the Adam bombed, taking the Colecovision with it.