If you’re planning to party like a rock star this New Year’s Eve, you might want to take a break from pounding Jagerbombs to pounding a plate of sauteed asparagus. According to a study in the Journal of Food Science, certain amino acids and minerals found in asparagus have the power to flush out “cellular toxicities.” As the lead researcher explains, ”These results provide evidence of how the biological functions of asparagus can help alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells.” This study doesn’t guarantee that asparagus will cure your hangover, but hey, weird-smelling pee is a small price to pay for the possibility of a headache-free morning on the first day of 2013. Now that we’re on the topic of hangovers, do you have any of your own hangover remedies you’d like to share? Have you ever tried the asparagus cure? Did it work? [Pop Sci]
Don’t “get” modern art? Apparently none of us do, because while we were off contemplating Jackson Pollack’s splatter paintings in the Museum of Modern Art, the Central Intelligence Agency was using Pollack and his pals as “weapons” during the Cold War. A new report reveals that the CIA promoted American Abstract Expressionist painting around the world in order to show that American art was more creative than art produced under Communist Russian rule.
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Cornell University might have just earned itself a prominent place in my higher education fantasies, thanks to some lush new lawns they installed … in the library. Two different libraries, to be exact, plus three other locations around campus, were equipped with real patches of grass to help students get a taste of nature and relieve stress while they studied for finals. The project was dreamed up by recent graduate Gilad Meron, who based the idea on Attention Restoration Theory, “which says that direct exposure to nature, viewing nature through windows, and even viewing images of nature are restorative.” Bringing nature inside seemed like an obvious next step, and as an added bonus, it allows students to sit in the grass and read without getting beaned in the head by a dudebrah’s frisbee. Bliss! [Neatorama]
When several packages containing Christmas presents went missing from the doorsteps of a subdivision in Clermont, Florida, some of the residents decided to do something about it. Two neighbors conspired with a hidden camera and some decoy boxes and caught the culprit on camera — an 8-year-old girl. But before you feel sorry for her, you should know that she first denied stealing, then admitted that she’d done it on a dare. I might have been on her team if she was deprived of Christmas presents and that caused her to steal out of desperation, not that it’s the right thing to do. But a dare? She deserves a lump of coal from Santa this year. [UPI]
Kyle Cummings, a three-year-old boy from Queensland, Australia, was delighted to find a pile of eggs in his backyard, so he did what any toddler would do: he scooped them up and stashed them in his closet. Three days later, his mother discovered the not-so-delightful result of her son’s curiosity, when seven eastern brown snakes–the second most venomous snake in the world–came slithering out. Luckily the newborn snakes were not big enough to inflict dangerous bites (the amount of venom in one bite from an adult brown snake is enough to kill 20 people), and a wildlife group was able to capture the snakes and release them back into the wild. In the understatement of the year, Kyle’s mother, Donna Sims describes her reaction to finding a deadly snake nest in her home: ”I was pretty shocked, particularly because I don’t like snakes.” Shudder. [BBC News]