crisis

In American Beauty (1999), Kevin Spacey stars as a depressed middle-aged man who suffers a midlife crisis after falling in love with his daughter’s best friend. This movie helped popularize many of the iconic images we now associate with the midlife crisis – buying a flashy car, vanity and trying to be relevant again.

It is believed that the midlife crisis is brought about when one starts to examine one’s life circumstances. Their health, career and relationships. How satisfied are they with their current condition and how to improve or rework them. And it seems that even apes experience midlife crisis.

The midlife crisis is usually triggered by a period of stress or depression. And women  might be more susceptible to it due to life experiences which are unique to women such as pregnancy and menopause.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, most life experiences attributed to depression are unique to women, such as post-partum changes, infertility, and hormonal fluctuation. Evidence has shown that people suffering from depression have different brain chemistry which is altered by hormones that control emotions and mood. These hormones are particularly heightened during certain times in a women’s life, including postpartum period and menopause.

In addition, it seems that most people experience a lull in their 40s-50s. When scholars started studying the “science” of happiness, they noticed a recurrent pattern that is now known as the U-curve:

“Whatever sets of data you looked at,” Blanchflower told me in a recent interview, “you got the same things”: life satisfaction would decline with age for the first couple of decades of adulthood, bottom out somewhere in the 40s or early 50s, and then, until the very last years, increase with age, often (though not always) reaching a higher level than in young adulthood. The pattern came to be known as the happiness U-curve.

However, although most people seem to experience this nadir in their lives, how badly their happiness dips is dependent on a slew of other factors besides age such as income, marital status, employment. For example, it appears that people in wealthier countries tend to be more dis-satisfied and experience a greater deal of “unhappiness”.

And then there’s the quarter life crisis. But I’ll save that for another post.

Why does one arm pit stink worst than the other?

I’ve been wondering about this for a while and decided to research it.

TL:DR

  • Asymmetrical sweat glands distribution
  • Arm pits have different sets of microbes
  • The side which is more active is usually less stinky

Asymmetrical sweat glands distribution

One arm pit will usually have more sweat glands than the other and this will lead to you sweat more on one side. Although sweat itself has no smell, it reacts with the bacteria under your arm and produces an odor. Since one side is sweatier than the other, the stink will be more noticeable on that pit.

But — here’s a real shocker — sweat and other secretions don’t actually smell. Sweat, sebaceous, and apocrine glands secrete volatile organic compounds, and odors arise when these “VOCs” interact with bacteria on the skin, in hair follicles, and in the mouth.

Arm pits have different sets of microbes

What are microbes?

Microbe is a term for tiny creatures that individually are too small to be seen with the unaided eye. Microbes include bacteria (back-tear-ee-uh), archaea (are-key-uh), fungi (fun-jeye) and protists (pro-tists).

YourWildLife.org actually did a informal study to find out how does one’s lifestyle affect their armpits’ microbiome.

The picture below is a comparison between one of the participant’s left and right pits

http://yourwildlife.org/2012/08/not-all-pits-are-equal/

It indicates that there is more microbes in the left pit. Since odor is produced only when sweat interacts with the microbes, having a different set of microbes (eg. different types of bacteria or amount) will give each of your pit an unique bouquet.

The side which is more active is usually less stinky

This is a personal theory of mine. When I had surgery on my right shoulder and had it in a sling for about a month, my right pit produced some serious funk. I think that the more active your arms are, the more the pits are able to “breathe” or air themselves out, thus helping to mitigate some of the stink.

Playboy And The Crooked Man

In August 1955 Playboy published “The Crooked Man”,  a short story by Charles Beaumont.

“The Crooked Man” was written by Charles Beaumont (1929-1967) a horror and science fiction writer who wrote short stories and screenplays. His work includes The Intruder and 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. Many of his scripts were produced on The Twilight Zone. Beaumont died at 38 of what is now known as Alzheimer’s disease.

The story is about what’s it like to be a straight person in a society where being homosexual was the norm. It’s a really interesting read and surprisingly relevant even today.

Jesse sipped at the whiskey, remembering the Hunts. How the frenzied mobs had gone through the city at first, chanting, yelling, bearing placards with slogans: WIPE OUT THE HETEROS! KILL THE QUEERS! MAKE OUR CITY CLEAN AGAIN! And how they’d lost interest finally after the passion had worn down and the novelty had ended. But they had killed many and they had sent many more to the hospitals

He remembered the nights of running and hiding, choked dry breath glued to his throat, heart rattling loose. He had been lucky. He didn’t look like a hetero. They said you could tell one just by watching him walk–Jesse walked correctly. He fooled them. He was lucky.

And he was a criminal. He, Jess Four Martin, no different from the rest, tubeborn and machine-nursed, raised in the Character Schools like everyone else–was terribly different from the rest.

Read more here. It may not suitable for young readers.

Salad Youtiao 沙拉油条

You Tiao (油条) is a fried cruller that is usually ate for breakfast. It is usually accompanied by porridge, soya milk, Bak Kut Teh or Tau Suan.

Youtiao

I’m sure many people have tried the basic youtiao, but I doubt they have not tasted the Salad Youtiao. This is an underrated Singapore dish, often overlooked by guide books and foodies.

Salad Youtiao - Source: http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/

It is a simple dish. Basically crispy youtiao stuffed with shrimp or fish paste and served with lashings of mayonnaise. These golden brown pieces of greasy goodness may not look impressive, but I assure you they are a definite must-order at any zi-car place!

The Curious Case of Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey is produced by Western honey bees feeding on the nectar of Manuka bushes that can only be found in New Zealand and Australia.

western honey bee
Manuka honey is coveted for its anitbacterial properties discovered by Peter Molan.

Then Molan discovered there was something special about manuka honey. It appears to have antibacterial properties, unlike other honeys in the world, and some studies suggested it could heal wounds and help boost the immune system. (Specifically, the antibacterial property found in other honeys comes from hydrogen peroxide, which is broken down quickly in the body, whereas the non-peroxide form found in manuka honey isn’t.)

The manuka honey industry is highly lucrative. In New Zealand alone, manuka honey exports are worth NZ$315 million (~USD230million). The intense interest has led to a “manuka crime wave”, as warring beekeepers resort to beehive heists and massacres to edge out the competition.

The biggest consumers are the UK and China. 1,800 tonnes a year of the honey are now consumed in the UK each year, with prices ranging from £40 to £50 for 500g. China imports 1,500 tonnes a year and it sells for up to 1,789RMB ($279) for a 500g jar.

In total, 10,000 tonnes of manuka honey are sold worldwide, whereas only 2-3000 tonnes are produced each year. The New Zealand government has implemented measures to safeguard the authenticity of their prized export. However these tests seem to be ineffective in reducing the volume of fake manuka honey in circulation and major honey producers have called for a revision of these standards.

There is no single standard for manuka honey, instead there are various grading systems being used by different brands and countries which leads to much consumer confusion.

So how do you tell if your manuka honey is the real stuff?
I honestly don’t know.

Next time you’re at St. John’s or the Sisters’ Islands, check out the plants — News from Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

The following is a guest post by Dr. Chong Kwek Yan, on a recent series of papers in Nature in Singapore that arose from the work of a student that he supervised. Kwek Yan received the NUS Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2015 and has since been based at the Centre for Excellence for Environmental Decisions, […]

via Next time you’re at St. John’s or the Sisters’ Islands, check out the plants — News from Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum