Turns out, Beyonce was on to something when she declared ‘if you like it, then you should’ve put a ring on it,’ in one of her most popular songs, “Single Ladies.”
It’s true – in places where there are less women than men, men are rushing to do just that: where there are less single ladies, men are more likely to ‘put a ring on it’ when women are younger.
Operational Sex Ratio
Daniel Kruger, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, calculated the Operational Sex Ratio of the 50 biggest metropolitan areas in the United States, to figure out where ladies were represented the least.
The Operational Sex Ratio is the availability of single men to single women in a given area. A ratio of 100 in any given city would mean an equal sex ratio, while anything over 100 indicates an excess of men, and a ratio below 100 indicates an excess of women.
For example, this means if the ratio of a given city is 116, there are 16 available men to every 10 women. Score!
Kruger found that in areas with an abundance of men, women tended to get married at a younger age.
Hopefully, you’ve read previous articles we’ve written about the brain and competition! The brain tends to jump into action when a potential mate is around, and the competition gene kicks into action when someone is honing in on your territory!
This situation is no different. Men realize that because there are fewer women available in their area, they need to find an acceptable mate and cement the relationship with a ring, as soon as possible.
The Journal of Evolutionary Psychology lists the top 5 places with an abundance of men, and the top 5 with an excess of women, and we’ve reprinted them here, so don’t say we never did anything nice for you.
Top Five Areas Woman Are Scarce (and an excess of men):
(OSR:Opposite Sex Ratio; Avg. Age:Average Age Women Get Married)
1. Las Vegas, NV (OSR: 116, Avg. Age: 24.5)
2. San Diego, CA (OSR: 115, Avg. Age: 25.9)
3. Salt Lake City, UT (OSR: 113, Avg. Age: 23.2)
4. Austin, TX (OSR: 112, Avg. Age: 26.2)
5. Phoenix, AZ (OSR: 111, Avg. Age: 25)
Top Five Areas Men Are Scarce (and an excess of women):
(OSR:Opposite Sex Ratio; Avg. Age:Average Age Women Get Married)
1. Birmingham, AL (OSR: 88, Avg. Age: 26.7)
2. Memphis, TN (OSR: 88, Avg. Age: 27.2)
3. New Orleans, LA (OSR: 89, Avg. Age: 27.8)
4. Richmond, VA (OSR: 89, Avg. Age: 26.3)
5. Tie: New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC (OSR: 92, Avg. Age: 28.3, 27.9, and 27.8 respectively).
Source: Kruger, Daniel J. “Female Scarcity Reduces Women’s Marital Ages and Increases Variance in Men’s Marital Ages.” Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 2010. Volume 8, Number 3: 420-431.
As part of my commitment to staying current on the research, I have stumbled upon two pretty important pieces of research that may surprise you. So let’s get to it.
1. As Long as You Don’t Add Sugar, You can Drink Alcohol and Still Lose Weight…
A popular myth is that you can drink clear alcohol and as long as you count the calories in the alcohol (7 calories per gram) you will be fine. Because carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per gram, and fat contains 9 calories per gram – the reasoning is that 7 calories in alcohol are simply calories and nothing more.
Well, according to research carried in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, alcohol puts the brakes on fat metabolism (your body’s ability to burn fat as energy) in more ways than one. In the study, eight people were given two vodka drinks separated by 30 minutes.
Fat metabolism was checked both before and after each drink. It turns out that even hours after drinking both drinks, fat metabolism dropped by an incredible 73%. What is happening?
When you drink alcohol, your liver converts it into a substance called acetate. (The acetate levels in the subject’s bodies were 2.5 times higher than normal). And it is the acetates in your body that make losing blubber almost impossible.
Your body prefers burning acetate to all other sources of fuel (fat being one of them), and basically shuts down its normal process of burning off any other source of energy.
In other research, alcohol has been shown to increase appetite. When you combine alcohol with meals, studies have shown you tend to eat more. And since the alcohol is going to serve as your body’s primary source of fuel, all the calories go directly to your waistline.
And finally, alcohol increases your cortisol levels and decreases your testosterone levels for about 24 hours after you imbibe. And this definitely is not good for trimming down or adding muscle!
2. Healthy Additions Are Slimming…
According to some new research from the Kellogg School Management at Northwestern University, a core contributing factor to obesity is our belief about the relationship between a meal’s healthiness and its impact on weight gain.
People mistakenly believe that eating healthy foods in addition to unhealthy ones can decrease a meal’s calorie count.
In the study, 934 people were asked to estimate the calorie count of several meals. Some were shown “unhealthy” meals, and others were shown the same meals with a healthy option.
An example is that some people were shown a bowl of chili alone – and others were shown the same bowl of chili with a small green salad. Other food pairs included: a cheeseburger with celery sticks, a cheese waffle sandwich with a small apple, and a meatball pepperoni cheese steak with a celery-carrot side dish.
The results were pretty scary. Those who viewed the chili alone thought it contained 699 calories. Those who saw the same bowl with a green salad thought it only had 656 calories!!!
So, by “adding” healthier food, people thought the calorie count went down.
Researchers call this, “The Negative Calorie Illusion,” and it applied in all four food pairings. Even worse is that this illusion was TWICE as strong in people who are considered “weight-conscious.”
So now you know: if you are counting calories you have to stick to the numbers. Healthy additions will bias the estimated damage of your meals.
Knowledge is Power
I hope this information has been helpful. There are plenty more weight loss myths out there! If you know of any, please put them in the comments section below. I am going to compile a big list and share them later.
Also, please join our Facebook fan page and start commenting there as well. We are developing quite a community.
Interested, aren’t you? Us, too. Anything to help get a better night’s sleep!
There is a bit of technical information here, so give us a chance to explain – and let us know if you have any unanswered questions – we always do!
Every human being’s internal clock (also known as the sleep-wake cycle) is controlled by a group of genes called clock genes.
These genes vary their activity throughout the day. They can form an ‘established’ pattern if you have a strict and consistent sleep-wake schedule, (does anyone really have this?) which drives our circadian rhythms (the 24-hour cycle).
The first clock genes were not identified until 1997, and since then, researchers have been looking for reliable ways to isolate and study the clock genes, in order to better understand the sleep-wake cycle of the human being. (This was also tested in mice.)
Why Are Clock Genes Important?
Disruption of the natural circadian rhythm can cause a bunch of health problems, including permanent jet lag, insomnia issues, and increased risk of heart diseases and stroke.
To be able to analyze the clock gene would be able to accurately treat and even prevent some of these sleep-related disorders and issues.
Initially two methods had been developed to try to isolate the clock genes, but both have proven to be unreliable, so researchers have been looking for a new method.[i]
Check Your Hairbrush
In very recent news, scientists have finally found a reliable way to isolate the clock gene, using human hair.
Apparently, if you tweeze or pluck a human hair from the scalp, the hair follicle cells that stay attached to the root are excellent samples of RNA:
“Total RNA purified from scalp hair follicle cells exhibits clearly distinguishable peaks correlating the 18S- and 28S-rRNA signals, suggesting these cells are suitable for isolation of high-quality total RNA.”(1)
Upon closer examination, the researchers isolated three clock genes that were easily readable within the hair follicle cells.
The three eligible genes are the PER3, NR1D1, and NR1D2, the only three of seven total[ii] clock genes that were found to have reliable enough markers to chart the human sleep cycle.
Only these three “met the criteria for rhythm markers of the circadian clock.”(2)
First Experiment – To Establish The Control
To make sure the hair follicle test would prove to be accurate time and time again, researchers performed a control experiment to test their initial hypothesis and ideas.
The idea was to establish a basic circadian rhythm that could be found successful in hair, with tests that could be successfully repeated.
To do this, four healthy individuals were put on a very strict eating, sleeping, and waking schedule, which acted as the “period of maintenance” to establish a set circadian pattern that would be seen in the hair, and then the testing began.
The individuals were monitored for three weeks, with hair samples being taken every four hours.[iii]
On average, it took only 10 hairs from each person to get a great sample of clock genes with accurate and consistent results. For people with thin hair, 20 strands were taken, while only 5 were taken from people with thick hair.
This is cool, too – beard hair (from men…) was also sampled, and it took only about 3 hairs to get accurate results from the facial hair cells.
In all the hair follicles of all four individuals, the circadian levels fluctuated as expected with the sleeping, eating, and waking schedule set by the researchers.
This proved that the hair follicle’s cells, with the three isolated clock genes, were a reliable way to monitor the “human peripheral circadian clock.”(3)
Over another three weeks, the scientists forced a shift in the four individual’s schedules, advancing their schedules by 4 hours over the course of three weeks.
Though the schedules had been advanced by 4 full hours, hair samples taken at the end of the three weeks revealed only a change in the cells by 2.1 hours on average.
This proves two things. First, it reiterates that hair follicle cells provide good examples of the sleep-wake cycle, and it also shows that three weeks was not enough time for the body to ‘catch-up’ and adjust to the new schedule.
The body’s internal clock simply did not match the new schedule. This puts the individual at increased risk for circadian rhythm-related disorders, like insomnia, stroke, and some heart conditions.
A second experiment was conducted as well. A group of six individuals with a schedule of rotating shifts were followed – the people worked one week from 6am-3pm, and the next week from 3pm-12am, rotating back and forth.
This group was followed for a full three weeks as well, and the researchers determined that these people stayed in a perpetual state of jet lag.
According to their clock genes, the worker’s bodies never ‘caught up’ with their new schedules. Risk of on the job errors, insomnia issues, heart and stroke issues rises considerably with this group, according to the experiments.
As with most of our articles, the conclusion here is not the results we have found so far, but the new avenues of research that can now be conducted.
It would be really interesting to follow a group of individuals until the body did ‘catch up’ with the forced shift schedule, with the evidence of the sleep-wake cycle captured by the hair test.
I wonder how long it would take the body to catch up to the 4 hour shift mentioned above – the experiment only went on for three weeks.
It will also be cool to see how scientists end up applying this new information, and what ills it can help to cure or prevent. Since this is brand new information, the possibilities are endless.
[i] The other methods tried were isolating the genes from white blood cells and mouth cells. Collecting white blood cells was invasive, costly, and the time delay from collecting to processing the cells made their readings inaccurate. Collecting tissue from the mouth to harvest RNA there has also proved unreliable because the researchers claim the samples are often fragmented, incomplete, and do not give accurate readings either. A new method was necessary to continue the research.
[ii] The others, PER2, Dbr, Bmal1, and Npas2, are not usable because they do not contain enough circadian properties to help detect nuances in the human sleep-cycle analysis.
[iii] Behavioral rhythms were monitored using a device called the Actiwatch, which measured circadian rhythms.
Source: Akshi, Makoto, et al. “Noninvasive Method for Assessing the Human Circadian Clock Using Hair Follicle Cells.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. August 24, 2010.
How to Protect Yourself Online From Cameron Diaz
Recall a couple weeks ago, when we told you how most Americans spent their time online?
Well, in case your “other” time consists of googling your favorite celebrities, make sure you read this entire article.
It’s almost a Public Service Announcement really.
Thanks For The Heads Up, McAfee
Every year, McAfee, one of the internet’s most popular anti-virus programs, posts a list of ‘dangerous celebrities.’
In case you haven’t heard of this before, we do not mean Paris Hilton’s rap sheet, (Three drug related charges in one month? Impressive!) we mean those whose search results are laced with malware and viruses that can damage your computer.
This year, the most dangerous celeb to search for is…Cameron Diaz. Unlike usual articles, where we link you off to a site with more information, this time we will refrain!
Searches for her have increased because of her debatably successful movies released this year, like Knight and Day. Vicious scammers hide the content in links, especially now in social media-friendly shortened links.
If you search for ‘Cameron Diaz’ there is a 10% chance you may click on a malicious link, and if you search ‘Cameron Diaz downloads,’ in the hopes of a sexy downloadable screensaver, you have a 20% chance of clicking into a dangerous site.
Last year’s winner, Jessica Biel, known more for dating Justin Timberlake and being attractive than any acting roles, received the number three spot this year, with an overall 9% chance of landing on a site with virus laden downloads.
Julia Roberts took the second spot, with a 9% risk of searching for her. Searching for Julia Roberts Downloads, however, has a 20% of a dangerous site. Eat, Pray, update your virus software?
Here is a complete list of the top ten most dangerous celebs, FYI. We figure that we mention celebs enough here to add this list for you all. Thanks, McAfee.
2010 Top 10 Dangerous Celebs to Search For On The Web
1. Cameron Diaz
2. Julia Roberts
3. Jessica Biel
4. Gisele Bundchen
5. Brad Pitt
6. Adriana Lima
7. Jennifer Love Hewitt, Nicole Kidman
8. Tom Cruise
9. Heidi Klum, Penelope Cruz
10. Anna Paquin
If you need to know who some of these people are, use a reputable site, and don’t download anything!