We'll take this one with a grain of salt but new research may indicate that eating a diet heavy in carbs might lead to a longer life. British scientists trying to uncover the "elixir of life" found that residents on Japan's Okinawa Islands, where the average life-span is 100 or more, tend to live off a carb-heavy diet. The study says that while Okinawans do eat a diverse diet, they consume an abnormally high ratio of carbohydrates to protein. In fact, research suggests they get the majority of their calories from eating sweet potatoes. Unfortunately, nothing is etched in stone here. Scientists involved in the study think Okinawans' high carb diet might help fight against the aging process, but can't say for sure. Even so, researchers said it's important to keep a balanced diet. So when you head back to the kitchen for a second helping of that sweet potato casserole, make sure you get a spoonful of greens while you're at it. (BBC)
First-Borns Smarter; Second-Borns Trouble Makers!
Studies have consistently shown that first-born children are smarter than their siblings, and now we're learning that second-born children are more likely to cause trouble. A University of Edinburgh study shows first-born children have higher IQs and better thinking skills than their siblings. It's not so much that they're special, rather that they tend to get more mental stimulation than their brothers and sisters. Using data collected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the study examined nearly 5,000 children from pre-birth to age 14 and considered factors such as family background and economic conditions. The first-borns scored higher on tests including reading and picture vocabulary, which according to the researchers, could reflect the "birth order effect." So children born earlier in a family tend to have a better level of education and earn higher wages later in life. Meanwhile, another study is showing that second-born children, especially boys, are more likely to misbehave, sometimes with serious consequences. A report from Dr. Joseph Doyle used data from thousands of sets of brothers in the U.S. and Europe and found second-born children are 25 to 40 percent more likely to get in serious trouble at school and/or with the law. One reason may be that parenting styles can often change due to birth order. While the firstborn has role models who are adults, the second, later-born children have role models who are slightly irrational 2-year-olds - you know, their older siblings! (Country Living)
Estate Sues But HBO Will Still Air MJ Documentary
Michael Jackson's estate doesn't want it to air, but HBO doesn't care. It's the four-hour documentary Leaving Neverland slated to air in two parts, March 3 and 4. The Jackson estate has sued to block it but HBO says, "Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged. This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves." At the core of the issue are two interviews with Wade Robson, 41, and James Safechuck, 37, who have offered graphic descriptions of their claims that they were molested by Michael Jackson when they were boys. The documentary premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival, and the two men, who have received death threats from Jackson fans. Jackson's former maid at Neverland Ranch is scheduled to appear on Australia's 60 Minutes this weekend, the Guardian reports; in promos she claims to have seen Jackson "kissing" and "petting" young boys. (Newser)
Tooth Fairy Apparently Facing Hard Times
Despite the strong economy, many Americans are still struggling financially. That apparently includes the Tooth Fairy. According to Delta Dental Plans Association, one of the nation's biggest dental insurance collectives, last year American kids cashed in at an average of $3.70 per lost tooth last year, down 43 cents from 2017. It's the second straight year the tooth fairy has played Scrooge in the annual survey, which Delta Dental has conducted for 21 years. It's interesting to note that the trend in payouts continues to roughly follow the movement of the S & P 500, as it has done for the last 17 years. Kids made more bank in the West, averaging $4.19 a tooth, compared to $3.91 in the South, $3.75 in the Northeast and $2.97 in the Midwest. All were lower than they were the previous year. Almost half of kids, 48 percent, choose to save their earnings rather than to spend them. Also 30 percent of kids say they go to bed earlier than usual when they're stashing newly detached teeth under their pillows. (NBC News)
It's Real Simple: Drink Whiskey - Live Longer
Grace Jones was born in Liverpool back in 1906, lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression and many other significant moments in 20th century history and beyond. She's still with us at 112-years-old and she says she thinks she knows why. Back in 1956 she picked up a rather intriguing habit for the time. She finished every day with a nightcap of Famous Grouse Single Malt Whiskey. That's 62 years of a hearty whiskey shot before bed and Jones swears by it. In an interview with the Daily Mail she said, "Whiskey is very good for you. I started having a nightly tot of it when I turned 50 so I've been having it every night for the last 60 years and I certainly have no intention of stopping now." She added, "My doctor said, 'keep up with the whiskey Grace, it's good for your heart'." In fact, moderate whiskey consumption has been linked with a variety of health benefits including weight loss, lower risk of dementia and reduced risk of stroke. A study from the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen found whiskey also helped protect against coronary heart disease by raising antioxidant levels in the body. (IrishPost.com)
When Idiots Use Snapchat
Police in Michigan say a woman and her boyfriend were deployed with the U.S. Army in South Korea when they conspired via Snapchat to kill her husband so she could claim the life insurance money. They were somehow under the impression that communicating through Snapchat was untraceable. Kemia Hassel, 22, and Jeremy Cuellar, 24, have both pleaded not guilty in the Dec. 31 killing of U.S. Army Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III. Cuellar was also charged with a felony firearms count. Authorities say the 23-year-old Hassel was ambushed while visiting his family in St. Joseph Township. He died of multiple gunshot wounds. All three were soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia. Kemia Hassel told police in a signed statement that she spent months planning how to kill her husband so she could continue her romantic relationship with Cuellar. Kemia and Tyrone Hassel married in 2016 and had a 1-year-old son. She told police she was unhappy with her marriage, but didn't want to go through a divorce because she then wouldn't be able to receive any life insurance money. Hassel and Cuellar began plotting while they were deployed in South Korea last year, communicating through Snapchat because they believed the social media app's temporary messages would make it difficult for police to trace. Their trial starts April 30. (NBC News)
What the What?
Meanwhile in the Philippines, 55-year-old Angelito Oreta and his followers are in trouble after claiming to plunder freshly-dug graves to steal the kneecaps of bodies using scalpels. Afterwards, Oreta soaks the bones in coconut oil for several days to remove the skin, all while offering "prayers and devotion" to the spirits of their previous owners. Followers apparently believe that the blessed knee caps act like "guardian angels" giving them protection from thieves and attackers in the country's drug-war ravaged slums. Oreta - who admits that the practice is illegal - said, ''They are the knee caps of the deceased. We get them from the public cemeteries, of course." Police have started an investigation. (Metro)