Believing the Bloggers
You shouldn’t believe everything you read on the Internet, but according to a recent study, you probably already know that. Research from University of Texas at Austin’s School of Journalism found that independent online bloggers are the least trusted of all forms of news media. The study surveyed 127 professional baseball teams from all organizational levels and asked the media executives to rank types of media by trust. Trailing local TV, newspapers, and radio, bloggers were the least likely to secure credentials. Twenty-seven percent of independent bloggers who petitioned for press credentials were denied them, in contrast with an eight percent rejection rate for traditional media. Though executives acknowledged the importance of independent sports blogs, they were still less likely to trust and credential them. Blogs associated with established outlets, like ESPN.com, held more trust in the eyes of the media executives. —Kevin Sullivan
Keep in mind this news from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio while catching the last of the summer’s rays: Plant substances found in the skin of red grapes may help protect your skin from cancer. Researchers induced cancer on the skin of mice while applying resveratrol, an antioxidant from the skin of grapes, on their bodies. The mice were also fed a mixture of other plant substances from berries and walnuts. The result? Combined, the natural cocktail of compounds seemed to protect the mice from the effects of skin cancer, even in low doses. Researchers hope these findings will pave the way for newer, more effective supplements and sunscreens for humans. The study’s authors also say that these plant chemicals could be especially helpful for humans at the greatest risk for cancer, including those whose skin is very tanned. Until then, though, normal sunscreen will have to suffice to keep our skin from getting red as a grape’s. —Vi-An Nguyen
Babies Make Everything Better
A warning to all the men looking to work in academia: If you want a large family one day, you’d better switch fields. A study led by Rice University’s Elaine Howard Ecklund found that male scientists regretted their parenthood decisions more than their female counterparts. Ecklund and her team used surveys to try and measure a group of scientists’ perceptions of career, life outside work, and of work and family. The researchers found that while a larger percentage of women in the group felt that they weren’t able to have as many children as they had originally wanted, men in the group that gave the same response experienced a stronger negative impact on their sense of life satisfaction. Ecklund suggests that women who have successfully pursued academic careers simply have different expectations for parenthood, but we think that this just proves men have ticking biological clocks too. —Jasmin Sun
Could wind power be coming to Waco? Researchers at Baylor University are testing whether the city receives enough gusty breezes to power wind turbines. A tower with wind-measuring equipment was built off Highway 6 to gather data and compile a wind profile of the city, said Kenneth Van Treuren, a professor of mechanical engineering who is leading the study. The tower has equipment to record wind speed and direction every hour for a year. With this data, the researchers will determine whether wind power is feasible for Waco. “We are excited to be a part of an innovative project,” said Tom Norris, the executive director for Education Service Center Region 12, the location where the tower was built. “This project also fits perfectly with our initiative to continuously improve our environmental footprint.” —Kelsey Crow
A Beer a Day
It may not feel like it the morning after, but last night’s bender may help you live longer. A study lead by Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin found that mortality rates in heavy drinkers were lower than those in non-drinkers. Researchers followed participants over the course of twenty years. But don’t be mistaken; the study isn’t an endorsement for binge drinking. Moderate drinkers had the lowest mortality rates on the whole. Factors outside of alcohol intake were also considered. Researchers noted that non-drinkers commonly fall within the lower rungs of socio-economic status and are therefore more prone to stress-related illness. Even after removing other variables, researchers found that heavy drinkers still lived longer than non-drinkers. Just remember to drink responsibly. —K.S.