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Cap’n Crunch & Taco Bell Teaming Up

You might just want to check these out. Or, on second thought, if you’re trying to watch your waist, you may not want these at all. Taco Bell and Cap’n Crunch have actually teamed up to create donut holes that are filled with….milk icing. They just announced this new invention on Friday and have started selling Cap’n Crunch Delights in Bakersfield, California this week.

The dessert is made from deep-friend Cap’n Crunch Berries that are sprinkled with cereal crumbs.

If they find success in Bakersfield, they plan to roll out the food nationwide at two for $1 or a dozen for $4.99.

Now that’s some healthy snack food for you!

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Pedius Helps the Deaf to Communicate

The deaf community may now be able to function with even more ease with the Pedius app. This app allows the user to type a message on the screen. It is then translated into speech in real time so the recipient can then hear the request or message. Their spoken response is then translated back into text for the deaf person.

Developed by Italian entrepreneur Lorenzo Di Ciaccio, this app can really help those who need to communicate but can’t express their needs.
One of the great features of the app is that Pedius doesn’t require both of the users to have specific hardware. Pedius shows alternatives in case the voice transcription isn’t accurate. The user can also ask the recipient to repeat themselves with the “R” button.

The app is free but it costs money to place the calls. Pedius launched in Italy in 2013 and is available in the UK, US and France. They hope to expand into Europe later this year.

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GULP Campaign in England Spotlighting Harm of Sugar Drinks


A new campaign called GULP – Give Up Loving Pop – has been created by the Health Equalities Group in England. GULP highlights the link between the drinks and tooth decay and also type 2 diabetes.

Some experts have labelled sugar as the “new tobacco” and they say that it is fueling the obesity that is taking over England and many other places. Recent research by the University of Liverpool has claimed that adding a tax to these drinks could save children from diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Campaigners say that drinking only one can of a sugary drink each day increases the risk of dying from heart disease by 33%.

Soft drinks are apparently the leading source of sugar for children ages 4-10 and for teenagers.

As the Director of the GULP campaign said, “Few people fully realize the harm that sugary drinks can do to your health. As well as damaging your teeth, overconsumption of these drinks can lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and poor heart health.”

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Enjoy a Digital Detox Vacation


Most of us couldn’t imagine a vacation without taking our electronics along for the ride. Even if we are taking time off, we still need to be connected with our smartphones, our tablets and our PCs.

However, some hotels have started a digital detox package which offers people a real chance to get away. This website actually showcases the places around the world where you won’t find Wi-Fi or phone reception and they have reported a five fold increase in their customers in the last six months. The locations they offer include everything from remote beach huts and mountain lodges to large hotel packages. They are located in the US, the Caribbean, England and beyond.

Check out their website. We are guessing that most couples have one person who is obsessed with his social media and electronics, and another who is desperate to get away. And the second one will be doing the bookings here.

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Valentine’s Day Projects

Even if you can’t afford to buy the world for your loved ones, you can make something special for Valentine’s Day. Here are some great ideas for projects you can do on your own.  Enjoy!



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Baby Talk…Is It Good for the Kid Or Not?

baby-17327_640Is baby talk hurting your child? Is it helping him? These are the questions that researchers from the Laboratory for Language Development at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Tokyo asked recently. And their results are quite surprising. Moms may actually speak less clearly to their infants when they use baby talk.

The researchers looked at 22 Japanese moms talking to their children who were aged 18-24 months. Then spent five years annotating these 14 hours of speech that they captured. As the researchers said, “To our knowledge, this is one of the most finely annotated large corpora of child-directed speech in the world.” They went on to look at acoustic similarities between two syllables like “pa” and “ba.”

They found that the moms spoke slightly less clearly when they were talking to their child than they did to an experimenter. As Alejandrina Cristia, a researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, said, “This finding is important because it challenges the widespread view that parents do and should hyperarticulate, using very robust data and an analysis based on a study of 10 times as many syllable contrasts as previous work.”

As researcher Andrew Martin, a member of the Tokyo team, said “Our results suggest that, at least for learning sound contrasts, the secret to infants’ language-learning genius may be in the infants themselves — the fact that they are able pick up sounds from input that is less clear than that used by adults with each other makes this accomplishment all the more remarkable.”

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If You Think You’re Fat…It Just Might Become True

scale-403585_640A new study sheds some fascinating light on body image and what it can do to your actual body. Study authors Angelina Sutin, a psychological scientist at Florida State University, and Antonio Terracciano found that teenager show perceive themselves as overweight are actually more likely to become obese as adults. Certainly, skewed body image is understood to be a warning sign of anorexia and bulimia. But researchers now think that it could also be tied to obesity.

Those who falsely feel that they are overweight may be more likely to eat in unhealthy ways and to use unhealthy weight-control behaviors like using diet pills and bulimia.

Interestingly, boys were more at risk than were girls in the study. Boys had an 89% increased risk of later obesity when they perceived themselves to be overweight as teenagers. As Sutin explained, “Our research shows that psychological factors are important in the development of obesity. Misperception is typically taken as a sign of an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, but our research shows that it may also signal a long-term risk of obesity.”

They used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. With this material, they were able to look at the height, weight and body image thoughts of more than 6500 young people when they were 16 and then 28. When compared to those who had an accurate view of their weight, young people with misperceptions had a 40% greater risk of becoming obese adults.

As the researchers explained, “Adolescents who misperceive themselves as being overweight may not take the steps necessary to maintain a healthy weight….[as] they gain weight, they physically become what they have long perceived themselves to be.”

They do not yet have an answer as to why this is more evident in boys than it is in girls.

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Is Your Gum Keeping Your Mouth Clean?

chewing-gum-115162_640Some people find it distasteful to be around gum chompers…but that gum that they are chewing just might help them with their teeth. A study which appeared in the journal Plos One, and led by researchers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, has found that gum can be effective in getting rid of bacteria in the mouth.

They discovered that the first thirty seconds of chewing were the most effective and that the gum worked only if it was sugar free. They used two types of un-named spearmint gum for their study. They gave it to the participants and asked them to chew their gum for ten minutes. They found that about 100 million bacteria were detected on just one piece of the chewed gum. Chewing one piece of gum can remove as much as 10% of the oral microbial load in saliva.

They did note, however, that “Continued chewing changes the structure of the gums, decreasing the hardness of the gum due to uptake of salivary components and release of water soluble components. This presumably affects the adhesion of bacteria to the gum, causing a release of initially trapped, more weakly adhering bacteria from the gum. Such a change in composition of trapped bacteria is supported by the observation that the diversity of species trapped in chewed gum increases with chewing time.”

Their research could be used for companies that want to develop gum that can selectively remove specific disease-related bacteria.


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