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September 22, 2017

Weekend reads: Why Johns Hopkins and The Gates Foundation are asking for a new emoji

Daily Briefing

Ben Palmer's readers

We need a new emoji, say Johns Hopkins, Gates Foundation. The Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have petitioned the Unicode Consortium to develop a mosquito emoji, saying the insect emoji could facilitate public health dialogue. According to Marla Shaivitz, a digital communications manager at CCP, a mosquito emoji "would give health professionals a quick way to communicate with the public about the presence of mosquitoes and allow researchers to promote their work around mosquito-borne diseases more easily via social media." The Unicode Consortium, which develops only a select few emojis each year, will pick the winners from a lineup of 67 finalists, including the mosquito, a llama, and a sliced bagel.

Why can't you do a million pushups? Your body will eventually fail you if you tried to do a million pushups, according to Russell Tupling, a kinesiology professor at the University of Waterloo, but it's not because of your muscles' size or strength—it's because of the chemistry of how muscles work. When you're doing pushups, "not only are you not breathing, but your muscles are already contracted strongly enough that they're squeezing the arteries, which are supplying your muscle cells with oxygen," said Tupling. "So it's almost like you're not getting blood flow to the muscles to get them working. And as a result, the energy supply is almost entirely anaerobic during that type of contraction." But that doesn't mean you can't improve, Tupling said. He explained that just a few moments of rest will resupply your muscles with energy, and the more you do on a day-to-day basis—provided adequate rest and recovery—the more you'll be able to do in one go.

Rachel Schulze's reads

Got milk (from peas)? There's a new kind of "milk" at the grocery story, and it might be more at home in the produce section than the dairy cooler. Pea milk, "the newest nondairy beverage on the block," Maura Judkis writes for the Washington Post, is vegan, as well as free of nuts, soy, gluten, and lactose. According to the Post, it contains more calcium and protein than other "alternative milks." So far, Ripple has been the "biggest brand in pea milk," Judkis reports. However, Campbell's Bolthouse Farms is releasing a line this month. It will be available in "original" and "unsweetened" flavors as well as "kid-friendly vanilla and chocolate," which Judkis writes, "taste just like milkshakes."

Find out if your community is one of the nation's most active. A new Gallup and Sharecare report ranks U.S. communities based on how much they exercise, and Boulder, Colorado, comes out on top. The researchers ranked cities based on the share of residents who exercise at least three days a week. Colorado is home to three of 10 communities with the highest rates of regular exercisers, as is California. Meanwhile, Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, North Carolina, ranked at the bottom of the list at No. 189.  

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