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August 18, 2017

Weekend reads: What readers think when they see ':)' in your work emails

Daily Briefing

Ben Palmer's weekend reads

Green tea can help negate the side effects of a Western Diet. A compound in green tea can curb the negative health effects of a Western diet, according to a new study in the FASEB Journal. According to the researchers, a Western or "American" diet consists of foods rich in processed meats, red meats, refined carbohydrates, refined sugars, and saturated fats, and low in fruits, poultry, seafood, whole grains, and vegetables, which can cause weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, and poor brain function. However, the researchers found that when mice fed a high-fat, high-fructose diet also received epigallocatechin gallette—a green tea extract—they were less likely to develop insulin resistance, obesity, or memory impairments when compared with mice on the same diet who did not receive the extract.

The pressure to feel happy could make you feel worse. Pressure to stay happy and upbeat could make you feel more stressed and unhappy—and embracing your negative emotions might actually help you feel better over time, according to a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. For the study, the researchers assessed the link between emotional acceptance and psychological health, and found that people who frequently resisted or critiqued their negative emotions felt more psychologically stressed than those who allowed such emotions to run their course. In fact, the people who embraced their darker emotions reported fewer mood disorder symptoms than those who didn't.

Rachel Schulze's weekend reads

That holiday fruit cake will keep well past New Year's. If you've ever wondered just how long a dense log of fruit cake lasts, a recent discovery by Antarctic conservators suggests it'll be good for over a century—if it's kept in the right conditions. The team recently discovered a 106-year-old fruit cake believed to have been brought to Antarctica on the 1910 Terra Nova expedition of Robert Falcon Scott. The Antarctic Heritage Trust's Programme Manager-Artefacts Lizzie Meek said of the cake, "There was a very, very slight rancid butter smell to it, but other than that, the cake looked and smelled edible!" She added, "There is no doubt that the extreme cold in Antarctica has assisted its preservation."

Cut that ":)" out of your work emails, researchers say. A new study from researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel finds that the inclusion of a ":)" smiley in work email makes the sender seem less competent to the recipient and could reduce the amount of information the recipient puts in the reply. Further, according to study co-author Ella Glikson, a post-doctorate fellow at the BGU Department of Management, smileys—as opposed to actual smiles—"only marginally increased [recipients'] perceptions of [senders'] warmth." Based on the findings, Glikson said to omit the smileys so not to sour a chance at a strong first impression. 

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