October 6, 2017

Weekend reads: Santa's real! But he's also dead, archeologists say

Daily Briefing

Ben Palmers reads

Meditation could help prevent heart disease. Meditation could help stave off heart disease if practiced alongside proven treatments, such as blood pressure medication and healthy lifestyle choices, according to according the American Heart Association's first guidance on meditation. The guidance, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, said while research on inactive medication—such as Mindful Meditation or Samatha, during which the participant remains seated—has been limited, the practice may have benefits beyond stress reduction. However, the guidance stressed that meditation should not replace or substitute proven methods of heart disease treatment.

The ancient primate who may be responsible for genital herpes. Paranthropus boisei, a primate with a heavy jaw and large teeth, may be the source of genital herpes, according to a report published in Virus Evolution. In the study, a team of virologists and anthropologists determined that while one of the two types of herpes—HSV-1, or oral herpes—has been around for more than 6 million years ago, the other type—HSV-2, or genital herpes—seems to have jumped from apes to human around 1.4 million years ago. Given the time period, the researchers note the viral transmission was likely violent, such as one of our ancestors killing and consuming a Paranthropus boisei.

Rachel Schulze's reads

The truth about Santa. Writing for the Washington Post's "Acts of Faith," Cleve Wood Jr. has some mixed news when it comes to Santa Claus. The "good news," Wood reports is that Santa was real. The "bad news," Wood writes, is that Santa is dead. Archeologists in Turkey have found the tomb of the original St. Nicholas under the church that bears his name near the Mediterranean Sea.

An appetite for American fast food grows in Ghana. Developing economies are experiencing marked growth in fast food, Dionne Searcey and Matt Richtel report in a New York Times piece that profiles the increasing popularity of KFC in Ghana—and what an appetite for fast food could mean for public health. "KFC's presence in Ghana so far is relatively modest but rapidly growing, and it underscores the way fast food can shape palates, habits, and waistlines," Searcey and Richtel write.

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