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You definitely shouldn’t eat romaine lettuce for a while, unless you want E. coli

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We’re still in the very earliest days of January which means lots of folks are currently rocking New Year’s resolutions to avoid junk food and eat lots of lovely fruits and veggies. If you’re one of those people (and even if you’re not, really) you should probably go ahead and avoid romaine lettuce for at least a little while. Citing a recent E. coli outbreak that has struck at least 13 states as well as Canada, Consumer Reports is advising everyone to get their fix of greens elsewhere.

“Over the past seven weeks, 58 people in the U.S. and Canada have become ill from a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria, likely from eating romaine lettuce,” the group says. “Five people in the U.S. have been hospitalized and one has died.”

The CDC has been keeping a close eye on E. coli outbreak and says this particular strain can result in some extremely severe symptoms as well as kidney failure and death. Consumer Reports notes that while they can’t be certain that romaine lettuce is the cause, it seems to be the one link between all known cases of E. coli thus far. Children and the elderly are more vulnerable to the bacteria’s destructive potential, but everyone is at risk.

Thus far, health officials in the United States and Canada have avoided releasing information on where the potentially contaminated lettuce came from. With several documented cases and multiple deaths already resulting from the E. coli spread, you can be sure that food safety experts are attempting to nail down the companies that are producing and selling the dangerous veggies, and more specific information is likely to follow in the coming days.

For now, without any actionable information on what brands to avoid, the best advice is just to avoid all store-bought romaine lettuce, including salad mixes and bagged lettuce, regardless of the brand or what state you live in.

“Do not buy romaine lettuce and don’t use any that you may have in your refrigerator until there is more information on the source of contamination,” Consumer Reports warns. “Consumers should also check salad blends and mixes, and avoid those that contain romaine.”

Fashion and music obsessed wanderlust. Resale clothing appreciator who fancies herself a well-crafted cocktail. Occasional photographer. Amateur sneaker head.

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The world continues to troll IHOP for changing its name to IHOb

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After announcing its new IHOb name recently, IHOP has now suffered the repercussions for the name change. The addition of the ‘b’ — which represents the chain’s new offering of burgers — has been met with jokes from other fast food outlets, including Wendy’s, Waffle House and Burger King.

Wendy’s response to the news saw the chain tweet: “Remember when you were like 7 and thought changing your name to Thunder BearSword would be super cool?” before adding “our cheeseburgers are still better.”

Waffle House and Burger King both went for more subtle disses, as Waffle House tweeted a very fitting Bruce Lee quote and Burger King changed its name and logo to ‘Pancake King.’ Take a look at some of the responses below.

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Researcher discovers new shrimp species with furry feet, names it after Bilbo Baggins

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You really have to respect scientists when it comes to the incredible amount of effort it must take to discover, identify, and categorize and entirely new species. I mean, finding a species that is new to science can’t be easy to begin with, but then going through every step to ensure it has never been documented before, and then penning your own detailed description of it for the record is more work than most people realize. That said, the payoff is pretty sweet, especially when you get to have a little fun in coming up with a name.

A student at the Netherlands’ Leiden University named Werner de Gier recently did just that, discovering a pair of new shrimp species during a research project for his bachelor’s degree. One of the species was unique in that it had hairy feet, and not one to let such an opportunity slip by, de Gier and his supervisor, Dr. Charles H. J. M. Fransen, decided to honor one very special hobbit.

The shrimp’s official scientific name is Odontonia Bagginsi, which as you might have guessed is a nod to one Bilbo Baggins. Now, I don’t want to dive too deep into Tolkien lore here, but it’s well known that hobbits have hairy feet, so really the Baggins name could apply to either Bilbo or Frodo… or perhaps others in the Baggins lineage that escape my memory. Nevertheless, the researchers are quite adamant that Bilbo is the one getting honored here and who am I to argue?

Both of the new species of shrimp were originally collected way back in 2009 during an expedition to Tidore and Ternate, a pair of islands in Indonesia. In the time since being scooped up, the shrimp have been studied carefully to determine their novelty, and the researchers had to closely compare all of the creatures’ various body parts to make sure that it was indeed a new entry to the shrimp family tree. The work was published in ZooKeys.

“Being able to describe, draw and even name two new species in my bachelor years was a huge honour,” de Gier said. “Hopefully, we can show the world that there are many new species just waiting to be discovered, if you simply look close enough!”

Bilbo would be proud.

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Scientists just invented an edible pill that can tell you when you’re about to fart

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Farts are a natural, healthy byproduct of your digestive system, and everyone has them from time to time, but as funny as flatulence is, how, when and why gas forms in you can reveal a lot about your body’s inner workings. Now, researchers from RMIT University and Monash University have published a new paper revealing the invention of an electronic fart tracker that you can swallow like a pill. Isn’t the future great?

The scientists developed the pill — which was created as a more versatile and comfortable alternative to sticking a tube where the sun don’t shine — to be able to detect and track the production of gasses in a human digestive tract. The idea being that if science can pinpoint where and why gas is forming it could paint a more detailed picture of how our organs process foods, and even detect issues with certain diets. The research was published in Nature Electronics.

After first testing prototypes of their gas-detecting pills in pigs (whose digestive system is a lot like that of a human), the researchers pushed on with a pilot program using human volunteers. The pill itself about the size of a large fish oil capsule or vitamin, and contains a wireless transmitter, antennas, batteries, and a gas sensor that detects whatever gasses pass through the membrane casing.

For their tests, the scientists asked volunteers to swallow the pill while maintaining a specific diet that varied from test to test. High fiber prompted a spike in oxygen levels in the colon and abdominal pain in the volunteer, and followup testing of the subject’s feces revealed bacteria that have been previously linked to unhealthy digestion. By contrast, an extremely low-fiber diet resulted in the pill remaining in the subject’s body for over three full days (compared to 23 hours in the high-fiber test) and the gas levels were starkly different.

The research is still ongoing, but the team has already set up a company in the hopes of commercializing the invention. Modern medicine already leans so heavily on technology that it’s not hard to imagine tiny swallowable gadgets becoming commonplace, but that may still be many years out.

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