Go to your favorite Mexican restaurant and this myth is sure to come up. You dip your chip in the salsa, but the tortilla chip is too big to get that yummy dip all over it. So you take a bite. Not wanting to waste the rest of your chip, you take another dip into the salsa. “Hey, no double dipping!” a family member says. “It’s ok, the germs won’t spread if I stay on this side of the bowl. No harm done. Besides, we’re family,” you say. But is it true? Is it ok to double dip chips?
The double dip has always been in question. Heck, they even had an episode about it on Seinfeld. But no one had really taken the time to look at the science. Not until 2008…
Dr. Paul Dawson, food microbiologist and professor at Clemson University, published a study in the Journal of Food Science which found biting before dipping (that’s double dipping) is not as harmless as it may seem. He found that, on average, three to six double dips transfers around 10,000 bacteria from mouth to dip. Yikes! Furthermore, salsa picked up the most germs from double dipping in comparison to cheese dip and chocolate syrup. Dr. Dawson recommends that people approach double dipping just like hand washing. Do yourself (and others a favor): wash those hands and don’t double dip.
Double dip myth…busted!
As many of you already know, Playnormous is a project that takes our experience making health games and media-based research projects and uses that experience to bring you fun games designed to inspire better health. One of our major learning experiences was creating two large multi-million dollar NIH-funded videogames for health, Escape from Diab and Nanoswarm: Invasion From Inner Space.
Today the novel Nanoswarm: Invasion From Inner Space was published, a work based on our experience-building game of the same name. Nanoswarm is a first person sci-fi adventure in healthy eating and exercise. The game is designed to change nutrition and physical activity behaviors in children for the prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The book is co-authored by none other than Playnormous VP Richard Buday!
Archimage, developers of Nanoswarm: Invasion From Inner Space, decided to release the book for publication so the story can be enjoyed while the public awaits the clinical trial results from researchers at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Data is scheduled to be released by the end of 2009. As far as we know, this is the first book ever published that accompanies a game for health.
The book was originally written to help the developers fully understand the backstory and characters appearing in the game. It turned out to be such a good story that co-author Richard Buday felt it shouldn’t gather electronic dust on some hard drive. It needed to be in print.
The book sells for $12.95 and will soon include an educational workbook. Here’s what to expect from the novel:
“Life in the year 2030 was almost perfect. War, crime and hunger were history. Microscopic robots had eradicated pollution. Scientists were on the verge of curing disease. Then, one day, people all over the world started getting sick. And no one knew why. That’s when you, a 12-year-old Trainee Second Class, joined the world’s leading research team. Wings, this is your story. How will you choose?”
Additional details can be read on our companion blog, healthGAMERS.
As you know, we are hard at work getting ready for the fall 2009/2010 school year with our Monster iMac Giveaway for public and private school teachers and librarians. I am in the process of designing one myself (with a little help from fellow Three Musketeer Lady Iva). I’m also running around trying to capture good photos for our Playnormous Facebook page.
Iva’s creation, “Mean Bean,” was one of the first Monster iMacs to be unveiled. Her design was executed using several interesting types of art media–caffeinated media at that. Iva used orange spice tea and coffee stains to give this computer a soft, sophisticated feel. Red ink was dropped and blotted on key elements to bring the landscape to life. Iva’s monster scene features delicate flowers, striped trees and rolling hills. I count twenty-one new monster characters (maybe you can find more) ranging from cute puffballs on stick legs to colossal multi-eyed monsters with horns. A large shadow of the Playnormous Big Monster looms in the background.
To see Iva’s Monster iMac in all its high antioxidant glory, visit the Monster iMac Gallery.
Jerald Reichstein, President of Playnormous, took a classic approach with Prismacolor pencils as his medium of choice. Every aspect of his design, “Eye Sea a Monster,” was painstakingly and meticulously hand drawn. Jerald layered over twenty-five different colors to capture a sense of motion and depth in this underwater setting. Jerald’s monster scene features a colorful squid monster with spiky hair, asymmetric eyes and a ghoulish grin. Long tentacles float in a sea of multi-colored bubbles. A wide-eyed monster sea anemone watches the squid’s every move as it floats across the screen, leaving purple, green and yellow waves behind.
To see (or sea) Jerald’s Monster iMac, a colorful addition to any classroom or library, visit the Monster iMac Gallery.
Want one of these computers for your classroom or school library? See the official rules page to see how to win one of these amazing one-of-a-kind creations!
Today’s health myth is a messy one: Milk makes you phlegmy. For those of you not up to speed on gross body excretions, phlegm is a thick, sticky mucus that drips down the back of your throat. It is a mixture of saliva and discharge from respiratory passages and is often seen in patients with the common cold. Milk, a thick dairy product, is often thought to cause an increase in phlegm production.
One 2004 study asked 330 patients if they believed that milk makes mucus. They found that nearly two out of three believed milk increases phlegm production. And it’s difficult to blame them. This myth is a popular one among celebrity singers. I remember seeing a show several years ago on Vanessa Carlton who claimed that cutting dairy from her diet changed her singing career. Her favorite non-dairy product is Toffuti cream cheese. Mmmm…sounds tasty. I tried googling to see if any other singers felt the same way. The result? A plethora of musicians from jazz singers to vocal coaches who claim “no milk” at least two days before a concert is the key to success. Oh, and a PETA article on how this year’s Iowa State Fair should consider making their tribute butter statue of Michael Jackson out of dairy-free natural “buttery” spread instead of the real artery-clogging stuff. The Internet is an amazing place.
Milk is a protein and is digested just like any other protein. Milk does not cause your body to produce more phlegm, and milk is not converted into phlegm or nasal mucus if ingested. According to Drs. Carroll and Vreeman, one study was conducted in which volunteers were infected with the cold virus, some of which also drank a lot of milk. The weight of the nasal secretions did not increase in those who drank more milk, nor was it associated with cough or congestion. The folks at the Mayo Clinic agree too. Milk may cause people to think they are producing more phlegm or mucus, but it’s just plain not true.
Milk and phlegm production…busted!