a man showing his belly and holding a cheeseburger

DAILY DOSE: The American military has an obesity problem; T-Rex may have looked different than we think.

The U.S. military has a serious weight problem that needs fixing. It’s gotten so bad since the Covid-19 pandemic that it’s pretty much a national security threat. According to the Associated Press,

Military leaders have been warning about the impact of obesity on the U.S. military for more than a decade, but the lingering pandemic effects highlight the need for urgent action, said retired Marine Corps Brigadier General Stephen Cheney, who co-authored a recent report on the problem.

“The numbers have not gotten better,” Cheney said in a November webinar held by the American Security Project, a nonprofit think tank. “They are just getting worse and worse and worse.”

In fiscal year 2022, the Army failed to make its recruiting goal for the first time, falling short by 15,000 recruits, or a quarter of the requirement. That’s largely because three-quarters of Americans aged 17 to 24 are not eligible for military service for several reasons, including extra weight. Being overweight is the biggest individual disqualifier, affecting more than 1 in 10 potential recruits, according to the report.

People complaining that “wokeness” is threatening American soldiers are a bit off-base. It’s expanding waistlines that’s the real problem. http://bit.ly/40Qn0Ek

The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report investigated how socio-economic class affected quality of health. Per MMWR,

In 2021, 13.6% of adults aged ≥18 years assessed their health as fair or poor. The percentage increased with age from 6.9% for those aged 18–44 years, to 16.8% for those aged 45–64 years, and 22.6% for those aged ≥65 years. The same pattern of increasing percentages with age was found for adults living in families with incomes 100% to <200% of FPL and ≥200% of FPL. For adults living in families with incomes <100% of FPL, the percentage in fair or poor health was lowest among those aged 18–44 years (16.2%), but similar among adults aged 45–64 years (42.8%) and those aged ≥65 years (43.0%). The percentage of adults in fair or poor health decreased with increasing incomes for each age group.

No surprises here. http://bit.ly/3KqOmeW

Ancestral origin stories are always interesting, though taken more as metaphor than historic fact. Turns out that for Swahili people, the origin story passed down through the generations was pretty spot on. Per Smithsonian Magazine,

A new analysis of medieval DNA has revealed that around the turn of the first millennium, Swahili ancestors from Africa and Asia began intermingling and having children, giving rise to a Swahili civilization with a multiracial identity, at least among its elites. The discovery matches local stories passed down through generations that were previously dismissed as myth by outside researchers. 

“This oral tradition was always maligned,” George Abungu, an archaeologist and former director-general of the National Museums of Kenya who was not involved in the genetic analysis, tells the New York Times’ Elie Dolgin. “Now, with this DNA study, we see there was some truth to it.”

Members of the medieval and early modern Swahili culture lived in towns and villages along the coast of East Africa, shared the Kiswahili language and largely practiced a common religion of Islam. The new research, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, sheds some light on how this culture formed.

Makes you wonder how many other stories in the world’s oral traditions are actually true. http://bit.ly/3zsMk7W

Think you know how the mighty T-Rex looked? Think again. Per the AP,

The Tyrannosaurus rex is often shown baring massive, sharp teeth, like the ferocious creature in “Jurassic Park.” But new research suggests that this classic image might be wrong.

The teeth on T. rex and other big theropods were likely covered by scaly lips, concludes a study published Thursday in the journal Science. The dinosaur’s teeth didn’t stick out when its mouth was closed, and even in a wide open bite, you might just see the tips, the scientists found.

The research is the latest in a long back-and-forth over how dinosaur mouths really looked.

Recent depictions show big teeth jutting out of the dinosaurs’ jaws, even when closed. Some thought the predators’ teeth were just too big to fit in their mouths, said study author Thomas Cullen, a paleontologist at Auburn University in Alabama.

When researchers compared skulls from dinosaurs and living reptiles, though, they found this wasn’t the case. Some large monitor lizards actually have bigger teeth than T. rex compared to their skull size, and can still fit them under a set of scaly lips, Cullen said.

Further proof that we know nothing about the things we think we know. http://bit.ly/40SwcIu

One of the most amazing things about the famous sites in Egypt is that they keep yielding new and revelatory discoveries. Per CBS News,

Archaeologists have announced the discovery of more than 2,000 rams' heads at the temple of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II — a find that the man in charge of the dig said surprised even veteran Egyptologists and showed the endurance of Ramses' impact, as the skulls were left there a millennium after the pharaoh's rule.

A team of archaeologists with New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) made the discovery in the city of Abydos, one of the oldest cities and richest archaeological sites in Egypt. It's located about seven miles west of the Nile River in Upper Egypt, some 270 miles south of Cairo.

The ram skulls were found stacked in the northern precinct of the temple, said Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, which announced the discovery on Saturday. 

"We came across some random pieces of skulls first," Dr. Sameh Iskander, head of the ISAW mission, told CBS News. "We didn't know what they were, but as we continued our excavation and exploration, all of sudden we found a whole area filled with ram skulls."

The mission also found other mummified animal remains, including dogs, goats, cows and gazelles. http://bit.ly/3U87TUW

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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