25 03, 2015

Telomeres: What Does a Lobster Know That You Don’t Know?

In 2009 a fisherman off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada caught a lobster. Normally, this isn’t news considering the number of crustaceans pulled from the water every year in that part of the world. What makes this lobster so interesting is that it weighed 20 pounds and was estimated to be at least 140 years old. Take a moment to really think about that last fact. In theory, this lobster hatched in 1869 – just four years after the end of the American Civil War. Most lobsters don’t live to that ripe old age because they’re eaten, injured or exposed to disease but if you removed these external forces the results would be very different. Lobsters are one of a handful of species that appear to be “biologically immortal.” These creatures don’t age in the same way that you or I do. Every time our cells divide something called a telomere is shortened. There’s a direct relation between telomere length and cell age with the oldest cells having the shortest telomeres. […]

5 03, 2015

The Gratitude Challenge

Imagine you’re at work, it’s lunch time and you’re hungry but there’s a problem. In your rush to get out the door you forgot to grab your wallet. You have no food and no way of paying for anything. Luckily, you’re friends with a few of the people you work with and you decide to ask them if they could spring for lunch. So far this is a pretty straightforward scenario. Chances are you’ve been in a situation like this or something fairly similar. What would you do next? Let’s say your coworker agrees and gives you money to buy some food. Would you express your gratitude by saying thank you? Here’s where things get interesting. What if you told this person “thank you” before he or she answered your question? Does this strike you as odd, maybe even wrong? We’re conditioned from an early age to naturally express our gratitude after an event. This is a useful model in for our day-to-day interactions but limited when it comes to creating real and lasting change in our own lives. […]