Discovered: how many smokers actually quit, a theoretical planet catapulted out of the solar system, a truism that turns out to be true, the benefits of brown rice and a timely 11/11/11 stat.

  • Latest smoking numbers: most people still have a rough time quitting.  So, it looks like not much seems to have changed, does it? A few days after a federal judge delayed disgusting new warning labels from being plastered on cigarette boxes (which, by the way, may not work that well), a CDC research report finds that in 2010, 69 percent of smokers want to quit, but 6 percent do. And, even though smokers have indicated they'd like to kick the habit, as The Wall Street Journal reported, it doesn't look like many were being that proactive: "Those who try to quit can double or triple their chances with counseling or medications, but most of those who did try to quit in 2010 didn’t use either. Nor did they receive advice on how to quit from a doctor." [The Wall Street Journal]
  • That thing that your parents said about nose snot was worth listening to.  Whenever you're teetering on a bed-ridden flu state and start noticing that snot (either coughed up or from your nose) looks greener than normal, the truism is that that's a good sign you're getting sicker. Researchers have huddled together and confirmed this today: "Green or yellow 'sputum,' as clinicians call it, more often than not reflects a bacterial infection, whereas clear, white or rust colored phlegm most likely does not," Reuters reports from a new study. And, the news outlet also informs us that the greenness isn't some bad thing--it's an enzyme trying to help you out by "fighting infections." [Reuters]
  • Our solar system may have lost a now-lonely, gigantic planet a long time ago.  An astronomer from the San Antonio-based Southwest Research Institute is floating a new theory, based on his computer simulation calculations, about the existence of a lost "fifth gigantic planet" that once existed in our solar system millions of years ago but now doesn't. This is how it happened, as imaginatively translated by the Houston Chronicle: "Like a giant croquet ball, a massive planet the size of Neptune or Uranus may have been knocked by Jupiter out of the solar system into deep space ... [and in doing so it] probably saved Earth from a catastrophic head-on collision with Mars." [Wired UK, Houston Chronicle]
  • Brown rice is, uh, not just for hippies anymore. This New York Times trend piece aside, the so-called brown rice movement (is that a thing?) got a boost from proper diet-minded researchers today who are touting its properties (along with other things like porridge and any high-fiber type foods) as a way to ward off cancer: "Compared with the lowest levels of fiber consumption, each 10 gram per day increase in intake of total dietary fiber and cereal fiber was associated with a 10 percent reduced risk of colorectal [colon] cancer." This cancer reducing property, The Guardian notes, appears to be particular to the rices and porridges: there wasn't evidence that fruits and veggies share do the same thing for your health. [USA Today, The Guardian]
  • Here's a timely stat for the same people who like counting Pi to 10 trillion digitsJust kidding, plenty of people may appreciate this, especially on 11/11/11. Here it goes: 111111 x 111111 = 12345654321. Pretty cool symmetry. [@Steveweinstein]