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Your Cat Is Getting Fat

It's not just humans. Scientists say the animals that live around us are also putting on the pounds—rats, cats, and rhesus monkeys.

Beyond the more obvious factors contributing to obesity—the food we eat, the physical things we do—there's increasing evidence that something else might be play in our environment, factors that range from viruses, light pollution, and genetic mutations to stress and various environmental contaminants. Scientists have suggested, for example, that leaving a light on at night correlates with obesity.

But how much do these things really factor into the obesity epidemic? In one recent attempt to answer that, scientists looked at studies involving 20,000 animals. The idea, Yann C. Klimentidis and the study's authors write, is:


Model organisms have potential value as ‘canaries in the coalmines’ or ‘sentinels’ informing us about environmental factors potentially impacting humans. In this light, we compiled data to assess time trends in body weight in mammalian species that live with or around humans in industrialized societies. Such observations might help identify environmental influences that might otherwise go undetected.

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In 24 different animal populations living in vastly different conditions—feral rats in Baltimore; lab rats, dogs, and cats in New Jersey; rhesus monkeys in California, Oregon, and Wisconsin—the average body weight of the animals studied increased between five and 10 percent every decade. So despite relatively few changes in diet or exercise, there appeared to be a similar rise in animal weight. No single factor explained similar increases in, say, lab rats and wild rats.

So without dismissing the influence of food marketing, fast food, and reduced physical activity in humans, the study seems to suggest there's definitely something else going on, something else worth looking into. After all, these cats and dogs weren't watching TV and eating McDonald's and still, their weights increased significantly.

Thumbnail illustration by Natalie Conn. Top photo (cc) by Flickr user threefatcats. Bottom photo (cc) by Flickr user diegodiazphotography

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

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"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

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Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

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