Chocolate good for you? It used to be medicine

In 1662, a book was published in London on chocolate. Photo courtesy of Wellcome Library.

In 1662, a medical book was published in London on chocolate. Photo courtesy of Wellcome Library.

We’ve heard the probable benefits of dark chocolate — the kind with 60 percent or more cocoa solids — extolled in recent years.

Dark chocolate may improve your heart, mood and lessen your stress.

You may have noticed that Mars is trying to cash in on the “healthy snacking” trend by pouring Dove chocolate over blueberries and cranberries. University of Michigan researchers even added dark chocolate to their healing foods pyramid.

But Christine A. Jones, an associated professor of French and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Utah, tells us that this is nothing new. Continue reading


Meet Spider, the CIA’s new spy chief


The new head of the National Clandestine Service is a former Marine who gained fame for being former Afghanistan President’s Hamid Karzai’s “security blanket,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

His name and age? Unknown. After all, he’s a spy who has spent his career undercover, most notably as station chief in Kabul.

Here’s what we do know about him, thanks to a 2010 Journal profile … Continue reading


Michelle Obama disrespectful? It wasn’t a big deal, BBC says


When the president and first lady visited Saudi Arabia this week to pay respects to the kingdom’s late monarch, Michelle Obama did not cover her head.

“Michelle Obama forgoes a headscarf and sparks a backlash,” sniffed the Washington Post’s WorldViews blog.

“Michelle Obama causes outrage,” screamed the headline in Britain’s Telegraph.

Trouble is, the BBC reports, it was a tempest only in the Western media’s teacup. Continue reading


There’s room in heaven for dogs, pope assures little boy

Pope Francis blesses Asia, the guide dog of Italian radio journalist Alessandro Forlani. Photo by L’Osservatore Romano / Associated Press Read more at

In his first meeting with the media as pope in March 2013, Francis made news by blessing Asia, the guide dog of Italian radio journalist Alessandro Forlani. Photo by L’Osservatore Romano / AP

Well, it wasn’t by accident that he chose the name Francis, the patron saint of animals.

During a papal audience in November, Pope Francis tried to comfort a boy whose dog had died, the New York Times reports, by telling him: “One day we will see our animals again in eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all God’s creatures.” Continue reading


Map: Which country is downing the most brewski?

Map courtesy of the Telegraph. You can check out the Telegraph's interactive map here.

Map courtesy of The Telegraph. You can check out the Telegraph’s interactive map here.

Although the Chinese (population 1,355,692,576, in the CIA’s July estimate) drank the most beer (14 billion gallons) this year, Czechs consumed the most (37 gallons) per person, The Telegraph reports. Americans lagged behind, lapping up a mere 19 gallons per head, which means we didn’t even make the Top 10 (see below). Continue reading