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Always Follow the Elephants: More Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths about Our Health and the World We Live In

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    How many folks do you see walking around with a bottle of water dutifully drinking their quota for the day? Is it really beneficial for us to drink 8 glasses of water per day as many claim? Not at all says Anahad O'Connor, writer of the NY Times "Really?" column in his fact fulled collection of information about us and our world.

    Re the water, "Much of the water we need comes in the form of food and various liquids, like tea, milk, and juice, so there's no need to squeeze a minimum of eight glasses of water into your day if you're already consuming other fluids and eating properly."

    No telling how many believe what our mothers told us, which is perhaps information our mothers learned from their mothers. Whether accurate or not information that has been passed around from generation to generation has a tendency to develop a factuality about it, sometimes even when it is absurd to contemporary minds. On the other hand, sometimes those old wives' tales are correct. My Mom was a firm believer in dosing a cough with honey. Turns out it can help.

    O'Connor does an excellent job of debunking some myths and giving others scientific credibility. He divides his myths into 18 chapters, everything from "Kitchen First Aid" to "World Health." Some will especially enjoy "Love Medicine: And Other Bedroom Matters."

    The title of his book "Always Follow The Elephants"? Remember the dreadful tsunami in 2004 that sprang from the Indian Ocean and killed over 200,000 people? It was a disaster of epic proportions. Yet, there no dead animals. Seems that animals do have a sixth sense when it comes to impending disasters. Elephants "are known to use their trunks and feet - which are highly sensitive - to detect and interpret low frequency seismic signals from other elephants." If you don't happen to have a pet elephant, perhaps some domestic dogs and cats are able to pick up on environmental changes in advance of a storm.

    There's something for everyone in "Always Follow The Elephants."

    - Gail Cooke

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