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Friday, January 17, 2020

Review: Did you just eat that?

You've probably heard of the 5-second rule, or the story the electric hand dryers spew germs all over the bathroom. Did you just eat that? covers all these personal hygiene topics and more from a scientific point of view, right down to publishing the procedures for replicating their studies.

Ok, most of the stuff is just common sense: yes, eating food off the floor is unsafe even if you picked it up with 1s. They trace the origin of the 5-second rule myth to Julia Child picking food that'd fallen off onto a stove top (not the floor!) and somehow that story turned into a generic rule. Wow.

The stuff that I was surprised by was that yes, electric hand-dryers are really much worse than paper towels for personal hygiene, and that yes, you need to put the toilet seat cover down before you flush or you'll aerosolized any bacteria in your stool! Also, the most bacteria-ridden item in a restaurant? The menu! Definitely wash your hands after touching the menu!

The different types of dip have different anti-bacterial properties, but surprisingly, the mechanical viscosity of the dip matters much more for preventing the spread of germs caused by double-dipping that both chocolate and cheese dips will outperform salsa, despite the salsa's higher acidity.

There are a few questions I have: if you wash your hands for 10s instead of 20s, how much bacteria is left? Those practical questions were not asked or answered in this book.

The book was a quick short read and you'll never look at a restaurant menu the same way again after after reading it. Recommended.

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