Blog Posts by Reader s Digest Magazine

  • 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Earthquakes

    Were you shook up by the tremors centered in Virgina? Here are some things you should know about earthquakes.

    1. Unsteady ground
    An earthquake happens somewhere every single day. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that several million earthquakes occur in the world each year. Many go undetected because they hit remote areas or have very small magnitudes. The National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) locates about 50 earthquakes every day, or about 20,000 a year.

    2. The Richter Scale
    Charles F. Richter developed the scale in 1935 as a mathematical device to compare the size of earthquakes. The magnitude of an earthquake is recorded by a seismograph. When an earthquake begins, the base of the seismograph shakes but a hanging weight does not. A spring absorbs all the movement. The difference in position between the shaking part of the seismograph and the motionless part is what is recorded, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

    3. History's most

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  • Are Men Better Drivers Than Women?

    According to AAA, the answer is yes… and no. Here's the scoop:

    Plus: 11 Crazy Things We Do While Driving

    Men take more risks. In studies, men as a whole display less cautious behavior than women, such as driving at higher speeds and closer to other cars, not wearing seat belts, and driving while intoxicated more often. They even make riskier turns and take less time when parking (although they do a more accurate job, says Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us).

    BUT… how someone drives doesn't necessarily equal how well he drives. Men do seem to be more proficient than women at certain driving tasks. However, this slight edge in ability doesn't translate into better driving records. The kinds of accidents men get into are generally the result of their riskier behavior. According to one study, men are more than three times as likely to be ticketed for "aggressive driving" than women, and more than 25 percent as likely to

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  • Snacking in the Friendly Skies

    Airlines are becoming like convenience stores in the sky. Here are a few items you can expect to see the next time you have a snack-attack on your flight. Plus, check out The New Trend in Airplane Food.

  • 5 Home Projects to Finish Before Labor Day

    1. Curb appeal projects
    Now is the time to finish up those home improvement projects sitting at the top of the to-do list before Labor Day and the beginning of fall.

    Get going on outdoor projects that can increase your home value and up your curb appeal, such as exterior painting, landscaping or installing a new front door. Paint won't cure in cold or wet weather, so tackle this big project before the weather takes a turn.

    2. Clean and caulk windows
    Make things a bit clearer by taking time to clean the outside of your windows. While you clean them, take note of any cracks or any places that may need caulking. Sealing your windows (and doors) well will ensure your home stays warmer and your utility bill stays lower during the colder winter months.

    PLUS: 8 Places Germs Hide in Your Home

    3. Scrub and seal your deck
    Your deck gets a beating year-round from rain and snow and freezing temperatures during the winter and sun and dry air during the summer. Give it a scrub with approved

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  • 13 Things You Should Know About Farmers' Markets

    1. It's best to get here early
    But if a customer can't make it until later, the produce they'll get is still fresher than any that's been shipped to a supermarket, as most farmers pick the day of or the day before a market. In the case of perishable products many bargains can be found at the end of the day.

    2. Many of us depend on this for our survival
    Farmers depend on the income from markets to get by, as almost all farmers who participate in farmers markets run very small operations, and the profit margin is slim.

    3. If you spend $100 at a farmers market, $62 goes back into the local economy -- and $99 out of $100 stays in the state.
    If you spend $100 at a grocery store, only $25 stays here. So, where do you want your money to go?

    4. Ask to taste, before buying.
    Almost all farmers are happy to provide a sample. If they won't, I don't buy.

    PLUS: 13 Things Your Supermarket Isn't Telling You

    5. Please stop saying how expensive I am.
    My products would sell for much more in any

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  • 9 Mindless Portion Control Tips

    Here are some easy ways to divide up high calorie foods to avoid overeating.

  • Things of Value You Might Have in Your Garage

    Is you garage hiding a goldmine of stuff? Check to see if you have any other antiques that could be worth money.

  • The Don’t-Do List: 4 Over-Prescribed Treatments and Tests

    What doctors do is important. Equally important: what they don't do. To keep patients healthier, prevent unnecessary treatment (and side effects), and save health-care dollars, a panel of doctors is urging internists, family medicine specialists, and pediatricians to follow top-five lists of medical don'ts. Here are some of those tests and procedures - and the go-slow approaches that are preferable.

    Lower-Back Pain

    • Don't do an imaging test within the first six weeks except in special cases.

    "The vast majority of back pain goes away on its own," says Shannon Brownlee, author of Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer. "A back image is not going to help you heal faster, but it can mislead your doctor into thinking that something is wrong, which can lead to costly and unnecessary surgery." Of course, sometimes tests and treatments are unavoidable (say, if you're also having bladder problems), so make sure your doctor listens carefully to all your

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  • The New Trend in Airplane Food

    Courtesy United AirlinesUnited Airlines offers three snack boxes: Tapas, Classic, and Savory.Is airplane food making you feel like you're at "a 7-Eleven in the sky?" When 9/11 crippled the airline industry many airlines stopped serving free food to save money. What has sprung up in the ensuing decade is a veritable flying convenience store, and healthy is not really on the menu, reports the Wall Street Journal. Or is it?

    Northwest Airlines' best seller is a reheated quarter-pound burger, says However, Delta (which owns Northwest) also offers the Delta's Eat menu on some flights. The menu has two snack boxes, one with a convenience store assortment of crackers, spreads, and chocolate and the other with The Gracious Gourmet Mediterranean Vegetable Spread, organic Dr. Kracker Snackers, and other healthier sounding goodies.

    PLUS: 13 Things Your Pilot Won't Tell You

    United and Continental (which merged in 2011) offer 3 different snack boxes varying in health value, with the most popular being a convenience store goodie bag of goldfish crackers, jelly beans,

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  • Food Names Inspired by Body Parts

    In Italy, if you order a plate of capelli d'angelo, you'll be feasting on "angel hair," so named because it's imagined to be as fine as the hair of those heavenly beings.

    In France, you don't ask for cotton candy at the fair - you ask for barbe a` papa or "Dad's beard." Yum!

    That scoop-shaped pasta known as orecchietti has a name that in Italian means "little ears."

    Red-eye gravy is a mixture of ham drippings and coffee. The heavier ingredients settle into a dark red "eye" at the bottom of the bowl.

    In Romania, you don't ask for "fried eggs," but oua chiuri--literally, eggs that look like eyes.

    Black-eyed peas are peas that look like they've been in a fight. (Maybe they should sign a peas treaty?)

    Ever wonder what they call that fatty bump at the tail end of a cooked turkey? It's called the "pope's nose" or the "parson's nose," presumably because it does look like a nose. (In France, though, it's called le sot-l'y-laisse, which roughly translates to "only a

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