Macmillan Tells Amazon Who’s Boss, Google Gets Sneaky on the iPhone and the Asian Flush: Solved!

AMAZON VS. MACMILLAN: A spat between Amazon’s Kindle contingent and publisher Macmillan ended with little fanfare, as Amazon announced it will begin to charge the higher prices for Macmillan e-books that the publisher demanded. That was quick.

GOOGLE GIVES THE STEVE THE FINGER: In a clever ‘f*ck you’ to Apple on the eve of the iPad announcement, Google released a web-based version of Google Voice for the iPhone. The company had been waiting for the green light from Apple for some time for its Google Voice app, but this move forgoes the need for Apple’s approval altogether.

ASIAN FLUSH: Chinese scientists may have discovered an explanation for the ‘Asian flush’ phenomenon that some Asian boozehounds observe when imbibing. Apparently the flushing may be a result of a genetic mutation that speeds up the rate at which alcohol is metabolized in the bloodstream. While originally evolved to make the rice wine go down easier, now many an unsuspecting college freshman of East Asian descent is left mortified as their enhanced metabolic process leaves a byproduct in the body causing their cheeks to flush. And I’m just not sure this is still an evolutionary advantage.

IRL: If you’ve ever had a fantasy (or two) about your favorite video games crossing over into reality, they probably didn’t include a skeezy/awesome Mario & Luigi yearbook duo. Or  real-life Battletoads either. But it should have- look at their tiny weapons! No, your fantasy probably involved Lara Croft and being fourteen. Which is understandable.

FACEBOOK FOLLIES: If you’ve been wondering why you keep losing job after job, maybe consider not friending your regional manager this time? The New York Times provides a nice, simple little guide on how to keep your goldmine of Facebook dirt away from prying eyes. But you should probably delete the beer bong pics, just in case.

MASS EFFECT 2: Bioware released their space-shooter-saga-sequel Mass Effect 2 to hungry fans and happy critics this week. So if you know any PC or 360 gamers who’ve gone mysteriously MIA, I’d wait on filing the missing persons report for a day or two more.

GIRL COMICS: Honestly, it took me maybe 20 minutes to figure out the flailing title for Marvel’s new run of “girl comics.” And that either means that I’m kind of dumb or the naming of the new series featuring teenaged super-hero ladies is just that inscrutably lame. “Her-Oes.” I think I got caught up with the ‘Oes’ part. ‘O’ face? Ovulating?…Okay maybe I’m kind of an idiot. But yeah, the name remains offensively stupid, even if I am also offensively stupid.

DIY DANGER: If you’ve longed to tweet every sweaty nanosecond of your workout in a less dangerous but also questionably more dangerous way, now’s your chance! Just like most other moderately hazardous craft projects, make sure you have some PVC pipe at the ready. This way you’ll never have to put down that Faith/Bette Porter fanfic!

PS3 FAIL: A new patch lessening loading times for Bayonetta on the PS3 will level the playing field between the warring consoles just a teensy bit. Bayonetta is said to play smoother on the Xbox 360, which is important when you are playing a game with a chick who’s got guns strapped to her feet. The less time wasted waiting to shoot your feet-guns, the better.

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26 Comments

  1. the first thing that name made me think of was “her ovaries”. wtf, Marvel.
    also also I NEED NEED NEED that Mega-Man hat and that knitted Link outfit. But like, bigger. So that I can wear it. Just around the house or whatevs. yes?

  2. Dear Google,
    Please remember when you take over the world that I was on your side all along. You make me happy.
    Love,
    Rachel
    ps. I have a strong/strange desire to know EXACTLY when my street was Google Earth photographed and I can’t read any of the news shop signs close enough to tell. Help?

  3. Wow I guess I missed Facebook’s memo about how they were gonna let strangers view all of my personal information.

    But now my Facebook is now a fortress. Thanks Technostraddle! *high five*

  4. Tip for Facebook privacy: No matter how you set your privacy settings, for some bizarre reason your photo albums aren’t affected. So in my case even though I blocked my mum off my Facebook account, she could still see my albums (which she discovered through a tagged photo of someone who USED to be my FB friend – which means FB still has that data) and then proceeded to shriek at me for supposedly being a pornstar/druggie/XYZ. And you have to set each album individually too.

  5. i’m of chinese descent and i do get really red when i drink alcohol. but i always assumed that happens to everyone, it’s just that it’s more obvious when it happens to lighter skinned people. is “Asian flush” really something different from the ruddy cheeks people get when they drink?

    • It’s pretty much the same. Alcohol dehydrogenase is an enzyme that breaks alcohol down into acetaldehyde. Since some East Asians break alcohol down faster, we turn redder, faster (like after less than one drink, instead of after a couple).

      The problem is, the acetaldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme that helps break down acetaldehyde (what alcohol dehydrogenase ends up producing) into acetic acid is usually also mutated in those who suffer from Asian Glow. But instead of being more efficient (as in the case of alcohol dehydrogenase), this mutated enzyme works less effectively. This means, over the course of the night, we break down acetaldehyde (which is rather toxic & why we turn red) more slowly and incompletely. Some of it hangs even around in our throats and brains and other parts of the body, which can lead to higher risk for harsh hangovers and cancer of the throat.

      Turns out, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase can only do so much for anyone on any given night. So even people without the mutated, less effective enzyme can suffer the consequences of turning red after they’ve had too much and having a mad headache (among many other causes of hangovers) the next day.

      • does that indicate that the gene still speeds up the process of breaking down alcohol in the bloodstream? like…should people with it in theory be able to drink me under the table? or has the gene evolved to the point where only the residual “glow” effect remains? i just don’t want to lose any bets on this.

        • Breaking down alcohol faster is not really a win because the glow effect comes from acetaldehyde, a chemical created in an intermediate step of the process. Acetaldehyde actually is toxic and makes people get sick from drinking.

          So you’re more likely to win the bets, especially if you’re drinking in a short time-frame where those with Asian Glow break down alcohol really fast but cannot keep up with breaking down acetaldehyde into non-toxic acetic acid.

          Heh, of course I wouldn’t recommend taking up this bet with anyone because it can also be really dangerous (well, as with any binge drinking scenario, but for special reasons in this case). Besides the red face, short-term effects of acetaldehyde include not just physical sickness to expunge the toxin (vomiting) but also increased heart rate. I read somewhere that a fairly common way for young East Asians to die from drinking is from going to sleep when their heart rates are crazy high and as the body tries to calm itself into sleep-mode, it somehow induces a heart attack. I don’t know all the deets on this, but it’s made me make sure to never lie down when my heart rate is flying after night of drinking.

  6. i call it the asian redness gene, & it’s both embarrassing and uncomfortable. also, everyone thinks i’m really drunk when i’m not. Also, also! I seem to go red really quickly, and then IF I KEEP DRINKING it sort of gets better. ish. someone tell me it’s not just me. Probs its just an excuse for me to keep drinking.

    • I’ve noticed this too, but I haven’t been able to find a good answer.

      One guess is that at some point our alcohol dehydrogenase also slows down, so that we don’t create toxic acetaldehyde as quickly as we do when we start drinking. This gives our bodies (specifically our slow-working acetaldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme) a lil time to catch up with the cleaning up the toxicity by converting acetaldehyde into acetic acid.

      There are also other ways that the body breaks down acetaldehyde without the enzyme, so perhaps as time goes on, these slower processes also help us catch up and clear up the system.

      Another possibility, is that the redness is like an inflammatory effect brought on by the amount of toxic acetaldedyde in our blood stream. Perhaps at some point, the amount of acetaldehyde is high enough that our body gives up the inflammatory response as it is clearly not working.

      • I should add, the first/second possibilities may be true for those of us with less severely mutated acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. Perhaps our ability to break down alcohol quickly is far greater than our inability to break down acetaldehyde quickly, and it is really just a matter of catch up.

        Some East Asians (and by the way, this mutation is shared by some Native Americans) have much more severe acetaldehyde dehydrogenase mutations, to the point where the enzyme really doesn’t work. These people vomit upon drinking even just one drink. Antabuse and other drugs that are given to alcoholics to make them sick when they try to drink inhibit the very enzyme that works less efficiently in those who suffer from Asian Glow.

    • ha totally agree with it getting better with more drinks, i have a tiny point of feeling great between being red and starting to paleface.

      to dot, i totally feel like redness is more inflam than anything else, classical signs heat, swelling, not so much pain though.

      • oh hey! that would make sense! A couple of people have told me that taking a H2 antagonist (like Zantac) helps prevent the redness – y’know, blocking histamine release and all that. Apparently it works, but I don’t know first hand.

        it’s pretty funny though…this scar i got from making aspirin in first year goes really red and normally you can’t even see it anymore…

        Also, after reading this I’m really glad I don’t get hungover.

          • Right on. Especially no fun given that an effect of acetaldehyde build up is to make our heart rates shoot up and then the antihistamine makes us tired… not a good combo.

            In my research on this last summer, I concluded that the best approach includes making sure I’ve taken my vitamins (especially B-complexes like Niacin) and also eaten a fruit or two before starting a night. The fructose might help us breakdown alcohol in another way that does not have acetaldehyde as an intermediate product. I lost sight of this approach over the last months, will have to try to test it out again.

        • So has anyone ever tried taking Pepcid AC beforehand? I never remember to take it with enough time for it to work! And as lots of people can attest to, I certainly get the “Asian glow” after a few drinks.

          Ok, after one drink.

      • Yea, it makes sense that it is inflammation, but that still doesn’t really tell us much about why it goes away after a while. Really the body giving up that initial response? Or the body catching up with the breakdown process?

        I got it super shitty cuz I’m half white and super pale so when the redness sets in, man. Occasionally all this bad news about 10 times higher risk for esophageal cancer and such makes me drink less. I guess that’s good. Apart from the times when I’m not drinking less.

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