You asked: Why does V8 cure hangovers?

One of our readers (okay, it was my friend Lisa) noticed a mention of "National Hangover Day" in our new-holiday contest -- a day of bleary-eyed and queasy celebration on which "V8 will be vastly discounted." Lisa wanted to know why V8 juice and other tomato products seem to cure hangovers -- and, as an ardent subscriber to that theory, I did too! It seems the theory hasn't been fully tested by science, but there are several reasons a big glass of the red stuff might help on a rough morning:

1. A lot of it boils down to dehydration. Tomatoes, those blessed vegetables fruits, are about 90 percent water. Quenching your thirst helps the liver and kidneys process the leftover alcohol in your system.

2. Too much drinky-drink also impairs the body's ability to absorb vitamins, leaving you short. (Some scientists think many hangover symptoms can be blamed on a lack of B12.) Tomatoes and tomato products are high in many nutrients, particularly vitamin C and lycopene.

3. Through a series of chemical reactions that are way too complex for this blog, drinking limits the liver's ability to supply the brain with glucose, leading to fatigue, weakness, mood swings, and decreased attention and concentration. V8 isn't quite as good on this count as orange juice -- an 8-ounce can provides 10 grams of carbohydrates (8 of them sugars) compared to 25 for the same amount of OJ -- but it's less acidic, so at least it's easier on the stomach.

As for the other hangover culprits -- an alcohol byproduct called acetaldehyde and a type of impurity in liquors and cheap wines known as a congener -- I can't seem to find any evidence that tomato juice interacts with them, but I will continue to conduct trials of my own.

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College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy
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One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

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North America: East or West Coast?
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