March 8, 2017

Miscellany #60

Spotify? More like Trotify! Yes, it IS a horse in headphones ...and he really is listening to music

Scientists have designed a new set of high-tech headphones – that allow horses to listen to music as they trot....But the development does have a serious purpose, as the headphones both improve the animal's focus and block out external noises that could spook more nervous mounts.....Hidden within a bonnet that slips over the horse's head, the headphones come with Bluetooth technology to pick up songs played on the rider's mobile phone.  A headset that clips to the helmet also allows the rider to talk to their mount through the headphones.

 Horse Wearing Headphones

Jimmy Buffett Launching Margaritaville Retirement Homes

According to the website for Latitude Margaritavile, the first of the communities is being planned in Daytona Beach, Florida, and it promises that the party will continue well into the golden years.....The paradise where you can "grow older, but not up" promises homes starting in the low $200s, with furnished models slated to open in early 2018 for residents who have to be 55 or older.

How Bored Bookstore Employees Entertain Themselves at Librairie Mollat, a bookshop in France.  A wonderful series at the link and on Instagram.

 Redhead+Book

 Man+Book  Librairie-Mollat-8

Chinese man shocked to learn that the "nutcracker" he has been using for the last 25 years was actually an old hand grenade.

 Chinese Handgrenade

Only after reading a police safety leaflet about explosives, did he stop using it. He has since handed the grenade over to police who are examining the device to find out whether it is still capable of exploding. It does not have a pin and was likely manufactured back in the 1960s.

Vets Surgically Remove Nearly 1,000 Coins From Sea Turtle’s Stomach

Surgeons have successfully removed nearly 1,000 metal coins from inside “Piggy Bank,” a Thai green sea turtle with a tremendous bellyache.  Tourists searching for good fortune fed the 25-year-old sea turtle 915 coins over the course of her life, chucking the money into the pool where she lives in Sri Racha, Thailand. Seven hours and a 4-inch incision later, veterinary surgeons removed 11 pounds worth of coins from inside Piggy Bank’s belly. Some of the coins — many of which were foreign — had been in Piggy Bank’s stomach for such a long time that they were partially deteriorated.

Inside the Loneliest Five-Star Restaurant in the World

You can eat foie gras at Antarctica's Concordia Station, but your closest neighbor is the International Space Station and you might not see oranges for three months. ...In these isolated conditions, food takes on a special importance for everyone at the base......Luca Ficara, who has been serving as the base's resident chef since November is from Sicily having won the lottery run each year by the Italian National Program for Antarctic Research ... This lottery system has won the station something of a reputation for its food, which received a nod in the Lonely Planet as a place "considered by many to enjoy Antarctica's best cuisine, with fine wines and seven-course lunches on Sundays."

Now THAT'S a long lunch:  An 18ft giraffe is fed from the top floor window of a Kenyan manor

 Giraffe Fed Upper Story Manor

Giraffe Manor, modeled on a Scottish hunting lodge, is a small hotel which is also home to a number of endangered giraffes....As well as swinging by for food, the nosey giants also have a reputation for poking their heads through the hotel doors and even peeking through the windows of guest's bedrooms. Mr Witkowski said: 'The giraffe's are fed specially formulated pellets. As long as you have the pellets they are friendly and will come to you. If you do not have the pellets they have no interest in you'

While setting up his equipment for a night time shoot, a professional photographer didn't know he had his shutter open for 40 seconds that captured this shot of a meteor over Mt Rundle in Banff, Alberta,Canada.

 Incoming Meteor Bamf

Hot story: Miami lawyer’s pants erupt in flames during arson trial in court

A Miami defense lawyer’s pants burst into flames Wednesday afternoon as he began his closing arguments in front of a jury — in an arson case.  Stephen Gutierrez, who was arguing that his client’s car spontaneously combusted and was not intentionally set on fire, had been fiddling in his pocket as he was about to address jurors when smoke began billowing out his right pocket, witnesses told the Miami Herald.

He rushed out of the Miami courtroom, leaving spectators stunned. After jurors were ushered out, Gutierrez returned unharmed, with a singed pocket, and insisted it wasn’t a staged defense demonstration gone wrong, observers said.  Instead, Gutierrez blamed a faulty battery in an e-cigarette,
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:41 PM | Permalink

Digital brain disorders and tips for easy stress-relief

5 new brain disorders that were born out of the digital age

1. Nomophobia - the feeling of panic one has upon being separated from one's phone or tablet. In one U.K. survey, 73 percent of respondents felt panic when they misplaced their phone. And for another 14 percent, that panic spiraled into pure desperation.
2. Technoference - It could also be dragging down our relationships. In one 2014 study, more than half of the 143 participants said that tech devices interrupt their leisure time, conversations, and meals with their significant other. The researchers gave these interruptions a name: "technoference." Not surprisingly, higher technoference correlated directly with lower relationship and life satisfaction.
3. The phantom ring - Fauxcellarm, phantom ringing, and ringxiety are new to our lexicon, thanks to the universal presence of our buzzing, pinging smartphones. These terms refer to the perception that one's mobile device is ringing (or, more precisely, vibrating) when, in fact, it is not.
4. Cyberchondria - Hypochondria is not a new disorder, but the internet has taken it to the next level. In the broadest definition, cyberchondria refers to people who research and diagnose their own illnesses online. Sure, we've probably all done that — in fact, one in three American adults say they have used the internet to self-diagnose. But for some people who might already be prone to hypochondria, this can be detrimental.
5. Truman Show Delusion. Do you ever have that spooky feeling that someone's watching you? In the 1998 film The Truman Show, Truman Burbank had that feeling too, only his turned out to be true.---while it isn't directly caused by our digital devices, Truman Show Delusion is a product of our overly connected, reality-TV obsessed, social media–driven lifestyles that nurture our most narcissistic qualities.

The last one, #5, may not be a delusion at all given the latest Wikileaks drop, Vault #7, which show the CIA tapping just about everyone through our phones, smart TVs, and deliberately insecure software.                                                 

New Neuroscience Reveals 4 Easy Rituals That Will Make You Stress-Free

1. Clench your facial muscles and relax them: (If you use Botox, just skip to the next tip.)

2. Take slow, deep breaths: If it gets Navy SEALs through Hell Week, it’ll get you through tax season.

3. Splash your face with cold water: Wakes you up, calms you down and cleans your mug. Now that’s efficiency.

4. Play some music and do a little dance: Add a “neuroscience” playlist to Spotify.

Even easier ways to  kill stress and be happier with almost no effort whatsoever.

Research shows that owning a dog reduces stress. In fact, the effect is so powerful that just watching a video of a cute animal reduces heart rate and blood pressure in under a minute.

Watch nature documentaries to instantly boost your mood

A new study has found even watching small clips of shows such as Planet Earth II boosts people's emotions of awe, contentedness, joy and amusement.  It also can instantly help reduce anxiety, fear and tiredness.

Findings come from the BBC research, in collaboration with University of California, Berkeley.
Reviewing 150 further studies as part of the project, Berkeley's Professor Dacher Keltner found that our connection to nature enhanced our attention, cognitive performance and sense of calm. This made us more social and effective teamworkers and could even improve our physical health.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:04 PM | Permalink

Heath Roundup: Hairspray, coffee, vegetables and Millennial problems

Pregnant women warned against using hairspray

New evidence suggests that chemicals they contain may be linked to an increasingly common birth defect in boys called hypospadias which  disrupt male hormones and interfere with the developed of the male genitalia in the crucial first three months of the pregnancy.
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The study at Amiens University Hospital in France involved comparing the use of hair cosmetics, chemicals and pesticides in 250 women who had given birth to boys with and without hypospadias. No association was found between hypospadias and the use of chemicals such as paint, solvents, gasoline, ink, glue and household products, but the use of hair cosmetic was found to raise the risk by 80 per cent.

How coffee could protect you from dementia: Caffeine helps to boost enzyme that shields you from the disease

Scientists say the drug boosts the power of an enzyme in the brain that protects neurons and fights misfolded proteins.  They found that the enzyme, called NMNAT2, plays two roles in the brain. The first is a protective function to guard neurons from stress and the second is a 'chaperone function' to combat misfolded proteins called tau, which accumulate in the brain as 'plaques' due to aging.  Plaque build-up in the brain is a known precursor to serious neurodegenerative diseases.

The study, conducted by Indiana University Bloomington, screened over 1,280 compounds, including existing drugs, and tested them on mice.  The team identified 24 compounds - and caffeine in particular - to have an increase on the production of NMNAT2 in the brain.  Caffeine had previously been shown to improve memory function in mice with high levels of misfolded tau proteins.

More vegetables, less stress! Study reveals every extra veggie you add to your plate lowers your stress levels by 5%

The study, conducted at the University of Sydney in Australia, looked at 60,000 Australians who were age 45 or older. Researchers measured the participants' fruit and vegetable consumption, lifestyle factors and psychological distress at two time points: 2006-08 and 2010.

The benefits were even more pronounced when it came to women. Women eating three to four daily servings of vegetables had an 18 percent lower risk of stress. But women who ate five to seven servings had a 23 percent lower risk of stress than women who ate one or less servings a day.

Millennial bowel cancer crisis:

Unprecedented numbers of young people are being diagnosed with bowel cancer - due to poor diets and lack of exercise, a study warns.  Millennials - those born between 1980 and 1995 - are four times more likely to develop rectal tumors stemming from the large intestine compared to those born around 1950.

Epidemiologist Dr Rebecca Siegel, of the American Cancer Society, said: 'Trends in young people are a bellwether for the future disease burden. 'Our finding that colorectal (bowel) cancer risk for millennials has escalated back to the level of those born in the late 1800s is very sobering.

Social Justice Syndrome: ‘Rising Tide of Personality Disorders Among Millennials’

A 2016 UK survey found that, since 1990, rates of depression and anxiety among the young have increased by 70%, while the American Counseling Association has reported a “rising tide of personality disorders among millennials.”....In 2014, a survey of 100,000 college students at 53 U.S. campuses by the American College Health Association found that 84% of U.S. students feel unable to cope, while more than half experience overwhelming anxiety.  That such disorders appear to be an acute problem with this generation may be an unintended outcome of the unprecedented experiment conducted in the 1990s and 2000s by progressive parents.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:17 PM | Permalink