Besides negatively affecting your brain, TV might also have another damaging effect: raining your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. San Francisco scientists from the Northern California Institute for Research and Education have discovered that this particular effect might not even wait for old age before it starts setting in and wreaking havoc inside the brain.

Researchers had people take tests that measure cognitive response over the span of 25 years, and discovered that those who watched more than four hours a day and led a sedentary lifestyle – low levels of physical activity – presented a greater risk of developing dementia, as their memory performance was significantly weaker starting middle age.

And this is a matter of concern, as explained by Professor Kristine Yaffe, specialized in neurology, psychiatry, and epidemiology at the University of California. She said this is of utmost importance for children and young adults, the generation glued to the sofa and the electronic gadgets they use in their mostly sedentary life.

Prof. Yaffe also had some good news, however, explaining that this effect can be reversed, and people can lower their risk of developing dementia by making a conscious decision to change their lifestyle.

Yaffe presented the results at the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington, encouraging people to start doing something about it by getting less screen time. According to the association, more than 5 million people in the United States are currently living with Alzheimer’s, with 28 million more estimated to develop the disease by 2050.

By the time we reach 2040, projected costs of caring for people with dementia will take up to 24 percent of Medicare funding, as the generation that’s now growing with a gadget glued to their hands will turn older.

More than 3,200 adults aged 18- to 30-years-old were investigated during the study. Researchers inquired about their physical activity levels and television-viewing habits and the impact these two factors had on cognitive performance.

During the 25-year follow-up, the participants were evaluated three times, and their habits monitored through questionnaires. The definition of low physical activity for the study meant that the participants burned less than 900 calories per week.

Watching too much TV, on the other hand, was defined as spending more than four hours a day in front of it. According to records, about 17 percent of the participants reported low physical activity, while 11 percent exceeded the limit for heavy TV-viewing.

Researchers found that one’s midlife habits set the stage for the next 20 or 30 years, and those who don’t meet the US recommended exercise standards and spend a lot of time in front of the TV have got it all set up for themselves.
Image Source: Huffington Post

The Kickstarter campaign can be found with #RebootTheSuit.

For the first time in its history, the Smithsonian is launching a save the spacesuit Kickstarter campaign, aiming to preserve the suit that walked upon the moon. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” were the famous words uttered 46 years ago by national hero Neil Armstrong.

They inspired the world and became a beacon in our history worldwide, reminding us that limitations are only barriers humankind is meant to break. But now, it’s mankind’s turn to make a step for one man, to donate and contain the spacesuit worn when humanity first landed on the moon.

The Smithsonian Institution has partnered up with online fundraising website Kickstarter for the first time in order to raise money that would provide enough funds to keep Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit in proper conditions. It has not been on display since 2006 and it has been deteriorating throughout the years, never meant to last this long in the first place.

What was deemed the “crown jewel” of the National Air and Space Museum will require restorations and a special case that will control its own climate to prevent the fabric from degenerating through time. And hopefully return to display in 2020.

The funds estimated to be needed for the conservation, digitization and proper exhibition of Neil Armstrong’s historic spacesuit are of $500,000 to be raised by the public within the standards Kickstarter tradition. The project, #RebootTheSuit will have one month, starting today, to reached its intended target, otherwise all money will be returned to the potential donors.

While asking for funds from private donors is nothing new for the Smithsonian, whose annual budget is of approximately $1.3 billion, this will allow the general population, history buffs and astronomy fans to contribute and help keep safe a piece of our history.

Supporters of the project will become eligible to win awards in lieu of their donations, such as a digitized poster of the spacesuit, a more sought after 3D print of Armstrong’s glove that went with the suit or the distinguished possibility of going behind the scenes at one of the most culturally and historically rich museums in the world.

It’s not a piece of treasure for just one generation, or two or three. It’s an icon for all future generations to come, an invaluable artifact to preserve and link us to all who will follow when mankind delves deeper into the exploration of outer space. When our children’s children could look upon it and say “That’s how it started.”.

Image source: motherboard.vice.com

Is lack of motivation one of the reasons you’re not keeping your New Year’s resolution to work out more this year? It is for most of us, and that’s why the next generation of Moov Now will come in handy for a lot of slackers.

Moov is a tech company that creates wearables to track your fitness activity and the latest model comes with an artificially intelligent personal trainer.

The wearable Moov band has an accompanying app that can train its user on five sports: swimming, cycling, running, cardio boxing, and bodyweight, coming with a seven-minute workout that anyone can do in their living room.

It only took two weeks for Moov to pull in more than $1 million from customers pre-ordering the wearable personal trainer. It all went down so quickly due to the Selfstarter campaign the company launched in February of 2014.

First devices started shipping last fall, and Moov has been making big money by selling tens of thousands of wearables via Amazon and their own website.

Even if it works a bit like Fitbit in tracking daily activity and sleep schedule, Moov has taken it to the next level by detecting and monitoring movement within a 3D space. The Move Now’s insides contain a gyroscope that detects rotation, an accelerometer, and a magnetometer required for the direction of movement.

Meng Li, co-founder Moov, explains that tracking steps isn’t so important if the users want to get fit – it’s more important that they are aware of the number of minutes of moderate exercise they get daily.

That’s why the Moov algorithm focuses on “speed, stride cadence, and landing impact while you run, cycle, or swim,” which are only some of the physical activities it can assist in.

The best thing that Moov Now has implemented is the personal trainer that talks to you in a Siri-like voice during your workout routine, an AI that can also suggest you better ways to improve your physical shape.

If you like to listen to music while you exercise, Moov has already thought of that too: Spotify has been integrated, and hearing your coach’s instructions over the music is not a problem, as the music fades in and out as needed.

It’s enough to use the workout band a few times before the coach gets to know your routine and places you on a level. If the coach has estimated your running to be at a 7 level and you put yourself on a level 3, she’ll notice and tell you to pick up the pace. Because the first generation of Moov had a very intense coach, the company had her toned down a bit in the Moov Now version.
Image Source: The Verge

Dulse Seaweed is now bacon-flavored.

A recent announcement informs that scientists at Oregon State University have invented the bacon-flavored seaweed. This is for the first time when a similar project has been developed offering consumers a product that is both healthy and tasty.

Junk food chains might have just met their worst enemy: the dulse seaweed, which promises to keep your body healthy and fit and to keep your taste buds begging for more. The new product was developed by scientists at the Oregon State University after trying to revamp the dulse seaweed and make it more attractive to consumers.

Their initiative has been very successful, if we were to judge on the numerous praises they have received. Dulse seaweeds normally grow in the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean, being highly appreciated among Asian populations, especially in its dried form.

Chuck Toombs, a member of the College of Business from the Oregon State University stimulated the minds of his students by asking them to think of a way to reinvent the plant. This experiment has led to a bacon-flavored dulse seaweed that becomes increasingly tastier as one fries it.

Nutritious experts have been impressed by the new invention, especially since dulse seaweed have such nutritious properties. Based on their declaration, this marine plant is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and proteins. As a matter of fact, the percentage of proteins is 16 times bigger than in the case of other similar plants.

Unfortunately, the plant has been avoided, so far by consumers because it did not have a very good taste. Scientists hope the new discovery will change people’s perception on dulse species and will increase its consumption.

The experiment that the Oregon State University has conducted has been acknowledged by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The institution has given researchers a grant to offer them support for additional experiments in this field.

Toombs has stated that the team of experts will continue to study these sea plants in order to find new ways to improve them. They estimate that they could soon release rice crackers and salad dressing that contain dulse as the main ingredient.

However, dulse production must mirror the increased market requests of seaweed; therefore, scientists will also look into the possibilities of growing dulse production among Oregon’s agricultural community. They believe they can boost production to 100 pounds per week as these sea plants only require small amounts of sea water and sun light.

Image source: thedailymeal.net

Google is determined to increase its presence among mobile users through its recent app Music Key.

According to Susan Wojcicki’s recent declaration during a conference in Aspen, Colorado, Google’s YouTube introduces Music Key to spruce up mobile usage. The app is expected to provide support to Google’s mobile users as the YouTube’s leader believes mobile devices represent the future of the online streaming platform.

Google is doing very well, in spite of recent rumors suggesting that the company has been outrun by Facebook and Apple. Leader Susan Wojcicki made this declaration to reassure customers and partners that the company is still registering growth, although the competition is rather strong.

According to Wojcicki, YouTube has a reliable base of users that accounts for billions of video lovers. This base is getting larger and larger, if we were to judge from the 50 percent growth that YouTube is registering each year.

Facebook’s decision to enter the video streaming business is not alarming the YouTube’s leader. On the contrary, Wojcicki believes there is significant difference between the service that Mark Zuckerberg’s social network is offering and the video options that YouTube puts forth. In her opinion, YouTube users are more attached to the videos they watch, they get actively involved in the process by searching and clicking videos.

Facebook, on the other hand, is an auto player, which means users are not free to interact with the videos they watch. They can’t leave messages, like or comment on a specific video, as YouTube allows users to do.

Susan Wojcicki understands the recent interest that social networks display towards video sharing websites. She believes many more companies will enter this domain because it is a huge market that it is worth investing in, particularly since young generations are drawn to it.

Google is also interested in making investments in the YouTube platform. For that matter, the company will provide mobile support to users because many customers have replaced the traditional PC with smart devices. Great part of YouTube’s views comes from mobile units; hence, the growing need to develop this field.

The first attempt in this sense was made last year when Google introduced Music Key, a mobile service for YouTube. The beta version of the app was available in exchange for $8, but the official version, which will be launched later this year will cost $10 a month.

Music Key has been provided with many tools that allow YouTube users to view their favorite videos, while performing other tasks on their smartphones. The app lets customers play ad-free videos, hear music offline and play videos in the background.

Unlike Apple and Spotify, YouTube’s Music Key was designed to meet users’ need of watching their favorite artists perform in music videos.

Image source: static01.nyt.com

Plutonium is highly unstable as a result of its impaired electronic cloud.

Scientists at the Department of Energy have made a groundbreaking discovery showing that neutrons are responsible for Plutonium’s lack of magnetism. This finding has provided an answer for all the questions that have been tormenting researchers for a long period of time in relation to the behavior of plutonium – a highly unstable chemical element.

Plutonium is very hard to study, especially since the substance is highly radioactive and special permissions are required in order for scientists to operate researches on it. Nevertheless, the team of experts from the Department of Energy has managed to obtain the approval of all national institutions after two years of anticipation.

They were, thus, able to conduct the first experiment on plutonium and to unravel the mystery behind its lacking magnetism. This chemical element, much like any other chemical substance, has an electronic cloud all around its nucleus.

The electronic cloud that surrounds the nucleus of the metal element contains a specific number of electrons. The magnetic field of a metal is usually determined by pairs of electrons, whose northern and southern poles get aligned when encountering a magnet.

Things are somewhat different in the case of plutonium, whose electrons are usually impaired and, for that matter, they often lack the magnetism they need to remain attached to magnets. In awe of the recent researches, scientists have discovered that the unpaired electron aligns the rest of the electrons in the cloud, rendering the magnetic field invalid.

The findings of the recent study have been identified with the help of the process called neutron scattering. This investigation technique is used in physics, physical chemistry, crystallography and other similar researches and it presupposes the scattering of neutrons through a given matter.

Marc Janoschek, the leader of the research, told the press that two particular behaviors of the platinum have been identified during the recent experiment. As a matter of fact, scientists were aware of the two tendencies of the plutonium, but hadn’t been able to confirm them until now because they lacked the necessary means of investigation.

According to Janoschek, the electrons surrounding the plutonium’s nucleus can one time arrange themselves around the ion; thus, producing magnetism. Other times, they delocalize themselves from the respective ion and they fail to produce the desired magnetism. This process is called quantum mechanical superposition, Janoschek concluded.

The findings were published in the journal Science Advances.

Image source: machineslikeus.com

Even though some of the African countries have been declared disease-free, the Ebola outbreak is not yet contained, as approximately 30 people are still reported as getting infected every week.

According to the statement that David Nabarro, the special UN envoy for Ebola, gave at the World Health Organization conference in Cape Town, this infection rate would normally be considered as the start of a major epidemic.

But WHO isn’t surprised by these new cases, as the crisis peaked at much larger infection rates. What is surprising, however – and worrying at the same time – is the fact that at least one in three new infected people are not on the contact list.

This means that new contamination chains are still forming, and there are more people still infecting others across West Africa. This Ebola outbreak is the worst one recorded, as it has already taken a death toll of more than 11 200 people.

Infection rates are definitely going down; but new cases appear weekly, such as the 17-year-old Liberian boy who tested positive for Ebola on June 30. This case is that much more concerning, as Liberia has been declared Ebola-free two months ago.

Liberia is not the only one still fighting to stop the spread, even though it was the worst-affected one. Sierra Leone and Guinea, its neighboring countries, are still struggling to achieve the status of being free of the disease.

In the meantime, the general population from the Ebola-hit countries is in danger of dying from common diseases due to the lack of doctors, midwives, and nurses. Liberia and its neighbors are going through a severe shortage of health workers, as many were lost during the outbreak.

The World Bank reported that almost 4000 women might experience complications during pregnancy and at birth because of this – so much so that maternal mortality might increase “in Guinea by 38 percent, 74 percent in Sierra Leone and more than 100 percent in Liberia.”

Markus Goldstein, chief economist at the World Bank, said that the loss of health workers in these countries might bring back the maternal deaths to the rates recorded 15-20 years ago. The same report showed that health workers were the most affected by the Ebola outbreak, more than any other demographic group.

With more than 500 health care workers dead, the already crippled healthcare systems is going to take another hit, and the mortality rate not related to Ebola is expected to rise even when the three countries will achieve disease-free status.
Image Source: The Sleuth Journal

Federal authorities are still slowly pacing around the issue of e-cigarette regulations, so state attorneys general have started their own campaigns against the advertising and selling e-the supposedly healthier cigarettes to minors.

Plenty of attorneys general have joined the cause, including those from Indiana, California, New York, and Ohio, and they are not shy to put legal pressure – local and state laws they have helped create – on the e-cigarette industry, starting from small vape shops to major tobacco companies like Reynolds American Inc. and Altria Group.

So far, the campaign mostly had to do with threats to sue those who don’t respect the laws in an attempt of building the companies’ sense of responsibility, but some lawsuits have also been filed.

Attorneys general have picked it up after a government report showed that in 2014 e-cigarette use has tripled among teens, exceeding the popularity that tobacco had among youngsters. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller explained the campaign’s target is preventing another generation from being nicotine-addicted.

Benefits and health risks of e-cigarettes are yet to be studied, which has prompted several AGs to urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to establish tougher regulation on use and selling practices.

This request was filed a year ago, prompting the agency to propose in April 2014 that e-cigarettes be banned from being sold to individuals under the age of 18. The problem is that the FDA did not mention anything about online sales or teenager-targeted advertising.

According to public health advocates, all of these areas that remained unregulated are factors in making the electronic devices more attractive to youngsters.

Because the FDA proposal is still under review, vaping is ramping up among youths in states that haven’t addressed the issue by passing laws to ban it. The agency is expected to give a final answer on the matter of e-cigarette regulations later this summer, but we are far from having any federal rules go into effect.

Selling e-cigarettes to minors has been banned in 46 states so far. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reports that 12 of those also have laws that require manufacturers to use child-proof packaging for e-cigarettes.

Until the FDA finally makes a move in this direction, AGs are using whatever laws they can to put pressure on companies which target teens in their e-cigarette advertising – whether those laws are directly tied to e-cigarettes or not.
Image Source: Snopes

Facebook has added new settings for your News Feed.

We invite you to take a look at Facebook’s News Feed settings as the social network has included new options to allow users to better organize the displayed information. The new tools give user the possibility to choose the information they want to view on top of their pages and to do away with the less interesting data.

Mark Zuckerberg has recently disclosed that Facebook’s News Feed page will be organized from now on, according to users’ preferences. This is possible due to the new tools that the social network has embedded, enabling users to follow or unfollow certain pages.

The first setting was inserted after users repeatedly complained that their News Feed pages are flooded by irrelevant pieces of information, which prevents them from seeing what they are really interested in. Thus, Facebook allows social networkers to place their favorite pages on top of the News Feed page, being able to quickly see their recent posts.

At the opposite pole, Facebook is also allowing users to unfollow certain page, so users would no longer be stressed by unnecessary posts. There is also the option to temporarily unfollow a friend or a page and then resume following him/her, once the queue of boring posts has finished.

The third feature that Facebook inserted is a menu that suggests users which pages or persons to follow, based on their previous preferences. The menu will pop-up as soon as users log into their profiles; however, they can later on choose whether they want to see more suggestions or not.

The current changes that Facebook is making are meant to render the News Feed a lot easier to read and to eliminate all the “white noise”. For that matter, the new options will not be displayed on this page, but rather inserted in the menu, underneath the “More” button.

Users will have to click on this button, access the Settings menu and choose which options they want to apply to their News Feed.

These features were first tested in Spain during a quiet experiment and the good feedback stimulated Facebook to spread them in other countries, as well. Users should be pleased with the new settings as they have many more possibilities to organize their friends and pages.

Image source: mshcdn.com

Did you know vampires are real? No, we don’t mean the Twilight-franchise kind of vampires, or the one with perfect skin presented in The Vampire Diaries.

Researchers inform us there are people out there sleeping in coffins and drinking blood because they self-identify as vampires. People who need psychotherapy and, from time to time, medical and emotional help.

The study was co-authored by D.J. Williams, chief of social work at Idaho State University, and Emily E. Prior, researcher at the College of the Canyons and published this month in the journal Critical Social Work. They had the rare occasion of interviewing 11 self-identified vampires from the United States and South Africa.

Unsurprisingly, the subjects said they were reluctant to make their identity public as they feared they would be labeled as having psychopathological tendencies or being incompetent in performing typical social roles, such as parenting.

However, according to Williams’ notes, the people he interviewed didn’t seem to fall out of the ordinary, functioning normally within appropriate communities. They were also rather ordinary from the psychiatric history point of view, with some of them achieving considerable success in their careers.

Williams’ opinion on vampirism is that it’s no different than the alternative identities adopted by other people, such as furries – fans of anthropromorphic animals – goths – fans of the darker side of things – or otherkin – those who think they are the reincarnation of mythic creatures.

He also believes that the highly digitalized social environment we live in is the perfect medium for people to develop such unconventional and unique identities, and vampirism is no exception; Williams wrote there’s more to come in the near future in terms of nontraditional identities, and clinicians should be prepared to deal with them.

What Williams emphasized the most in the study’s article is that mental health professionals – social workers, therapists or psychiatrists – who might come in contact with such people need to remember that self-identified vampires are just people who need help.

It might be a different kind of help than what those with mainstream identities need, but what they don’t need is people treating them like they are freaks of nature.

Vampire-people have normal jobs and perform various social roles. Just like regular people, they may deal with stress, health issues, relationship hiccups, or career transitions and they might need some help getting along the way.
Image Source: YouTube