Why does it feel so good to laugh? Research shows that humor activities not only regions of the brain associated with perception and language but also the nucleus accumbens, a region that has been linked to happiness and euphoria, this neutral region is a very powerful brain subsystem. Humor helps physicians to understand social behavior better. One’s sense of humor often dictates if, how, and with whom we establish friendships and even long-lasting romantic relationships. Humor also is a universal coping mechanism when faced with all varieties of stress.
Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Does it make any health difference whether you exercise by hiking up or down a steep incline? Researchers say that in some ways it might. Taking the stairs regularly is a simple and practical means to improving health. Researchers asked 69 sedentary employees to use the stairs at their place of work instead of the elevators. After 12 weeks, the workers aerobic capacity had increased by 8.6 percent, which gave them a 15 percent reduction in all-cause mortality risk. The workers also saw significant improvement in their blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, fat mass, and waist circumference. A study conducted on a mountain in the Alps where for two months 45 volunteers hiked up the 30-degree slope and rode a cable car back down. Then, for two months more, they did the opposite. While hiking in either direction helped lower bad cholesterol, the study suggested that hiking uphill was more effective for lowering levels of fats called triglycerides, [while] hiking downhill was better for reducing blood sugars and improving glucose tolerance.
Downhill exercise, therefore, may be good for diabetics and a bit easier for those just starting to exercise. For city dwellers, this can be accompanied in taller buildings by taking the elevator up and then walking down the stairs or by exiting a car at the top of a hill and meeting the car at the bottom. However, be aware that downhill exercise puts greater pressure on the knees.
The dog might be man’s best friend, but the world’s favorite animal is tiger, after a series of documentaries, each featuring one of ten animals, a poll of over 52,000 people from 73 countries put the tiger ahead of dog by just 17 votes. In third place is was the dolphin, followed by the horse, the lion, the snake, the elephant, the chimpanzee, the orangutan, and the whale. Animal behavior Dr. Candy d’Sa explained that humans can relate to the tiger, as it is fierce and commanding on the outside, but noble and discerning on the inside. In contrast, the dog is a loyal and respectful creature and brings out the lighter, more communicative side of human nature.
Conservationists welcomed the tiger’s victory. If people are voting for tigers as their favorite animal, it means they recognize their importance, and hopefully the need to ensure their survival. It is estimated that only 5,000 tigers remain in the wild.
At least 2.7 million Americans carry the hepatitis C virus, making it the most common blood-borne infection in the United States, says one research report. Hepatitis C is spread from person to person primarily by means of sexual contact or through infested blood. Those most at risk of contracting the disease are intravenous drug users who share needles.
People who engage in unprotected sex, in this category the youth is the most at risk. Because the youth are found to be complacent of the consequence of unprotected sex. They tend to think they are young and free from any infection. Lack of enough knowledge about sex among the youth also contributes the high incident of hepatitis C and they become careless. The importance of quality condoms cannot be overemphasizing.
The infection can also spread, however, by tattooists and acupuncturists who do not properly clean their equipment.
People who have received blood transfusions are also at risk.
Every year, about 1000 people in the United States receive liver transplants as a result of liver failure caused by the virus.
 GERMS IN THE OFFICE: University of Arizona microbiologists measured bacteria in offices in a number of U.S. cities. They found that the five most germ-contaminated spots were [in order] phones, desktops, water fountain handles, microwave door handles and keyboards, says the Globe and Mail newspaper. According to the report, the average desktop is home to 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more than the average toilet seat.
 CHRISTIANS ONLY IN WORDS: The Philippines has been referred to as the only Christian nation in the Asia. However, Bishop Efraim Tendero of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches stated: most of us are Christians only in words but not in our actions. As stated in the Manila Bulletin, part of the blame rests with church leaders, who fail to create awareness and appreciation of the Bible. Some church sermons are said to highlight politics rather than the Scriptures.
 HUMANS AND ANIMALS FIGHT FOR SUSTENANCE: Reports of baboons and hyenas attacking communities in drought-stricken Somalia are becoming common, states the Nairobi newspaper The East African. One fight over water left several baboons dead and some livestock raisers injured. Bands of monkeys are said to position themselves at strategic road intersections or on bridges to raid trucks ferrying provisions to local markets. The sight of animals making off with branches of bananas or large watermelons is common.
 SHIPPING AFFECTS COASTAL WEATHER: Maritime traffic on busy waterways can affect coastal weather, reports the German newspaper Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger. Researchers at the Max Planck Institutes for Meteorology, Hamburg, analyzed cloud formation over the English Channel. They found that clouds over coastal lands have become thinner, while those over waterways have become denser. The phenomenon is attributed to the exhaust fumes from ships. Soot particles emitted by the ships are believed to function as nuclei for condensation, increasing the formation of water droplets. In the last 50 years, the fuel consumption of shipping has more than quadrupled.
 CLIMBING STAIRS IMPROVES HEALTH: Taking the stairs regularly is a simple and practical means to improving health. Researchers asked 69 sedentary employees to use the stairs at their place of work instead of the elevators. After 12 weeks, the workers aerobic capacity had increased by 8.6 percent, which gave them a 15 percent reduction in all-cause mortality risk. The workers also saw significant improvement in their blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, fat mass, and waist circumference.
Saturday, 25 February 2017
Astronomers have discovered that they do not know what makes up over 90 percent of the universe. What is more, the discoveries that led to question their understanding of the fundamentals of physics itself. Of course, such questions are nothing new.
Toward the end of the 19th century, physicists observed something odd about the speed of light. They found that relative to an observer, light always traveled at the same speed no matter how fast the observer was moving. But that seemed to defy natural law! The problem was addressed in 1905 in Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity, which showed that distance [length], time, and mass are not absolutes. Then, after a flash of intuition that he termed “the happiest thought of my life,” Einstein began to develop his general theory of relativity, which he published in 1916. In this revolutionary work, Einstein wove gravity, space, and time together and refined the physics of Isaac Newton.
 THE GROWING UNIVERSE
Based on the evidence of the day, Einstein believed that the universe is static –neither expanding nor contracting. However, American astronomer Edwin Hubble, in 1929, presented evidence indicating that the universe is expanding or increasing.
Hubble also cleared up a long-standing mystery about certain fuzzy, luminous patches in the night sky, which were named nebulae because they appeared to be clouds of gas. But were all these nebulae within our galaxy, or were they outside it, as British astronomer Sir William Herschel [1738-1822] suggested over a century earlier?
When Hubble first estimated the distance to one of these entities, the Great Nebula in the constellation Andromeda, he concluded that the nebula was actually a galaxy a million light years away. That put it well beyond the Milky Way, which has a diameter of a “mere” 100,000 light years. As Hubble charted the distances to other nebulae, he began to unveil the enormous scale of the cosmos and triggered a revolution in astronomy and cosmology.
It was soon thereafter that Hubble observed that the universe is expanding, for he saw that distant galaxies were receding from us. He also noticed that the farther away the galaxy, the faster the recession. Those observations imply that the universe of yesterday was smaller than that of today. When Hubble published his groundbreaking work in 1929, he paved the way for the development of the big bang theory of the origin of the universe, which indicates that the universe originated in a cosmic explosion approximately 13 billion years ago. But the picture is incomplete.
Since the time of Hubble, astronomers have been trying to measure as accurately as possible the rate of expansion, referred to as the “Hubble constant” if astronomers could calculate how fast the universe is expanding, they could use that calculation to estimate its age. Moreover, the rate of expansion might have serious implications for the future. How so? It is reasoned that if, for instance, the universe is expanding too slowly, gravity might ultimately win out and cause everything to collapse in a final “big crunch”! But if the expansion is too rapid, the universe might expand forever and dissipate entirely.
While more precise measurements have provided answers to some questions, other questions have been raised –questions that cast doubt on our present understanding of matter and the fundamental forces of nature.
 DARK ENERGY AND DARK MATTER
Dark matter was postulated in the 1930’s and confirmed in the 1980’s. Today astronomers measure how much dark matter a cluster of galaxies may have by observing how the cluster bends light from more distant objects..
Researchers analyzing light from a special kind of supernova, or exploding star, found evidence that the expansion of the earth is actually accelerating! At first, the scientists were skeptical, but evidence soon mounted. Naturally, they wanted to know what form of energy was causing the accelerating expansion. For one thing, it seemed to be working in opposition to gravity; and for another, it was not predicted by present theories. Appropriately, this mysterious form of energy has been named DARK ENERGY, and it may make up nearly 75 percent of the universe.
Dark energy, however, is not the only “dark” oddly discovered in recent times. Another was confirmed in the 1980’s when astronomers examined various galaxies. These galaxies, as well as our own, appeared to be spinning too fast to hold together. Evidently, then, some form of matter must be giving them the necessary gravitational cohesion. But what kind of matter? Because scientists have no idea, they have called the stuff dark matter, since it does not absorb, emit, or reflect detectable amount of radiation. How much dark matter is out there? Calculations indicate that it could make up 22 percent or more of the mass of the universe.
According to current estimates, normal matter account for about 4 percent of the mass of the universe. The two big unknowns –dark matter and dark energy –appear to make up the balance. Thus, about 95 percent of the universe remains a complete mystery!
IN RECENT months, five people died in Peru as a direct result of drinking water from jungle sources that were contaminated by cocoa cultivation and cocaine processing. Among other toxic chemicals, kerosene, sulfuric acid, and ammonia are used to produce cocaine. These deaths were caused by the consumption of water from springs or streams into which the drug traffickers throw their highly toxic chemical wastes.
Even antinarcotics police who confiscate and destroy the hidden drug laboratories have been adversely affected by contact with poisonous residues. Many other jungle residents are also undergoing irreversible organic damage as a result of consuming the polluted water. The sad thing is that a large part of these settlers are unaware of the danger many of them are in. no doubt they are even people who have nothing to do with cocoa cultivation or processing.
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