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4.30.2009

Melting Poles

North Pole Melting




If last summer's record melting trend continues, the ice that usually floats on the surface of the Arctic Sea year-round may be gone by September. More than 70% of the current Arctic sea ice is less than a year old and only 60 inches deep. Mark Serreze, a senior researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, said there's a 50% chance that ice at the North Pole will melt completely this summer.

Planet Needs Polar Ice

Losing year-round polar ice could heat the planet faster than expected.

The Arctic ice pack helps cool the Earth in several ways:

  • The ice's reflective surface bounces the sun's rays back out of the atmosphere. Known as "albedo," this reflective property prevents rays from heating the ocean.
  • More ice keeps the ocean from absorbing heat.

Without the ice pack, the Earth's temperatures could rise:

  • Less ice means the ocean absorbs more heat, causing sea ice to melt even faster.
  • A rise in ocean temperatures may accelerate global warming.

"On any given day, sea ice cover in the oceans of the polar regions is about the size of the U.S.," said Thorsten Markus, a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "Far-flung locations like the Arctic and Antarctic actually impact our temperature and climate where we live and work on a daily basis." (Science Daily, 6/30/2005)

Ice in Antarctic Increases

Although Arctic sea ice is rapidly diminishing, the amount of sea ice worldwide hasn't changed much. This is because the sea ice sheath that forms around the Antarctic each year is growing.

Dylan C. Powell, co-author of a 2005 NASA-funded study, said that the increase in Antarctic sea ice is consistent with the study's projections.

"Findings from our simulations suggest a counterintuitive phenomenon," Powell said. "Some of the melt in the Arctic may be offset by increases in sea ice volume in the Antarctic." (Science Daily, 6/30/2005)

The Antarctic ice is expanding because the seasons at the South Pole are opposite to those at the North Pole. Melting sea ice in the north means there's more moisture in the atmosphere. This causes more precipitation worldwide. So more snow falls in the Antarctic where it is winter, forming greater quantities and thicker ice.

This increase of ocean ice in the Antarctic helps keep ocean levels constant, but may have as-yet-unknown consequences for the global climate.

Pole Ice Melt Depends on Weather

Though there is a good chance that the Arctic ice will melt by the end of the summer, it's not a certainty.

"It will probably come down to how cloudy it is this summer," Mahoney said, "If there's clear skies and if atmospheric patterns resemble last year's, you're going to see a lot more melt." (ABC News, 6/30/08)

Melting Arctic Ice Opens Northwest Passage

Melting Arctic sea ice isn't bad for everyone, though. For centuries, explorers looked for a shorter route between Europe and Asia, across the top of the world, but were thwarted by the year-round ice on the Arctic sea.

Last September, the legendary "Northwest Passage"—an open waterway from Greenland to Alaska—was navigable for the first time.

Andy Mahoney, a researcher at the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center said, "If the North Pole melted out, the shipping industry would be paying very close attention." (ABC news, 6/30/08)


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4.27.2009

About Obesity












What causes obesity?

Genetics - Genes play a part in how your body balances calories and energy. Children whose parents are obese also tend to be overweight. A family history of obesity increases your chances of becoming obese by about 25 to 30 percent. Heredity does not destine you to be overweight, but by influencing the amount of body fat and fat distribution, genes can make you more susceptible to gaining weight. You cannot change your genetic makeup by willpower any more than you can make yourself taller or shorter by wishing. But you can still achieve your weight loss goals even with a family history of obesity.

Culture - People learn to eat and cook the way in which they were brought up. Food choices and combinations are learned very early in life. Social events and family rituals are often centered around large meals.

Today's culture promotes eating habits that contribute to obesity. People may serve large portions and foods that are most readily available instead of choosing foods that are most nutritious. Cooking with butter, chocolate and other high-caloric foods is a normal part of the American diet. Also, food is often used as a reward in this country. Children are treated to sweets for cleaning their room, and the team is taken for pizza or ice cream after the game. Seldom is eating only when hunger is present.

Physical Inactivity – Overweight people are usually less physically active than normal weight adults. Seriously overweight people may have difficulty moving. The additional weight can cause pain in the feet, knees and ankles. It can cause shortness of breath, making you feel tired quickly. Also, we have so many labor-saving devices now that it is difficult for people to get exercise in the amounts the body requires. For example, we drive to the corner store for a frozen dinner. We drive home, click the garage door opener and relax on the couch with the remote control. All these devices can keep us from physical activity.

Emotional or Psychological Factors - Food is often a source of solace or celebration. If we feel blue, we may turn to food. If we celebrate a new job or birthday, we may go out to a big dinner. If a friend is grieving, we bake them a pie. Often as children, parents told us to clean our plates. Food carries many significant memories from our past. Food may be your best friend. Food may become less important in your life after weight loss, especially if you have surgery. Weight loss will allow you to acquire new interests in your life and become more active and varied in your activities.

Gender - Muscle uses more energy than fat does. Men have more muscle than women, and burn 10 percent to 20 percent more calories than women do at rest. For this reason, women are more likely to be obese.

Age - As you get older, the amount of muscle in your body tends to decrease, and fat accounts for a greater percentage of your weight. This lower muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolism. Your metabolism also slows with age. Together, these changes reduce your calorie needs. If your food intake is not adjusted, you will gain weight.

High-fat / High-Calorie Diet - Ounce for ounce, fat provides more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates (nine calories for fat versus four calories for carbohydrates). This energy difference may explain how fat promotes weight gain. Yet even when caloric intake is the same, a person eating a high-fat diet tends to store more excess calories as body fat than someone eating a lower fat diet. Often low-fat foods are high in calories.

Medical Problems - Less than 2 percent of all cases of obesity can be traced to a metabolic disorder, such as low thyroid function or hormonal imbalances.


How To Prevent Obesity?

Be Active
Simple activities, such as climbing the stairs instead of using lifts, morning and evening walk in the park and swimming, can bring about tremendous changes in your lifestyle. Such activities will not only help you burn excess fat, but also help you stay active. Start doing light to moderate exercises for thirty minutes, five times a week. Switch over to the tough exercises, once you have gained stamina and strength. You may also join a health club or gym and socialize with like-minded individuals.

Keep A Check On Your Weight
Monitor your weight regularly. Weigh yourself at least once a week. This will help you figure out how much extra flab you have lost by doing simple activities or workout. In case you are being inactive and not eating healthy, you will be aware of the weight gain at an early stage. This will prevent your weight gain from being too much to get off.

Drink Plenty Of Water
Drinking lots of water will help your body detoxify all the impurities present in the system. Doctors recommend that you to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. Having a glass of warm water in the morning, with half a lemon squeezed in it, is also a good idea. Remember, water cleanses and rejuvenates your skin as well.

Stay Away From Junk Food
One of the prerequisites of staying healthy is avoiding junk foods. The smart way to stay away from junk food is not to buy them at all! Avoid frequenting the fast food chains. Keep junk food out of your house as well. If you really like stuff like pizza and burgers, indulge in them not more than once or twice a month.

Eat Slowly & Only When You Are Hungry
Do not cut any of the three meals per day. Rather, divide them into small meals, stretched over a gap of 2-3 hours. At the same time, cut off high-calorie snacks in between the meals. Eat small portions of food and do not gulp them down. Do not stuff yourself with food when you are not hungry. Eat only when your body signals you to have food. Eat slowly because the stomach takes some time to feel ‘full’.

Diet
Your diet should be balanced, with fruits, vegetables and whole grains included in it. An obese adult should have at least five servings of low-sugar fruits and vegetables on a day. A vegetable serving shall include one cup of raw or one and half cup of cooked vegetables. One piece of fresh fruit and one and half cup of canned fruit are included in a serving of fruit. You should avoid fruits and vegetables that are high in calories, like mango.




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4.24.2009

Animal Testing










Your choice in cosmetic products will not only impact your personal health but also the life and health of laboratory animals. Tens of millions of animals a year are tortured by shocking, burning, poisoning, and mutilation for various animal experiments in the U.S.. Millions of these animals are killed unnecessarily to test the safety of cosmetics and household products. These animals include dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and primates.

Some examples of tests performed on these animals include:

The Draize Eye Test
The application of irritating and toxic substances to the eyes of animals. These animals are held in stocks to keep them from dislodging these substances and usually go blind from the tests. These animals suffer intense pain in these tests which can last up to 21 days. When the test is complete these animals may be killed or used for other tests.

Dermal Toxicity Test
Animals have potentially caustic substances applied to their shaved skin while in immobilizing devices to determine irritation levels.

Lethal Dose Tests
Force feeding, injection or inhalation of substances to determine the quantity or concentration that will cause death.

These various tests cause the animals to have convulsions, vomiting, diarrhea, paralysis, and bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth and skin. The duration of these types of tests can last from months to years.

These tests do not guarantee what a reaction might be of these test substances on humans. Also, these tests do not guarantee the safety of products that end up on shelves. This is seen in the fact that conventional personal care products contain substances recognized as hazardous and continue to cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.


We do not need to test on animals to have safe and effective personal care products. The use of potentially harmful synthetic products are driving an inhumane practice of torturing animals.




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4.22.2009

How Do Cats Sleep?


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4.21.2009

Bacon sandwich really does cure a hangover


Bacon sandwich really does cure a hangover

The reaction between amino acids in the bacon and reducing sugars in the fat is what provides the bacon sandwich with its appeal Photo: GETTY

Researchers claim food also speeds up the metabolism helping the body get rid of the booze more quickly.

Elin Roberts, of Newcastle University's Centre for Life said: "Food doesn't soak up the alcohol but it does increase your metabolism helping you deal with the after-effects of over indulgence. So food will often help you feel better.

"Bread is high in carbohydrates and bacon is full of protein, which breaks down into amino acids. Your body needs these amino acids, so eating them will make you feel good."

Ms Roberts told The Mirror: "Bingeing on alcohol depletes neurotransmitters too, but bacon contains a high level of aminos which tops these up, giving you a clearer head."

Researchers also found a complex chemical interaction in the cooking of bacon produces the winning combination of taste and smell which is almost irresistible.

The reaction between amino acids in the bacon and reducing sugars in the fat is what provides the sandwich with its appeal.

Ms Roberts said: "The smell of sizzling bacon in a pan is enough to tempt even the staunchest of vegetarians. There's something deeper going on inside. It's not just the idea of a tasty snack. There is some complex chemistry going on.

"Meat is made of mostly protein and water. Inside the protein, it's made up of building blocks we call amino acids. But also, you need some fat. Anyone who's been on a diet knows if you take all the fat from the meat, it just doesn't taste the same. We need some of the fat to give it the flavour."

She explained that the reaction released hundreds of smells and flavours but it is the smell which reels in the eater. "Smell and taste are really closely linked," she said. "If we couldn't smell then taste wouldn't be the same."



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Nerd glasses protect you from Bokito the Gorilla


Nerd glasses protect you from Bokito the Gorilla

It all started on May 18th when a gorilla named Bokito escaped from the Rotterdam Zoo. It was during his daring escape that the animal attacked a female visitor, because he didn’t much care for the way her shifty eyes looked at him. Humans in charge decided that the woman’s direct eye contact led to the attack, since gorillas aren’t down with that.

That’s when health insurance company FBTO stepped in and offered a solution that makes everyone look like a dork. They distributed over 2,000 nerd glasses. Now instead of gorilla attacks, everyone kicks everyone elses ass and wedgies are a dime a dozen. You’ll note that in the upper right Luke Skywalker is chillin’ with a smoke, while below, Moby looks pretty much unchanged.





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The 10 Most Visually Stunning Movies of the Last 10 Years



Fountain

Now that I’m about to be disappointed by every blockbuster coming out in May, I’m looking ahead to the next project that I’m truly excited about.

That would be James Cameron’s Avatar coming in December which promises to completely change the way we view movies. I’m sure the movie is going to be visually unforgettable, and I decided to take a look back at other similarly jaw dropping films of recent memory.

No worries about plot here, this is purely a beauty contest. Let me know what I forgot.

1) Sunshine

Sunshine

Sunshine

Sunshine

Sunshine

Danny Boyle’s sci-fi masterpiece had an endless parade of solar glamor shots.

2) Speed Racer

Speed Racer

Speed Racer

Speed Racer

Speed Racer

Speed Racer

Everyone may have hated it, but you can’t honestly say you’d seen anything like it before.

3) The Fall

Way, way out there, but way, way too good looking to not be included here.

Fall

Fall

Fall

Fall

Fall

4) Sin City

Sin City

Sin City

Sin City

Sin City

sin

More than just black and white, Sin City created a comic bookish visual style all its own.

5) The Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix

The Matrix

The Matrix

The Matrix

The Matrix

What? Not the original? No. Though light on story, the sequel was the visually superior of the two, thanks no doubt to a vastly increased budget.

6) What Dreams May Come

Dreams

Dreams

Dreams

Dreams

Dreams

Heaven, Hell and everything in between were rendered beautifully in this movie that was way ahead of its time.

7) 300

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it’s gorgeous. And no, I’m not talking about the leatherbound chiseled men aspect of it.

300

300

300

300

300

8 ) Hero

Often overlooked in favor of its more popular predecessor, Crouching Tiger, Hero was actually both the better film and the better looking of the two.

Hero

300

300

300

300

9) Transformers

Transformers

Transformers

Transformers

Transformers

Transformers

Say what you want about the absurdity of the toy-based film, it truly took special effect integration in movies to a completely new level.

10) The Fountain

I hated this movie with a passion, but I absolutely could not look away the entire time, and I still listen to the soundtrack to this day. It’s more like an art exhibition than an actual film.

Fountain

Fountain

Fountain

Fountain







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