Considering Oneself Lazy Could Actually Be Damaging To The Health

lazy man

Considering yourself lazy may reportedly be more damaging than actually being lazy.

People that perceive themselves as being “lazy” or less physically active could be harming their health in ways they wouldn’t even believe. According to a new study, these allegedly present a higher risk of dying young than people with similar activity levels but other perceptions.

Stanford University researchers are behind this new survey. They based their research on data gathered from three nationally representative samples. These included information on over 61,000 U.S. adult residents. Survey participants were monitored over a period of 16 years, in between 1990 and 2006. Mortality data for all the participants was collected in 2011.

Study participants were asked to answer various questions about their activity levels. Two of the samples had them self-report these levels, and to include type, intensity, duration, and frequency. For the other sample, the people involved were asked to wear an accelerometer. This measured their real-time activity throughout a week.

Being Lazy and Considering That You Are Lazy Lead to Different Results

All participants were also asked to answer a specific question. “Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about as active as other persons your age?”

According to the study results, the difference in between actual physical levels and the people’s perception of it was quite significant.

“Our perceptions about how much exercise we are getting and whether or not we think that exercise is adequate are influenced by many factors other than how much exercise we are actually getting,” stated Octavia Zahrt, who was part of the study.

Another surprising study find is that participants that perceived themselves as being lazy or lazier were also 71 percent more likely to die during the follow-up period of the study. The values remained the same even after controlling for the actual amount of physical activity. Or for age, chronic illnesses, and other health and demographic factors.

All study participants were asked to report their age, gender and race/ethnicity. They were also asked about their education, employment, and marital status, as well as other demographic and health data. They also had to self-rate their health on a scale of one (excellent) to five (poor).

The study team points out that they found a correlation, not a relation between the life expectancy and the perceived activity levels. Still, they note that other studies have indicated the importance of the mindset on behavior and health.

Current study results are available in APA’s journal Health Psychology, and further research is still needed.

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Exposure To Oil Is Damaging To Coral Reef Fish

coral reef fish

Coral reef fish can have long term problems because of their early exposure to oil.

Coral reef fish have a hard time as they grow up because of their being exposed to oil in the early stages of their life, at least according to a new study. Even small amounts of this chemical substance in marine environments can lead to more problems than believed.

Research on the matter was conducted by US, Australian, and Norwegian scientists. They published their results in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. The paper also brings to attention the risks provoked by an increased industrial activity in regions such as the Great Barrier Reef.

Coral Reef Fish Impaired by Oil As They Look For Home

Study results are based on tests carried out in simulated marine environments which housed six reef fish species. These were all part of the Lethrinidae and Pomacentridae families. All of them can be found swimming in the Great Barrier Reef.

The team introduced minimal amounts of oil in their simulated environments, and then monitored the fish. According to a study co-author, Dr. Jodie Rummer from the James Cook University, the results were “quite alarming”.

The oil concentration in the simulated environments was reportedly the equivalent of ‘a few drops of oil’ in a swimming pool. Even so, they caused significant problems especially to the coral reef fish exposed to them in their early life stages.

These were noted to be worse at escaping from possible predators. Or at choosing a habitat for them to live in. The fish were also observed to be traveling in smaller groups and also towards more dangerous and open waters.

“In such early life stages, if these reef fishes are exposed to oil, they’re experiencing some really dangerous cognitive difficulties,” states Dr. Rummer.

As the coral reef fish seem unable to make proper decisions, this could also lead to “their ultimate demise” according to the study co-author. Oil could be affecting the fish’s neurotransmitters function in the brain.

The study specifically looked at emperor and damselfish that typically live in tropical coral reefs. These brightly colored fish play a significant role in the reef’s survival, as they help remove algae. They are also part of the local food chain as larger fish species prey on them.

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Research Unearth New Remains Of Massive Jurassic-Era Crocodile Ancestor

crocodile ancestor jaws

Research results concerning fossil remains of a crocodile ancestor called notosuchian were recently released.

Researchers discovered new fossil remains belonging to a massive crocodile ancestor that lived and was probably an apex predator during the Jurassic Period era. The animal could have weighed about a ton and been around seven meters long.

This Jurassic-Era ancestor is an elusive notosuchian part of the archosaurian, some of the most fearsome predators before the appearance of the T-rex. Only a few remains of the specimens of this species have been discovered.

Crocodile Ancestor, Apex Predator

This new fossil, a jaw part, was discovered in north-west Madagascar, near the village of Ambondromamy. A closer analysis of these remains helped paint a clearer picture of what this elusive animal must have looked like.

For example, it revealed that it had strong, very large and probably deadly teeth. Ones possibly measuring some 15 centimeters from root to tip. These might have also presented serrated edges on the inner side, ones perfect for tearing into prey and breaking tendons and bones.

The teeth were also particularly wide and also expanded at the root. Their shape, resembling halved bananas, are called “pachydont teeth”. This also resembles the broad T-rex teeth more than it does any other of its close relations.

Cristiano Dal Sasso, the study’s author, states that the creature was about the size of a big saltwater crocodile.

“”Based on the preserved skull bones, we infer a body shape similar to that of baurusuchids, and consequently an overall length of 7 metres – 1.6m wide at the hips – and a weight of 800-1,000 kilograms,” states the lead, Dal Sasso.

The newly discovered crocodile ancestor is called Razanandrongobe sakalavae or, for short, Razana. It is believed to be the ‘most ancient’ and also largest notosuchians. It is some 42 million years older than the next known oldest specimen.

Study results are available in the journal PeerJ.

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Kuiper Belt Mysterious Object Lurks Behind Pluto

Kuiper Belt mysterious Object

A Kuiper Belt mysterious object was found just behind far regions of the Solar System

Two researchers at the University of Arizona are of the opinion that there is a hidden planetary-mass object orbiting the Sun beyond Pluto in our solar system. The researchers from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) are of the hypothesis that the planetary-mass object is, in terms of size, between Mars and Earth. The Kuiper Belt mysterious object was found because it has a perceived ability to control the orbital planes of spaces rocks (or KBOs).

Kuiper Belt Mysterious Object Lurks Behind Pluto

The two authors of the research, Kat Volk and Renu Malhotra, have said that:

“According to our calculations, something as massive as Mars would be needed to cause the warp that we measured”.

The Kuiper Belt mysterious object is supposed to be different from and closer than the Planet Nine, which was not yet demonstrated to actually exist. Rather, it is only a theoretical finding.

For the present study regarding the Kuyper Belt mysterious object, Volk and Renu researched more than 600 KBOs trying to determine the common – or average – direction and tilt of their orbital planes.

The two researchers from the University of Arizona note that the Kuiper Belt mysterious object was not spotted, yet, in the Kuiper Belt. However, they are confident that, after the finishing of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, they will be able to better spot and discover hidden worlds like this one.

While most KBOs – which are debris remained from the formation of the solar system – orbit the sun with orbital tilts, or inclinations, with an invariable plane of the solar system, the farthest KBOs do not. Per the two researchers’ discovery thus far, this Kuiper Bet mysterious object is titled away from the invariable plane by about 8 degrees. Which is more than enough evidence that a planetary-mass object is interfering with the orbital tilting.

Image Source: Pixabay

New Sun-Less Suntan Compound Could Be Beneficial For The Skin

suntan compound bottle

Researchers are working on a suntan compound that can help create a tan and possibly prevent skin cancer.

Scientists from the Harvard University and the Massachusetts General Hospital is developing a suntan compound that can create a tan without having to sit in the sun. Besides its potential cosmetic value, the scientists are looking to develop this as a new possible protection method against skin cancer.

The new suntan compound could come to be used in conjunction with sunscreen and revolves around melanin. This is the pigment in both the human skin, hair, and eyes that give them their color.

Suntan Compound Still in the Testing Phase

These latest results are based on a study conducted back in 2006, but almost the same team. At the time, the scientists discovered that forskolin, a plant extract, could lead to cancer-protecting tan in red-haired mice. Still, this compound was proven ineffective in humans, so the group looked in a different direction.

Now, the researchers are working on a new such solution, one created from a different class of compounds. Lab tests on both mice and human skin samples have also shown its potential efficiency. This class of compounds was noted to be capable of boosting the skin pigmentation process. It also proved its efficiency in ‘squeezing’ through the outer layers of the epidermis.

The suntan compound works by twitching Salt Inducible Kinase (SIK) enzymes in the skin. These are the melanin production “master off switch”. Once applied, the compound can generate a large production of melanin, capable of ‘tanning’ even the fairest skin tones.

Initially, the solution was tested on red-haired mice and then on human skin samples. Based on these tests, the team determined that the tanning response could be modified by adjusting the frequency of use and dosage. Nonetheless, its effects could last for days without the need of reapplying.

Once the researchers stopped reapplying the solution, which simply has to be rubbed on, the skin returned to its natural tone within a couple of weeks.

The scientists are hoping that used together with sunscreen, this new suntan compound can help reduce the risks of skin cancer. Further research is needed, as well as clinical trials before the compound can transform into a commercially available product.

The results of the study are available in a paper in the journal Cell Reports.

Image Source: Pixabay

The IKEA Smart Lights Will Come With Support For Siri, Alexa, And More

ikea smart lights bulbs

IKEA announced that its smart lights would come with increased connectivity options for digital assistants such as Alexa.

Earlier this week, IKEA issued a press release which announced the increased connectivity of its smart lights range. This will soon come with integrated support for Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and HomeKit, and the Google Assistant.

IKEA’s smart light bulb, called Trådfri, can presently only be controlled via an app or remote control. Still, it will soon offer integration with a digital assistant at the user’s choice.

IKEA’s Smart Lights, Just a First Step in the Smart Home Products Area

IKEA is one of the biggest furniture sellers in the world as it operates in 28 countries through 340 stores. Which could also mean that it is one of the most likely and capable retailers to introduce smart home appliances to tech-savvy users.

The company’s smart lights are already available in a number of selected countries. Their digital assistant integration may also help them become more accessible.

“By ensuring that our products work with others on the market, we take another step to meet people’s needs and make it easier to interact with the products for the smart home,” said Björn Block.

He is the leader of the IKEA Home Smart. Jeanette Skjelmose, the Business Area Manager for Lighting and IKEA Home Smart, also stated that the division considers that smart home technology should be accessible to anyone.

The Trådfri range of smart lights includes a number of sensing, remote-controlled, and dimming light fixtures. It also comes with the “Gateway”, a hub device which enables the connectivity with the user’s home network.

Now controlled through an app, this will also be used for the digital assistant integration. It will also support its connectivity with thermostats, ceilings fans, and other smart home appliances. The integration and support should start being rolled out sometime in the latter half of 2017 and will first become available to US and UK users.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Google Honored The Anniversary Of The Antikythera Mechanism With New Doodle

Antikythera mechanism

Google brought homage to the Antikythera mechanism by transforming it into a doodle for its anniversary.


Earlier this week, Google released another one of its already famous doodles. Its latest subject was the Antikythera mechanism or what is considered as being one of the world’s first computers.

This doodle made its debut on May 17th, a date which marks the 115th anniversary of the discovery of this unique relic. Discovered by Greek scientists, this is now part of the collections of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

The Antikythera Mechanism and Its Complex Nature and History

The mechanism got its name from the place in which it was discovered. Back in 1902, Valerios Stais, a Greek archeologist, detected a “corroded chunk of metal” as he was sifting through artifacts recovered from a shipwreck in Antikythera.

The particular piece looked like a wheel or gear. Further research revealed that it was, in fact, a part of the Antikythera mechanism. This is the ancient variant of an analog astronomical computer.

“The Antikythera mechanism tracked planetary positions, predicted lunar and solar eclipses, and even signaled the next Olympic Games. It was probably also used for mapping and navigation,” stated Google.

In the same post to announce its release, the company also offered some historical data about the ‘device’. The mechanism features a frontal dial, which offers both solar and zodiacal calendars. On its back side, it came with several other dials, which represented the celestial cycles.

Thanks to 3D tomography, scientists were able to generate computer models of the Antikythera mechanism. These revealed its complex system, based on over 30 “sophisticated gears” as intricate as even some 18th-century clocks. All these pieces are contained by a case, about the size of a shoebox, made out of bronze and wood.

Initially, the mechanism was believed to date back to about 85 BC. The latest research suggests that it may be even older. More precisely, it could date back to around 150 BC.

Specialists continue studying this impressive mechanism and its inner workings as they are also trying to find its exact purpose. Google stated, through its doodle, that the Antikythera mechanism can still open “a skyful of knowledge and inspiration”.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Meet Zuul, The Ankylosaur With A Ghostbusters Inspired Name

zuul ankylosaurus head

A team of scientists just named a newly discovered species of Ankylosaurus the Zuul crurivastator.

In a new publication in the Royal Society Open Science, researchers revealed their recent discovery of the Zuul crurivastator. The specimen, a new genus of the Ankylosaurus species, was discovered in the Judith River Formation of northern Montana.

As the team pointed out, this is the most intact ankylosaurus specimen found in North America to date. Bearing a Ghostbusters-inspired name, the newly discovered dinosaur bears a striking resemblance to the demonic demigod of the same name featured in the movie.

Crurivastator” or the latter part of its name translates to “destroyer of shins”. Contradictory to its ominous title, this dinosaur was not a predatory animal. Instead, it appears to have been a peaceful vegetarian. One that reserved its clubbed tail only for predators.

The species most likely roamed North America, particularly the Judith River Formation area. It did so during the late Cretaceous period, about 75 million years ago.

Zuul Is Quite An Extraordinary Discovery

Typical finds from the Judith River Formation consists of teeth and bone fragments. The discovery of a partially mummified specimen with preserved soft tissue is considered exceptionally rare. Researchers also refer to this new specimen as ROM 75860 and regard it as one of the best finds from this region to date.

It could very well be the most complete ankylosaur skeleton found in North America, ever. With a complete skull, tail club, and viable soft tissue, it could prove to be of great help. Thanks to Zuul, scientists may better identify other ankylosaurines in future digs.

“ROM 75860 represents a new ankylosaurine genus and species, Z. crurivastator from the Judith River Formation.”

The completeness of the Zuul crurivastator makes it a pretty important as it could also help researchers better understand the evolution of the ankylosaur in the late Cretaceous period. It could also potentially indicate the richness in biodiversity of the Judith River Formation of northern Montana. In its turn, this may also place the region on the map for future potentially abundant finds.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Facebook Is Out To Develop A New Brain To Computer System

computer system users

During the F8, Facebook revealed its plans for a new brain to computer system and interface.

In its second day of the F8 event, Facebook revealed that it is looking to develop a new brain to computer system and interface. This will allegedly allow its user to type directly with their mind.

The company is even looking to create a tech that will allow its users to “hear” with their skin. This new, ambitious tech is being developed by a team of over 60 people, all part of the R&D Division.

Details on these revolutionary plans came from Regina Dugan. She is the head of the R&D Division Building 8. The information was released during the second day of the F8. This is an annual software and developer conference hosted by Facebook in San Jose, California.

As part of the presentation, Facebook released a demo video meant to present this new tech’s abilities and applications. The company is aiming to create a software that will allow its users to type up to 100 words per minute. This is around five times faster than the average writing speed on a smartphone. Also, this new technology will be exclusively brain-powered, which would make its speed even the more impressive.

Dugan stated that: “It is these words, words that you have already decided to send to the speech center of your brain that we seek to turn into text.”

Also, she stated that Facebook will be looking to develop a non-invasive such technology. One that could also become a “speech prosthetic” for people with disabilities, disorders, or even a new AR input method.

The Brain to Computer System Is Not The Only Innovation

The secretive Building 8 is also reportedly developing a “hear through your skin” technology. According to Dugan, this will be based on the “Tacoma Method” and a special arm sleeve. This latter comes with an actuator system, which lets the user “feel the acoustic shape of a word on her arm”.

Presently, this system still has a limited “tactile vocabulary”. As it is, Dugan emphasized the fact that both these technologies are still in the making. As such, they are still some years away from being ready.

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Scientists Achieved A New Breakthrough In Stem Cell Therapies

stem cell therapies

A team of scientists has managed to achieve another breakthrough in the area of stem cell therapies.

A team of scientists has managed to achieve another breakthrough in the area of stem cell therapies. They were able to create totipotent stem cells in the lab. This is the first time ever to achieve such a feat and follows the creation of pluripotent stem cells.

Scientists Will Try To Develop New Stem Cell Therapies Based On Such Totipotent Cells

This new breakthrough was achieved by an international team of researchers coming from the California Salk Institute and the Chinese Peking University. Study results were published in the Cell journal. They were able to create the totipotent stem cells from both cultured mouse and human such cells.

Totipotent stem cells are known to be able to form tissues capable of providing embryonic support. At the same time, they may also offer extra-embryonic tissues, for example, the amniotic sac and the placenta.

“This is the first study reporting the derivation of a stable stem cell type that shows totipotent-like bi-development potential towards both embryonic and extra-embryonic lineages”.

This is according to Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a Salk Professor, and researcher involved in the study. The team was able to divide the new cells into either totipotent or pluripotent stem ones, while still early on in the development process.

They were able to do so thanks to a new chemical cocktail. This was able to stabilize the cells before the division process and this prolonged their versatility. As such, the researchers dubbed their result EPS cells or “extended pluripotent stem cells”.

Based on the new chemical cocktail, the team was able to create various stem cell therapies. More exactly, they were able to form chimeras or a collection of embryonic cells coming from different zygotes. According to Izpisua Belmonte, the new, totipotent-like stem cells line may have a “broad and resounding impact” in the stem study field.

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