Do you ever get the urge to rebel against something your told not to? I’m sure most of you would say “YES”! Most of us do it for the ‘high’ and adrenaline rush that we experience. Ever since we have been children, curiosity grows in us to go against what we are told not too, this continues in to our adult lives as well. Especially, when it comes to ‘drugs’. Those are a big “NO NO” our parents, teachers and elderly would say. So the questions arises, is marijuana really as bad as it is said to be, or are there benefits that make this ‘gateway drug’ a positive addition to our health.
Source: Flickr Commons. Marijuana Plant
Surprisingly, there are 5 health benefits associated with Marijuana:
1) Suppresses Cancer
Source: Flickr Commons. Cancer Cells
A study that took place in 2012, found that marijuana had a compound within it that was able to suppress and kill aggressive cancers such as leukemia.
2) Reduces Blood Pressure
Source: Flickr Commons. Blood Pressure
A study from 2005-2010, showed that users of marijuana compared to non-users, had a 17% reduction in insulin resistance levels.
3) Treatment of Glaucoma
Source: Flickr Commons. Optometry Equipment
When marijuana is consumed orally or by inhalation, it helps to lower eye pressure that leads to blindness with people who suffer from glaucoma.
When we think of electric vehicles we think of positives. We think about helping the environment, reducing emissions, better fuel economy, and making a difference. However, just like Newton quoted almost 400 years ago, “for every action there is also an equal and opposite reaction”.
Let us look at the darker side of electric vehicles, the side we often overlook.
Tesla’s electric car Image courtesy: Wikipedia commons
Although it is true that electric vehicles have better fuel economy than conventional vehicles, as well as zero tailpipe emissions, there are also many downsides to electric vehicles, both environmentally and economically.
Use of electric cars may be environmentally friendly, however the production of electric car batteries is far from clean. With almost 110 pounds of graphite needed per electric car battery, graphite pollution has raised health concerns, as well as polluted both rain and local crops. In response to the pollution associated with graphite production, major processing plants have closed to reduce emissions. China, one of the largest exporters of graphite, has recently been under “unbearable smog” as a result of graphite processing. A push for reducing graphite production has seen the cost of graphite increase over 30% just this year.
Current smog over China Image Courtesy: Wikipedia commons
If the environmental disadvantages associated with electric vehicles were not enough, electric cars also pose a large economic risk. Although it may be hard to see at first, many states are already imagining a world run solely on electric vehicles, and have reacted accordingly. Recently New Jersey has banned Tesla’s electric vehicles state-wide, something other states have already begun to do as well.
Without an internal combustion system like conventional cars, electric vehicles are basically just large batteries. No spark plugs, fuel pumps, air filters, timing belts. No need to change the oil either (because it doesn’t have any). Essentially Tesla has created an “app on four wheels“, and this is something that both car dealers and repair shops fear. A future full of electric cars means a future without automotive repair. Despite the benefits of not needing to worry about servicing your vehicle, automotive repair plays a significant role in providing jobs, something that is currently in high demand.
So next time you or someone you know is looking at purchasing an electric vehicle, know that to everything good there is also a downside. If you want to hear more about the economic impacts of electric vehicles, Elon Musk describes just how it all works at the Tesla 2013 shareholder meeting.
What if it was possible to bring back the woolly mammoths? Should we do it, or would it be unethical to bring back a species that went extinct thousands of years ago?
From Wikipedia Commons
Woolly mammoths first appeared over 200,000 years ago and are similar to modern elephants but were adapted to the cold environment of the last ice age.
Recently scientists have found a female woolly mammoth that was about 2.5 years old buried in ice in Russia. This specimen was extremely well preserved due to the ice, which is remarkable since it was alive 39,000 years ago. The mammoth that they found still had fur and its internal organs mostly intact, most importantly scientist were able to extract mammoth blood.
The cloning process can only begin if the DNA is found to be useable and undamaged. Also since cloning is a relatively new process, methods would have to be created to do so and if scientists are successful in cloning the mammoth this could revolutionize the field of cloning. Also if it is possible, it could even be used to bring back endangered species.
The main problem is whether or not we should do it because woolly mammoths had their chance and evolution selected against them. If scientists are successful in cloning the mammoth then that would be the only one of its entire species alive and in an environment that it is hardly even adapted to.
Being the center of attention for beauty, there’s always a disadvantage for women when it comes to appearance. Adding influence from peers and media, it is no surprise for women to get frustrated after a failed diet. However, what really hits home to many is the rumour that men lose weight more quickly than women. Why is it that woman have to try much harder to obtain the same results? Or is that really the case? Many believe that men have an advantage when it comes to losing weight. There are countless of anecdotes featuring women struggling through a sweaty journey to lose a mere pound or two while men seem to portray this same journey just by cutting out junk food, hitting the gym and watching the weight drop off – a methodology representing simplicity. But what exactly is the real truth?
Body fat composition Source: google images; Credited to Marc Perry
There are two key factors that contribute to the obvious results of short-term weight loss in men: distribution of body fat and muscle content. On average, women have between 6 and 11% more body fat than men. Therefore, despite a smaller calorie intake, women will maintain this higher average body fat content. One thing to keep in mind is that “fat” is not necessarily used in an unhealthy
context. It is true that women have larger fat stores due to their physiology yet this fat does not correlate to extra weight. If a woman contains 4% more fat than a man, it does not mean that she is 4% “fatter”. As for muscle, men tend to have more than women of the same age and weight. Testosterone is the main contributor of this through its effect on body musculature and fat distribution. In addition, the greater number of muscle tissue causes an increase in burning calories even during rest as it is metabolically active.
(Top: Atkins Diet) – Source: Wikimediacommons
(Middle: Slim-Fast) – Source: droppingpound.com; Credited to Mary
(Bottom: WeightWatchers) – Source: google images; Credited to theimpulsivebuy
The media plays with this rumour as weight-loss programs accentuate the difference between men and women. When sedentary men and women start some exercise program, it highlights men losing more weight while women don’t. In one study, men and women were each put on commercial weight-loss programs such as Atkins, Slim-Fast and WeightWatchers. Initial results showed men losing twice more weight than women and three times as much body fat. However, when reaching the six month period, the rate of weight loss equilibrated between the genders. Men tend to lose weight where they need it – the belly and so it is more noticeable immediately. Women tend to have their fat stores spread out so immediate results are hard to see.
Overall, the process of shedding those extra pounds is hard work. It is true that men, due to their additional muscle tissue and testosterone portray better initial results when losing weight. However no matter what gender you are, as long as you stay committed to losing weight, the playing field to get to the final result is more or less the same.
Let’s say there were some light marks of facial hair on your chin. Would shaving this hair (or trimming any other hair) make it grow back quicker and thicker? Although this is a common belief, cutting your hair every week would not make hair grow back any quicker than cutting your hair every month. In the case of the hair on your head, while removing your split ends does promote healthier hair, it does not increase hair growth, which is predetermined genetically.
The myth might have originated from the observation of shaving facial hair during puberty. As many people start shaving at an early age, their hair is still lightly coloured or not growing at the rate it will eventually reach. Since hair is actually darker and rougher at its roots, removing the tips may give the look of coarser hair. As a result, this creates the illusion of faster growth and increased thickness.
If this myth were to be true, then getting regular trims, as suggested by your stylist, would be a sufficient method to ensure speedy hair growth. Paradi Mirmirani, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of California contradicts this and says:
“Cutting the ends of your hair doesn’t affect the follicles in your scalp, which determine how fast and how much your hair grows. Hair grows an average of a quarter-inch every month—whether or not you cut it.
“The rate of growth can be influenced by any number of variables, including general health, dietary habits, and endocrine function including thyroid, low iron or anemia. All of these have the capacity to influence hair growth and loss cycles.”
In short, cutting hair on any part of your body only makes it shorter, does not affect the future growth rate or even change its texture. So for you guys out there, shaving your facial hair won’t help you grow out your beard. For the ladies, cutting your hair regularly won’t help your hair get any longer faster either.
Usually I associate good pictures with good food. When I walk into a Mcdonald’s restaurant, the poster of the new McRib with sizziling meat and fresh vegetables gets my mouth salivating. And usually the positive expectations of my food makes it taste better. At least that’s the only thing I notice that has an effect on the taste of my food.
The McRib burger. Source: Wikimedia commons
It has never crossed my mind that sound can have an impact on taste. Well now there is a new study showing that high frequency sounds can lead us to believe that food tastes better. A blogger from the website theguardian.com explains that when we hear high frequency sounds while we’re eating, we associate that with sweetness. In contrast, when we hear low frequency sounds, our food tastes worse because we associate it with bitterness.
How did they figure this out?
In the study, subjects were asked to rate the taste of a food from sweet to bitter where one half was exposed to high frequency sounds and the other to low frequency sounds. The group exposed to low frequency sounds rated their food as more bitter. Surprisingly, this test has worked on various food items from toffee to coffee.
Frequency of Sound
Humans hear sound in the range of 20 to 20000Hz. Low frequencies range from 30 to 500Hz and high frequencies tend to be greater than 500Hz. Here’s a video illustrating the frequency spectrum.
Video Courtesy of the user: adminofthissite
These results are remarkable and can have a large impact on restaurants. If sound has a such a large impact on how we perceive the taste of food, then store owners should place a stronger emphasis on the kinds of music they play. Since high frequency sounds affect how sweet our food tastes, then perhaps we won’t need put as much sugar in our food. Sounds good to me!
Are you tall, thin, have flexible joints, flat fleet and crowded teeth? You may be a victim of Marfan syndrome. Marfan Syndrome is a genetic tissue disorder that affects the connective tissues of the body, specifically long bones. People with this disorder are born with it but the features are usually present later on. This disorder affects 1 in 5000 people worldwide although not many people are familiar with it, such as myself. An article I came across on this subject caught my attention because I have physical features such as a tall, thin build with flat feet, similar to the symptoms. There is however, many tall people with the physical features of the disorder but are not diagnosed with it, which is most likely my case.
Source: Flickr Commons Author: Michael Dorausch https://flic.kr/p/87KL9Q
The tissue disorder is caused by a mutation or defect in the gene that produces fibrillin-1, the protein involved in Marfan syndrome. This defect results in an increase in production of a protein known as transforming growth factor beta (TGF), which initiates defects in the connective tissue of the body. This disorder can affect many areas of the body since connective tissues are found throughout the whole body. Commons areas infected are bones, joints, the heart, blood vessels and the eyes. Because of this, it can be life threatening. Most deaths are cardiovascular related.
This videos goes over some physical signals of Marfan Syndrome:
An eight grader from Urbana, Illinois was diagnosed with the disorder at six-years-old. At the age of 13, she was just over 5 feet and 10 inches. Luckily for her, she began treatment at a young age to prevent any serious complications. Treatment of this syndrome involves daily intake of beta-blocker medication and an echocardiogram once year. Unfortunately, her father was diagnosed in his late 20’s and after years of strenuous activities such as playing basketball and football, his heart had experienced too much damage to be treated. When undiagnosed and untreated, there is up to 250 times the risk of a tear or rupture of the aorta. The effects of this syndrome are therefore serious and should be better communicated to people in order to be aware of the condition.
So if you know anyone that is young and has any of these features, it might be worthwhile to mention the tissue disorder as it could possibly prevent further damage and save a live.
I am sure at one point or another all of us have yawned while watching someone else yawn. I can guarantee that by the time you finish reading this article you will have yawned at least once. So why is it that every time we see, read or hear someone yawning we are inclined to do so as well? In order to answer this question we have to first learn the science behind yawning.
Source: Google Images https://farm1.staticflickr.com/192/492459548_8773a9d3b3_z.jpg
Yawning is an involuntary reflex that is commonly associated with relaxation and fatigue. Physiologically, as our jaw drops there is increased blood flow to our neck, face and brain. The air that is inhaled during the yawn cools the blood, which is then cycled back to the brain. Why does cool air to the brain matter? Well studies have shown that a cooler brain may increase alertness and the ability to process information more efficiently.
Aside from the physiological aspect, yawning has a lot to do with the social environment surrounding us. Studies have shown that yawning is linked to empathy, which is the ability to understand what someone else is feeling and share in their emotion. This is the reason why we are happier when surrounded by people who are happy and why we are sad when surrounded by people who are sad. In the same way scientists have found that by the time we are four or five years old, we begin to recognize contagious yawning and partake in it as an emotional response. Additionally, studies also show that we are more likely to catch a yawn from people that we share a strong bond with, like family and friends, versus strangers. Interestingly enough this same behaviour has also been observed in chimpanzees and dogs. In following video, Michael from Vsauce gives a more in depth explanation on both the physiological and social aspects of yawning, as well as why it may be contagious.
You may wonder why is research on yawning important? The answer to this question lies in the research being done to improve the behaviour of patients diagnosed with autism. Studies have shown that kids with autism are half as likely to yawn and kids with severe cases may not yawn at all. This is because they cannot form the empathetic link that individuals without autism can. This relationship between autism and yawning can be crucial in understanding and diagnosing a cure for autism.
After doing all the research, it was interesting to find that there are many theories about why yawning is contagious. I found that the wide belief is in consensus with Dr. Adrian Guggisberg’s hypothesis. His hypothesis states that empathy is the main cause of contagious yawning and that physiological effects can be deemed negligible since they are far too subtle to be conserved throughout evolution. So the next you see someone yawn, know that it is only human nature to do so yourself.
The action of two person’s lips touching: Kissing, has been widely accepted as a means of sharing affection. But, why do we touch lips amongst all other body parts?
Image of Max-factor-lips
First of all, to introduce some trivia, an average human being spends 20, 160 minutes of his or her life kissing. Also, the longest kiss recorded was 58 hours 35 minutes and 58 seconds.
A passionate kiss burns about 2-3 calories per minute, and pumps epinephrine and norepinephrine into the blood stream, making your heart pump faster. Kissing more often has also shown positive correlations with cholesterol reductions and perceived stress.
So, why does our brain equate this action of touching lips with someone else as positive? Evolutionists claim that the evolution of our current kiss is derived from “Kiss-Feeding”.
The action of exchanging pre-chewed food from one mouth to another. This action, most often shown in birds feeding their young, is a sign of love and sacrifice.
House Sparrow feeding the young
It wasn’t long ago that humans were feeding their young with pre-chewed food. Until the commercialization of baby foods, pre-chewing and mouth feeding infants were a popular activity amongst parents.
The brain, with years of evolutions, have learned to associate the touching of mouths with themes such as love and care. Eventually, the touching of the mouths has become the norm for expressing your love and affection for one another.
Wearing prescription glasses can be an inconvenience. Remember that time when you were cooking and they fogged up? Or that time it was raining outside and you forgot an umbrella?
Wet Eyeglasses Source: Gravity of the Situation WordPress
There are several reasons why people choose to look into other alternatives. Among the alternatives, contact lens and laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery are popular choices.
Inserting Contact Lens Source: Wikimedia Commons
Unlike eyeglasses, corrective lens don’t interfere with daily activities and give an unobstructed view. Although corrective lens provide temporary 20/20 vision, opthamologists advise against wearing them for extended periods of time. Corneal damage can result from long-term use as well as improper cleaning. In fact, researchers at the Oregan Health & Science University found that long-term contact lens users, who wore contacts daily for 15 years, suffered a higher rate of vision loss than those who opted for laser eye surgery.
LASIK Procedure Source: Wikimedia Commons
Laser Eye Surgery LASIK is a surgical procedure where the cornea is reshaped. A microkeratome is used to create a flap in the cornea so a laser is used to reshape the underlying cornea. The cornea is reshaped to allow light to be focused on the retina for better vision, thereby correcting the patient’s vision.
After undergoing the LASIK procedure, successfully, patients are thrilled with their 20/20 vision. Patients are able to see naturally, and not worry about eyeglasses obstructing their view or having to insert their contacts. Although this procedure seems miraculous, there are many risks. There is the possibility of regression, which is when the patient’s eyesight worsens, difficulty seeing clearly in the dark, dry eye symptoms, and loss of vision. In that regard, it is critical that prospective patients be cautious and do their research. They should see if they’re good candidates for the surgery and they should research the best ophthalmologist to carry out the procedure.
This video outlines the LASIK procedure.
As someone who has undergone the LASIK eye surgery procedure, I would definitely recommend it. I definitely had the procedure too young, so I am experiencing some regression. However, if I were to have the surgery again, knowing this, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Having to wake up to a blurry surrounding until I inserted my contacts or put on my glasses, I never realized how much of an inconvenience it was. The other positive thing I would like to note is that the procedure has since saved my parents a lot of money that we would have spent on eyeglasses and contacts.
Hopefully those considering this operation will consider the advantages and disadvantages and be cautious when deciding!