Volunteering is good for your health!
January 5, 2016 06:11 PM - Eric Kim, Harvard School of Public Health
Eric Kim, a research fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, recently led the first study to look at a possible link between volunteering and health care use in older adults.
Why did you decide to study volunteering from a public health perspective?
There is a growing body of research showing that volunteering is associated with better physical health and mental health outcomes, as well as better health behaviors.
Another important reason is that the number of older adults in the U.S., and other countries, is rapidly rising. Over the next 35 years, the number of 65-year-olds is going to double. As a result, the number of chronic illnesses will likely rise causing at least two outcomes: First, there will be a large increase in the number of people suffering. Second, the rising number of illnesses is going to put a huge burden on our health care system. If volunteering does affect health care use, these findings could be used to inform new strategies for increasing preventive health screenings, lowering emergency room use and health care costs, and also enhancing the health of older adults.
County of origin labeling on our meat no longer required
January 5, 2016 05:09 AM - Mary Clare Jalonick, Organic Consumers Association
It's now harder to find out where your beef or pork was born, raised and slaughtered.
After more than a decade of wrangling, Congress repealed a labeling law last month that required retailers to include the animal's country of origin on packages of red meat. It's a major victory for the meat industry, which had fought the law in Congress and the courts since the early 2000s.
Lawmakers said they had no choice but to get rid of the labels after the World Trade Organization repeatedly ruled against them. The WTO recently authorized Canada and Mexico, which had challenged the law, to begin more than $1 billion in economic retaliation against the United States.
Will Styrofoam Get the Plastic Bag Treatment?
January 4, 2016 07:09 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2
Say farewell to Styrofoam take-out containers in the nation’s capital. It’s been a few years in the making, but Washington, D.C. has finally enacted a firm ban on polystyrene food and beverage containers. Henceforth, all restaurants will have to provide biodegradable alternatives if they want to send their patrons home with leftovers.
How exercising early in life alters gut microbes and promotes a healthier brain
December 30, 2015 07:09 AM - University of Colorado at Boulder
The human gut harbors a teeming menagerie of over 100 trillion microorganisms, and researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have discovered that exercising early in life can alter that microbial community for the better, promoting healthier brain and metabolic activity over the course of a lifetime.
Santa is NOT threatened by Asteroid 2003 SD220 as it passes close by Earth tonight
December 24, 2015 03:08 PM - JPL NASA
Asteroid 2003 SD220 will safely fly past Earth on Dec. 24 at a distance of 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometers). Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have generated the highest-resolution images to date of this asteroid using the Deep Space Network's 230-foot (70-meter) antenna at Goldstone, California. The radar images were acquired between Dec. 17 and Dec. 22, when the distance to this near-Earth object (NEO) was narrowing from 7.3 million miles (12 million kilometers) to almost the flyby distance.
"The radar images data suggest that asteroid 2003 SD220 is highly elongated and at least 3,600 feet [1,100 meters] in length," said Lance Benner of JPL, who leads NASA's asteroid radar research program. "The data acquired during this pass of the asteroid will help us plan for radar imaging during its upcoming closer approach in 2018."
Fat but fit?
December 21, 2015 05:20 AM - OXFORD UNIVERSITY via EurekAlert
A new study, published today in the International Journal of Epidemiology , has dismissed the concept of 'fat but fit'. In contrast, the results from the new study suggest that the protective effects of high fitness against early death are reduced in obese people.
Although the detrimental effects of low aerobic fitness have been well documented, this research has largely been performed in older populations. Few studies have investigated the direct link between aerobic fitness and health in younger populations. This study by academics in Sweden followed 1,317,713 men for a median average of 29 years to examine the association between aerobic fitness and death later in life, as well as how obesity affected these results. The subjects' aerobic fitness was tested by asking them to cycle until they had to stop due to fatigue.
Space weather and the potential impacts on our infrastructures
December 19, 2015 07:10 AM - EUROPEAN COMMISSION JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE vie EurekAlert
The JRC has been looking into the risks of space weather impact on critical infrastructures. A new report explores the rail sector's vulnerability and the potential impacts, in particular through interdependencies with other infrastructures. Awareness among operators and regulators worldwide is currently limited and vulnerabilities across the rail sector need to be identified, authors say.
Solar activity affects the space environment surrounding the Earth. This so-called space weather can disrupt and damage critical infrastructure in space and on the ground, including satellites, aviation, road and marine transport, banking and power grids. Society relies on these infrastructures and services, which have become inter- dependent and are therefore more vulnerable to space weather.
Using Solar Power in an Apartment or Rental
December 17, 2015 02:45 PM - Bryn Huntpalmer
Solar panels are great—if you own a home. For those still tied to the rental racket, though, the dream of going solar seems like just that: a distant dream. It’s virtually impossible to imagine most modern landlords springing for expensive setups when they won’t even fix a leak in a bathtub!
Some of us here at Modernize are apartment dwellers ourselves, and we solar-minded renters were getting tired of gazing at sweet panel setups like that kid who can never have a puppy because his brother is allergic. Luckily, urban solar is no longer a mere pipe dream: in fact, a new study shows that city-based solar has the potential to generate much more power than the area’s needs. And the solar field has not been deaf to the calls of a growing urban consumer market. A battery of devices now exist that are poised to change how renters power and heat their apartments—from kitchens all the way to the phones in their pockets.
Push for more hydrogen fueling stations for fuel cell cars in California
December 17, 2015 06:40 AM - Sandia Labs
Drivers are seeing more hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) on the road, but refueling stations for those vehicles are still few and far between. This is about to change, and one reason is a new testing device being validated at California refueling stations that will greatly accelerate station commissioning.
Developed by U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Hydrogen Station Equipment Performance device, or HyStEP, could reduce the time to commission new stations from months to just one week. HyStEP is funded by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office as part of the Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology (H2FIRST) project.
Lettuce vs. Bacon: Which is Worse in Greenhouse Gas Emissions
December 15, 2015 07:07 AM - Shilo Rea, Carnegie Mellon University
Contrary to recent headlines — and a talk by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference — eating a vegetarian diet could contribute to climate change. In fact, according to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, following the USDA recommendations to consume more fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood is more harmful to the environment because those foods have relatively high resource uses and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per calorie.