Improve Your Health By Doing This For 30 Minutes

Improve Your Health By Doing This For 30 Minutes

A walk in the park is all the nature you need

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I always say – and I’ve written it many times – that gardening is a great antidepressant. As beautiful as nature is to look at, there is something deeply healing about engaging with it.

But if you’re not into getting dirt under your fingernails or dealing with spiders, you can still reap the benefits Mother Nature has to offer. There are so many studies that point to this, I hardly know where to begin.

For starters, a study published in 2013 showed that outdoor recreation was associated with higher mental well-being among military veterans.

Another study published in July of 2015 revealed that people who took a walk in nature spent less time ruminating over negative self-talk compared with people who walked along a busy California street.

Most recently, researchers at the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Australian Research Council for Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (ARC CEED) found that simply wandering around a park for a half-hour can improve physical and mental health. The findings are significant, as this is the first study to recommend a minimum amount of time people should be spending outdoors.

Richard Fuller, an associate professor at UQ, said in a press release:

“We’ve known for a long time that visiting parks is good for our health, but we are now beginning to establish exactly how much time we need to spend in parks to gain these benefits. We have specific evidence that we need regular visits of at least half an hour to ensure we get these benefits.”

For the study, published in Nature Scientific Reports, researchers analyzed data from 1,538 residents of Brisbane City, Australia, comparing the amount of time they spent in nature with four health outcomes.

The team found that, overall, a longer duration spent in nature resulted in increased physical activity, and lower prevalence of high blood pressure and depression with an average of 30 minutes spent outside.

Based on their analysis, the researchers estimated that spending a minimum of 30 minutes outside could cut the number of depression cases by 7% and the number of high blood pressure cases by 9%.

Some 40% of Brisbane residents don’t visit a park or other outdoor space on a weekly basis, but the researchers don’t think it will be that hard to get people to do so.

Researcher Danielle Shanahan said:

“So how can we encourage people to spend more time in green space?

We need more support and encouragement of community activities in natural spaces. For example, the Nature Play programs in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia provide heaps of ideas for helping kids enjoy the great outdoors.” [1]

She added:

“If everyone visited their local parks for half an hour each week there would be seven per cent fewer cases of depression and nine per cent fewer cases of high blood pressure.

Given that the societal costs of depression alone in Australia are estimated at 12.6 billion dollars a year, savings to public health budgets across all health outcomes could be immense.” [2]

Just being near a “green space” has been shown to be beneficial to mental and physical health.

People who live in urban areas are more prone to stress, depression, and other forms of mental illness. In fact, people who live in cities have a 20% higher risk of anxiety disorders, and a 40% higher risk of mood disorders than people who live in rural areas.

Parks are the most obvious way for urbanites to get out and enjoy nature, but urban gardening has exploded in popularity as more city dwellers have opted to use what little space they have to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

It’s good to know that even if you don’t have the time to devote to an urban garden, or a yard to sunbathe in, just strolling through a park once a week can boost your health in powerful ways.

Sources:

[1] UPI

[2] Business Standard

This article was written by Judie Fidler and first appeared on Natural Society 

Mysterious Sound From Sea Floor Baffles Canadian Military

Mysterious Sound From Sea Floor Baffles Canadian Military

The sound appears to come from the sea floor in Hecla and Fury Strait. Northeast of Igloolik is Steensby Inlet, where Quassa says Baffinland, owner of the Mary River mine, has been doing sonar surveys. The company says it has no equipment in the water. (CBC)

The sound appears to come from the sea floor in Hecla and Fury Strait. Northeast of Igloolik is Steensby Inlet, where Quassa says Baffinland, owner of the Mary River mine, has been doing sonar surveys. The company says it has no equipment in the water. (CBC)

Mysterious sound from the Arctic seafloor baffles Canadians.

Canadian Military investigates mysterious sound from the bottom of the the Hecla and Fury Strait – a narrow channel of water in Nunavut. Sometimes sounds like a beep, a ping, or a hum, the sound is scaring away animals.

Located right up north, next to Greenland, the area is the newest, largest, and least populous territory of Canada. A government official said the noise was “emanating from the seafloor.” Nobody seems to know where the sound comes from.

A spokesperson explains:

“The Department of National Defence has been informed of the strange noises emanating in the Fury and Hecla Strait area, and the Canadian Armed Forces are taking the appropriate steps to actively investigate the situation.”

Source cbc

 

James Webb Space Telescope Mirrors Will Piece Together Cosmic Puzzles

James Webb Space Telescope Mirrors Will Piece Together Cosmic Puzzles

Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

The primary mirror of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope consisting of 18 hexagonal mirrors looks like a giant puzzle piece standing in the massive clean room of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Appropriately, combined with the rest of the observatory, the mirrors will help piece together puzzles scientists have been trying to solve throughout the cosmos.

Webb’s primary mirror will collect light for the observatory in the scientific quest to better understand our solar system and beyond. Using these mirrors and Webb’s infrared vision scientists will peer back over 13.5 billion years to see the first stars and galaxies forming out of the darkness of the early universe. Unprecedented infrared sensitivity will help astronomers to compare the faintest, earliest galaxies to today’s grand spirals and ellipticals, helping us to understand how galaxies assemble over billions of years. Webb will see behind cosmic dust clouds to see where stars and planetary systems are being born. It will also help reveal information about atmospheres of planets outside our solar system, and perhaps even find signs of the building blocks of life elsewhere in the universe.

The Webb telescope was mounted upright after a “center of curvature” test conducted at Goddard. This initial center of curvature test ensures the integrity and accuracy, and test will be repeated later to verify those same properties after the structure undergoes launch environment testing. In the photo, two technicians stand before the giant primary mirror.

The Webb telescope is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Source: NASA

Changing Colors in Saturn’s North

Changing Colors in Saturn’s North

These two natural color images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft show the changing appearance of Saturn’s north polar region between 2012 and 2016.

Scientists are investigating potential causes for the change in color of the region inside the north-polar hexagon on Saturn. The color change is thought to be an effect of Saturn’s seasons. In particular, the change from a bluish color to a more golden hue may be due to the increased production of photochemical hazes in the atmosphere as the north pole approaches summer solstice in May 2017.

Image Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Hampton University

Image Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Hampton University

Researchers think the hexagon, which is a six-sided jetstream, might act as a barrier that prevents haze particles produced outside it from entering. During the polar winter night between November 1995 and August 2009, Saturn’s north polar atmosphere became clear of aerosols produced by photochemical reactions — reactions involving sunlight and the atmosphere. Since the planet experienced equinox in August 2009, the polar atmosphere has been basking in continuous sunshine, and aerosols are being produced inside of the hexagon, around the north pole, making the polar atmosphere appear hazy today.

Other effects, including changes in atmospheric circulation, could also be playing a role. Scientists think seasonally shifting patterns of solar heating probably influence the winds in the polar regions.

Both images were taken by the Cassini wide-angle camera.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/cassini. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.

 

 

Does Alexandria’s Genesis exist?

Does Alexandria’s Genesis exist?

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Characteristics of Alexandria’s Genesis

For a while now there has been a picture circulating on Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and other internet sites regarding a genetic mutation called Alexandria’s Genesis. Supposedly the characteristics of this mutations consist mainly of pro’s without the con’s (unless you think the whole purple eye thing is a con): you get purple eyes, people with this condition only have hair on their heads, long lifespan, high metabolism, and women with this condition do not menstruate. For about three seconds after reading this I thought: “now that’s cool, why wasn’t I born with this condition?” Before realising, that it’s just too good to be true.

The supposed origin of the myth dates back 1000 years

Supporters of this myth claim that Alexandria’s Genesis can be dated back to over a thousand years. The legend started in Egypt when a mysterious light flashed in the sky, and everyone who was outside at the moment it happened, developed pale skin and purple eyes. Eventually these people were said to have moved north, were they eventually disappeared.

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Alexandria’s Genesis is a fabrication of author Cameron Aubernon

Around the year 2000 author Cameron Aubernon was writing a Daria fan fiction and thought it would be fun for some of her characters to have a genetic mutation she called Alexandria’s Genesis. The characteristics of this mutation we have already listed above (purple eyes, no body hair, no menstruation yet still fertile, long lifespan, high metabolism), and as soon as Aubernon posted it online, they internet took over and it spread like wildfire. Since then Aubernon has explained and dispelled the myth on her blog.

Could Alexandria’s Genesis technically exist?

There is not enough scientific evidence to support the myth. Purple eyes would be technically possible through severe lack of eye pigmentation (e.g. albinism), but any eyes that would have this mutation would be extremely sensitive to sunlight, not what the original myth perpetrates. A lack of body hair could also be possible, but not as selective as with Alexandria’s Genesis. Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome can result in a lack of body hair, but it only happens to women, and since women affected with this syndrome have no uteri, they are infertile. Another aspect of Alexandria’s Genesis debunked. The two other aspects of Alexandria’s Genesis – long lifespan and high metabolism – are also highly unlikely as anyone with such a high metabolism would have an extremely high body temperature that would not be medically possible, and a long lifespan that would result in people becoming on average 150 years old is also highly unlikely.

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All in all, though it’s a fun thing to imagine, people with Alexandria’s Genesis do not – at this time – exist. Yet who knows what the future will bring, mutations occur all the time. We are after all mutated from single-celled organisms to being the dominant form of reproductive life on this planet.

Source: sciencedump.com

How To Build A Cute Bee Hotel To Help Out Their Population

How To Build A Cute Bee Hotel To Help Out Their Population

It’s easier and even more fun than it seems.

Credit: Not on the High Street

Credit: Not on the High Street

While most people know and talk about honeybees, which live in a self-made hive together, few people seem to be concerned about the species of bees that are actually native to North America and easier to help out. There are many other species, such as the mason bees and leafcutter bees, that are critical to pollination and are suffering from habitat loss.

Credit: Not on the High Street

Credit: Not on the High Street

Since these bees are solitary creatures, their presence wouldn’t be overwhelming and these hotels can be created in your backyard without posing a risk of attracting hundreds at a time. The native bees require a lot less to be comfortable, as Becky Griffin, community and school garden coordinator at the Center for Urban Agriculture and University of Georgia Extension for the Northwest District of Georgia, said,

“Native bees nest in hollow logs, dead trees and in the ground, and when the forest is clean cut, the native bees have fewer and fewer places to nest.”

As spaces to build their homes dwindle, so does the population of bees needed to keep the continent’s plants pollinated and healthy. By building a nesting site, you can contribute to the health of the population, and, according to Griffin, it’s very rewarding as well.

“Once you start noticing native bees, attracting them and learning about them, you’ll just want to sit on your bench in your garden and watch them work,” enthused Griffin. “They are amazing creatures!”

Below is a guide to building the hotel, with advice from Griffin and answers to frequently asked questions.

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

Basic Hotel Design

The essential part of building the hotel is to have the right design down. You can decorate it any way you want, but there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. Some people use just one 4×4 block of wood with wholes drilled into it and mount it on a high enough post, while others use bamboo pieces with closed off ends of the tube. Others, as you’ll see below, have put together much bigger structures that aren’t necessary for your first hotel but definitely much appreciated by the bees. Here are the basic rules to follow:

  • Use only untreated wood.
  • Make sure the house has a roof to keep rain and other weather elements out of the holes.
  • The house should be a minimum of three feet off the ground.
  • To attract as many species of bees as possible, drill holes of varying sizes. Be sure not to drill all the way through the block as the holes must have a stopping point. Drill bits ranging from 2 mm to 10 mm in diameter are ideal. Beginners who might want to keep things really simple and who might have a limited amount of tools could simply use a 5/16 drill bit for all the holes in their first hotel.
  • For a first hotel, 12-18 holes would be ideal.
  • There are no hard-and-fast rules on how deep the holes should be — with the caveat that if you use a large piece of wood or create a “grand” framed hotel and the holes are too long, the bee may not enter it. Keeping entry holes no deeper than the length of a standard drill bit is a good rule of thumb.
  • Remove splinters from the holes. When you drill the holes, take a piece of sandpaper and smooth out the holes. Small splinters may not seem like much to you, but rough edges in the entry holes could be a big deal and even fatal to a native bee, some of which are very tiny. Rough edges can even deter bees from using the hole.
  • Whatever style of wood you’re using for your bee hotel will need to be replaced every two years or so because the bees want new tunnels in which they can lay their eggs.
  • Resist the urge to paint the hotel. Natural wood is more attractive to the bees.
  • You can have multiple bee hotels. Just be sure to space them out in your yard and garden so they aren’t clustered together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of bees will visit the hotel?

Solitary bees, most commonly mason bees, will visit the hotel because they enjoy making their nests in hollow reeds or holes in wood. Different types of bees will use different materials to close up their holes once they have laid eggs, and they typically leave soon afterwards because they don’t rely on a social structure to rear their young. Fortunately, solitary bees are unlikely to ever sting you unless you accidentally step on one and get the stinger caught in your foot.

No honeybees will be visiting, as they live in hives with a complex social structure in a bee-made home. No honey will be produced in the hotel, and huge clusters of bees won’t be invading the area.

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

Can I build it?

Considering the ease with which most people can use a hammer, nails, and drill, the answer is typically “Yes, you can build it.” If you want to make it easier on yourself when you’re starting out, you can use bamboo for the holes.

When and where the place the hotel:

Since native bees nest in the spring, the bee hotel should be up and ready in February. If you live in a harsher region, you can wait until you’re able to dig a post hole into the ground when spring rolls around.

The bees prefer sunny locations, with the holes faced towards the sun and away from high traffic areas. The sun keeps the developing bees warm and it’s dangerous for bees to cross sidewalks or garden paths once they emerge.

What to watch for:

Credit: Wildflower Turf

Credit: Wildflower Turf

Keep an eye out for the arrival of the bees, as females will flock to the hotel in the spring or early summer and enter the holes. You can watch them put their nest together and tell what kind of bee it is based on the materials they use. Mason bees use mud to seal their holes and leafcutter bees use leaves.

Though it will all happen behind closed doors (or closed mud/leaves, more accurately), the eggs the females have laid will hatch and eat the food that the female has left behind. They will then spin a cocoon and the fully-formed bee will emerge and chew its way through the mud or leaves to enter the real world. This takes about a year, so you’ll see them emerge the next spring. If there is no pollen or nectar plants nearby, they will likely move away to an area rich with the food they need. If you want to keep the bees in your yard, you can work with extension agents in your area to plant the right things to encourage bees to stay.

By checking with your local garden center, you can also find plants that are native to your area and likely to thrive and attract bees. Keep track of the types of bees you see in your garden to find patterns in their movements and preferences.

How to measure success:

Credit: Place des Jardins

Credit: Place des Jardins

If you see sealed holes in your bee hotel, you know you’ve been successful. If you notice that holes of a particular size are used most often, you can add more holes of that size to future bee hotels or even renovate your current one. If you have the right nectar or pollen in your garden, you’ll see bees flock to them.

If you notice that during the summer one year after the holes were sealed that they are still sealed, then you have a problem that needs to be addressed. If there are tiny holes in the seal, then a parasite may have entered and eaten the larvae or bees. If there are no holes, a fungus could have killed the dwellers. The bees may have also been too cold if they are not faced towards the sun. Work with an extension agent to figure out what could have gone wrong.

For more in-depth instructions on ways to build a hotel, visit The Pollinator Garden.

This article was written   and first appeared on True Activist