Archive for Surfing the Net

Surfing the Net

Posted in All posts, Life, On writing with tags , , on April 10, 2007 by Trina

It’s been awhile since I had time to post an entry to this blog. I’ve managed to start work on a short story loosely based on the events of the past month, but otherwise I’m in survival mode — see previous blog entry. Life happens. Parents — who you thought would live forever — pass away unexpectedly. Furnaces need to be replaced. Cars get banged and need fixing. Doctors want to be paid.

So I decided to write an entry on the effects of stress on the mind, behavior, and the body, including its effects on the immune system and cancer. I learned that tumors grow faster in experimental animals subjected to stress than they do in unstressed control animals. But soon after I started researching the effects of stress, I realized that there were so many that I’d better wait until I had time to write a coherent blog entry on why I’ve been existing in an zombie state.

So I did what I always do to take a break, I started surfing the Net. I decided to post some of the stuff that I found interesting in my brief excursion into current science.

I read that global warming will hit the poorest the hardest. So developing countries that don’t burn fossil fuels or create the environmental crisis will suffer the most. Even global warming is discriminating against the poor. But then I read that total destruction of forests may cool Earth. So maybe global warming is not a problem. What, global warming could make Earth spin faster. My head is spinning faster.

Then I read new thinking about the death of sunlike stars and how old stars could be masquerading as youngsters. I feel old. So I take a break from astronomy and decide to do some reading about health.

I learn that smokers take more sick time than nonsmokers. Well, duh! Who wouldn’t guess that. But then I read about this study that shows that cigarettes may protect against Parkinson’s disease. Should I take up smoking? Might help with my recent stress.

So I surf on and read that attempts to cleanse illicit drugs from one’s body by taking large doses of niacin can cause life-threatening reactions. Bad news for all those marijuana smokers out there. I guess I better not try to use drugs either, to counteract my stress. Perhaps I’ll try food instead. Yes, I found a recipe for healthier pizza. Who knew that cooking pizza longer and hotter could increase the antioxidant activity in the pizza ? Now I’m hungry and I’m no where near an oven. Oh well, back to work.

Effects of climate change tallied up
Increased drought, flood and disease ‘will hit poorest hardest’.

Climate change is having an impact now on our planet and its life, according to the latest installment of a report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). And the future problems caused by rising seas, growing deserts and more frequent droughts, all look set to affect the developing world more than rich countries, they add.

Total destruction of forests predicted to cool Earth
Large-scale deforestation — long fingered as a contributing factor in climate change — could cool Earth, say the researchers behind one of the first attempts to model the phenomenon at a global scale.

Global warming will make Earth spin faster
Of all the possible ways in which climate change could affect our planet, this is the most bizarre: as the oceans warm up, Earth will start rotating a wee bit faster, reducing the length of a day.

New thinking on the death of sunlike stars
Chemical reactions during formation of stardust could help solve mystery
When stars like our sun die, they bloat to become red giants and then eject gigantic clouds of gas and dust into space. Increasingly, however, scientists found themselves at a profound loss to explain how exactly dying stars could blow away these clouds.

Galaxy’s ‘wunderkind’ stars may actually be old pro’s
‘Young’ stars that seem to have formed impossibly close to our galaxy’s supermassive black hole could in fact be ancient interlopers merely masquerading as youngsters, a new study claims.

Patterns: Smokers Take More Sick Time Than Nonsmokers, Study Says
Smokers take more than a week more annual sick leave than nonsmokers, a new study suggests.

Do coffee and cigarettes protect against Parkinson’s?
People with Parkinson’s disease are less likely to be smokers and coffee drinkers than their healthy siblings, according to a study of family members. The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that some substance in tobacco might protect the brain against this devastating neurological disorder and sheds new light on coffee’s effects on the disease.
Researchers say the study provides new evidence that the causes of Parkinson’s vary. They also stress that the negative health effects of smoking far outweigh any protective effect the substance might have against this neurodegenerative disease.

Not-So-Artful Dodgers: Countering drug tests with niacin proves dangerous
Attempts to hide illicit drug use by taking niacin have landed four people in Philadelphia hospitals over the past 2 years, two with life-threatening reactions to high doses of the nutrient, doctors report.

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, plays roles in digestion, hormone production, skin upkeep, and nervous system maintenance. Because the vitamin promotes fat metabolism, doctors sometimes give niacin in large doses to people with high concentrations of cholesterol and triglycerides. That property has led some people to believe that niacin can also cleanse the body of illicit drugs, particularly marijuana.

Crusty Chemistry
Want to make a piece of pizza healthier? Try using whole-wheat dough. Give it a full 2 days to rise, and then cook the tomato pie a little longer and hotter than usual. That was the recipe shared last week by researchers at the American Chemical Society meeting in Chicago.