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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 21:24 EDT

Walking And Texting Is Not One Of Our Strongest Suits – On Science

January 24, 2014

Don’t text and walk?

Big things are happening this year at NASA.

Could medicine be making the flu epidemic worse?

And what’s the big chill in weight loss? Coming up today…On Science!

Hello and welcome to On Science. I’m Emerald Robinson.

OMG! We’ve talked about how texting affects the way we spell and talk, but BTW, it also affects the way we walk. SMH. A new study from the University of Queensland looked at the effects that texting and reading texts had on walking. From a 3D movement analysis system, they found that modified body movement includes walking slower, moving the neck less, and deviating more from a straight line—or in other words walking crooked. I’m not sure they needed 3D imaging to tell that. This is the funny part though, the researchers said that “this may impact the safety of people who text and walk at the same time.” Friends don’t let friends text and walk.

NASA’s 2014 New Year’s Resolution—learn more about Earth. For the first time in over ten years, NASA will launch five new Earth science missions into space to monitor how our planet is changing. The missions include two to the International Space Station and airborne campaigns to the poles and hurricanes. NASA is seeking to find critical answers about the changes our planet is facing due to climate change, sea level rise, extreme weather events and decreasing availability of fresh water. In fact, the first mission to launch is the Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory, a joint satellite project with Japan, which will seek to answer questions about our planet’s life-sustaining water cycle and improve water resource management and weather forecasting. And of course On Science will keep you up-to-date with news from NASA’s missions along the way.

And 3D technology keeps moving forward in 2014 as well. A professor from the University of Southern California says he has yet another novel application for 3D printers—building construction. His proposed technology, called Contour Crafting, would use a “gantry-type crane with a hanging nozzle and components-placing arms” to travel along rails laid a few feet further apart than the eventual building’s width. “The nozzle would spit out concrete layers to create hollow walls, and then fill in the walls with additional concrete,” explains the professor. “Humans would install by hand doors and insert windows.” He says it’s a safer form of construction for humans and, instead of causing a loss in jobs, would open the construction industry up to older workers and more females.

Here’s a case of “darned if you do, darned if you don’t.” If you have that sniffling, sneezing, aching, fever and all over yucky feeling—chances are you have the flu. So you run for the over-the-counter flu meds, right? But hold up just a second. Researchers say that over-the-counter flu medicines may contribute to the spread of the virus. Well, that’s comforting. These meds typically include ibuprofen, acetaminophen and acetylsalicylic acid to relieve fever and aches. But the fever actually lowers the amount of virus in the infected person to reduce the chance of transmission to others. Researchers found that treating a fever increases the number of annual cases by 5%. To put it in more specific terms…that’s equivalent to 1,000 additional deaths a year in North America. So you may be suffering, but for the good of all mankind, exhibit a little self-sacrifice.

Here’s a little self-sacrifice for your waistline. I hate being cold, but I might have to get over that. New research from Japan revealed that colder temperatures could increase energy expenditure, encouraging weight loss. Researchers found that adults possess heat-generating, calorie-burning brown adipose tissue in varying quantities. So being exposed to varying temperatures, more in line with outdoor conditions, could be “beneficial to the weight loss process.” The researchers reported a decrease in body fat of participants who spent two hour a day in temperatures of 62.6 degrees F. That’s not even THAT cold. It’s like 12 degrees here today! People who also spent more time in cold temperatures were found to shiver less, which caused non-shivering heat production with is linked to up to 30% of the body’s energy consumption.

And that’s what’s cool today…On Science.