November 29, 2012

Are You Addicted To Your Cell Phone? – The Daily Orbit

Mapping Bigfoot…in a different way…

Scientists say bigger isn’t always better…

And welcome to CPAA – Cell Phone Addicts Anonymous!

All that and more coming up– on the Daily Orbit!

Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit.  I’m Emerald Robinson.

What’s big, hairy, and supposedly related to us? Two guesses and it’s not the ape at the zoo. One scientist in Texas is claiming to have sequenced Bigfoot’s genome. Melba Ketchum and her team began testing supposed Sasquatch hair samples five years ago. The team says that the creature is a cross between modern Homo sapiens and another yet unknown primate species. Ketchum is now calling on public officials and law enforcement officers to recognize “Bigfoot” as an indigenous people. But this story is not without its critics. Scientists are already skeptical of the report, including why the release of these findings came before any peer review or vetting could take place. Real, not real…we’ll let you be the judge!

And I thought we had already established that the sea level was quickly rising, but I guess we underestimated how fast it’s happening. A 2007 report estimated that sea levels were rising at a rate of 0.08 inches per year based on satellite data. However, new observations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicate that the rate is actually closer to 0.125 inches per year (about a 60% increase). Current results were found combining data from five available global land and ocean temperature series using satellites that bounce radar waves back off the sea surface to determine sea levels. Researchers say the increased rate of sea-level rise is unlikely attributable to temporary episodic ice discharge from Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

Here’s another reason to kick the habit. Besides the fact that cigarette smoking contributes to cancer, lung disease, heart disease, low birth weight and I could go on and on, new research shows it is also associated with mental decline, forgetfulness, and slower thinking. And if you’re over 50 and a smoker, you can expect accelerated decline in brain function. The study found that smokers over 50 performed more poorly on a range of cognitive tasks designed to test memory recall, verbal fluency, attention and other cognitive functions than those who never picked up the habit. Smokers even had difficulty remembering common words and organizing daily tasks. Do you need any more reasons to quit?  Besides it’s just not hot at all.

And a new study says bigger was not necessarily better: well in the case of theropod dinosaurs. Researchers set out to discover why these feathered herbivores became so large, and if there was an evolutionary benefit to reach these large sizes. Scientists had previously theorized that bigger was better when it came to plant eating dinos, because larger digestive tracts allowed these creatures to get the maximum nutrition that could be taken from high-fiber, low-calorie food. Studying three groups of theropods, researched found some actually changed to a smaller form while others in the groups got larger. This showed that there was no clear natural selection that would drive them to increase in size. The results didn’t rule out diet as affecting body mass, but they do seem to indicate that fluctuating environmental conditions over time were trumping the benefit of becoming a giant. So, “the long and short of it is that for plant-eating theropods, bigger wasn’t always better.” There ya have it.

Hello, my name is Emerald…and I’m a cell phone addict…there I said it! It really doesn’t come as a shock that cell phones are addictive, considering they have to practically be surgically dislodged from our palms. A new study is challenging the idea that behavioral and substance addictions are two separate afflictions. College undergraduates from two US universities completed a questionnaire that contained scales measuring materialism, impulsiveness, and mobile phone and instant messaging addiction. The study suggests that cell phone and instant messaging addictions are similar to credit card addiction and other pathologies. Researchers found that our impulsive and materialistic natures drive cell phone addictions. The researchers cited another study that reported that the average young adult sends nearly 110 text messages a day, while receiving 113 per day, will check their cell phone 60 times in a day and spend 7 hours of the day interacting with their phone in some other way.

That’s it for the Daily Orbit!  Ok, can you give me back my phone now? I just need to send one text, just one more…I promise!

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