February 27, 2014
Turn Down Your Thermostat To Save Polar Bears – On Science
Why should you turn down your thermostat today?
Just how ugly is the Google Glass controversy getting?
How is NASA helping with the California drought?
And the berry good truth about strawberries. Coming up today…On Science!
Guess what today is??? C’mon on you know this. Ok, well, maybe you don’t. So here you go. It’s National Polar Bear Day! February 27 is the official day when Polar Bear International focuses the attention of the world on these bears and how we can help them beat the challenges of global warming. For the second year in a row, PBI is focusing the celebration around a worldwide Thermostat Challenge as part of its Save Our Sea Ice Campaign. And you can get involved! Join people around the world in raising or lowering your thermostat—according to where you live—by two degrees. But that doesn’t have to stop after today! PBI would like this practice to become a habit for everyone. They’re also encouraging people to speak up to elected officials in support of energy-saving measures. If we don’t take action, research shows that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will be gone by the middle of the century.
Well, the Google Glass controversy rages on and this time it became downright confrontational. Two women and a man attacked a woman wearing her Google Glass recently in a San Francisco neighborhood. The women accosted her while the man tore the $1,500 wearables from her face. When she ran after the man, his female friends snagged her purse with her wallet and cell phone in it. The victim, a tech writer, recovered her Google Glass but not her other items. But there’s a question about what the victim was doing while wearing her Google Glass that might have spawned the attack. Like so many other complaints regarding the new technology recently, the lady may have been recording people with her glasses. Recording people without their permission is an issue that just seems to keep coming up these days.
And in other technology news, the numbers aren’t looking so hot for smartphone shipments. IDC reports that smartphone shipments are expected to slow down big time this year. They are expecting the numbers to drop from 39.2% growth in 2013 to 19.3% in 2014. And IDC also reports that smartphone shipments could drop to the single digits by 2017. Yikes! That’s cold. But here’s the good in all that for the consumers. Prices are also expected decline with the average to drop down to $260 by 2018 from $335 in 2013. I mean, maybe it’s just that everyone has one now, you think?
Sounds like cell phone sales might be as bad as the drought in California. NASA is joining forces with the California Department of Water Resources to create new technology to better manage and monitor California’s water resources and to respond to its ongoing drought. NASA say that it plans to work with the DWR, along with university researchers and other state resource management agencies, “to apply advanced remote sensing and improved forecast modeling to better assess water resources, monitor drought conditions and water supplies, plan for drought response and mitigation, and measure drought impacts.” That includes airborne campaigns to monitor freshwater resources, combining data from NASA satellites and DWR’s network of agricultural weather stations to improve estimates of crop water requirements for farmers to better manage irrigation, and using satellite imagery to track the extent of fallowed land, among a host of other projects. Sounds like NASA is kind of like California’s freshwater superhero.
Water may be scarce, but you know what you do find in California? You find strawberries! Gotta love that state. Researchers from a university in Italy found that strawberries help reduce cholesterol. A group of volunteers ate strawberries over the course of a month. Blood samples showed that the total amount of cholesterol, LDLs or bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels fell to 8.78%, 13.72% and 20.8% respectively. Good cholesterol remained unchanged. Eating strawberries also improved the general plasma lipid profile, antioxidant biomarkers and platelet function. But you better keep eating nature’s delicious delicacy because 15 days after participants abandoned the strawberry treatment, all parameters returned to their initial values. There’s not solid evidence but researchers think the benefit results from the vegetable pigments that give them their red color. Good thing they’re so tasty too.
And that’s what’s up On Science. Go ahead. Take a bite out of that berry. It’s good for you!