Archive for February 6, 2010

TV may not just be bad for the mind but also the heart according to a new health study.

Remember the days when your parents would yell at you as you were watching television in deep concentration,  “don’t  sit so close! You’re going to ruin your eyesight!”.   Well that has been proven as myth by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).  But just when you might think that it is safe to sit and watch TV with no health effects there is a new study that gets released to get you thinking.  This one seems a little more jarring than damaging your eyesight.  This study actually finds that TV may cut your lifespan short by way of cardiovascular disease.

According to Australian researchers, sitting and watching television for one hour per day increases the average person’s risk of premature death by cardiovascular disease by 18%.   Not only did the study look at heart disease, but it also found that the risks of early death by any other health problem fly up to  11 per cent for each hour in front of the tube and jumped up to 9 per cent for risk of developing fatal cancer.  As I read the results of this study I found myself deeply regretting those all day Star Trek marathons I watched back in the day.

Now this shouldn’t really come as a surprise, because it has long been known that lack of exercise can contribute to poor health.  When one is watching television they are generally not doing anything other than sitting, thus not getting any physical activity. This study looked at three groups of people: those who watched more than four hours of TV per day, those who caught up to four hours per day, and people who watched less than two hours per day.  The participants of the study were followed for a six year period.  People with health problems such as heart disease were not included in the study.

The end results showed that people in the first group had an 80% chance of developing fatal heart diseases and had a 46% greater chance of dying by any other causes.  To further control the research, smokers and those with other health problems were not included in the study.  Even despite the participants being healthy they were affected by prolonged periods of watching the television.

In the end it all boils down to getting active.  In today’s lifestyle there is very little physical activity involved in our jobs and day to day routines.  Most people tend to sit at work all day, then come home and sit again.  So we all need to throw in more hours of physical activity in a day and keep the hours of inactivity down.  Like anything else in life, it all boils down to moderation, even watching television.

—Matthew Casey

With files from The Toronto Star

An Interesting Image!

This image shows what appears to look like a spacecraft out of science fiction. It was captured on January 29, 2010 by the Hubble Space Telescope.

First it’s strange objects flying over Newfoundland and now it’s something flying near the Earth that even NASA can’t quite explain. On January 29 the Hubble Space Telescope snapped an image of an”X” like object whizzing past the Earth at a distance of 290 million kilometers. The image shows what looks like a spacecraft of some sort with a contrail of dust luminescing from behind it.

If one was a Trekkie, and I am a big one, it could almost be said that the object looks like a Klingon bird of prey or maybe even something that the Romulans would have in their fleet.  Whatever it was even NASA is scratching their heads over it, and that is something one does not see happen everyday! NASA seems to be able to explain even the weirdest images without the least bit of hesitation.

Now before everyone begins to panic like a scene out of War of The Worlds, there is a theory as to what could have caused this oddly shaped object.  David Jewitt, NASA’s investigator of the image, says that the object was most likely created by the collision of two asteroids.  This would be the best theory, but they cannot prove it for certain because they haven’t seen a collision of two asteroids before.  According to Jewitt, these collisions typically happen at high speeds and involve objects that are so large that these scenarios can’t be simulated in a lab. In other words, they don’t have any information on what this type of collision would even look like.

Even if this isn’t first contact with an intelligent alien culture at least it’s an exciting opportunity for NASA to study something new that they haven’t seen before.  Although, I was really hoping that it would be aliens, I mean honestly, how cool would that be? As long as they weren’t out to destroy us like in all the movies out there I think that would have been more interesting and it definitely would give people something to blog about for a long time…

—Matthew Casey