Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

We all hate to do this, but there are added benefits that might make this mundane task a little more worth our time.

By Matthew Casey

If there is one thing that people really seem to hate doing, it is flossing. People may hate it more than income tax time.   Why? It isn’t exactly clear but it most likely has something to do with the time it takes to complete that one extra step of ensuring dental health.  If you are the type to dread the thought of taking the time to floss your teeth then you might want to reconsider your dental hygiene routine.  It turns out that flossing actually may have more benefits for your health than just keeping your mouth clean.

There are all kinds of products out there like fancy toothbrushes that spin and move in all directions, mouthwashes that claim to be loaded up with all kinds of good things to clean your mouth and toothpastes that have ingredients in them that most people don’t even know what they are offhand.  But the fact is even if you use all of these in combination for your oral health routine you are still not getting your mouth one hundred percent clean. According to brushing without flossing is like only cleaning 65% of your body and leaving the other 35% dirty.  No matter how fancy your toothbrush is or how potent the mouthwash, there are places that they just won’t reach.  The spaces in between teeth are some of the most critical areas where bacteria can form.  This is because food particles will get trapped in those spaces and begins to rot which in turn creates bacteria.

If the thought of rotting food between your teeth is not enough to make you consider starting to floss as part of your regular routine, how about another benefit that you probably weren’t aware of?  A study put out by Emory University has found that people who floss daily live about 6.4 years longer on average than those who don’t floss.  Some of the reasons for this are that, as most are well aware, bacteria can lead to infections which under the right conditions can get into your body and make you sick and could ultimately kill you.  Another reason could be that flossing also helps to prevent periodontal disease which can lead to an increase in white blood cells.  This puts greater stress on the immune system which can make you more susceptible to getting ill and not being able to fight off bad bacteria in your system.  All of these factors together can be prevented with daily flossing which can in turn give people a better chance at living longer and healthier lives.

Many people often wonder how often they should floss.  According to the American Dental Association flossing once a day everyday is more than enough to keep a healthy mouth.  I’ll admit that I wasn’t big on flossing either, but after a lot of those regular “floss talks” from my dentist at my check ups I decided to make it a regular part of my daily routine.  After two years of doing it my oral health has improved greatly in a way that both my dentist and I notice.   So try it! It will make you and your dentist very happy and you might even be helping to increase your longevity as well.

Why Flossing Your Teeth Is Important (

By Matthew Casey

It’s almost that time of year again.  The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season will soon be here running from June 1 to November 30.  With that, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released their outlook for the coming season.

Here is the chart detailing the specifics of the 2010 Hurricane Season Forecast.

This year’s outlook happens to be higher than the seasonal averages of eleven named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes, meaning that if this forecast is to hold true this would be a more active season than we’ve seen in a while.

One major factor that could lead to a more active season this year is that El Nino in the Eastern Pacific ocean is dissipating which means there is less wind shear in the upper levels of the atmosphere.  During the 2009 season El Nino was just taking hold which resulted in strong wind shear that ripped the storms apart and suppressed the development of most storms.

Another ingredient in the recipe for increased activity this year is that water temperatures in the Atlantic ocean are about four degrees Fahrenheit higher than usual in the area where most hurricanes form.

As for the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, don’t expect it to have any effect on the development of hurricanes.  According to the NOAA website, the hurricanes themselves are much larger than the size of the oil slick.  This means that the overall impact on the evaporation of sea water that the storms need to intensify would be minimal resulting in no affect on the overall intensity of the system.  The oil spill is also not expected to have any affect on storm surge wave heights near coastal areas.

To keep up to date on the status of storms as they develop this season you can visit Environment Canada’s website which has a section that tracks all of the storms in the Atlantic Ocean.

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