Archive for January, 2015

The Smart-Phone Advantage to Weight Loss

Losing weight is a task so onerous that it has its own multi-billion dollar industry based on it. However what losing weight comes down to essentially, is just one factor and that is your willpower. Now that you know that its only your will power that keeps your motivation up, isn’t it good news to know that your smart phone can actually lend you a helping hand in this ever present battle against the bulge.

The Tulane University recently conducted a study where they were able to prove that mobile phone apps that gave motivational messages, weight loss tips and daily reminders for exercising were able to boost the weight loss performance of their smart phone owners.

While it is a well known fact that to lose weight you need to reduce your calorie intake and exercise to burn present calories in the body, it is also equally well know that the motivation to do this can wane considerably as time passes. Perhaps to sustain the momentum generated by the initial weight loss using the smart phone would be a really smart idea.

While new science projects may confirm the findings later, it is but common sense to understand that as long as you are motivated to lose weight, you will also find the will power to continue on your diet and exercise regime.

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Sitting Not Good For Your Health?

Given the amount of time most of us spend sitting down in a day, the findings of a new study establishing a correlations between sitting for long periods of time and contracting diseases, could be alarming. University Health Network scientists have established that sitting is just not good for your health.

The amount of time a person sits during the day is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and death, regardless of regular exercise, according to their review study which was published  in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study found that even if people were diligent about exercising, the amount of time they spent watching TV or working on the computer did indeed affect their health.

The exact amount of physical activity needed to reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart problems was not yest established and would need further study. Dr. Alter,  Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto said that avoiding sedentary time and getting regular exercise are both important for improving your health and survival.

It simply wasn’t enough to exercise for thirty minutes and be sedentary for the remaining twenty three hours and thirty minutes of the day. While what this scientific study has told us nothing new, it does underscore the importance of exercise to maintain a healthy body.

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UK’s Beagle Found on Mars

The fate of the Beagle 2 Mars Lander, a space project from the UK which has been believed missing since 2003, has finally been revealed. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) based HiRISE camera was able to capture an image what remains of the Beagle 2 on the surface of the red planet.

Michael Croon of Trier, Germany, a former member of the European Space Agency’s Mars Express operations team at the European Space Operations Centre looked for evidence of the Beagle in the images that MRO sent back. He found enough evidence for key entry and descent components on the surface of the planet. These were located within the expected landing area of Isidis Planitia which is an impact basin close to the equator of Mars.

This new evidence goes to show that the Beagle 2 did indeed manage to go through the phases of Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) and touched down on Mars on Christmas Day of 2003. Since due to some malfunction it did not send out the signal that usually accompanies the EDL sequence, the scientists were unable to establish the landing before this.

While this science project may not have worked out exactly the way the European scientists thought it would, at least now they know what fate it suffered thanks to the new images tat ave come forth.

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NASA Spacecraft Begins Fly-Bys of Pluto

New Horizons spacecraft was launched by NASA in January 2006. It has now traveled more than 3 billion miles and awaken from its hibernating state to begin its observations of the dwarf planet Pluto and its moon systems. It will soon begin a fly-by close to Pluto inside the orbits of its five known moons.

Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington said that NASA’s first mission to distant Pluto will also be humankind’s first close up view of this cold, unexplored world in our solar system. Needless to say a great deal of preparation has gone into this science project.

Data will be transmitted back to us in the form of images captured by New Horizons’ telescopic Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI). Not only will these pictures be used to gain a better understanding of the Pluto planetary system, but they will also be used as navigational aids to help the spacecraft travel the remaining 135 million miles to Pluto.

Mark Holdridge, New Horizons encounter mission manager at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland said that we need to refine our knowledge of where Pluto will be when New Horizons flies past it. APL manages the New Horizons mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

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Dawn at Ceres

The exploration of dwarf planet Ceres is currently being undertaken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. Images that the spacecraft Dawn had sent back in December 2014 had been used for calibration purposes. Now the latest series of images received by NASA will be used as navigational aids. In the next few weeks Dawn will be able to transmit even more detailed images as it gets captured by the orbit of Ceres and begins to spiral closer to the surface of the planet.

Before Dawn reached Ceres, the best captured images of the dwarf planet had been taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 2003 and 2004. Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer and mission director, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California feels that Dawn’s images will surpass Hubble’s resolution at the next imaging opportunity in end January 2015.

Ceres lies between Mars and Jupiter. It is the largest astral body in the main asteroid belt that exits in that region of the solar system. It has an average diameter of 590 miles (950 kilometers), and is thought to contain a large amount of ice. Dawn is attempting a 16 month science project which will study Ceres and help us gain more information about this rock in the sky.

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