Archive for July, 2018

28 Marathons for New Parents

It’s always beenĀ  source of great fodder for comedians, the plight of new parents. The sleep deprivation leading to all sorts of out of character behavior is often funny when described by a third person. However a sleep technology brand, Simba, has commissioned a study that makes us more aware and perhaps sympathetic to new parents.

The study has concluded that in the first year after the birth of the infant, the parents get 59% less sleep than what is required or recommended as the 8 hours a night average. This is a short fall of about 50 nights of sleep in the year. Also the primary care giver of the child will spend about 54 minutes on average in the day trying to get their infant to sleep. That’s another 14 days.

In addition rocking their baby and walking the floor to get the baby to sleep usually adds up to about two miles each day. That’s like walking 730 miles in the year, which is also the equivalent of 28 marathons. The baby also tends to wake up three times a night on average in the first few months. This takes an emotional toll on the relationship of the new parents.

Most common behavior deficiencies due to lack of sleep and exhaustion are hallucinations and forgetting what they were saying in the middle of a sentence. This science project recommends that the next time you see new parents, don’t laugh if you see them behaving slightly unusually. They really are too tired to know better.

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Personal Hygiene Causes Superbugs?

Everyone has memories of being told to brush their teeth the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. To wash their hands and face when they come back home from playing with their friends. These things were considered basic personal hygiene practices and have been implemented generation after generation by parents who wanted their kids to have good health.

Here’s the kicker. It’s these practices that have led to the rise of superbugs! A study conducted at the University of Queensland in Australia has focused on the chemical triclosan which is commonly found in over two thousand personal care products such as toothpaste and hand wash.

Jianhua Guo led the study that seems to prove tat overuse and misuse of antibiotics in personal care products is the reason that superbugs are being created. He added that the presence of triclosan in personal care products is actually accelerating the spread of antibiotic resistant superbugs.

This is a wake up call because more people are getting infected by these superbugs than ever before. In the last year nearly seven hundred thousandĀ  people were fatally infected by these drug resistant bugs and died. There’s a topic for further scientific research if ever there was one.

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The New Stuntman at Disney is Not Human

Performing stunts has been a hazardous way to earn a living in the movies. You can never tell what stunt may go very wrong and end up hurting you badly, or even worse killing you. However, there have been enough athletic and money pressed individuals who have made it a vocation. It is thanks to these brave individuals that early movies had any sort of thrills and chills.

Today things are different. Potentially life threatening stunts can be duplicated in digital media without any true danger to the human beings modeling in the images. The trouble was human figures were still required to get into positions of potential danger. With their latest innovation, Disney Studio has come up with a stuntman, who is not a human being at all, but a robot.

The studio had initially introduced the Stickman robot which was quite rudimentary. Now it’s unveiled the Stuntronics robot which is able to perform a number of stunts that actual human beings could perform, such as back flips and more. Fitted out with a gyroscope, an accelerometer and a bunch of laser and sensors, the Stuntronics robot is a modern marvel to behold. This science project can even strike superhero styled poses in mid air!

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The Machine that Predicts Your Death

As macabre as this may sound, a computer algorithm can predict your death. The computer algorithm created by Google actually studied 175,639 points about a woman who was admitted to the hospital. While the staff at the hospital gave a 9.3% chance that she would die during hopsitalization, the computer program predicted it at 19.9%. Yes, she did die during her stay at the hospital.

While the death itself is a tragedy, it did showcase the computer algorithm’s ability to sift through numerous medical records and come up with an inference that was fairly accurate. The electronic records of patients have always been available to hospital staff, but the doctors and nurses usually do not have the time to go through all the paperwork involved with each and every patient.

Most of them rely on the latest results of tests conducted on the patient for the current treatment options. However Associate Professor Nigam Shah, of the Stanford University, who co-authored Google’s research paper is convinced that this program is set to make the predictive model much more accurate than a human being’s rendering.

Part of the reasoning behind this is the fact that all the paper work ever involved with the patient from diagnostic tests and medications prescribed are easily available to the computer. This is a science project that will change the way doctors look at their patients.

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The Secret that Leads to Love of Junk Food

Junk food is supposed to have no nutritional value. It’s got fats and carbs loaded into the dish and practically no vitamins, minerals or proteins. So why do we still crave these seemingly unhealthy foods? It’s all down to evolution and how the brain’s reward system gets triggered.

Breast milk is rich in carbohydrates and fats and is essential for the survival of the baby. However, these components are not required in a huge quantity when the child has grown up into an adult. The brain unfortunately has become attuned to these components of food and thinks that anything that has carbs and fats is a good meal.

The Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research in Germany conducted a study of 40 volunteers to check for their propensity to buy and consume junk food that was high in carbs and fats. The exercise had them bidding for food on a computer and their goal was to outbid the computer’s bids.

It was observed that people were quite happy to pay money for high fat and high carbohydrate foods. This science project has proved that nutritional value does not make the people choose what they eat. It’s the taste and the desire for comfort foods that wins hands down.

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Here Comes the iPal

The world is becoming increasingly less human and if we look at our human interactions, even they seem to take place via an electronic medium such as the iphone. Now the electronic and robotic industry has taken this one step further by getting in place the iPal. This is a baby sitting robot that the Chinese have come up with.

Brought out at the Consumer Electronics Show Asia, in Shanghai, it is a robot that can speak in two languages, tell jokes to it’s audience, and also give math lessons to the children. It’s being touted as the next best thing for lonely children to interact with when their parents are unavailable. The interaction takes place through a tablet sized screen that is built into the chest of the robot.

The robot is about as tall as a 5 year old kid and moves about on a set of wheels. Once the children are fed into it’s memory bank, the robot keeps track of it’s charges using facial recognition technology. Yes, this glorified science project can even link up the parents phone to the tablet screen and allow them to keep virtual tab on them. Want one? You have a bit of a wait and price of about $1,400 to go.

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