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Wearing red, green and black hoodies, 852 students in Bangkok break the Guinness World Record for forming the largest human Christmas tree. (Sakchai Lalit/AP)
Wearing red, green and black hoodies, 852 students in Bangkok break the Guinness World Record for forming the largest human Christmas tree. (Sakchai Lalit/AP)

Talking points: safe surfing, wait until dark and non-job stress Add to ...

SAFE SURFING

Minority parents appear to be more concerned for their children’s online safety than white parents, according to new U.S. research. UPI reports on the study from Northwestern University that surveyed 1,000 parents with kids ages 10 to 14. While the survey subjects unanimously agreed that stranger danger, exposure to pornography, violent content and bullying were important issues to watch for, there was a higher level of concern among Asian, Hispanic and African-American parents.

WAIT UNTIL DARK

Can you see in the dark? USA Today reports on a study that delivers the surprising news that at least 50 per cent of the human population can see the movement of their own hand even in pitch-black conditions. Researchers at Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University used infrared light and eye-tracking cameras to monitor eye movements of test subjects in complete darkness. The results showed that roughly half the participants were able to accurately follow their moving hand in the absence of light. How does it work? The brain uses information from different sense to create our perceptions. “We get such reliable exposure to the sight of our own hand moving that our brains learn to predict the expected moving image,” said study author Kevin Dieter. “It is a learned association.”

NON-JOB STRESS

Long-term joblessness could cause men to age faster. As reported by NBC News, Finnish and British researchers recently discovered that men who had been unemployed for a year or longer showed a significant shortening of their telomeres, the sections of chromosomes believed to predict health and lifespan. Telomeres sit at the ends of chromosomes and have been likened to the caps at the ends of shoelaces that keep the laces from unravelling. When they degrade as we age, the cell either malfunctions or dies. The study focused on nearly 6,000 men and women in Northern Finland who submitted to blood tests. After factoring in employment history and health records, researchers found that males who had been unemployed for at least 500 days had a far greater risk of being in the group with the shortest telomeres.

THOUGHT DU JOUR

Technique is noticed most markedly in the case of those who have not mastered it.

Leon Trotsky, revolutionary and politician (1879-1940)

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