Fruit’s biological clock
“Because they remain alive after being picked, the biological clocks of fruits and vegetables continue to tick, meaning their cells remain active and they are still sensitive to the time of day,” says The Daily Telegraph. “Allowing them to continue on a day-night cycle keeps them in a more natural and healthy state while permanent darkness or light may affect their nutrient content for the worse, researchers found. Like plants, food crops use their 24-hour clock to change their physical state throughout the day, for example by altering levels of chemicals which help them ward off pests.” The researchers, from Rice University in Houston, describe their work in the journal Current Biology.
Outdoors? Good for eyes
“Children have long been encouraged to go outdoors to play – to improve their mood, get exercise and break the hypnotic spell of mobile phones, television and video games,” says The New Zealand Herald. “But now there’s another important reason – it may help them avoid vision problems.” Two studies published recently say that time spent outdoors blunts the chances of children developing nearsightedness (myopia) and slows its progress in those with myopia. “It’s not the time spent reading, just that they spend more time indoors and are not getting good light needed in early childhood,” said David Hunter, ophthalmologist-in-chief at Boston Children’s Hospital .
For the first time since 2003, divorces in China surpassed marriages, says The Shanghai Daily. A report from the city’s Civil Affairs Bureau says the major reasons given for divorce are incompatibility, financial difficulties, extramarital affairs, family disputes, sex and differences in opinion over children’s education. In some divorces, a couple splits up to circumvent restrictions on buying another apartment; they eventually remarry. “But this has risks, as some men have tricked their spouses into getting divorces only to tie up with their mistresses” or because they simply wanted out of the marriage.
Watch tells time, tipsiness
A Japanese firm has launched a smartwatch with a breathalyzer and sobriety game to help the wearer decide whether or not he is drunk, reports Orange Co. U.K. Tokyoflash’s Kisai Intoxicated watch has a built-in breathalyzer, which the wearer can blow in after removing the watch dial. The watch’s display shows three levels of drunkenness: green for sober, amber for a blood-alcohol level up to 0.06 per cent and
red for over that level. The stainless steel watch with rechargeable battery also features a sobriety game in which the wearer has to press a button to align a moving column with the centre of the screen. However, the maker’s manual advises: “This watch is designed for entertainment only.”
Scanning your emotions?
“For the first time, scientists have identified which emotion a person is experiencing based on brain activity,” reports Psych Central. “Carnegie Mellon University combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and machine learning to measure brain signals to read emotions in individuals. The findings illustrate how the brain categorizes feelings, giving researchers the first reliable process to analyze emotions.” Karim Kassam, PhD, lead author of the study, said: “This research introduces a new method with potential to identify emotions without relying on people’s ability to self-report. It could be used to assess an individual’s emotional response to almost any kind of stimulus, for example, a flag, a brand name or a political candidate.”
Thought du jour
“No one tests the depths of a river with both feet.” –Ashanti saying