Monthly Archives: May 2014

Nine UK Cities Named By WHO For Violating Air Pollution Safety Levels

The World Health Organization (WHO) cited cities and urban areas throughout the United Kingdom for their air pollution levels that breach the WHO’s recommendations for air quality, a May 7 Guardian article reported.

According to the article, the latest data collected shows that nine British towns and cities are violating the WHO’s limits set for particles known as PM10. The nine cities are Birmingham, Chesterfield, Leeds, London, Nottingham, Sheffield, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent and Thurrock.

The most common types of air pollution are ozone (smog) and particle (soot) pollution; breathing air polluted by either is harmful to one’s health. The WHO measures air pollution in the concentration of PM particles, which are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter.

A WHO spokesman told the Guardian that during 2012, an estimated 3.7 million people died globally due to outdoor air pollution exposure. Deaths from heart disease and stroke, as well as respiratory illnesses and cancers, are typically associated with air pollution. Because PM particles are so small, they can permeate deep into a person’s lungs and pass into the bloodstream.

The UK isn’t the only place where civilians are being subjected to harmful air pollution levels, the Guardian reported. According to the WHO, the majority of cities around the world that measure their outdoor air pollution levels are failing to meet the organization’s recommendations for safe levels. This is putting residents of these cities at risk of the health problems that stem from air pollution. Worldwide, only 12% of people living in cities that report on air quality reside in places with air quality that coincides with WHO’s safety levels.

Of the 1,600 cities around the world that the WHO monitors for air quality, Delhi, India has the worst air quality, according to a May 8 Guardian article. In the United States, Los Angeles again had the worst atmospheric quality in the nation, according to the Los Angeles Times. About 147 million people — some 47% of the country’s population — live in counties with unhealthy air quality.

Couple Discovers 1,400 Buried Coins in Backyard, Worth at least $10 Million

Three months ago, a couple in Northern California discovered about 1,400 rare, mint-condition gold coins from the 19th century buried in their backyard — and on Tuesday evening, they auctioned off some of these coins at the Old San Francisco Mint and found out just how much their backyard dig was worth.

According to USA Today, one of the coins, an 1874 $20 double eagle normally worth $4,250 — sold for $15,000. Despite the fact that in 2013, gold’s market value fell by 28%, demand for rare coins in good condition remains strong as ever.

Because the coins were discovered in mint condition and are so rare, their worth to buyers and collectors increases significantly. According to USA Today, several individual coins could sell for as much as $1 million. The coins, in denominations of $5, 10 and $20 and worth almost $28,000 in face value, is anticipated to fetch at least $10 million when sold.

About 60 of the coins will be used in an exhibit at the Old Mint Building. The proceeds from the auction of the 1874 $20 Double Eagle will be used toward maintenance and repairs of the historic mint, USA Today reported. The LA Times reported that the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society hopes to also use the money toward its goal of renovating a second mint and developing a museum onsite. The rest of the collection will be sold individually on, with bidding prices starting at $2,575.

However, not all of the coins will be sold — according to the LA Times, the couple who found the coins plan to keep a few as keepsakes. 

The coins’ mint dates range from 1847 to 1894 and most were minted at the Old San Francisco Mint. There are several claims of where the coins came from and how they got there, but none have yet been proven to be true, USA Today reported.

Shape Magazine Refuses To Print Woman’s Picture After 172 Pound Weight Loss

Illinois blogger Brooke Birmingham shed 172 pounds. The blogger, understandably proud of her feat, happily responded to Shape magazine’s request to feature Birmingham’s story. The Illinois woman was not happy, however, when the magazine refused to print a picture of her in a bikini, reportedly owing to her excess skin.

“When Birmingham sent them an ‘after’ bikini photo that showed excess skin around her midsection, she says Shape magazine asked her to cover up citing ‘editorial’ policy,” ABC News explains. Birmingham shared her reply to a Shape magazine representative: “It is my understanding that Shape is known for posting pictures of women in bikinis or even sports bras. This is my body after massive weight loss, and by refusing to show my body (or forcing me to hide it), Shape is giving women a false look at weight loss.” 

Following their request, Birmingham chose not to share her story with Shape. Birmingham describes the email interaction as “disrespectful” — and rightfully so. Less extreme amounts of weight loss can result in loose skin, too. “Even natural, gradual weight loss can leave extra skin that, in some cases, can only be fixed with surgery,” ABC continues.

Men and women with loose skin after significant weight loss have limited options. A combination of body acceptance and all-natural topical creams may be best. Collagen products stimulate peptide production and naturally tighten up excess skin. (Collagen creams also help eliminate wrinkles from too much sun. Large amounts of sun exposure damages skin, resulting in the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.) The only remaining option for loose skin — surgery — can be expensive and painful. 

Shape later retracted their statements, citing a miscommunication between Birmingham and a freelance writer. The public response to Birmingham’s photo has been overwhelmingly supportive. “This woman is the perfect example of what women look like after major weight loss. I applaud her for being brave! We need to get away from airbrushed, photoshopped, surgically enhanced images,” one reader told Today.

Super Bugs Winning War Against Antibiotics Could Bring Plague

Antibiotics have saved countless lives and improved the overall quality of life across the world, but they may very well be responsible for an impending catastrophe of a global scale. Researchers warn that the prevalence of antibiotics has forced bacteria to adapt, which means, as the World Health Organization (WHO) warns, that certain treatments are quickly becoming completely useless.

“It could be a plague,” says professor of microbiology at the University of Birmingham Laura Piddock, who’s calling for a global response equal to the efforts to beat cancer, climate change, and AIDS. “There are bacteria around now, drug-resistant bacteria, capable of causing a plague.”

This problem is terrifying for several reasons. Bacteria can spread so quickly that even an hour of headphone usage could increase the presence of bacteria by ten times. Because bacteria can disseminate itself faster than news across social media, an epidemic may grow to a full blown pandemic in less time than most suspect.

“The problem is so serious that it threatens the achievements of modern medicine,” says a report from the WHO. “A post-antibiotic era – in which common infections and minor injuries can kill – is a very real possibility for the 21st century.”

British specialists fear that even simple surgical procedures could quickly become death sentences if bacteria continues adapting.

WHO leader Carmen Pessoa Da Silva warns, “If no action is taken today in order to reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes and find new solutions, we may reach the point where some infections will not be treatable anymore.”

The problem has become such an issue that even “last resort” antibiotics are losing their efficacy.

New Sunglasses Add Instagram Filters to Sunglasses, Putting the Fun in Functionality

Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. At last glance, the photo-sharing service had 200-million active users. Altogether, these users have uploaded more than 20-billion photos to the service. One of Instagram‘s biggest draws is the ease with which users can apply tweaks in the form of “filters.” These filters increase or decrease saturation, remove or add color, and add a number of other effects to make pictures look unique and professional, even when most have been taken with a smartphone.

Hoping to tap into Instagram‘s huge popularity, Tens, an Edinburgh, United Kingdom-based start-up, has launched an Indiegogo campaign for its new sunglasses and lenses. The biggest selling point? Tens lenses are customized to make the real world look as though you’re looking directly through an Instagram filter. Imagine that boring walk to work everyday transformed into a beautiful work of art saturated with your favorite hues, or a day on the beach that looks like something out of your travel magazine. That’s the sort of thing Tens is aiming for, and with more than $200,000 raised since the company began its crowd-funding efforts on May 7, the company’s dream looks to be morphing into reality.

The New Technology Could Give People a Much Needed Push to Actually Wear Their Sunglasses

With over one billion pairs of sunglasses sold annually, you wouldn’t think getting people to wear them would be such an issue. Not wearing sunglasses, thereby exposing your eyes to damaging UV rays, can irreparably damage your eyes, leading to short-term problems with sight and more chronic problems down the road. While a huge number of people own sunglasses and simply forget to put them on, one in six people surveyed in a Vision Council poll said they make sure to wear their shades in hopes of protecting their eyes.

Unfortunately, it’s not something seen as all that important across the board. However, if companies like Tens can make wearing sunglasses just a touch more attractive by tying them to one of the most popular social media phenomenons on the planet, effectively putting the fun into functionality, people might start to take better care of their eyes, if only incidentally.

Wearable Technologies Boost Employee Productivity Levels, According to New Research


According to new research, wearable technologies increased workplace efficiency by nearly 10%. “Participants in the study wore Neurosky MindWave brain activity sensors, GENEActiv motion monitors and the Lumo Back posture coach to assess employee behaviour and allow them to improve upon it,” The International Business Times reports. In addition to improving productivity levels, strapping on the motion sensors and other, wearable devices upped overall job satisfaction. Subjects wearing the new technologies reported at least 3.5% more enjoyment from their day-to-day responsibilities,The International Business Times continues. The studies tracked employees’ behavior over the course of a month.

Experts, however, agree that the technology has the most potential for supervisors and management — not their employees. While the wearable devices improved workers’ posture, sensors are also capable of identifying and recording employees’ moods, location, temperature, and more. Employers could use this information to gauge employees’ true feelings about tasks and job satisfaction, and ultimately use the data to help make improvements, researchers add. Workers and/or supervisors can also track the most and least productive times of day and schedule important meetings and reports accordingly.

The introduction of wearable technologies is not wholly positive. There are some likely complications or difficulties that will arise, too. “Handling behavioral data… entails responsibilities that will lie with self-regulating organizations who will need to work within a social contract to collect and use this type of data sensitively and appropriately,” CNN explains. In other words, companies will have to decide what is and what is not privileged information — and what can be legally and appropriately gleaned from the technology to help employees. For these reasons, the implementation of the technology may take some time.

For now, there are plenty of ways to quickly and efficiently boost productivity at work. Relatively simple actions, like writing prioritized to-do lists and making a cup of coffee can vastly improvement employees’ productivity. Taking 10 minutes to brew coffee helps employees recharge — and calmly and confidently face the rest of the day.


7 Signs You May Have a Vitamin D Deficiency

Presence of vitamin D in our body is really important for bones, mental health and skin. But, most of the people take this vitamin D deficiency very likely. Dr. Michael F. Holick, M.D., Ph.D   says that 80 to 90 percent of vitamin D comes from the exposure of Sun.  Though, there are plenty of other products that contain vitamin D yet they are not better than the Sun light.

It goes without saying that most of the health institutes claim that adults and children should get 70 to 600 IUs of vitamin D on daily basis. But,  Holick, does not agree with this recommendation. He says that at least 1,500 to 2,000 IUs should be preferred otherwise IUs will not effectively work.

Here are the 7 signs of vitamin D deficiency

1.       Your bones ache:

Holick says that in winter most of the vitamin D deficiency patients feel too much pain in muscles and bones.

2.       You’ve got the blues:

Holick opines that vitamin D is very beneficial for neurotransmitter serotonin.  He says that we have researched that vitamin D supplements have great results on the bone-ache patients in the winter season.

3.       You’re 50 or older:

According to the American Cancer Society, with every passing year of your age, the largest organ of your body – skin- does not get the same vitamin D content which you usually receive in the juvenile age. 

4.       You’re overweight or obese:

Obesity has nothing to do with deficiency of vitamin D but the raising concentration of body fats affects the levels of vitamin D in the blood. It happens because this vitamin is not fat soluble, says Holick.

5.       You have darker skin:

Holick holds the opinion that your skin pigment is natural sunscreen, however, those people who have dark skin need to get 10 times high sun exposure compared to others.

6.       You’re a big-time head sweater:

History is full with examples that whosoever has sweaty head, he who must be suffering from the vitamin D deficiency.

7.       You have gut trouble:

Those patients who are suffering from the inflammatory bowel disease have greater risk of vitamin D deficiency.

So how can you get your D safely?

Holick says that though there are plenty of vitamin D supplements yet the best way to obtain enough amount of vitamin D is to expose before the sun. He says that 90 percent of vitamin D is obtained from the Sun light.   Hence, try to get as much sun light as you can otherwise the deficiency of vitamin D will create more troubles for you and your family.

Rush Limbaugh Randomly Attacks Don Lemon for Being Gay

The CNN’s news anchor Don Lemon has blatantly called Rush Limbaugh a “stunt king”. Actually, the anchor used this title due to pathetic comments of Limbaugh. It is said that Limbaugh once told that “Donald Sterling did not have enough money to beckon the Obama”.

After reading this remark, Limbaugh did not tolerate the insult and said that Lemon is a “Guy”. He further said that my remarks had been used as media hype and it was being reported in the media reports that I was preaching and promoting Sterling.

Last but not the least, he was of the view that Lemon love to sleep with men and whatever I said about Mr. Obama was just a joke.

Can you see the electric assist motor on this bike?

When we reported on TreeHugger about an electric assist motor that converts a bicycle into stealth electric bike, a commenter wrote that “Does it really exist”?  To convince our commenter, we thought to write another article on the same subject. Whether you believe on us or not, but it is the truth that it’s there.

Actually, we had seen Vivax electric assist motor for the first time at Spezi bike show. The Cylindrical motor of the Vivax Assist has been thoughtfully engineered. It can be fitted into any bicycle for providing 200 watt boost. This motor is best for those commuters who used to commute in the hilly areas.

It goes without saying that the battery power of the motor is 5.5 Ah/30 V or 8.25 Ah/30V and it can be easily configured.  This motor is supposed to be torque-proof.  According to the product literature, the length of the motor is about 22 CM and once the motor is switched on, it will support till 90 rpm.

It is said that the price of this motor is around 2550 euro (US $3400) which is really expensive. But, it is expected that once the distribution market is expanded, price of the motor will go down.  Presently, this product is being sold across the Europe. No doubt, this product has a good future in the American market. Once the doors of U.S market are opened, this light-weight and invisible motor will boom in the international markets.

Transit Oriented Development is the key to better cities

Since years, the builders of city have been demanding for transit adjustment development for coping with the growing population density. Today, after many years, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has announced a new TOD (Transit Oriented Development) concept.

Actually, TOD is meant to design the land for prioritizing different modes of transportation. In simple words, this development is made to push the communities towards better walking and cycling transits.

Here are the 8 Principles of the TOD standard for designing better cities and better streets:

1.        (MIX)Plan for mixed use

2.       (DENSIFY) Optimize density and transit capacity

3.        (CONNECT) Create dense networks of streets and paths

4.       (COMPACT) Create regions with short commutes

5.       (SHIFT) Increase mobility by regulating parking and road use

6.       (WALK) Develop neighborhoods that promote walking

7.       (TRANSIT) Locate development near high-quality public transport

8.        (CYCLE)  Prioritize non-motorized transport networks

Inevitably, there are plenty of benefits associated with TOD. In cycling and walking transits, it is very easy to move around. You do not need to use petrol or heavy vehicles for roaming here and there.  There is no comparison with walking mode of traveling. It is not only healthy for you but also necessary to save your hundreds of dollars.  It is the reason that most of the people prefer walking or cycling for short distances.

On the other hand, cycling is totally environmental friendly mode of transportation. It is not only cheap but also beneficial for our health. Someone asked from a Chinese person, why most of the Chinese are bodily smart?  He said, due to our cycling habit.

It goes without saying that if the above mentioned 8 principals of TOD are implemented, there would be no need to have a car. Walking and cycling are the best modes of transportation in today’s world.  Korea, China and Japan are worth citing examples in this regard.  For knowing more about the features of TOD development, Click here.