Straddling the border of north central Virginia and southeastern West Virginia is a 13,000-square-mile mountainous region known as the United States National Radio Quiet Zone. To protect the clutch of radio telescopes located within its borders from radio interference, the federal government highly regulates wireless technology, which means no cellphones and few Wi-Fi hotspots. Sleepy towns within this quiet zone might soon be invaded by folks trying to escape the onslaught of wireless technologies. You see, not only are cellphones suspected (emphasis on suspected) of causing cancer, but some scientists are now claiming Wi-Fi should be seen as a health hazard. But there are equally vociferous scientists who say all these Wi-Fi Chicken Littles are foolish fowl. So, is Wi-Fi harmful to you? This is an imponderable on the level of asking if animals have souls, or why we park in a driveway but drive on a parkway, or Coke or Pepsi. Of course, I have all the answers.
For the sake of promoting safe sex, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest (PPGNW) handed out 55,000 condoms with QR codes that can be scanned with a smartphone to college students. Can gamifying condom usage result in more youngins' practicing safer sex? PPGNW sure hopes so.
Articles about losing weight often cite walking more as a great (and ridiculously easy) way to lose weight. Skip the subway and walk the twenty blocks to work, they say. (And I do.) But most new pedometers these days do more than just count your steps with a built-in accelerometer; some reward you in virtual and real-world ways for each step you take. In addition, all of them allow you to track the data over time and see if you see spot habits or trends. Some of them have so many additional features besides counting steps, that it doesn't even sound right to call them a pedometer — they definitely, and pardon the pun, go the extra mile. For this review, I wore the Striiv, the Fitbit Ultra and the iPod Nano. The first two on my belt just to the side of my pocket; the latter on my non-dominant left arm in a watch band. Keep reading to find out how they stack up.
Do you make a point of going to bed early so that you can get eight solid hours of uninterrupted sleep? Well, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. Human sleep cycles were a lot different just a few hundred years ago, with waking up for a few hours in the middle of the night being the norm. We can likely blame technology for the change, and it may not be for the best.
Getting a good amount of exercise is hard work. I mean, that's kind of the point, I guess. But what counts a "good amount?" Twenty minutes a day? Or maybe an hour at the gym, three times as week? Science has spoken, and it turns out that a "good amount" is a lot less than you think. Excuse me, I'll be on the couch.
Faced with a society that's getting chubbier by the Twinkie, the Army has been looking for a way to get itself more recruits that doesn't involve (additional) lowering of its physical fitness requirements. So what has the Army come up with? Why, transplanting extra fat cells into the body to make people insta-skinny, of course. I mean, duh.
Next to the perfect chair, what many of desk jockeys crave most is a reliable way to help them maintain good posture. Now a devoted tinkerer has created a solution that may help your back, but won't necessarily improve your wardrobe.
Saving money is one of the more popular spurs to quit smoking, but with nicotine patches and gum lumped into pricey kick-the-habit programs (hell, they even have hypnotism these days), the quitting can be pretty expensive itself. As it turns out, nicotine patches don't actually help smokers much at all, and quitting cold turkey is just as effective.
BodyMedia, which makes the FIT armband you see pictured, has been in the body-tracking biz for twelve years now. Now the company is teaming up with the brains over at IBM, and when their powers combine, you get a system that not only knows how unhealthy you are, but can help reverse the trend.
Scientists preserve brains or body parts for various reasons. Sometimes the person had an illness that bears further study with more advanced tools than an age supplies; other times the brain in question powered an extraordinary intellect. The brains we'll be talking about belong more to the former, and scientists have found that studying canned gray matter can provide a history of human mental health.