Friday, May 20, 2011

CDC releases zombie apocalypse guidelines.

From the Daily Mail:
The next time a decaying corpse approaches you in the street, you'll know what to do.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted guidance telling people what to do in a ‘zombie apocalypse’ - and they don’t advise shooting the walking dead.

A light-hearted blog post by the organisation said U.S. citizens should prepare an emergency kit and then look for a zombie-free refugee camp.

But the Zombie Apocalypse campaign has a serious side as it intends to familiarise Americans with disaster preparedness techniques for the hurricane season.

‘There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for,’ wrote infectious disease specialist Dr Ali Khan. ‘Take a zombie apocalypse for example.

‘You may laugh now, but when it happens you'll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you'll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.’

The blog post drove so much traffic that it crashed the website on Thursday, and it came just days before an evangelist’s prediction of the May 21 ‘Judgment Day’.

‘If you prepare for the zombie apocalypse, you'll be prepared for all hazards,’ a CDC spokesman said.

The CDC said disaster preparedness involves putting together an emergency kit, coming up with an emergency plan and having two meet-up spots.

It recommends an emergency kit should include water, food, medication, battery-powered radio, a utility knife and vital documents.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rigorous study confirms video game playing increases food intake.

I blame Pac-Man. From EurekAlert:
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost 18% of US teens are obese. Although most experts agree that our growing obesity "epidemic" is driven by both inadequate physical activity and excessive caloric intake, implementing solutions is extraordinarily difficult. One area that has caught the attention of health researchers is the observation that trends in video game playing parallel obesity rates on a population basis. Furthermore, several studies have documented a positive association between how much time a child plays video games and his or her chance of being obese. However, correlation does not necessarily imply causality, and controlled intervention studies are required to test whether playing video games causes children to increase their food intake and/or decrease their energy expenditure. In the first such study of this kind, Canadian and Danish researchers tested their hypothesis that video game playing is accompanied by increased spontaneous food intake.

"This study is an especially important piece of the scientific puzzle in this arena because it went beyond simply simultaneously documenting the relationship between video game playing and food intake in kids," said Shelley McGuire, PhD, American Society for Nutrition spokesperson. "Instead, it actually studied the same group of children during two separate, experimentally-administered periods of rest and video-game play, and then used gold-standard methods to measure important outcomes such as food intake, energy expenditure, and feelings of hunger and appetite. Consequently, the results can be used with a high degree of confidence to suggest that playing virtual soccer can affect food intake. Very interesting! Given our current obesity "crisis" in kids, I will be curious to follow the results of follow-up studies. For instance, do violent games or educational games have the same effect as sports-related games?"

Amtrak passenger kicked off train for talking too loudly.

Finally, Amtrak does something right. From HuffPo:
An Amtrak train made an unexpected stop Sunday, as a woman was escorted off for speaking loudly on her cell phone.

Lakeysha Beard, 39, was charged with disorderly conduct after she wouldn't stop talking on the 16-hour trip from Oakland, California, to Salem, Oregon. The train was stopped short of its destination.

Train operators called police due to passenger complaints, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Beard's car was designated a "quiet car."

Beard told Portland's KATU News that she felt "disrespected" by the incident.

Watermelons explode like land mines in China.

From the Daily News (also submitted by Jen C):
Chinese farmers discovered how science can go bad after fields of watermelons exploded like "land mines" after being over-pumped with growth chemicals.

The chilling chemistry calamity struck after a group of 20 farmers in Jiangsu Province used a growth accelerator for the first time during a period of heavy rains.

That caused hundreds of groaning melons to pop like balloons, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

"On May 7, I came out and counted 80 but by the afternoon it was 100," said farmer Liu Mingsuo. "Two days later I didn't bother to count anymore."

The chemical involved is legal and is often used in the U.S. with kiwis and grapes, but underscores China's recent troubles with the unregulated use of chemicals in the nation's food supply.