January 15, 2014

   

Sitting Linked to Early Death in Women

Prolonged inactivity shortens lifespan, study shows

If you're a middle-aged woman, we've got some bad news. And you probably shouldn't sit down for it. A new Cornell University study found that in older women, prolonged sitting is linked to early death. Are you standing yet?

In the study that observed 93,000 postmenopausal American women during 12 or more years, those who had the highest amount of sedentary time (defined by the study as sitting and resting, excluding sleeping) died earlier than their more active peers. Women with more than 11 hours of inactivity faced a 12 percent increase in mortality compared with with those with four hours or less of idle time.

The worst part? Even when controlling factors such as overall fitness, the study found that habitual exercisers are still at risk if they sit often during down time.

"The assumption has been that if you're fit and physically active, that will protect you, even if you spend a huge amount of time sitting each day," Rebecca Seguin, assistant professor of nutritional sciences in Cornell's College of Human Ecology, told the Cornell Chronicle. “In fact, in doing so you are far less protected from negative health effects of being sedentary than you realize.”

But there are preventative measures, Seguin says. If you work in an office, get up frequently. If you’ve been in front of the TV too long, take a lap.

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Drones could be the conversation tool of the future.     Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Drones Aid Conservation

By watching over endangered species in Kenya

Conservation just got a tech upgrade. Airware, the company behind the next generation of autopilot platform commercial drones, is putting its gadgets to good use by observing endangered species in Kenya—and the poachers out to get them.

Although this isn’t the first time unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been considered for wildlife conservation, Airware is breaking ground after a two-week test at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Each drone can fly at up to an hour at a time and utilizes infrared technology to scan the 90,000-acre game reserve. The drones simultaneously record video that is sent directly to researchers on the ground.

"We were very successful in all the things we wanted to demonstrate—spotting animals, identifying animals from the air day and night, being able to spot people...real-time digital communications sent to the ground," Airware CEO Jonathan Downey tells Fast Company.

Each drone costs upwards of $20,000, which remains the biggest obstacle to overcome before the UAVs are buzzing around with the lions, tigers, and rhinos of sub-Saharan Africa.

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GoPros are put just about everywhere on a movie set.     Photo: _lolik_/Thinkstock

GoPro Wins an Emmy

Pocket-sized HD camera is recognized for its contribution to filmmaking

On January 9, GoPro founder Nick Woodman screamed and hollered as he made his way to receive an Emmy. One hand was high-fiving his faithful engineers, and the other was holding a GoPro, filming the whole thing. Recognized for its contribution to filmmaking, the tiny Hero3 HD camera won the 2013 Technology and Engineering Emmy Award.

GoPros are small, cheap, and can be placed just about anywhere, which is why the film industry buys them by the case. Not to mention, they are nearly indestructible, which is why we often see them atop ski helmets or attached to the nose of a kayak.

“That the best selling consumer camera in the world has also been so enthusiastically adopted by film and television professionals is something we’re very proud of,” Woodman said.

The award was presented last week in Las Vegas during the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. Previous winners of this award have included Sony, Apple, Dolby, Canon, and RED, reports Digital Trends

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A CrossFit coach severed his spine during a competition on January 12.     Photo: Ali Samieivafa/Flickr

CrossFit Coach Severs Spine

During a lift gone wrong

A CrossFit coach might never walk again after he severed his spine during a competition in California on Sunday. 

Kevin Ogar was competing at the OC Throwdown, a CrossFit-style event, when he attempted a snatch—a lift in which a barbell is raised from the floor directly to an overhead position in a single motion—but dropped the weight on his back. According to his friends, Ogar separated his T11 and T12 vertebrae, severed his spinal cord, and is currently paralyzed from the waist down.

Because Ogar is uninsured, the CrossFit community has rallied together to help pay for the medical bills. In fewer than 48 hours, people from around the world donated more than $100,000, CrossFit Unbroken owner Matt Hathcock told CBS.  

“It was just kind of a freak accident,” says one CrossFitter who competed with Ogar last weekend.  

CrossFit’s high-intensity workouts have exploded in popularity, and there are now about 10,000 CrossFit gyms worldwide. Though CrossFit injury numbers vary, studies have pegged the CrossFit injury rate from as low as 16 percent to as high as 74 percent. 

Update: The original article stated that Ogar was injured at a CrossFit event. The OC Throwdown is not affiliated with or sanctioned by CrossFit Inc.

As of 8 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, January 15, more than $168,000 has been raised for Ogar's recovery. To donate, visit fundly.com.

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The majestic European honey bee.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Microchips Could Save Bees

New way to track colony collapse and more

Australian scientists have taken to gluing tiny sensors onto thousands of honey bees in an effort to better understand the diseases that have devastated bee populations around the world.

The microchips will be used to track afflictions such as the rapidly spreading varroa mite—a parasite that can only reproduce within a honey bee colony—and the mysterious colony collapse disorder.

In order to attach the microchips, the bees must first be rendered docile through a non-lethal refrigeration process. They are then shaved (younger bees tend to be hairier) and the microchips, weighing just 5 milligrams and measuring 2.5 millimeters across, are attached with a pair of tweezers.

Rather than transmit real-time location data, the microchips work more like a barcode at a supermarket. When the tagged bees pass certain checkpoints the data is logged, allowing scientists to create a map of their movements.

"Honey bees play a vital role in the landscape through a free pollination service for agriculture, which various crops rely on to increase yields," says Paulo de Souza, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. "Using this technology, we aim to understand the bee's relationship with its environment."

In addition to tracking the aforementioned afflictions, the study will also help farmers better understand the effects of pesticides on their colonies.

Five thousand more sensors are currently scheduled to be fitted to bees in Tasmania over the Australian summer.

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Sochi organizers plan on serving an abundance of borscht.     Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

70,000 Gallons of Borscht

To Sustain Spectators at Sochi Games

The organizers of the Sochi Olympics hope you like beets. Planners expect to serve copious amounts of borscht, the famous beet-based soup, to spectators throughout the city—70,000 gallons, to be exact.

As NPR points out, this isn't without some irony. Despite its prevalence as a Russian culinary staple, borscht originates from Ukraine. In fact, when Ukrainians protested against Russian policies in the past, they often served borscht to reaffirm their national identity.

Borscht styles range from the cold and sweet Jewish version to the Ukrainian iteration, typically served hot with pork and sour cream. If you're headed to Sochi, expect a vegetable-centric style with sweet and sour scents.

And, if you're not going to make it to Russia next month, try one of our six Sochi-inspired recipes, including eggplant caviar, wild mushroom stroganoff, and, of course, borscht.

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David DiPaolo, 31, of Bristow, Virginia, has been charged with manslaughter.     Photo: Warren County Sheriff's Office

Climber Charged with Manslaughter

Allegedly killed mentor with claw hammer

When free climber Geoffrey Farrar was found bleeding from his head at the base of a cliff in Maryland on December 28, those who knew him believed the 69-year-old was the victim of a fatal accident near the Carderock Park in Montgomery County. However, an autopsy has since revealed that the blows to his head were not from a fall but from a claw hammer found nearby.

Two other climbers saw David DiPaolo running up a trail before finding Farrar's body nearby. The injured man was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he then died. Nine days later, the U.S. attorney's office arrested David DiPaolo in New York and charged him with manslaughter.

Federal authorities alleged Farrar was killed by DiPaolo during a dispute. Court documents quote DiPaolo telling police that he acted in self-defense after Farrar choked him. The accused has agreed to return to Maryland to stand trial.

David Giacomin, with the American Alpine Club, told local media: "We all know Dave very well. We all know Geoff very well. They've known each other for years and years and years, and it was a total shock."

The two men reportedly shared a mentor-mentee relationship that spanned two decades. DiPaolo's father told the Washington Post that his son met Farrar when he was just an 11-year-old boy interested in climbing. The two reportedly had a falling out after Farrar blamed DiPaolo for mistakes that caused another climber to fall off a safety line.

"Both had admiration for each other." DiPaolo senior told the Post. "[David] is no murderer. If he had to defend himself, then, yeah, he would defend himself."

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