20 September 2014

Study Finds Out Whether Running Barefoot is Better


There is no denying that not everyone would gladly remove their shoes and stay barefoot. These could be due to various reasons, like black soles, hairy toes and generally if your feet are ugly. At this point, you should make sure they are covered in socks too. The only people allowed to walk barefoot would be hobbits, but maybe not. Shoes are good and are not the problem here: they keep our feet warm, protect them and sometimes they look cool on us. 
Whether Running Barefoot is Better?
Image credit: Joshua Hoffman (taken from)
Turns out, highly cushioned shoes that arch support do change how we run. If you take a closer look at the shoes you use when running, you will find that beneath the heel is a thick cushioned sole and a stiff insert that helps keep your arches from getting flattened out. 
A team of scientists led by Harvard University’s, Daniel Lieberman, did a research on this and their findings were interesting. They found out that if you wear shoes when running, you always land on your heel first, then roll through to the ball of the foot. They called this the “heel strike”. On the other hand, if you run barefoot, you land first on the ball of your foot, which they called the “forefoot strike”. The ground reaction force for the different methods was measured and the team found something interesting.
running without shoes is good for your health
Image credit: Steve Newman (taken from)
When you land on your heel as you run, there is a huge spike in force (the “impact transient) that jolts through your heel and up your skeletal frame. This force, according to the researchers, is “equivalent to someone hitting you on the heel with a hammer using 1.5 to as much as 3 times your body weight. These impacts add up, since you strike the ground almost 1000 times per mile!” Just thinking about that hurts, ouch! Thanks to the cushion in your shoes, you don’t notice this.

Running barefoot eliminates that enormous instantaneous “impact transient” force. It essentially means you run nicely with a gradual increase in force and no hammer slamming through your bones. Though definitive research has not been done yet, it’s likely that if you run with “forefoot strike”, chances of injury will be decreased.
running barefoot benefits
Image credit: Mike Baird (taken from)
And the clincher; since you have to lower your heel to the ground while on a forefoot strike, your calf muscles, arches and tendons are strengthened. You get healthier and stronger feet!
[Sources: www.barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu, www.nymag.com]

After A Horrifying Car Crash, This Australian Man Woke Up Speaking Fluent Chinese. He Had Completely Forgotten English


Ben McMahon was involved in an accident that almost claimed his life and when he woke up from a coma, all he could speak was Mandarin. He remembers how on waking up, he saw an Asian looking nurse standing by his side and told her in Chinese “Excuse me nurse, I feel really sore here.” He then asked her to give him a pen and paper and wrote in Mandarin, “I love my mum, I love my dad, I will recover.”
Ben McMahon
Image credit: Benjamin McMahon (taken from)
His parents and doctors were baffled by his newly found language skill. Doctors told his parents that it would be a miracle if he survived.

 “We got the call from the hospital and [the hospital staff member] was saying ‘Oh Mark, look I just wanted to ring and let you know that Ben's actually started to come out of the coma’...and she said, ‘I don’t know how to say this...he's speaking Mandarin'," Mark, Ben’s father told Channel 10’s, The Project “Neither of us can speak Mandarin so we just nodded but deep down quite concerned about what’s going on.”
Ben McMahon
Image credit: Benjamin McMahon (taken from)
Ben had been taking Mandarin in school but wasn't fluent at the language yet. “I wasn't consciously thinking I was speaking Mandarin, it was what just came out and it was what was most natural to me,” he said.

It took him about two to three days to recall his English speaking skills. His new found language has since brought him huge opportunities. He now leads Chinese tours at his hometown and hosts a Mandarin TV program. He has also moved to Shanghai, where he is studying commerce at the University. He is grateful for being alive and that he can speak a second language. 
Ben McMahon
Image credit: Benjamin McMahon (taken from)
Ben is not the first person to go through such an experience. In 2010, A Croatian 13 year old girl woke up speaking fluent German, instead of her native language. 

Recently, a navy veteran from the U.S was found unconscious in a motel room in 2013. He could not remember who he was but spoke Swedish fluently.
Dr Pankaj Sah, a Queensland Brain Institute neuroscientist believes he has an explanation for what happened to Ben. According to him, the brain has different circuits that assist in language, speaking, breathing and thinking- just like in electronic circuits. It’s possible that the parts of Ben’s brain that could recall English got damaged during the crash while those parts that retained Mandarin got activated when he woke up from the coma. 
[Source: www.dailymail.co.uk]

18 September 2014

The Australian Town Of Coober Pedy Where People Live Underground


Coober Pedy is located in South Australia and is well known for being a dry state; in fact the driest state on earth located on the driest continent. It was established in 1915 after Opal was discovered for the first time in the region. Miners started to settle in the area but they were met by harsh weather and temperature conditions.  
Coober Pedy Where People Live Underground
Image source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

17 September 2014

Rare Single-eyed Albino Shark Found By Mexican fishermen.


A shark that only has a single eye and albino skin was found by Mexican fishermen and after photographs of it were shared, many claimed it was a hoax.  A Mexican biologist however, has confirmed that the shark is real.  Caught in the Gulf of California, the endangered dusky shark was removed from its mother’s womb.
Single-eyed Albino Shark
Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
Felipe Galvan-Magana, a Mexican biologist, diagnosed the fish with a rare defect called cyclopia where only one eye develops. This shark can be compared to the famous green celluloid monster, from Monsters Inc., ‘grinning Mike’.

Pisces Fleet Sport fishing published pictures of the one eyed shark in July and since then, rumors that the pictures were as a result of Photoshop and that they are a hoax have risen. According to Felipe Galvan Magana, a shark expert of Mexico’s Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias del Mar, “This is extremely rare. As far as I know, less than 50 examples of an abnormality like this have been recorded.”

Single-eyed Albino Shark
Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
This rare congenital disorder is characterized by failure of the brain’s front portion from dividing the eyes orbits into two cavities properly. It occurs mostly within the spectrum of the face and brain defects known as holoprosencephaly. During severe cases it can result into stillbirth or miscarriage.
Single-eyed Albino Shark
Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
A kitten was born in 2005 that had one eye and caused a similar stir online. The feline, that was one of two in a litter, was known as Cy-short of Cyclops. Unfortunately, it died within a day.
[Source: www.dailymail.co.uk]

16 September 2014

This Woman Has The World’s Largest Hands And They Weigh A Stone And A Half Each


Doctors believe that this woman has the “World’s biggest hands” since each of her arms weighs one and a half stone. Duangjay Samaksamam is a shop owner from Surin province in Thailand.  For over 50 years, she has suffered from a very painful and rare condition  that has her limbs permanently swollen.
Image Source: www.mirror.co.uk

Man Sets Guinness World Record After Travelling To 201 Countries Without Flying


Graham Hughes from Liverpool is an adventurer who broke the record by visiting 201 countries around the world without the use of a plane.  Dubbed the ‘Odyssey Expedition’, he used buses, trains, taxis and his feet to travel a total of 16,000 miles.  He began his expedition on 1st January 2009 and ended it on 26th November 2012. He did this in exactly 1426 days and spent just $100 every week. Mr. Hughes presents Graham’s World, a TV show on the National Geographic channel. You can find his expeditions on his website The Odyssey Expedition.
Man Sets Guiness World Record After Travelling To 201 Countries Without Flying
Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
Some of his interesting moments were crossing the open ocean using a leaky boat for four days while on his way to Cape Verde, being jailed for a week while in Congo because they thought he was a spy, being arrested while he tried ‘sneaking into’ Russia and when Jenn, a Filipino lady boy, rescued him from Muslim fundamentalists.
Man Sets Guiness World Record After Travelling To 201 Countries Without Flying
Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
His journey was complete when he got to Juba, the now capital of South Sudan. “I love travel, and I guess my reason for doing it was I wanted to see if this could be done, by one person traveling on a shoestring," he told the Christian Science Monitor. "I think I also wanted to show that the world is not some big, scary place, but in fact is full of people who want to help you even if you are a stranger.”
Man Sets Guiness World Record After Travelling To 201 Countries Without Flying
Image source: www.dailymail.co.uk/
Hughes has transversed borders of all the 193 United Nation members plus Vatican City, Western Sahara, Taiwan, Kosovo, Palestine and the four UK home nations. He did this without flying while at the same time filmed his expedition for a documentary and helped raise money for Charity WaterAid. Having done this, he became the first person to achieve the world record from Guinness for the “Most countries visited in one year by scheduled ground transport”.

“The main feeling today is just one of intense gratitude to every person around the world who helped me get here, by giving me a lift, letting me stay on their couch, or pointing me in the right direction,” he added.
Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk/
Other highlights of his expedition include: making Orangutan friends in Borneo, dancing with Highlanders in Papua New Guinea, a ride through Kenya’s badlands aboard an 18-wheel truck, a meeting with Tuvalu’s Prime Minister and “warning schoolchildren in Afghanistan about the dangers of men with beards”.
Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
Despite people’s fear of further out countries like Iraq, North Korea and Afghanistan, they were in fact the easy ones for him to get into. However negotiating routes to some tiny islands like Nauru, the Maldives, the middle of the Pacific Ocean and the Seychelles was tough due to pirate threats.
The lowest point in his journey was when Nicole, his sister, died of cancer at the age of 39. Graham broke his expedition to hurry home and see her. "She told me not to stop the trip, but I was at a real low point. I’d done 184 countries and had only 17 to go and I thought why not leave it there?” he added.
Even after finishing his journey, he did not have the intention of boarding a plane. In the spirit of adventure, he traveled by bus and boat through Africa then by ferry back to Liverpool, England in time for Christmas. A travel map of all the countries he visited is also available on TravBuddy.

15 September 2014

Notorious Prison Now A 5 Star Luxurious Hotel Where Guests Still Sleep In The Cells


Het Arresthuis was previously one of Netherlands feared prisons for a period of almost 150 years. It was not a place anyone wanted to stay. Following its closure and a huge makeover, the hotel is now a hotspot and people are paying lots of money for a night in the cells.
Prison Now A 5 Star Luxurious Hotel

14 September 2014

Study Discovered Fecal Bacteria In Soda Dispensing Machines


Reasons not to eat at fast food restaurants keep piling up. A recent study shows that 48% of soda fountains contain caliform bacteria. This bacteria commonly grows in feces. 11% of them also contained E. coli. The study was conducted by microbiologists from Hollins University and the results published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.
Study Discovered Fecal Bacteria In Soda Dispensing Machines
Image Source: www.cnn.com
According to the scientists abstract: “…coliform bacteria was detected in 48% of the beverages and 20% had a heterotrophic plate count greater than 500 cfu/ml. Statistical analyses revealed no difference in levels of microbial contamination between beverage types or between those dispensed from self-service and personnel-dispensed soda fountains. More than 11% of the beverages analyzed contained Escherichia coli and over 17% contained Chryseobacterium meningosepticum. Other opportunistic pathogenic microorganisms isolated from the beverages included species of Klebsiella, Staphylococcus,Stenotrophomonas, Candida, and Serratia. Most of the identified bacteria showed resistance to one or more of the 11 antibiotics tested.”
The soda fountains not only contain bacteria from poop and E.coli in dangerous amounts, they are also resistant to antibiotics.

The Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S requires drinking water to test negative of E. coli. Most of the soda beverages tested from the dispensers were below the U.S drinking standards.  "The large number of beverages and soda fountain dispensers containing E. coli is still of considerable concern... and suggests that more pathogenic strains of bacteria could persist and thrive in soda fountain machines if introduced," said the study authors.
The study’s lead author and biology & Environmental studies professor, Renee Godard, said that, "Certainly we come in contact with bacteria all the time. It's simply that some bacteria may potentially cause some disease or gastrointestinal distress. One thing we hesitate with is that people get afraid of bacteria. Many of them are benign or helpful, but certainly, I don't want E.coli in my beverage."
Godard and her team acquired 90 beverages of diet soda, water and sugar soda from 30 fast food restaurants within a 22 mile area in Roanoke, Southern Virginia. They did the sample tests on both employee-dispensed machines and those that are self-service. During the study, no food-borne outbreaks were reported in the area.

Petri dishes were used to contain the samples taken. According to Godard, within 48 hours, the bacteria had multiplied and could be seen with the naked eye as 300 to 400 tiny dots. They are uncertain of how the bacteria could have gotten inside the dispensing machines but it could be from using an unclean hand to dispense or cleaning the machines using wet rags. Although the ice on the machines could be contaminated, the researchers ruled it out after testing it and finding no coliform bacteria on it.

The bacteria and E.coli found are mostly harmless but could cause urinary tract infections, diarrhea, pneumonia and respiratory illness. The Chryseobacterium meningosepticum could also sicken adults or newborns that have a weak immune system.
The researcher’s findings suggest that “soda fountain machines may harbor persistent communities of potentially pathogenic microorganisms which may contribute to episodic gastric distress in the general population and could pose a more significant health risk to immune compromised individuals. These findings have important public health implications and signal the need for regulations enforcing hygienic practices associated with these beverage dispensers.”
In other words, fast foods may well be serving you bacteria (feces), which are disgusting and they should clean up their act in matters beverage fountains. As a customer, you won’t have to get sick from taking soda if they take necessary precautions.
[Source: www.treehugger.com]