Photo credit: Redvers
Especially a post that reveals some really
Did that get your attention?
News flash: people aren't good at paying attention (Yes, I'm talking to you)Psychologists are finding out that even when people try to focus on a task they tend to lose concentration within 40 minutes, and sometimes as little as 10 minutes. A psychology professor at the University of Cincinatti, Joel Warm, tracked blood flow in different areas of the brain to determine when people were, or were not, paying attention.
"During various 40-minute tests, researchers saw a decrease in blood-flow velocity over time, and, therefore, a decrease in attention. "Sometimes in the first 10 minutes," Warm says. "That early." And he says many times the participants didn't realize it was happening."
The really scary part? They plan to use this to test people who work in nuclear power plants, to find out when the person monitoring the controls has zoned out while on the job. (Just the thought of a person in that job zoning out scares me. Or a pilot zoning out while flying a plane. Or... okay, you get the idea.) Pay attention!
Another reason to feel paranoid when you're feeling sick
Fatal heart attacks and other heart disease deaths increased during flu epidemics in St. Petersburg, the researchers report. In an article published in the European Heart Journal, if you're over 50, and live in St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida) and have the flu, you have a higher risk of having a heart attack.
The study stresses that while the flu may make fatal heart attacks or other heart disease deaths more likely, just the fact that you have the flu doesn't seem to actually cause a heart attack. Dr. Mirkin reasons thusly:
"Nobody really knows why, but inflammation is the leading theory on the cause of heart attacks and strokes. Your immunity is good for you because it helps protect you from infections However, if your immunity stays active, it can attack your body to cause inflammation which damages blood vessels and sets you up for clots that cause heart attacks and strokes. "
Moral: if you have heart trouble, get a flu vaccination. Especially if you're over 50 and live in Russia. Well, frankly, even if you live in Florida.
Hey, I had to throw in a scary bit of research to see if you were paying attention
Cyclists are fit to be tied... er, I mean clipped in
People who really get into bicycling tend to use toe clips or clip-in shoes to secure their foot to the pedal. The common wisdom is that this is more efficient that regular pedaling. (You not only push down on the pedal, you also pull up on the upstroke, thus utilizing all the leg motion to keep the bicycle going.) Researchers (not the same ones as the gossip study) at the University of Bath in England showed that cycling efficiency is not altered with and without toe clips (Journal of Sports Sciences, January 2008). Turns out toe clips don't really lower submaximal oxygen consumption (VO2).
On the other hand, riding clipped in does help in other ways. Your foot isn't going to slip off the pedals if you have to speed up or slow down quickly. Personally I don't recommend it if you're the forgetful type. Otherwise, you'll come to a complete stop and only then remember to unclip... while the bicycle is falling sideways onto the pavement... um, not that I'm speaking from experience. Oh my no. Nope, not me. (Thankfully, most bicycles do not come equipped with video cameras, so there's no evidence to suggest I'm being less than candid.)
Did you know that looking for YouTube clips of bicycles with toe clips brings up Porn videos? I didn't know that until just this moment. Wait... where's everybody going? Geez, now you pay attention?
Turns out it's healthy to read People magazine
Photo credit: Jessica Driver
Professor Manfred Milinksi, working with Drs Ralf Sommerfeld, and Hans-Jurgen Krambeck in the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Germany, found that gossip is a vector for socially relevant information.
Those who were fascinated by the lives of others were more successful than those who were not, the researchers found. Gossip is "the glue that holds society together." (It can certainly create sticky situations, so I suppose that analogy is accurate.)
The next time you're at the gym and someone stares at you while you're working out, just tell yourself that they're looking for socially relevant information about you to share with others.
The study concludes that if people hear a lot of gossip about someone, they tend to automatically discount what they're hearing. But in small dosages, gossip can (they say) give useful information, such as whether you should avoid a prospective mate because of habitual infidelity.
I don't know. Seems to me if I heard a lot of gossip over and over about someone, I'd be inclined to start thinking about cliches such as 'no smoke without fire' and things like that. The kind of gossip I like is the sort that I used to find in the Weekly World News. Did you know that a scientist has created a death ray for the iPhone? It's amazing what you can learn.
So, did you hear the rumor about Crabby? Well, it turns out it's all true. Yes, she really is the secret love child of Elvis and Princess Diana, but don't tell anyone I told you...
Tomorrow, I promise, there's a real post about fitness and crabbiness and interesting stuff like that. Honest!