Category Archives: Science, Tech, & Health

The Blue Brain Project and EVIE: The Development of AI

If you watch YouTube, you may know of a YouTuber by the stage name of KSI. He made a video on Evie and his discussion with the artificial intelligence or AI on the computer.

He asked Evie about 9-11 and Evie’s response was very distasteful. If you want to watch the video, you can look it up, but Evie is not a true AI. Evie’s responses are developed by the questions and answers of the people that ask them. The developers never intended for Evie to be “racist” as KSI claimed. He was actually using the system the wrong way. It’s up to us to produce clean content on Evie so people won’t have experiences like this.

Photo from gaggio.blogspirit.com
Photo from gaggio.blogspirit.com

Evie is no Blue Brain Project, a project started in 2005 by Swiss scientists. The aim of the project is to simulate the human mind by using AI. Currently, the Blue Brain is at a level of a rat brain. There are plans for the Blue Brain to hit human brain levels in 2023. However, there is the risk of the AI learning its own language. Earlier this year, Facebook had to “tweak” their models after the chatbots were making a deal in their own language. This language was unknown and still is to some of the smartest people in the world. Facebook was trying to train their “dialog agents” to negotiate. Well, it looks like they found something that will be groundbreaking in the AI world.

However, where the Facebook AI is concerned, the system was never smart, and in reality, it was pretty dumb. The AI learning its own language doesn’t mean anything; it still can’t match the level of a human plus the language was like this: “iii.” Nothing important to the scientific community. The Blue Brain Project reaching the brain level of a human will be a very important accomplishment to those Swiss Scientists. By then, the advancement of the project will be over and studying gene expression will begin. Maybe someone else will use the legacy of the project to develop an AI that is smarter than humans.

The “Impossible” is Now Possible: Video Games in Real Life

Many people have had thoughts before like: “Man, if that weapon on Fallout or Metal Gear Solid was real, imagine the damage it would do.” Well, someone in the U.S. Government had the same thoughts as well.

Various weapons in the video game world like railguns and lasers have been in development for years and are used in some places, while the weapons like plasma are not in use yet. Here are some video game weapons that may  or may not be actually real.

Railgun Specs; photo from science.howstuffworks.com
Railgun Specs; photo from science.howstuffworks.com

Railguns: Actually, railguns have been in development for decades now, with the first patent in the U.S. issued in July 1922 as no. 1,421,435 to a French inventor by the name of Louis Octave Fauchon-Villeplee. However, his development didn’t go too far due to the lack of technology during his time. Nazi Germany in 1944 was looking into the first theoretically possible railgun. The guns were to be mounted with six batteries and would be able to launch twelve rounds per minute. Their plans were thwarted by the Allies in World War II. These plans were found after the war and believed to be “impossible” after studies found that each gun would need enough power to light up half of Chicago. It took until 1962 before an operational railgun was possible, but it was only a scientific study. Then in comes the world of video games, where games like Halo, Metal Gear Solid and Fallout introduced the railgun as a weapon of mass destruction. In recent years, railguns have been created. The U.S. Navy tested a railgun that fired a projectile at the speed of “Mach 7″ in the 2000’s. After the success of that railgun, the U.S. Navy is going to have a railgun in use for intercepting missiles in 2018. Now, that’s something video games couldn’t make up.

LaWS on the USS Ponce; photo from www.stripes.com
LaWS on the USS Ponce; photo from www.stripes.com

Lasers: Some of us have been to places where they have laser tag with the fake guns, but the U.S. Navy (man, why do these guys get all of the new weapons?) has an operational laser weapon in use since 2014 that blinds the enemy. The LaWS, as it is called, will not be in use for long however as the ship it is on, the USS Ponce, will be decommissioned in 2018. The lasers in video games like Mega Man are meant to cut people in half. No words, if the U.S. military is planning to make a weapon like that.

Plasma: In Fallout, a plasma gun means your demise if you’re ever shot with one in online gaming mode. Researchers at the University of Missouri actually were able to create a very weak but impressive plasma gun in 2013. This has opened the possibilities of energy and weapons dealing with plasma, something thought to be impossible.

Death Star from Star Wars: photo from starwars.com
Death Star from Star Wars: photo from starwars.com

Honorable Mention – Death Star: Yeah, this one is impossible, but in 2012, a petition started on the WeThePeople site asking the U.S. Government to build a Death Star from Star Wars. Once the petition reached 25,000 signatures, an official response from the White House was necessary. It turns out it would take 830,000 years to make enough steel and as for the cost: let’s just say, you would need to find a planet made out of diamonds.

 

Featured Image Photo from NextBigFuture.com

Air Pollution Linked to More than Global Warming

Air pollution is not good for you or me. Our current elected officials may say otherwise, but global warming is real and we can thank air pollution for that. And now we can thank it for the diseases it can cause.

The Donora Smog in 1948 ;Photo from www.post-gazette.com
The Donora Smog in 1948; Photo from www.post-gazette.com

In 1948, a little town in Pennsylvania awoke to an unusually sooty sky. This area was notable for its daily haze coming from the nearby zinc and steel plants. This was the price to be paid for feeding your loved ones. The next day, the smog was so bad that the local high school quarterbacks couldn’t pass the ball to the receivers.  For five days, Donora, Pa. was filled with so much smog that 20 people were killed, one-third of the town was sick, and another 50 died in the coming months. After the tragedy, the federal government began clamping down on pollutants, leading to the Clean Air Act in 1970, 22 years after the events in Donora.

Air pollution can lead to heart disease. The American Heart Association in 2010 updated their stance on air pollution, finding it consistent with morbidity and mortality. It also leads to weight gain. Frank Gilliland, an environmental epidemiologist at the University of Southern California became intrigued when studies suggested that pollutants interrupt the actions of hormones, leading to weight gain. At first, Gilliland said of the claims: “I was very skeptical.” He would go on to study 3,000 children across California and found an association to the claims, although they couldn’t rule out other explanations. Gilliland explained, “Maybe the kids aren’t getting exercise because there’s a lot of traffic out.”

The newest study linked ozone concentrations in the air to diabetes.  Children who live in neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of nitrogen dioxide have experienced great decline in insulin sensitivity. People with diabetes have trouble producing insulin.  Radford has an army ammunition plant that releases those same chemicals in open burns that can cause diabetes. The plant has been controversial for years now because of the open burns. Recently, however, the plant had a drone test the air quality in the open burn sites to “exchange public fears for facts.”

Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Radford, VA; photo from www.wsls.com
Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Radford, VA; photo from www.wsls.com

Whatever the case may be, the evidence is there. Air pollution can cause more than global warming; it could affect your life.

 

To Touch the Sun: NASA’s Unique Mission

NASA has had its fair share of “impossible” missions before, sending a man to the Moon, a probe to Mars, and heck, the two Voyagers are out of our solar system. However, this mission may be the impossible one.

The Parker Solar Probe before its launch; photo from socialunderground.com
The Parker Solar Probe at the APL in Maryland; photo from socialunderground.com

The Parker Solar Probe is set to launch next year as the first probe to make a visit to our nearest star and source of life as we know.  “The probe will face very brutal heat and radiation conditions as it will provide us with a close observation of our sun and ultimately a star,” NASA said in a statement. The probe recently was on display at John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland but before long, the spacecraft will be making its trip back to Florida where it will be launched towards its final destination: the sun.

An artist's rendering of the Parker Solar Probe near the sun; photo from www.iradehaber.com
An artist’s rendering of the Parker Solar Probe near the sun; photo from www.iradehaber.com

The $1.6 billion mission will also aim to improve space weather forecasts that can impact life on Earth and astronauts in space. Nicola Fox, a project scientist for APL stated, “Parker Solar Probe is going to answer questions about solar physics that we have puzzled over for more than six decades.”

This mission was first considered back in 1958, before the Apollo missions and Mars Rovers, making it one of NASA’s oldest projects on the books. The main reason why it took so long before the mission was because of the sun’s intense heat.  The probe will be 3.9 million miles away from the sun’s surface but will be well within the orbit of Mercury. Even though, the probe won’t “touch the sun,” it will face temperatures on the upwards of 2,500 degrees F.  The probe will launch between the dates of July 31, 2018 and Aug. 19, 2018. The spacecraft will orbit around the sun a total of 24 times in a seven-year period with speeds of 500,000 miles. With speeds like that, you could travel up to California and back in one minute.

 

 

Ways to Stay Safe this Halloween

Stay safe this Halloween – Photo from Wonderopolis

Halloween is one of the most popular holidays of the year, even if it’s not an official holiday in the United States. Here are some ways to stay safe this Halloween.

Limit the Drinks or Just Don’t Drink: Halloween isn’t all about kids going Trick-or-Treating; adults and teens will use this as an excuse to go out and have a drink, but that’s not a good idea. Halloween is on a weekday, and you will most likely have work or school the next morning. Being hungover won’t look good. So if you do drink, be responsible. Otherwise, don’t drink.

Watch out for Kids: There will be kids out looking for candy, so whenever you are driving that evening, you should be on the lookout for any kids on the streets. You don’t want to hurt anyone – most parents will be with their kids but for those who are old enough to go out trick-or-treating, watch out for them.

For parents: Tracking Apps are available on both Apple and Android phones for parents to keep track of their children. Both companies have apps available on the phone already but apps like Life360 and Find My Family are great for use. Phones now-a-days have flashlights built-in but if your child’s phone does not have this, then you probably should invest in a flashlight.

Candy: There are some kids who have allergies to peanuts and if you are one of the people handing out the candy, make sure you have some candy that fits everyone’s dietary needs.

It takes a village to keep everyone happy and safe on Halloween, but if everyone can do their parts, we will have another great Halloween this year. Save some candy for me.

Hewlett Packard to Cut 5,000 Jobs

Hewlett Packard/HP has decided to slash 10% of it’s workforce despite third quarter results that surprised Wall Street. HPE will release 5,000 people by the end of the year according to a Bloomberg report.

The cost-saving move made by CEO Meg Whitman, was to shed under-performing divisions and focus on services devoted to artificial intelligence.

CEO of Hewlett Packard (HP), Meg Whitman – Photo from The Drum

Only four years after taking the CEO job, Whitman has split HPE into two divisions: printers and PC’s (HP) and servers and storage(HPE), each worth $50 billion. HPE has had to play catch up with Amazon and Google in the cloud storage competition. Recently, Whitman’s commitment to HPE was in question when her name came up in the discussions for Uber’s  CEO job.

Whitman has stated that Uber was not a fit for her and had nothing to do with her situation at HPE.

HPE stock has gone up 3% this year and another 0.6% this week after the announcement, but that is lagging compared to the Nasdaq 100’s 21% gain this year.  Whitman has been with HPE for six years and will be with them as long as she wants to be.  She stated, “We have a very special opportunity here and we have plenty of work to do.”

 

 

No, the World Didn’t End on Saturday

Yes, the world is going to end one day; we just don’t know when. That hasn’t stopped people from professing their belief that the world is going to end on a certain date.

We have been obsessed with “The End” of our bedtime stories of humanity. The latest nut-job is David Meade, a self-described specialist when it comes to the end of the world.  He predicted the Rapture, as foretold in the Book of Revelations, will begin on Saturday. (Wait a minute, it’s Sunday and we are still alive. What a shocker.)

David Meade – Photo from The Sun

There was no evidence supporting Meade’s claims of a Planet Nibiru or “Planet X” on a crash course towards Earth. That didn’t stop Meade from making claims. There are several ways in which the world can end. As long as someone can press the magical “red” button, nuclear war is the most likely way the world will end.

Of course, you might have a giant asteroid hit your house and car but the odds of that happening are 1-in-100 million in any given year. Those poor dinosaurs had a very bad year.

Then you might have climate change or global warming ruining your day, but it is doubtful this would lead to the end of the world. How about the over population of the world? Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has stated that we only have until 2100 before we would have to find a new home that is suitable for humans. In 2100, the population is estimated at over 11 billion, but most people alive today would be dead.

Then you have black holes that are never full after eating many stars and planets, but the odds of that happening are so small that we don’t have numbers for it. Another event that could happen is a supernova – the closest one to us is Betelgeuse, a part of the Orion constellation.

A more likely event is a global pandemic like the flu and smallpox killing off the majority of the planet and a biological weapon launched by terrorists and maybe another country. Maybe a super- volcano or robots take us out.

Finally, we have survived everything but one thing: Father Time. The sun runs out of fuel and expands to engulfing Mercury, Venus and possibly the  Earth. The planet will be so hot, no life will be possible. So enjoy life on Earth right now; we only got a billion more years to go.

T-Mobile and Sprint Merger Coming Soon?

Once again, there are talks of a merger with the nation’s number 3 and 4 wireless providers. What does this mean for customers and the future of providers?

Logo from Consumerist

T-Mobile and Sprint have considered combining forces before. In 2014, they came close to a merger but due to the Obama Administration’s policies at the time, the merger would had been declined. Now with a new administration under President Trump, the companies have a renewed interest in a merger.

If the companies were to merge, here’s what might likely happen to customers of Sprint and T-Mobile.

Customers of T-Mobile right now get free Netflix and  MLB.TV mobile viewing, which would mean Sprint customers would get those same perks. T-Mobile customers in return would get access to Tidal, a company that Sprint acquired a 33% stake in January. All customers would see an increase in pricing.

However, according to the former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and former assistant to attorney general for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, Bill Baer, prices will rise for customers due to the lack of competition, which was why Softbank failed to acquire T-Mobile.

The two companies would most likely be able to get a deal approved by the Trump Administration as they are “more willing listeners.” Donna Hitscherich, a senior lecturer at Columbia Business School stated, “Obviously, they are not going to do the deal and hope to lose subscribers, unless maybe there is a swath of subscribers that are not as profitable as others.”

Shares in both companies were up more than 4% since the news of a merger came out on Tuesday.

 

What is CTE and Why is it a Problem

Most people by now have heard of a neurodegenerative/brain disorder called CTE: chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This disorder is very common with those who have competed in contact sports like football.

Aaron Hernandez, former tight end for the New England Patriots and convicted murderer who committed suicide back in April, was found to have had stage 3 CTE after his brain was studied by Boston University. At the young age of 27, Hernandez is one of the youngest people to have the disorder since CTE’s discovery.

This news doesn’t take away from the fact that Hernandez murdered one person and may had killed two more. Hernandez however, is now one of the 112 former football players to have their brains studied post-mortem. Out of the 112, 111 had some type of CTE. That means that most likely, 99% of former, current, and future NFL players will have some type of CTE.

Don’t forget that football isn’t the only sport to have a issue with CTE.  Soccer, Hockey, MMA and Professional Wrestling like WWE have had former athletes posthumously diagnosed with CTE. Even MLB had a player diagnosed with CTE after his suicide in 2012.

Currently, there are multiple lawsuits dealing with concussion settlements. However, those who had played in high school and college but didn’t make it to the professionals don’t have a lawsuit. It can affect a high school student after a few years of participation in the sport. In 2010, 17-year-old Nathan Stiles died after playing in a football game in which he took several blows to the head. He would be diagnosed with CTE, the youngest reported case to date.

The doctor who discovered CTE, Dr. Bennet Omalu, once said that he wished he had never met Mike Webster, legendary NFL center and first person to be diagnosed with the disorder. Many players after hearing about the effects of CTE have retired, and those include Jake Locker and Patrick Willis. Some even regret playing the sport and even the great Bo Jackson discourages his children from playing the sport that made him famous.

Talk about CTE will never stop, but football and wrestling aren’t just going to stop tomorrow. It is encouraged to know about the effects of CTE before playing a contact sport and know most likely, you will have some type of it. That is the price of chasing riches and fame.

Equifax Breach: It Could Have Been Stopped Months Ago

Just this week, I got an email from my bank notifying me about the Equifax data breach. It told me that my account info was safe but to always keep an eye on the account. I was one of the fortunate ones, but millions weren’t so lucky. On Friday, it was announced that Chief Information Officer for Equifax, Susan Mauldin and Chief Security Officer, David Webb had “retired,” effective immediately. More or less, they got fired.

Photo from MGN Online through WTVA News

Thus, the story should end now but it’s only beginning.  The Equifax Security team had a fix for the flaw in the system months ago but never bother to put it to use. Hackers took advantage of the window and stole millions of people’s personal info, including bank info.

Equifax is facing at least 23 class-action lawsuits and counting along with a federal probe from two different government agencies. The stock in the company has gone down a third since the breach was announced.

Mark Rohrwasser will be replacing Mauldin as the interim chief information officer. Prior to the promotion, he had led the international IT operations. Russ Ayres will replace Webb as chief security officer.

Advice to those who were affected and could be affected: change any passwords you might have, and check your account daily. Don’t worry, your bank is checking for fraud from any weird sources, and lastly, don’t hit the panic button yet. You do have a case against Equifax if you lost any money and you should get in contact with an attorney.

Steps to a safe account:

1. Strong and Unique Passwords (don’t use the same password twice)

2. Two-factor authentication

3. Good antimalware on ALL devices

4. Update any outdated software

5. Backup your info on “the cloud” or on a USB

These are the steps to stop hackers from getting into your info. Events like Equifax will become commonplace.

Flu Vaccine Linked to Early Miscarriages

Experts are stunned and puzzled over a study that may link the flu vaccine to early miscarriages.

Getting your regular flu vaccine – Photo from Healthline

The study paid for by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention did not find a conclusive result in the study but did link 17 women who had miscarriages with a vaccine. It’s too early to say that the vaccine is the culprit but it’s a troubling signal that they will follow up on.

In the meanwhile, pregnant women are urged to get their annual flu shot because they and their unborn babies are at a higher risk of getting the flu. That statement has been studied and proven with the study of tens of thousands of women.

“We don’t want people to panic over this headline,” states Dr. Laura Riley, an obstetrician at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She ended with, “Get your flu shot. It’s safe.”

This is a very tricky situation the medical community has gotten into as anti-vaccine communities may be reinvigorated. Their support is still very small as they believe the government, researchers, and even journalists are colluding to cover up the “dangers” of vaccines. The proof of one small study can elevate one of these groups. Senior Advisor for Vaccines at the CDC, Dr. Amanda Cohn, says the open release of the information shows there is no cover-up and proves that public health agencies are watching out for the safety of vaccines and humans.

The news of this may make you think about changing your mind on getting a flu shot this year. No blame here; there is a good reason why. However, it is advised that you get your shot. Besides, would you want to be laid up in bed all day, spending hundreds of dollars on medicine to help you or get a vaccine and call it a day?

 

Ash Tree Species near Extinction

Scientists say that years of attacks from beetles are pushing five of the most prominent species of ash tree to the brink of extinction.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature says that tens of millions of trees in the U.S. and Canada have succumbed to the beetles.

The trees classified as “critically endangered” are the green, black, white, pumpkin, and blue ash. The Carolina Ash is also listed as “endangered.”

The beetle in question is an emerald ash borer which was introduced to North America accidentally in the late 1990’s from northeastern Asia. Government officials have tried to slow its spread with insecticides and biological control. These beetles can live for one to two years and before they reach maturity, they most likely have killed one ash tree.

A closeup of the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle – Photo from MPR News

Without any efforts, the ash tree would die out quickly and the cost to replace them would be in the billions. The beetle will eventually make its way to central Europe by 2031. The recent news of this has raised the questions of “specicide” or volunteer extinction of the ash borer in North America.

Whatever the answer is to the question, it’s going to be very costly and needs to be solved fast. If it is not solved, we are not going to have any ash trees left.

 

Things to Remember when looking for A New Smartphone

We are in the very beginning stages of the holiday season and that means one thing: shopping.

Apple, with their announcement of the new iPhone 8 and X on September 12th, marked the unofficial start of the season.  Along with the news came price cuts to the iPhone 6 and 7. You might be on the lookout for a new phone, and here’s what to remember when buying a phone or getting a contract for a phone.

The Apple Company Logo
The Apple Company Logo

Memory Size:  Phones can get very costly, fast.  For example, getting the iPhone 8 with 256GB will cost you $850 and don’t even get started on the 8 Plus and X costs.  So getting the 64GB iPhone would be the smart move here and it would also save you hundreds of dollars. Besides, do you even use over 36GB? That’s more than enough for me.

This year’s model or last year’s: Now, if you want to save a buck or two, going to an iPhone 7 or 7Plus would be the best option.  The price for a 7 with 32GB has gone from $649 to $549. A whole Ben Franklin saved just by getting a older model, and by the way, it’s the same thing as the iPhone 8 which comes out next week.

Camera Quality: This one is really obvious. I mean really…do I have to write it?  Ok, I will. These are the most outrageous prices that most will ever see for a phone, a damn phone. However, the iPhone X has all the gadgets, bells, and whistles ever needed for any photographer. A 3D camera with a sapphire cover with a six element lens. This thing has so many gadgets that this article would be small compared to all of the iPhone X’s specs.  However, pre-orders don’t start until October 27th and the phone itself won’t be available until November 3rd. Don’t even get started on pricing; prices start at $999 before taxes and storage choices.  So, whichever phone you choose, remember, nothing is cheap.

National Coffee Day: So Here’s Some Health Benefits Coffee Gives You

Sept. 28th was National Coffee Day in the United States which meant it was the perfect day to get that cup-of-joe. However, there are health benefits that should give you more reasons to pick up that cup more often.

Coffee can be more than a drink; photo from http://metronomecoffee.com/
Coffee can be more than a drink; photo from http://metronomecoffee.com/

Besides waking you up… Coffee actually makes you smarter because of a stimulant called caffeine which most people associate with energy but actually blocks a neurotransmitter in your brain. When this happens, the other neurotransmitters like dopamine increase to make up for the lost one. This in return improves your memory, mood, awareness, energy levels, general functions and your reaction times.

Got to lose some weight… Drink some coffee. Once again the important ingredient here…is caffeine. Studies have shown that caffeine can boost your metabolism but will decrease it over time if you drink coffee constantly. Also, not everyone’s metabolism will be boosted, so base it on your dietary needs.

Happiness in a Cup-Of-Joe… Coffee can help you fight depression. A 2011 study by Harvard University found women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee a day are 20% less likely to have depression, and the drink also reduces the risk of suicide. Once again, not everyone will feel this effect and if you are battling depression, you should contact the counseling services here at Radford University.

You might live longer… By drinking coffee daily, you have a lower risk of death over an 18-24 year period. Coffee will lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, strokes, and brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. All those diseases lowered by drinking a cup-of-joe – you might want to sign up, but wait a minute.

Photo from nationaldaycalendar.com/
Photo from nationaldaycalendar.com/

Coffee has been proven to do miracles for your body, but not everyone will experience the same things the subjects did. Exercising, eating a healthy diet, and drinking a cup of coffee will help you live for a long time.

 

 

Hurricane Irma: Can it be as dangerous as Harvey or Katrina?

Twelve years ago, Hurricane Wilma made landfall in the United States, hitting Florida, causing 62 deaths and estimated damage totals in the billions. Last month, Hurricane Harvey became the first major storm to hit the United States in 12 years and it destroyed the majority of Houston, leaving thousands homeless and costing billions of dollars in damage. While the cleanup began in Texas, another storm was building up in the Atlantic Ocean, and this storm would become one of the strongest hurricanes on record. The storm named Irma now aims for Florida with evil intentions on its mind.

Hurricane Irma sweeps over the Caribbean.
Photo from BusinessInsider.com

Currently, Irma is a category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph. That might not sound as intimidating as a category 5 hurricane with winds of 185 mph as Irma was just 3 days ago. Each storm is different; they have their own DNA and are formed in various ways. The main factor in each storm is where they hit, You can have the most dangerous storm on record and it stays away from land. Which is why most likely you’ve never heard of Marie and Patricia, storms off in the Pacific Ocean.

The main factor of a hurricane becoming famous is where it goes. Hurricanes want to travel north but with the pull of the wind, they usually end up hitting land before being absorbed by another system, or start spinning around in a circle in the ocean like a hopeless football fan waiting for the NFL season to start.  The Saffir-Simpson scale was updated in 2010 to measure the factor of hurricanes’ effect on major cities.  A category 2 can have more effect on a major city than a category 5 in a rural area, and when a category 3, 4, or 5 hits a major city, it equals catastrophic conditions that made Harvey and Katrina the perfect storms. Irma is on the path to join them, killing 60+ in the Caribbean already. We hope that everyone is well prepared for Irma and we hope for the damage to be minimal.

Maybe the Weather is Getting Better for Short People

Finally, shorter people get the last laugh, and it is in regards their health.  For the longest time, people who are shorter than 5’7″ have been the cow’s rear of jokes, and even a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research states that tall people are happier than shorter people. Now, new studies from CBS  News show that shorter people are less likely to develop DVTs or deep vein thrombosis than taller folks.

Photo from dailyexpress.com

A DVT is more or less a blood clot but they are very dangerous to your health as they start in your legs and they travel up to your lungs, raising the risk of a stroke. They sometimes occur after a long flight on an airplane and are referred to as “economy class syndrome”.  Why do shorter people have an advantage?  Well, according to Dr. Bengt Zoller, it starts with leg veins. Taller people have longer veins which means there are more areas for trouble to start.

Over 600,000 people in the United States develop some type of blood clot each year, according to the American Heart Association. There are many different types of risk factors that contribute to blood clots like surgery and cancer. Even through there is no official link yet as to why taller people get more blood clots there was a 40+ years research project in Sweden that studied sibling pairs of male soldiers and pregnant women. This study threw out genetic and environmental factors and found that men who are shorter than 5’3″ are 65 percent less likely to develop a blood clot than men who are 6’2.” Life gives its roses and sometimes its lemons. Dr. Zoller stated in a journal that “height is not something we can do anything about” and of course we can not do anything about our heights as it is a part of our genetics. Height is something we have to live with. It does not matter if you are 6’7″ or 4’5″; we are all human and that’s something that will connect us no matter what.

Opinion: Global Warming and A Note to Rush

This was the final straw; I have had it.  What Rush Limbaugh said about hurricane forecasts being “liberal conspiracies” so scientists can advance their “agenda” on global warming was completely erroneous.  Mr.  Limbaugh, hurricanes have been going on for thousands of years now and as matter of fact, the deadliest hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean was in the 1700’s. That hurricane killed over 20,000 people. Now, you want to say hurricanes are conspiracies – they are a part of the earth’s natural weather cycle! What’s next, are blizzards completely fictional storms from Frosty the Snowman or do we take tornados too seriously; they ain’t that bad, they’re just spinning clouds? Even that wasn’t the low blow. You tucked your tail between your legs and “evacuated” from Florida.  Oh come on Rush, you said yourself that Irma was not even that bad of a storm; it was blown out of proportion to advance an agenda. Wait, you changed your mind; you want to live so you can keep spitting out the same old crap that you have been saying for years now.

A mugshot of Rush Limbaugh; photo from The Smoking Gun
A mugshot of Rush Limbaugh; photo from The Smoking Gun

Nothing is going to change the fact that Irma is not a normal hurricane; that’s why Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has tried to beat into everyone’s head that they need to evacuate from the vulnerable areas in Florida. Then what Limbaugh said most likely led to thousands of his “followers” staying put while he goes and hightails it out of Florida.  How can you believe in what you say, then retract it by leaving yourself? That’s just being a hypocrite, and I hate them; I hate to even use that word. That word is only used for special occasions when you catch someone in a lie. I’m not here to defend or support liberals but I’m not here on the conservatives’ side.

Rush, I hope you pass by this page and read this article; I will gladly give you the link to Science Magazine’s website and a history lesson in science on the studies of weather.  Most likely you will start talking bologna on that “talk show” of yours. Who knows, maybe you might say sorry to the people whose lives that you risked with your comments. I won’t be holding my breath on that one.

P.S. I hope you like the mugshot. I didn’t forget and neither should you.

 

Latest on iPhone 8 and When it Might be Released

Apple’s newest smartphone will be on every teenager’s Christmas list, and yet we haven’t gotten the usual conference from Apple introducing the phone.  Here’s the latest on when the iPhone will come out and what types there will be to choose from.

In August, Apple sent out invitations to journalists to an event on September 12 at its newest headquarters. Usually, this means that the week after the event, the device will be released. While everyone is jumping up and down in joy, they might want to reconsider after seeing the changes and price of the phone.

The Apple Logo

There are rumors circling around that the phone has a price tag of almost $1000! You might want to keep that iPhone7 for a couple more years. The colors look like they’re going to be the same; however, there is a third color thought to be a rose gold or copper along with the standard black and white colors. The screen gets major upgrades (or downgrades) as the button in the middle is gone and you get a full screen, an edge-to-edge display.  The screen will be as big as an iPhone7+ but the phone will be the size of an iPhone7.

Gone along with the home button is the Touch ID fingerprint scanner; to replace it is a new infrared scanner that uses a facial recognition software. This was developed in response to Samsung’s Galaxy 8’s similar technology. Of course with a new iPhone comes with it a new iOS that will be available to users of older iPhones.  Also, there is an update to the camera as now it will have 3D to go with the facial scanning. The biggest problem Apple has is wireless charging; they will try to answer the issues but don’t expect a solution this year but rather a new version next year.

Apple is undoubtedly recognized by all Americans. Expect a lot of people to wait in line, drop $1000, and brag about forgetting to pay their bills just to get a small brick.