Obviously health care doesn’t only mean sickness treatment. Avoiding sickness is much better than treating it. Sadly we spend far too little energy on creating health and far too much on treating sickness.
one in three adults worldwide fails to do the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week. In the UK two out of three adults don’t manage it.
So rather than stressing the health benefits of exercise, the Lancet researchers have opted to show the harm caused by inactivity. They estimate lack of exercise is responsible for about 5.3m deaths a year – about the same number as smoking.
This is based on estimates of the impact on inactivity on coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and two specfic cancers – breast and bowel – where lack of exercise is a major risk factor.
Worldwide, we estimate that physical inactivity causes 6% (ranging from 3·2% in southeast Asia to 7·8% in the eastern Mediterranean region) of the burden of disease from coronary heart disease, 7% (3·9—9·6) of type 2 diabetes, 10% (5·6—14·1) of breast cancer, and 10% (5·7—13·8) of colon cancer. Inactivity causes 9% (range 5·1—12·5) of premature mortality, or more than 5·3 million of the 57 million deaths that occurred worldwide in 2008. If inactivity were not eliminated, but decreased instead by 10% or 25%, more than 533 000 and more than 1·3 million deaths, respectively, could be averted every year. We estimated that elimination of physical inactivity would increase the life expectancy of the world’s population by 0·68 (range 0·41—0·95) years.
Brian Cox has a new television show, Wonders Of The Universe (a co-production of the BBC, the Discovery Channel, and the Science Channel), that looks like it will be wonderful. I would love more great shows on science. BBC has done some great stuff, so has PBS and the Discovery channel. I’ll be exploring what kind of access those channels have provided over the internet in the next year. I hope it is good. I was going to link to the web site for the show but the first 2 videos I tried to click on to view they wouldn’t show, so I don’t see the point in linking – hopefully eventually people that care about promoting science will make decisions to use the internet sensibly).
That’s a very important point about scientific discovery in general. Most scientists are interested in just looking at the universe, looking at nature. I don’t think there are many great discoveries that you can point to that were the result of someone wanting to find the answer to a particular question. If you look back at Einstein or Newton, you find that people are fascinated often by the smallest things, actually. In terms of Einstein, cosmology—which is a real part of the way the universe evolved, the way the universe began, the Big Bang—all that stuff came from Einstein really just being interested in the speed of light. He was just interested. It was a question he’d always asked. He’d always wondered about how light travels. It’s a useful lesson, in general, not only to the theories, but that science is at its best when curious people are just trying to find things out.
There’s a very famous quote from [Alexander] Fleming, when he discovered penicillin, he said something like, “On September something 1928, I didn’t expect to wake up and revolutionize medicine.” He woke up playing around with little bits of mold in his kitchen, basically. He was just interested in moldy things. [Laughs.] And he revolutionized everybody’s life. Everybody. Virtually everybody who is over the age of about 40 or 50 is alive today because of antibiotics. Virtually everybody would have died if it hadn’t been for that. And it wasn’t someone trying to discover antibiotics that did it. It was someone exploring nature. So, the argument, “Couldn’t we just spend our money making everybody’s lives better?” We are doing that. That’s what exploration actually does.
It is only the second time in more than 40 years that a “separation” has been recorded at the centre. Staff have described the new couplings as “bizarre”. It is not unheard of for the birds, which usually mate for life, to find a new mate but it tends to be because one of the pair has died, they said.
During the past four decades 4,000 pairs of Bewick’s swans have been studied at Slimbridge, with only one previous couple moving on to find new partners.
First suspicions of the rare event were raised when male swan Sarindi turned up in the annual migration from Arctic Russia without his partner of two years Saruni and with a new female – newly-named Sarind – in tow.
The pair’s arrival led conservationists to fear the worst for Saruni. But shortly afterwards Saruni arrived at the wetlands site – also with a new mate, Surune.
As for why they may have split, she said: “Failure to breed could be a possible reason, as they had been together for a couple of years but had never brought back a cygnet, but it is difficult to say for sure.”
Bewick’s swans are the smallest and rarest of the three species found in the UK and each individual can be identified by their unique bill pattern.
The lyre bird, not only mimics the calls of other birds, buy also man made noises such as cameras, saws and chainsaws, in an attempt to impress potential mates. David Attenborough narrates the above clip.
The rat is not afraid of humans, which could make it vulnerable. Photo by the BBC.
Yet another discovery of dozens of new species has been made. The rat that’s the size of a cat: 40 new species in ‘lost world’ at a remote volcano in Papua New Guinea.
In the kilometre-deep crater of Mount Bosavi, they found a habitat teeming with life which has evolved in isolation since the volcano last erupted 200,000 years ago.
Among the new species was the the Bosavi Woolly Rat. One of the biggest rats in the world, it measures just over 32 inches from nose to tail and weighs 3lb. The silvery grey mammal has dense fur and its teeth suggest it has a largely vegetarian diet and probably builds nests in tree hollows or underground.
It is estimated that along with the giant rat and cuscus the expedition found about 16 species of frogs, one species of gecko, at least three species of fish, at least 20 of insects and spiders and possibly one new species of bat.
Further evidence of the rich wildlife of the tropical location came with the discovery of the Bosavi Silky Cuscus. This animal, which resembles a small bear, is a marsupial that lives up in trees, feeding on fruits and leaves.
Weighing in at some 4.5lb, it has thick silky fur adapted for the mountain environment in which it lives. Dr Helgen has identified it as a new subspecies in the group of strange marsupials known as cuscuses.
The habitat in the area is currently regarded as pristine, but less than 20 miles to the south of Mount Bosavi extensive logging operations are happening.
In this BBC documentary, Dangerous Knowledge, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians – Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing – whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide.
The film begins with Georg Cantor, the great mathematician whose work proved to be the foundation for much of the 20th-century mathematics. He believed he was God’s messenger and was eventually driven insane trying to prove his theories of infinity.
They explore, among other things, varying levels of infinity. With Ludwig Boltzmann they explore challenges to the understanding of physics.
A freeware application for the iPod Touch can turn the music player into a virtual mobile phone. Truphone uses wi-fi technology in an iPod Touch to allow users to make calls to other iPod Touch owners and Google Talk’s messaging service users.
The software is a spin-off from technology Truphone developed for smartphones and iPhones. The developers plan to have the ability to make calls to and from landlines in place very soon.
Geraldine Wilson – Truphone’s CEO – said the firm had ambitions to become a global internet player. “There are a slew of new features we’re rolling out for the iPod Touch that will let users call landlines, Skype users or send instant messages. We’re talking weeks, not months, before these go live.” Although Truphone technology can, in theory, work on any mobile device, the firm is concentrating on devices that have an application store.
The company said Google’s Android operating system would be the next platform for which it will develop the Truphone applications.
Nokia and iPhone users can make Truphone calls from any Wi-Fi zone, anywhere in the world. We’ll use your Wi-Fi connection to route the call over the internet at our amazing flat worldwide rates (see rate checker), saving you loads of money on international calls from your home country and saving you even more on calls when you’re abroad.
Wi-Fi calls to other connected Truphone users are completely free of charge. From wherever, to wherever.