The most intimate areas of your vacation will be deep-cleaned by a freaky robot

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Hotels, planes, and restaurants want your dollars back. Here are some of their plans to make it safe.

It’s something we look forward to all year: summer vacation. This time-honored tradition is an opportunity to get away from the stress of our daily lives and see new places, dip our toes in cool waters, or simply tune out the rest of the world for a few days. But this year, the continuing threat of Covid-19 has thrown that grand tradition for a loop, threatening to cancel it like a pool with bad pH levels.

And it’s not just wannabe-tourists who are suffering the loss of their vacations. As a result of Covid-19, 4 million people in the hospitality industry have lost their jobs. More than $21 billion in revenue has also been lost.

The question of “Is it safe to travel this summer?” is on the minds of many, and while there isn’t a clear answer yet, freaky googly-eyed robots are here to help us whenever we arrive.

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New study : Every electric car brings $10,000 in life-saving benefits

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Converting all cars and SUVs in the Greater Toronto area into electric vehicles would cause 313 fewer deaths per year, an estimated social benefit of $2.4 billion. That’s the high-level finding of a study published today by Environmental Defence and the Ontario Public Health Association.

EV drivers cite numerous reasons for ditching a gas car and buying an EV: lower operating costs, high resale values, quick and quiet acceleration, and mitigating climate change. But what’s more compelling than saving human lives?

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The average human body temperature is no longer 98.6 F

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We’re all chilling out, new research shows

One of the most widely accepted standard measurements of the human body, a normal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, has declined gradually for more than 150 years in the United States by about 1.6% since the pre-industrial era, a new study published in the journal eLife finds. The cooling off owes largely to improvements in health and medicine and in part to increasingly cushy lifestyles, the study’s researchers think.

Many health practitioners are still using the old, inaccurate number of 98.6 F as the presumed norm, which was set by a German physician in 1851.

“Our temperature’s not what people think it is,” says Dr. Julie Parsonnet, a professor of medicine and health research at Stanford University School of Medicine and the senior author of the study. “What everybody grew up learning, which is that our normal temperature is 98.6, is wrong.”

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Avoid touching anything with this $18 antimicrobial hand tool

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Save 28% on a device that you can use to press buttons, open doors and pull levers. If only 2018 could see us now.

Since the start of the coronavirus, I’ve had the immortal words of Sgt. Apone ringing in my head, when he admonished the Colonial Marines in the movie Aliens: “Nobody touch nothin’.” Good advice when exploring a deserted space colony, and good advice when venturing outdoors during a global pandemic. I never imagined I’d ever write these words, but here goes: If you want to avoid having to press buttons, open doors and generally touch stuff with your bare hands, add a hand tool to your key ring. Right now, you can get CleanKey’s Antimicrobial Brass Hand Tool for $18 when you use discount code CHEAP10 at checkout.

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No, the coronavirus is not the leading cause of death in the US, CDC says

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US coronavirus deaths pass 14,000, but future projections are better than expected

(CNN)Even though the coronavirus pandemic continues to take lives across the United States, Covid-19 has not become the leading cause of death in the nation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed to CNN.

“There are no data to support that theory,” Jeff Lancashire, a spokesperson for the National Center for Health Statistics, said in an email on Friday.

False claims declaring that coronavirus has become the leading cause of death in the US have swirled as the US leads the world in coronavirus cases. Those claims are made by some experts comparing how many people die of coronavirus daily with the estimate of how many people may die daily on average of each leading cause of death, using CDC data.

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How long could you live off body fat alone?

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In this extract from Fat: The Secret Organ, obesity researchers Mariette Boon and Liesbeth van Rossum explain the purpose of fat in the body and how long it can keep us going without food.

When we talk about the fuel ‘fat’, which is suspended in our blood and which can be absorbed and burned by organs, what we’re referring to are fatty acids. These are long ‘tails’, or chains, that are usually made up of 16 to eighteen carbon atoms.

Just like glucose, fatty acids are cleverly packaged so that large numbers of them can be stored without taking up too much space. You can compare it to a zip file on your computer. This is why fatty acids are stored in bunches of three in the form of what are known as ‘triglycerides’.

Thousands of tightly packed triglycerides are stored in a single fat cell. This is a huge amount of fuel, a real goldmine. As soon as you haven’t eaten for a few hours, or if you’ve been physically active for an extended period of time (for example, exercising or doing housework), this fuel will be tapped into.

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How Epidemics of the past changed the way Americans lived

 

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Past public health crises inspired innovations in infrastructure, education, fundraising and civic debate

At the end of the 19th century, one in seven people around the world had died of tuberculosis, and the disease ranked as the third leading cause of death in the United States. While physicians had begun to accept German physician Robert Koch’s scientific confirmation that TB was caused by bacteria, this understanding was slow to catch on among the general public, and most people gave little attention to the behaviors that contributed to disease transmission. They didn’t understand that things they did could make them sick. In his book, Pulmonary Tuberculosis: Its Modern Prophylaxis and the Treatment in Special Institutions and at Home, S. Adolphus Knopf, an early TB specialist who practiced medicine in New York, wrote that he had once observed several of his patients sipping from the same glass as other passengers on a train, even as “they coughed and expectorated a good deal.” It was common for family members, or even strangers, to share a drinking cup.

With Knopf’s guidance, in the 1890s the New York City Health Department launched a massive campaign to educate the public and reduce transmission. The “War on Tuberculosis” public health campaign discouraged cup-sharing and prompted states to ban spitting inside public buildings and transit and on sidewalks and other outdoor spaces—instead encouraging the use of special spittoons, to be carefully cleaned on a regular basis. Before long, spitting in public spaces came to be considered uncouth, and swigging from shared bottles was frowned upon as well. These changes in public behavior helped successfully reduce the prevalence of tuberculosis.

As we are seeing with the coronavirus today, disease can profoundly impact a community—upending routines and rattling nerves as it spreads from person to person. But the effects of epidemics extend beyond the moments in which they occur. Disease can permanently alter society, and often for the best by creating better practices and habits. Crisis sparks action and response. Many infrastructure improvements and healthy behaviors we consider normal today are the result of past health campaigns that responded to devastating outbreaks.

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“I feel weightless”: Nike-backed researchers invent a wearable robot that makes you faster

 

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“It can do things that your muscles can’t do.”

As workout studios close their doors amid a global pandemic, people are left with one of the cheapest and easiest ways to break a sweat: running.

But just because you know you could be running, doesn’t mean you’ll actually go out and jog. That’s where a new Nike-funded research team comes in. They want to help people struggling to go the distance — and invented a wearable ankle “exoskeleton” that makes running 14 PERCENT EASIER AND ENERGY-EFFICIENT compared to normal running shoes.

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Old human cells rejuvenated with stem cell technology

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Old human cells can become more youthful by coaxing them to briefly express proteins used to make induced pluripotent cells, Stanford researchers and their colleagues have found. The finding may have implications for aging research.

Old human cells return to a more youthful and vigorous state after being induced to briefly express a panel of proteins involved in embryonic development, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The researchers also found that elderly mice regained youthful strength after their existing muscle stem cells were subjected to the rejuvenating protein treatment and transplanted back into their bodies.

The proteins, known as Yamanaka factors, are commonly used to transform adult cells into induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. Induced pluripotent stem cells can become nearly any type of cell in the body, regardless of the cell from which they originated. They’ve become important in regenerative medicine and drug discovery.

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Oxford scientists develop new coronavirus test that provides results in just 30 minutes

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Scientists at the University of Oxford have developed a new coronavirus test that produces results around three times faster than the current fastest testing methods, and that requires only relatively simple technical instrumentation. In addition to these benefits, the researchers behind the test’s development say that it could even help detect patients affected by coronavirus in earlier stages of infection vs. current methods, and that its results can can “read by the naked eye,” which makes it more accessible to a broader range of healthcare facilities and professionals.

The Oxford-developed test can provide results in only half an hour – the fastest current methods that focus on viral RNA, like this one does, produce results in between 1.5 and 2 hours. The new tests have already been validated using real clinical samples of the virus at the Shenzhen Luohou People’s Hospital in China, and though they’ve so far only been used on 16 samples, evenly split between those positive for the virus and those that contain none, they’ve demonstrated a 100% success rate, which is a very reassuring result.

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How caloric restriction prevents negative effects of aging in cells

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Summary:

A new study provides the most detailed report to date of the cellular effects of a calorie-restricted diet in rats. While the benefits of caloric restriction have long been known, the new results show how this restriction can protect against aging in cellular pathways.

If you want to reduce levels of inflammation throughout your body, delay the onset of age-related diseases, and live longer, eat less food. That’s the conclusion of a new study by scientists from the US and China that provides the most detailed report to date of the cellular effects of a calorie-restricted diet in rats. While the benefits of caloric restriction have long been known, the new results show how this restriction can protect against aging in cellular pathways, as detailed in Cell on February 27, 2020.

“We already knew that calorie restriction increases life span, but now we’ve shown all the changes that occur at a single-cell level to cause that,” says Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a senior author of the new paper, professor in Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory and holder of the Roger Guillemin Chair. “This gives us targets that we may eventually be able to act on with drugs to treat aging in humans.”

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How smoking could make you unemployable

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Intrusive ‘wellness’ policies and rules on off-duty behavior are becoming widespread.

 Nearly a decade after she stopped smoking, Mabel Battle still has the last pack of cigarettes she ever bought. She keeps it as a reminder of all the gray Ohio winter workdays she spent standing outside her office with the other shivering smokers getting a nicotine fix.

The cigarette pack is a testament to her willpower, she says: after countless failed attempts, she finally quit. However, her success at giving up is also a striking result of a contentious corporate experiment. What finally prodded her into her decision was a fear that her habit might threaten her employment. “I wanted to keep my job more than I wanted to smoke cigarettes,” says Battle.

The Cleveland Clinic, where Battle works as a health unit coordinator, has been a leader in corporate anti-smoking initiatives. It first banned smoking on its 170-acre campus in 2008, and followed that up with a new policy to chemically screen job applicants for nicotine and refuse employment to those who test positive. Workers such as Battle who were on staff before the ban would not be fired for smoking in their free time, but she could see the culture changing.

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