Archive:

Month: August 2019

Brainwave headband makes debut at Paris LeWeb meet

first_img One potential headband advantage would be using one’s brainwaves to control games. The brainwave-sensing headband was introduced by the company’s Ariel Garten, chief executive officer, in Paris Tuesday at the LeWeb 12 conference. The company is making a software developer kit available so that developers can write their own software.”We invite everyone to help unlock the potential of the technology alongside us,” she said.At the time of this writing they raised $237,515 out of their goal of $150,000. Their estimated shipping date for Muse is June 2013.InteraXon’s team says the headset working by turning brainwaves into binary ones and zeros. “We’re like interpreters fluent in the language of the mind: our system analyzes the frequency of your brainwaves and then translates them into a control signal for the computer to understand.”Having worked on their headset since 2007, their finished design calls for two sensors on the forehead and two sensors behind the ears. Muse uses sensors to pick up the tiny electrical outputs generated by the brain’s activity. As the mind shifts between concentration and relaxation, Muse’s algorithms detect the changes in the brain and show those changes in real time. Those lending support for the concept indicate that the headset has more potential than becoming just a fun gadget. In the company’s promotional video, a Stanford MD notes that the ability to “look at your own mind” and understand the effects of activities can be quite useful. Explore further More information: www.indiegogo.com/interaxonmuse One can see one’s own brainwaves in action and use that information to improve and strengthen the mind. The InteraXon team will continue to explore using brainwaves to interact with real-world devices.Along with offering Muse, they have an integrated brain health application and the Software Development Kit. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org)—A Canadian company is talking about having a window, aka computer screen, into your mind. Another of the many ways to put it—they believe your computer can be so into you. And vice-versa. InteraXon, a Canadian company, is focused on making a business out of mind-control technology via a headband device, and they are planning to launch this as a $199 brainwave computer controller called Muse. The company is running an Indiegogo campaign to obtain needed funds. Muse is a Bluetooth-connected headset with four electroencephalography sensors, communicating with the person’s computer via the Bluetooth connection. © 2012 Phys.org Citation: Brainwave headband makes debut at Paris LeWeb meet (2012, December 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-12-brainwave-headband-debut-paris-leweb.html InteraXon looking for crowdfunding for Muse, a brainwave-sensor headband (w/ Video)last_img read more

What does a citys appearance say about itself

first_img © 2013 Phys.org However, sometimes the different score types were inversely related, which could reveal particular insight. For instance, locations with low safety scores and high class scores correlated with higher violent crime rates. In such situations, the researchers explain that the “orthogonal component” between class and safety carries important information.The researchers also found a correlation between safety and class scores and homicide rates in New York City. It’s well-known that average income, population, area, and average age in a zip code can partially explain the variation of homicide across zip codes—specifically, these statistics explain 69.9% of homicide variation. Here, the researchers found that adding the average perceptions of safety and class, along with their standard deviations, to the traditional statistics can explain 79.4% of homicide variation, a statistically significant increase. The discovery indicates that the measures of urban perception contain information that is not contained in the traditional statistics alone.Another interesting result the researchers found is that the images from New York City and Boston elicited a wider range of perceptions than the images from Salzburg and Linz. This finding suggests that the American cities are perceived as more unequal than the Austrian cities. Further, the images of both American cities are geographically clustered closer together based on their scores compared with the Austrian cities. In other words, the American cities appear more segregated, with larger gaps between their “good” and “bad” neighborhoods than their Austrian counterparts.Designing tomorrow’s citiesThe idea that urban perception can influence various social dimensions such as crime and health is not new, and may be best exhibited by the Broken Windows Theory. According to this theory, relatively minor disorder such as broken windows, graffiti and litter can induce more serious kinds of disorder such as violent crime. Although the theory is controversial, it has influenced policies that focus on repairing minor problems in order to help fight off more serious criminal activity.The researchers also note in their paper that urban perception is at the root of many urban planning theories. However, planning movements of the past century have varied widely, from the monumental buildings of the “City Beautiful” movement, to the mixture of low-density housing and parks of “The Garden City” movement, to high-density buildings and parks of Le Corbusier’s “Radiant City.” Later, in the 1960s, the influential urban planning writer Jane Jacobs perceptively reflected on the connections she observed between the physical environment and the social interactions of its citizens.Perhaps one of the problems with defining which urban features promote the well-being of its inhabitants is the lack of big data of urban perception, and this is the gap that the current study is attempting to fill. In the future, the researchers hope to develop techniques to identify the specific features that contribute to high scores. They are now launching a new study in which 56 cities are being scored with respect to 5 new dimensions. The goal of the new study is to compare cities and identify the architectural and planning features that help give rise to different evaluative responses. To participate in the study, visit http://pulse.media.mit.edu. Eventually, the researchers hope to involve not only participants on the web but also incorporate machine learning tools and crowdsourcing. They also hope to explore some of the limiting factors, such as image quality, time of day, and weather conditions, that may cause bias. Explore further Citation: What does a city’s appearance say about itself? (2013, July 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-07-city.html In a new study, researchers at the MIT Media Lab have asked Internet users to compare thousands of geo-tagged images from four cities in terms of their perceived safety, class, and uniqueness. The results not only allow a comparison of different parts of a city, but can even explain homicide rates beyond what is explained by income alone. As cities continue to grow, the researchers hope that understanding the correlation between urban perception and various social dimensions can help guide urban growth.The research was conducted by Phil Salesses at the MIT Media Lab’s Macro Connections group, under the supervision of Professor Cesar A. Hidalgo, and in collaboration with Katja Schetchner from the Austrian Institute of Technology. The results are published in PLOS ONE.Data on urban perceptionOverall, the study is an attempt to quantify people’s perceptions of cities and neighborhoods using big, robust data. The researchers collected 4,000 geo-tagged images of places in New York City and Boston in the US, as well as Salzburg and Linz in Austria. The images from the American cities were sourced from Google Street View, while the images of the Austrian cities were collected manually onsite. Then the researchers created a website and extended an open invitation to anyone interested in participating. Users were shown two randomly selected images, and asked to click on one in response to one of three questions: “Which place looks safer?”, “Which place looks more upper-class?”, or “Which place looks more unique?” The survey attracted 7,872 participants from 91 countries, who contributed more than 200,000 votes.The researchers assigned each image a score of 1-10 based on its win ratio, or the fraction of times it got selected over another image. The researchers also incorporated a correction factor to account for the win ratios of the images it was compared with, as well as calculated the robustness of the data, or agreement among users.Implications are more than skin-deepThe researchers then used the data to create high-resolution maps of cities showing different evaluative criteria. By analyzing the data, the researchers made several interesting observations. Not too surprisingly, they found that places with higher safety scores also had higher class and uniqueness scores. Journal information: PLoS ONE Web tool could help measure subjective impressions of urban environments Data on perceptions of safety in New York City. Credit: P. Salesses, et al. More information: P. Salesses, K. Schechtner, and C.A. Hidalgo. “The Collaborative Image of The City: Mapping the Inequality of Urban Perception.” PLOS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068400 Just as we are quick to judge people by their appearances, we can also get a good feel for a city from its appearance. With a quick glance, we subconsciously notice the cleanliness of the neighborhoods, the beauty of the architecture, and the liveliness of the streets to form our impressions. But how deep is the information that a city’s appearance can reveal? This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Sugar derivatives in meteorites shows enantiomeric excess

first_img © 2016 Phys.org Explore further According to Dr. George Cooper, first author of the study, “Finding excess D-arabinonic acid in a pre-biotic source was significant because, on Earth, arabinonic acid and its parent sugar, arabinose, both contain more of the L enantiomer in the majority of analyzed samples.”Finally, 6-carbon aldonic acids are in even lower abundance and more difficult to study, although there were some 6-carbon acids found in two of the meteorites. There were not enough samples to do comparison studies, but of the 6-carbon acids analyzed, only D enantiomers were observed.Because enantiomeric excess is usually an indicator of biological origins (i.e., contamination), Cooper and Rios conducted several studies to further examine whether their findings were due to contamination from Earth or were of extraterrestrial origin. Of particular interest was the composition of meteorite GRA 95229. This meteorite is known to be particularly pristine with little contamination. They found that its 3-carbon and 4-carbon sugar acids have a similar enantiomeric profile to the Murchison meteorite. Carbon-13/carbon-12 isotope studies and comparisons to soil and dust further indicated that the enantiomeric excess observed in the meteorites were likely not from contamination. Cooper and Rios subjected soil and dust to various tests, including oxidative tests, in an effort to replicate reactions that contaminants from Earth (sugars) may undergo to form oxidative products such as sugar acids. Dr. Cooper says that these findings may indicate that there was a pre-biotic force that overwhelmingly favored the synthesis of one enantiomer (the D) near the beginning of the solar system. For example, the enantiomeric excess of the sugar derivatives in these samples could be due to simpler precursor molecules that were exposed to radiation, magnetism, or other interstellar forces that have been studied under laboratory conditions. (Phys.org)—Chiral molecules can be found in chemically equivalent left-handed (L) and right-handed (D) mirror-image forms – each commonly referred to as an enantiomer. Synthetic sugars and other chiral molecules made in the lab from non-chiral precursors, or any process that does not use asymmetric reagents such as enzymes in biological reactions, tend to make equal amounts (racemic mixtures) of D- and L- enantiomers. However, for reasons that are still largely unknown, biological polymers (e.g., nucleic acids and proteins) use exclusively D-sugars and L-amino acids, respectively. For example, ribose, the sugar found in DNA, is only in the form of D-ribose. Such an exclusive use of one enantiomer is referred to as homochirality. One group of meteorites, known as carbonaceous meteorites because of a relatively high content of carbon, may hold clues to the origins of homochirality or enantiomer excess in biology. Researchers from NASA have analyzed sugar acids and sugar alcohols in several type 2 carbonaceous meteorites. They found that several sugar acids demonstrate D-enantiomeric excess that becomes more pronounced as the number of carbon atoms increases. Their work appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Carbonaceous meteorites are like chemical time capsules: they formed near the very beginning of the solar system ~ 4.6 billion years ago. They therefore contain compounds of extraterrestrial origins including biologically relevant organic compounds. Previous studies on amino acids found in these meteorites showed that most (but not all) are racemic mixtures, which serves as one point of evidence that they are of extraterrestrial origins and not contaminants from Earth. While there have been several studies on meteoritic amino acids, there has only been one study of meteoritic sugar derivatives: in 2001 Cooper et al. examined the Murchison and Murray meteorites for their content of sugar acids and sugar alcohols.In the current study, Cooper and Rios analyze the enantiomeric ratios of sugar derivatives in several type 2 carbonaceous meteorites. Chiral compounds were 3, 4, 5, and 6-carbon sugar acids, and 4 and 5-carbon sugar alcohols. Additionally, they analyzed several non-chiral compounds. They found that several sugar acids showed some enantiomeric excess. For example, threonic acid, a 4-carbon acid, was higher in the D-enantiomer by 33-55%. Notably, threonic acid (and other acids) was found in several chondrites with 2-hydroxymethylglyceric acid, a non-biological acid, and therefore, not a contaminant from Earth. Five-carbon sugar acids were more difficult to study because of their relatively low abundance in the meteorite samples. However, the Murchison meteorite contained enough 5-carbon acids to analyze and compare enantiomeric abundances. Cooper and Rios found that all of the 5-carbon acids showed a greater D enantiomeric excess compared to the 4-carbon acids with one in excess of up to 82%. Notably, this was the trend even for biologically rare acids, such as D-arabinonic acid and lyxonic acid, also indicating that the enantiomeric excesses had extraterrestrial origins. Citation: Sugar derivatives in meteorites shows enantiomeric excess (2016, June 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-06-sugar-derivatives-meteorites-enantiomeric-excess.html Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences More information: George Cooper et al. Enantiomer excesses of rare and common sugar derivatives in carbonaceous meteorites, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2016). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1603030113AbstractBiological polymers such as nucleic acids and proteins are constructed of only one—the D or L—of the two possible nonsuperimposable mirror images (enantiomers) of selected organic compounds. However, before the advent of life, it is generally assumed that chemical reactions produced 50:50 (racemic) mixtures of enantiomers, as evidenced by common abiotic laboratory syntheses. Carbonaceous meteorites contain clues to prebiotic chemistry because they preserve a record of some of the Solar System’s earliest (∼4.5 Gy) chemical and physical processes. In multiple carbonaceous meteorites, we show that both rare and common sugar monoacids (aldonic acids) contain significant excesses of the D enantiomer, whereas other (comparable) sugar acids and sugar alcohols are racemic. Although the proposed origins of such excesses are still tentative, the findings imply that meteoritic compounds and/or the processes that operated on meteoritic precursors may have played an ancient role in the enantiomer composition of life’s carbohydrate-related biopolymers. A slice from the 4.5-billion-year-old Allende meteorite. This rock was formed along with the solar system. Credit: Wikipedia, via Flickr/AMNH/CC BY 2.0 The riddle of life’s single-handedness This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Chinese team runs cold atomic clock in space for 15 months

first_imgIn-orbit operation of an atomic clock based on laser-cooled 87Rb atoms. Principle and structure of the space cold atom clock (CAC). The capture zone is a magneto-optical trap (MOT) with a folded beam design. The ring interrogation cavity is used for the microwave field to interrogate the cold atoms. In the detection zone, cold atoms in both hyperfine states are detected. The clock signal is obtained by feeding the error signal to the frequency of microwave source. Credit: Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05219-z Neglected atom has top properties for atomic clocks Journal information: Nature Communications Citation: Chinese team runs cold atomic clock in space for 15 months (2018, July 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-chinese-team-cold-atomic-clock.html Cold atomic clocks keep time by measuring atomic oscillations in free fall (so no interference occurs). They are chilled, as their name implies, to near absolute zero using lasers, which makes them more precise. It would be convenient for researchers to have a cold atomic clock run in space—that would allow for measuring time more precisely for such things as GPS applications. But space presents challenges that are not present on Earth, including the size and weight of the apparatus—both are at a premium on spacecraft. There is also the matter of shielding the clock from cosmic radiation. Such roadblocks have prevented the use of these clocks in space, until now. In this new effort, the researchers report that they have successfully run a cold atomic clock on board an Earth-orbiting vehicle—the Tiangong-2 Chinse space station. They report further that they ran the clock for 15 months, and during that time, they achieved a frequency stability of 3.0 x 10−13τ−1/2.The clock used by the team was encased in three layers of mu-metal and was held at a pressure of 10-12 atmospheres. The servo-motors used to stabilize the pressure were also shielded to prevent interference from their magnetic fields. Inside of the device was a trap isolating 50 million rubidium-87 atoms held steady by microwaves and laser pulses. Measuring was done using interferometry.The researchers suggest similar space-based clocks could be used for metrology as well as for testing principles of General Relativity and other fundamental physics constants. A team of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences has successfully operated a cold atomic clock in space for a period of 15 months. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes how they succeeded in achieving the difficult task.center_img © 2018 Phys.org Explore further More information: Liang Liu et al. In-orbit operation of an atomic clock based on laser-cooled 87Rb atoms, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05219-zAbstractAtomic clocks based on laser-cooled atoms are widely used as primary frequency standards. Deploying such cold atom clocks (CACs) in space is foreseen to have many applications. Here we present tests of a CAC operating in space. In orbital microgravity, the atoms are cooled, trapped, launched, and finally detected after being interrogated by a microwave field using the Ramsey method. Perturbing influences from the orbital environment on the atoms such as varying magnetic fields and the passage of the spacecraft through Earth’s radiation belt are also controlled and mitigated. With appropriate parameters settings, closed-loop locking of the CAC is realized in orbit and an estimated short-term frequency stability close to 3.0 × 10−13τ−1/2 has been attained. The demonstration of the long-term operation of cold atom clock in orbit opens possibility on the applications of space-based cold atom sensors. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Calm and chaos

first_imgPayal Kapoor, Director Arushi Arts Presents Uninterrupted Tales, by artist Roy Thomas A collateral event preview for India Art Fair.Happiness and misery it go hand by hand in  life and it is well depicted in the exhibiiton  Uninterrupted tales by Artiste Roy Thomas. The paintings will take you to the another level of self search. The painting depicts the various moods a person goes through every day. The session of self questioning starts with the painting and delves into the relationship of happiness and misery. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’These all are oil painting. Paintings will be displayed at The Gallery on MG Mall, MG Road, Arushi Arts on January 19.In one painting one can see that a new born baby is sleeping on the broken glass. In a scene that looks out of a big fight and violence scene the baby is sleeping carefree. The woman behind is  devastated due to the recent violent act at the place but baby is just unaware. Another painting shows a new born baby sleeping between two tigers . Normally where the tiger should attack the baby, it is protecting the baby against all odds of life but the baby is still sleeping in calm unbothered about worldy problems. All of Roy Thomas’s paintings depict the phases of a human being.last_img read more

Govt plans to set up Bengals first geriatric hospital in Salt Lake

first_imgKolkata: The Bengal government is contemplating to set up the state’s first geriatric hospital in Salt Lake to provide comprehensive care exclusively for the elderly people and also to understand their medical background and offer them customised care.There is a demand of such a hospital in the state, as the number of elderly people living alone is on the rise. The state Health department will be the nodal agency to carry out the project.The proposal to set up a geriatric hospital in the city, however, is in the initial stage. A study will be carried out to examine the viability of set- Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedting up such a hospital in Salt Lake.According to a senior official of the Health department, there is a plan to set up the geriatric hospital in the city, where the elderly people from across the state can get special care.The patients would be able to avail personal attention, however, it would be too early to divulge the detailed plans in this regard.A specialised geriatric care centre would be set up at the proposed hospital, where proficient geriatricians and allied medical professionals will provide comprehensive geriatric assessment to address all-round needs of a patient and recommend the best treatment for them. Also Read – Naihati: 10 councillors return to TMC from BJPThere are not enough doctors who are willing to visit these elderly patients at home. It has been found that many elderly people have been living in residential apartments alone in the city. They often become too feeble to visit a doctor’s chamber in the locality.Many of them are found to have been deserted by their sons or daughters who have settled outside the state or abroad, with no one to look after their parents.According to sources, the main focus areas of the proposed hospital would be preventing and managing fractures, dizziness, memory loss, depression, psycholo-gical revitalisation, vacci-nations, fatigue, unsteadiness or weakness, physiotherapy, diet counselling and medicine management.As a part of geriatric health care, the patients would be informed about the preventive health care services such as regular physical exercise, balanced diet, vegetarianism, stress management, avoidance of smoking or tobacco products and prevention of falls.The country has been facing a specific demographic challenge, as the population over the age of 65 is expected to soar up to 20 percent by 2050. This requires both the state government and Centre to have a holistic approach towards the health needs of the elderly people, feel a senior state government official.It may be mentioned here that after coming to power, the Mamata Banerjee government has taken up a series of newinitiatives to help elderly citizens.A comprehensive geriatric care unit, an exclusive centre for the elderly, has come up at the district hospitals to address the problems faced by elderly people.The elderly people often suffer from more than one medical problem. They need a special environment and attention that can help them improve their functional ability, physical health, cognition and mental health.last_img read more

Mandira Bedi explores her designing skills

first_imgMandira Bedi, who contributed to the glamourising of sarees as a fashion statement with the iconic noodle strap blouses, during her stint as a sports presenter, displayed her designing skills to the sartorial connoisseurs. She presented her new collection of sarees for the first time in the national Capital on Wednesday. ‘The Spirit of the Zoya Woman’ (Zoya is the chain of exquisite diamond boutiques from the House of Tata) was the second in a series of conversations over coffee, with iconic women achievers who exemplify the brand’s approach to Zoya’s creations.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Mandira’s collection was showcased in four segments wherein there were breaks for discussions.  The evening included a preview of Mandira’s Autumn-Winter collection of sarees. The evening had guests and media interacting with Mandira Bedi and Sangeeta Dewan, the designer for Zoya. The 16 looks presented by models through the evening were complemented by the finest pieces from Zoya’s new collections Lace and Wedding, Sangeeta Dewan, designer, Zoya said, “Today we’ve chosen to show two of Zoya’s newest collections. They complement sarees beautifully, though the versatility of diamonds and this collection design allows them to be paired well with contemporary wear as well.” Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixMandira mentioned that she didn’t have a degree in designing and was inspired from her surroundings, hence, some of her sarees had very obvious designs. Elaborating the stories behind them, she said, “Once I was dropping my kid to school and I saw these arrow signs and I felt that it would probably look amazing on a saree.” The crisp winter air, the soft autumn hues and the colors of festivity are the prime inspiration behind Mandira’s Autumn Winter Collection.  Each saree is unique as it has its own story yet together they all form a collection that is not just unique and alive but also a style statement of the modern Indian woman. The collection is a fusion of graphic designs and traditional craftsmanship with the pure elements and the festivities of the season. Mandira said, “I’m very happy to be here for the Spirit of the Zoya Woman. I’m excited to be presenting a collection of my work in Delhi for the very first time.”last_img read more

Roadshows for NTPC BEL disinvestment

first_imgGovernment has embarked on global roadshows at four locations, including the US and the UK, to attract investments for its big-ticket stake sale in the country’s largest power producer NTPC and BEL that may fetch around Rs 6,600 crore to the exchequer.Officials from the Department of Disinvestment (DoD), Power Ministry and NTPC are doing roadshows simultaneously in Singapore, Hong Kong, London and in the United States between October 5-10. In the US, roadshows are being held in San Francisco, Boston and New York, sources said. Also Read – Punjab & Sind Bank cuts MCLR by up to 20 basis pointsGovernment already has Cabinet approval for 5 per cent stake sale in NTPC. Both NTPC and Bharat Electronics Ltd form part of the Basket Two of PSUs, which the DoD had created earlier this year.Going by the current stock price, 5 per cent stake sale in NTPC could fetch about Rs 5,200 crore, while in case of BEL offloading 5 per cent may garner Rs 1,400 crore. Government will go ahead with the disinvestment of the two companies based on investor responses in the roadshows and the domestic equity market conditions, sources said. With first half of the current fiscal already over, the government has garnered only Rs 12,600 crore through stake sale in four PSUs — IOC, PFC, REC and Dredging Corporation. Also Read – ‘The great gold bull market has begun’It had budgeted to raise Rs 69,500 crore through disinvestment in current fiscal, of which Rs 28,500 crore is to come from strategic stake sales. The government had in August appointed Deutsche Bank, ICICI Securities, SBI Capital Markets and Edelweiss Financial Services as merchant bankers for Basket Two — which apart from NTPC and BEL, also has Engineers India, NALCO and Hindustan Copper.DoD had decided to bundle the PSUs in order to reduce the number of roadshows to be conducted by the merchant bankers as that can be clubbed for companies in similar sector.last_img read more

How eating healthy food can make you fat

first_imgEating too much is typically considered as one of the prime reasons for obesity but when people eat what they consider to be healthy food, they eat more than the recommended serving size because they associate “healthy” with less filling, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.The findings suggest that the recent increase of healthy food labels may be ironically contributing to the obesity epidemic rather than reducing it. Raj Raghunathan from University of Texas at Austin, and colleagues utilised a multi-method approach to investigate the “healthy equal to less filling” intuition. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The first study was conducted with 50 undergraduate students at a large public university and employed the well-established Implicit Association Test to provide evidence for an inverse relationship between the concepts of healthy and filling. The second study was a field study conducted with 40 graduate students and measured participants’ hunger levels after consuming a cookie that is either portrayed as healthy or unhealthy to test the effect of health portrayals on experienced hunger levels. The third study was conducted with 72 undergraduate students in a realistic scenario to measure the impact of health portrayals on the amount of food ordered before watching a short film and the actual amount of food consumed during the film.The researchers demonstrated that portraying a food as healthy as opposed to unhealthy using a front-of-package nutritional scale impacts consumer judgment and behaviour. The study was published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.last_img read more

Freedom from noise pollution will be true independence

first_imgLast week a person who gives out on hire his Dolby music truck for marriages and other functions used a vacant plot near our house to test his equipment. The heavy dose of bass that he blasted from his truck towards our house made me sick to the core. Such loud music is a common occurrence in cities and small towns of India, more so during the various religious festivals like Ganpati, Dussehra and the like. This noise pollution is further exacerbated by firecrackers during Diwali and marriage festivals. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfSimilarly, some years ago I had gone to attend a friend’s son’s marriage in Mumbai. The drums were beaten so loudly that it caused palpitations in my heart and despite completely covering the ears with my palms, the noise penetrated deep inside the body and I suffered a momentary loss of hearing. Sound intensity levels or noise levels are described in decibels (dB) with a logarithmic increasing scale and they double up with every 10 dB increase. Thus, the noise level at 40 dB is twice as loud as that at 30 dB. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe sound level of normal human conversation is between 40-50 dB and that of rock or loud music concert is on an average 140 dB. Thus, rock music is approximately 500 times louder than the human conversation.Recent data shows that some of the Indian cities have noise levels greater than 75 dB and in peak traffic jams the deafening sound of horns blowing can reach 100-120 dB. Poor traffic sense, lax patrolling by police and bad roads exacerbate the noise pollution further. Medical data also shows that around 6-7 per cent of India’s population is deaf though the actual numbers maybe much higher since most people never get tested for deafness.  Effect on healthScientists have shown that all sound levels greater than 85 dB are dangerous to human health. In the long run, they damage hearing and increase the level of stress. Large scale studies all over the world have shown that increased sound levels cause elevated blood pressure, loss of sleep, increased heart rate, cardiovascular constriction and changes in brain chemistry. I feel the increase of anger and aggression in the city population is probably due to the noise pollution.We hear sound through our ears where the pressure waves (sound) are converted into electrical signals and these signals are processed in the auditory centres of the brain. However, when the sound is loud enough it also has the ability to pass through the human skull – the thinnest among all animals – and reach the brain directly.Various scientific studies worldwide have shown the effect of mechanical forces on the working of the brain. Under various mechanical stresses, the brain chemistry gets altered, thus affecting neuron communications and general functioning of the brain. Loud noise vibrations passing through the skull can therefore easily affect the brain — the softest tissue in the human body. In some ways, the effect of a very loud sound may be similar to head trauma injury. Nature has evolved so as to take into account all the forces impinging on a body and I am sure that this pressure wave passing through the skull affects the brain directly.Music affects humans profoundly. Great music lifts the mood, is a balm to the soul and can have profound effect on the well-being in the long run. We still are not sure how music affects the whole brain since the auditory centres occupy only a small portion of the brain. However, sound vibrations creating mechanical stresses in the brain may provide an answer.Similarly, “ugly and loud” sound may affect the whole brain and in the long run may have profound detrimental effects on human health. Even music, which may be soothing at low volumes, becomes cacophonous when played loudly.Loud music has the same detrimental effect on nerves as multiple sclerosis. It destroys the insulation of nerve cells which go from the ear to the brain. It is not necessary that only loud music heard in the open affects our health; even headphones with loud music have the same effect. I feel the stress, foul mood and general aggressiveness comes from continuously being exposed to loud music. The young population, which is constantly chatting or hearing music via headphones is very susceptible to this phenomenon.Another way by which sound pollution affects our health is by creating sleep deprivation. Because of sound pollution at night, we do not get deep sleep. Studies the world over have shown that without deep sleep the detoxification of brain does not take place; thereby creating long-term stress which affects all aspects of mental and physical health.last_img read more