make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

BY GEORGE: A Little of This, A Little of That

I thought I’d touch on a little bit of short and interesting insights and discoveries that I thought you might enjoy, so please accuse the randomness of the following items.  They’re all fun, in my opinion.

Millions of years ago the earth’s atmosphere was much different, of course, but one biggie was there was much less oxygen and the sun was not as strong.  This was the situation about 2 million years before animals began to roam the planet.

The days were shorter then as well.  Did you know the Earth is slowing down (and continues such), owning to the friction of the tides, due to the force exerted by the moon?  Working out the exact length of day so long ago is difficult, but with today’s ability to age sediments deep within the crust of the earth (layers laid down by ancient tides), scientists estimate the length of day 2.6 billion years ago, for example, was 18 hours long and there was more than 460 days in a year.  About 620 million years ago, the days had extended to almost 22 hours, and a year had shrunk to around 400 days.  There is, of course, some uncertainty in these figures, but the data is consistent with the fact that the moon is inching away from us, literally, at about 1.5 inches per year.

It seems at one time or another we all seemed rushed for time, and that can create all kinds of anxiety and a perpetual sense of a “time deficit.”  However, recent research carried out at the Wharton School, Harvard Business School, and Yale shows that if you donate your time to others, you actually feel “time affluent,” a sense of having ample time to complete other tasks.  You need not give away whole days, either.  Subjects reported the feelings of time affluence and subsequent stress reduction even if they made time for helping a friend or family member.

Did you know the spice Rosemary was once used (and still today in many cultures) centuries ago for treatment to help boost memory?  Roman students used to rub the herb on their foreheads before exams, and the Greeks wore garlands of rosemary around their heads to boost memory.  It also became a part of funerals to help the living remember the dead.

Rosemary has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for headaches, indigestion, and insomnia.  In colonial America it was used for strokes, dizziness, and nervous conditions.

Compounds in rosemary have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and in some animal tests, and a few (very few) human tests, there’s has been some link to improved glucose and lipid metabolism.

From the Seafood Watch Program at Monterey Bay Aquarium, these are the safest fish to eat as tested for toxins, and highest and most reliable sources of favorable omega three fatty acids:

Farmed Oysters, farmed rainbow trout, wild-caught Pacific sardines, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, freshwater Coho salmon and farmed in U.S., albacore tuna troll or pole-caught from U.S. or British Columbia.  Other healthy “green” choices include farmed arctic char, farmed in U.S. barramundi, wild-caught Atlantic squid, and farmed mussels.

When it comes to smoking, doctors once thought that cutting back, but not quitting, is “almost” as good.  The thinking was that the health benefits were substantial by just cutting back, if one could not actually quit smoking outright.  Well, so long to the dated thinking.  New and extensive research shows that although cutting back on smoking can show slight health benefits, the health risks are still amazingly high.

Even having less than 10 cigarettes per day increases coronary artery disease 2.7 times vs. not smoking, and aortic aneurysms 2.3 times.  How about lung cancer?  Just 1-4 cigs. a day gives you a 2.8 times risk factor compared to not smoking.  Esophageal cancer increases by 4.3 times if you smoke just 1-14 cigs. per day.  Stomach cancer increases 2.4 times on as few as 1-4 cigarettes a day.  If you smoke under 10 cigarettes a day, your chance of pancreatic cancer increases by 1.8 times, and your cataract chances by 1.7 times.

What all this shows is the FACT that smoking is really, really bad for your health, your neighbors health, and society at large…from financial costs to lives.

By: George Elliott