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Animals Health Travel

Giant teddy bears enforce social distancing in Paris cafe

While the world remains alert and anxious over the spread of COVID-19, a bookshop owner in Paris has been trying to lighten the mood.

Philippe, owner of the local bookstore, has been buying up giant bears and distributing them to his local neighborhood of Les Gobelins, Paris.

The teddy bears first appeared in cafes, restaurants, and bars but — according to the bears official Facebook page — been seen in front of the Eiffel Tower, riding the metro, and more.

The bears help make social distancing a little more bearable (see what we did there) in Paris.

Photo: Les nounours des gobelins/Facebook
Photo: Les nounours des gobelins/Facebook
Photo: Les nounours des gobelins/Facebook
Categories
Health Science

There are different types of tears

Did you know that we shed different types of tears based on our emotions?

Each type of tear is composed of unique chemicals that give them their variable structure.

There are different types of tears

Emotional tears contain a natural painkiller

According to scientist Claire Phillips, tears of grief contain the neurotransmitter leucine enkephalin which helps relieve the body in times of stress. In such a way, our tear ducts can act as a natural painkiller.

There’s a scientific reason we feel better after we cry.

Categories
Culture & Society Health Nature

Natural light prevents myopia

A report issued in Nature reveals that staying inside is the leading cause of myopia.

The finding refutes the myth that nearsightedness is the result of intense reading sessions and screen activity.

Myopia is prevalent in East Asian countries, where the focus on studying means staying indoors rather than benefiting from the outside environment.

According to another study in journal Lancet, 90% of young adults in China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea are nearsighted compared to 30% in Britain.

Outdoor light is beneficial to the eyes because it triggers the release of dopamine in the retina.

One myopia researcher recommends spending at least three hours a day in natural light, even if means sitting under a tree.

But what scientists really needed was a mechanism: something to explain how bright light could prevent myopia. The leading hypothesis is that light stimulates the release of dopamine in the retina, and this neurotransmitter in turn blocks the elongation of the eye during development. The best evidence for the ‘light–dopamine’ hypothesis comes — again — from chicks. In 2010, Ashby and Schaeffel showed that injecting a dopamine-inhibiting drug called spiperone into chicks’ eyes could abolish the protective effect of bright light 11 .

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Architecture & Design Health Nature Travel

Beautiful apples from around the world

William Mullan is a photographer who specializes in taking pictures of rare apples from around the world.

The golden Knobbed Russet, the star-shaped api etoile, hard red Black Oxford apple — these are just a few of the varieties that appear in Mullan’s 200-page photo-book, Odd Apples.

Writes Atlas Obscura on how Mullan’s fascination with apples came to be:

Mullan was born in the United States, but grew up in the United Kingdom, where a teenage encounter with an Egremont Russet led to his love of apples. Its spicy, persimmon-like flavor “just blew my mind,” he says. But many of the apples he’s photographed were born in North America, including such romantic cultivars as the Black Oxford and Hidden Rose.

“There’s just this sense of infinity with [apples] that I love,” Mullan says. While he imagines he’ll move on to other subjects in the future, for now, he’s still entranced by apples.

Even better, during his exhibits, he slices the apples open and passes the edibles around for his audience to enjoy.

You can follow Mullan’s work on Instagram.

Beautiful apples from around the world
Beautiful apples from around the world
Beautiful apples from around the world
Beautiful apples from around the world
Beautiful apples from around the world
Beautiful apples from around the world
Categories
Architecture & Design Culture & Society Health

The treadmill was originally a torture device

Treadmills were originally torture devices, meant to break the mind, body, and spirit of English prisoners.

Two hundred years ago, the treadmill was invented in England as a prison rehabilitation device. It was meant to cause the incarcerated to suffer and learn from their sweat.

Groups of prisoners were forced to walk 6 hours a day, pumping out water, milling corn powering the mills, thus the term “tread-mill.”

Treadmills evolved into a mechanism for punishment to prevent poor people from committing crimes to take advantage of the necessities in jail.

The treadmill was originally a torture device
via twitter
The treadmill was originally a torture device
via twitter

Britain banned treadmills in 1989, seeing their punishment no longer useful.

An 1885 British Medical Journal article called “Death on the Treadmill,” chastized Durham Prison for the treadmill-induced death of a prisoner with heart disease. Its overall high death rate—one fatality a week—prompted the conclusion that “[t]he ‘mill’ is not useful, and has proved itself occasionally injurious.”

Having banned treadmills in 1828 to adopt a “collective industry” where prisoners became factory workers, America revamped the treadmill as an exercise machine.

It resurfaced in 1913 with a U.S. patent for a “training-machine.” In the 1960s, the American mechanical engineer William Staub created a home fitness machine called the PaceMaster 600. He began manufacturing home treadmills in New Jersey. (He used it often himself, right up until the months before his death at the age of 96.)

As this article points out, treadmills are the top-selling training equipment in the US but still come with all the baggage (injuries and boredom) that prisoners endured in England.