Why Cameras Make Us Fat

Amongst the many obsessions celebrities have in terms of the Oscars, you *know* that one of them is how they appear in front of the cameras.  Which leads one to wonder: why do we look heavier in photos?

According to this article, it has to do with lighting and lenses.  They work to sculpt the body, and direct the eye to certain traits.

If only we could have a lighting crew follow us around!

No passport? No problem!

To any of you who waited in line, for hours, hoping to get your passport in time for the air travel restrictions: maybe you wasted your time. Maybe you could have picked a place that did not require much more than your picture identification.

You could have gone to the following tourist hot spots, places so relaxed about life that it’s almost a sure bet that people in these countries never line up for hours, empty coffee cup in hand, wanting to go to the bathroom but afraid to lose your spot.

Maybe next time you will listen to the media reports. Maybe you got your passport in time, and will congratulate yourself for all the hard work you did lining up, and get some hard-earned relaxation done.

The Environmental Dogs

A fun tidbit: Liberal leader Stephane Dion isn’t the first Liberal to name his dog Kyoto. Turns out David Anderson, who was environment minister before Dion, also bestowed the name Kyoto to his dog. Anderson named one of his schnauzers Kyoto in 2002, a week after the Canadian government solidified the agreement. Dion, on the other hand, named his white husky after the Liberals lost power in the last election.

Narcolepsy Insomnia Link

Can’t sleep? Take heart in a recent study of insomnia: researchers at Actelion Pharmaceuticals found that blocking brain receptors to the blood peptide orexin promoted sleep in rats, dogs and humans, according to a paper in the online issue of Nature Medicine.

In an ironic link, orexin is absent in the brains of people who have narcolepsy, the disorder that causes some people to fall asleep.

Although the company doing the research is a pharmaceutical company (which normally raises red flags as to the reliability of the results), more studies may be done to analyze the quality of sleep that the subjects experienced.

The Mystery of the Northern Lights

Next month, in a joint Canadian / American project, five satellites will be launched to help figure out the mystery behind aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights.  This project, called THEMIS, includes recording interaction between charged particles expelled by the sun and the Earth’s magnetic field. 

When these particles interact with the magnetic field, they sometimes release energy near the polar regions, resulting in aurora substorms. The electron release interacts with molecules in the atmosphere and appears as the northern lights.northern_lights.jpg

The scientists involved are from Canada and the United States, including NASA.  In addition to the satellites, twenty observatories will take digital images and monitor magnetic signatures from substorms.  Most of the observatories will be located in northern Canada, including Whitehorse, Inuvik, and Gillam, Man.

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