The myths about hydration

I grew up in Sri Lanka, a tropical country where the days were hot and one perspired a lot. And yet, there was little fear of dehydration. We drank water with meals and the occasional cup of tea but no one carried around bottles of water. Even when my friends and I played cricket all day, we drank when we were thirsty but that was about it. The idea that dehydration was a danger lurking that had to be staved off constantly was foreign to us.
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Rules for elevator behavior

It is interesting how conventions quickly develop for situations where people are put in close proximity, such as in elevators. There is even a name for the study of how people relate to others in public spaces: proxemics. This post looks at what we know about elevator behavior, such as how people arrange themselves as they enter, that people look at the numbers, possibly as a way to avoid eye contact with others, and that “Men leave more space between themselves and other men than women do with other women”.
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Resurgence of polio

We have come really close to eradicating the deadly disease of polio and so any setbacks have to be viewed with concern. NPR’s Jason Beaubien, who has been doing some excellent reporting on health issues in Africa, says that the recent discovery of two new cases in the northeast of Nigeria (near the border with Chad) has health experts worried because that country had gone for two years without any cases and was on track to be next country to be declared polio-free.
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What makes for the most persuasive advertisements

I rarely watch commercial radio or TV because the frequent interruption by ads annoy me, but it is impossible to avoid advertisements these days since they are all over the internet, including this blog. I like to think that I am too sophisticated to be taken in by these pitches but it may be that advertisers are smarter than we are. For example, take a look at this ad.


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Why time seems to travel faster for older people

It is a cliché that older people seem to think that time goes by faster than younger people. Christian Yates reviews the various theories that purport to explain this.

This apparently accelerated time travel is not a result of filling our adult lives with grown-up responsibilities and worries. Research does in fact seem to show that perceived time moves more quickly for older people making our lives feel busy and rushed.

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Birds and windmills

If you attend talks about alternative forms of energy, you can often find people in the audience challenging the use of wind power by saying that windmill blades kill a lot of birds. This gives many people pause because those who support alternative energy sources also tend to be those who support humane treatment of animals and the idea of birds being sliced by the blades is worrisome.
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