Daily Archives: July 21, 2015

Facebook can Even Help you Lose Weight: Study


NEW YORK: Connect emotionally with your friends on Facebook if you want to avoid binge eating and a bloated body that happens later, says a study.

According to the researchers from University of North Carolina, if young women are not using Facebook to compare their bodies to their friends’ bodies, they are less likely to struggle with risky dieting behaviours compared to their peers.

“Young college women who are more emotionally involved in Facebook and have lots of Facebook friends are less concerned with body size and shape and less likely to engage in risky dieting behaviours,” said Stephanie Zerwas, assistant professor of psychiatry.

In the study, 128 college-aged women completed an online survey with questions designed to measure their disordered eating.

The team also asked questions about each woman’s emotional connection to Facebook — her incorporation of the social networking site — into their daily life, time spent on the site each day and number of Facebook friends.

They also checked whether they compared their bodies to their friends’ in online pictures. The team noticed that being more emotionally invested in Facebook was associated with less concern about body size, shape and lesser risky dieting behaviours.

“Facebook could be an amazing tool to nurture social support and connections with friends and families,” Zerwas said.

The social networking site could also be used a tool to foster dangerous dieting behaviours in young adults, the authors said in a paper published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

NASA: Satellite provides ‘EPIC’ image of Earth


Clicked from 1.6 million kms away in space, a NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite has returned its first stunning view of the entire sun-lit side of Earth.

DSCOVR is equipped with the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) that took the new photo on July 6.

EPIC captures a series of 10 different images in a variety of wavelengths, from near infrared to ultraviolet light, which can be analyzed in a number of different ways.

“Just got this new blue marble photo from @NASA. A beautiful reminder that we need to protect the only planet we have,” US President Barack Obama tweeted on his official @POTUS handle.

The images clearly show desert sand structures, river systems and complex cloud patterns on planet Earth.

“This first DSCOVR image of our planet demonstrates the unique and important benefits of Earth observation from space,” said NASA administrator Charlie Bolden in a statement. “I want everyone to be able to see and appreciate our planet as an integrated, interacting system,” he added.

The primary objective of DSCOVR is to maintain the nation’s real-time solar wind monitoring capabilities, which are critical to the accuracy and lead time of space weather alerts and forecasts.

“DSCOVR’s observations of Earth, as well as its measurements and early warnings of space weather events caused by the sun, will help every person to monitor the ever-changing Earth, and to understand how our planet fits into its neighbourhood in the solar system, Bolden noted.

NASA will use the camera’s observations to measure ozone levels in Earth’s atmosphere and plant growth on the ground. It will also help build maps showing the distribution of dust and volcanic ash around the globe, among other things.

“The high quality of the EPIC images exceeded all of our expectations in resolution,” said DSCOVR project scientist Adam Szabo. “There will be a huge wealth of new data for scientists to explore,” he concluded.


Why is gold price falling and where is it going next?


The gold price has been falling since 2011 and this trend will be difficult to reverse

The US Federal Reserve plans to raise interest rates this year on the back of an improving American economy, and that is taking the shine off gold. Why? Because gold is a store of wealth for investors, but generates no returns from regular interest payments or dividend income.

Investors have been happy to park their money in gold over the past six years while returns from other ‘safe haven’ assets have remained low and the economic backdrop has remained volatile. But, with borrowing costs set to rise, commodities, such as gold, are losing favour with investors, as higher returns can start to be generated elsewhere.

The Dollar

The US dollar has been growing stronger, boosted by a resurgent American economy and the prospect for a rate rise in the next few months. The US dollar index, which tracks the price of the US dollar against the world’s currencies, has increased by more than 20pc within the past year.

The value of the US dollar typically follows an inverse relationship with commodities. When the dollar strengthens against other major currencies, the prices of commodities – such as gold – typically drop. When the dollar weakens, commodities generally move higher. The main reason for this is because most commodities are freely traded in international markets and prices are quoted in US dollars.

Greek crisis

For thousands of years people have turned to gold to store their wealth in times of crisis. But a patchwork resolution of the Greek crisis seems to have has eased concerns that the struggling state will leave Europe. As fears over the collapse of the Eurozone recede, investors are once again more comfortable holding riskier assets that earn better returns. So, government bonds issued by Spain, Italy and Portugal that earn higher rates of interest will do well while gold will suffer.

China slowdown

The slowdown in the Chinese economy, the world’s largest consumer of commodities, has also caused the gold price to fall steadily since 2011. China has increased its reserves of gold bullion by 60pc since 2009. However, on Friday the People’s Bank of China revealed it has been buying far less gold than expected.

But why the sudden sharp fall?

Gold has been steadily falling since a peak of $1,900 an ounce in September 2011. As the sell-off this morning passed the important barrier of $1,100 an ounce for the first time in five years, it triggered stop-loss orders, which traders put in place to limit their losses by automatically selling when the price reaches a predetermined level. That caused the price to drop even more sharply.

New App to Help Visually-Impaired


NEW YORK: Life for the visually-impaired will improve with the help of a new app, called “Be My Eyes”, which makes use of cameras and generous “guides” to help accomplish day-to-day chores.

The app pairs the visually-impaired with sighted people who help them with a number of tasks, such as counting money, choosing an outfit or browsing the web, CTV News reported.

“Most people who are visually-impaired are getting really excited because they are discovering that it’s really not that difficult to browse the web and communicate via e-mail anymore, thanks to this technology,” Jeffrey Berman, a specialist with the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, US, was quoted as saying.

The app uses the cameras on a visually-impaired user’s smartphone to show the sighted person what is in front of them.

The sighted person then describes in detail the object or product in question to the visually impaired person over the phone.

So far, there are 230,000 sighted people helping 19,000 visually-impaired users through the app.

“We just need more people to volunteer as sighted guides, then it could be an incredible app,” Berman added.

The app is currently available at Apple’s App Store.

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