News for Nerds - The 'Better with Age' Edition

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  • Posted by: Dom Testa|
  • 5/31/2013 |
  • 10:00 am
News for Nerds - The 'Better with Age' Edition

Welcome back to News for Nerds! This week we'll take a quick trip into orbit, we'll play with life-sized LEGOs, we'll meet the next generation of robot helpers, and we'll get to the bottom of that itch that's been driving you crazy. But first, here are your headlines.

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George Bernard Shaw famously said that "youth is wasted on the young." The conventional understanding of that clever little quip is that kids aren't capable of taking full advantage of (or even appreciating) the gift of young bones and boundless energy. But the truth is that we don't comfortably settle into our own skin until we reach middle age.

In fact, a new study shows that despite the sagging skin and shrinking bladders, people tend to get happier as they age. And the reason for that is simple: older adults are better at dealing with negative emotions like anger and anxiety.

The study involved 340 adults between the ages of 21 and 73. Each participant rated their anger and anxiety levels every day over a two-week period, and before and after they were required to give an on-camera speech with little time to prepare.

The results were pretty conclusive: older adults showed a better ability to accept, rather than resist, their negative emotions. They also responded better to the stress of being asked to give the filmed speeches without adequate preparation, indicating a learned ability to manage stress and anxiety.

It seems that a lifetime of experience helps us to better understand the difference between the things we can control and the things we can't. And after accumulating enough life experience, it's also good for discounted tickets at your local movie theater, too.

- from Yahoo! News

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Even if your disposition gets better with age, your eyesight probably won't. Especially if you spent most of your childhood indoors.

A growing number of young people are suffering from myopia -- better known as nearsightedness, or the inability to see things far away. One of the reasons for this seems to be a disproportionate amount of time spent in a dim place, like a house or a movie theater, staring at bright screens (like your TV or laptop).

One in three U.S. adults is nearsighted. The outlook (pun intended) is even worse for young adults. And in other countries -- places like China and South Korea, where kids spend a ton of time indoors and staring at backlit screens -- the numbers are staggering. More than 95 percent of young men in Seoul, and roughly the same number of college students of both genders in Shanghai, are nearsighted. That's about 19 out of every 20 people!

Myopia is caused by having a slightly elongated eyeball. That doesn't matter much when it comes to nearby objects, but when looking at things far away, more images begin to come to a focus at the wrong place within the eye. This sends a blurry image to the brain, and usually requires glasses or contacts to fix it.

Since the eye grows steadily from birth into early adulthood, it stands to reason that getting more exposure to natural light during childhood could help reduce the dreaded eyeball elongation over time. It's just one more reason to turn off the TV and go for a bike ride instead.

- from Science News for Kids

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Here are a few other cool science stories you might enjoy:

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That's all for now! I'll be back with more News for Nerds next week, but be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and to sign up for the free e-Newsletter so that you can properly get your nerd on every single month! And please send any juicy News for Nerds tips to me right here!

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