News for Nerds - The Longevity Edition

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  • Posted by: Dom Testa|
  • 3/14/2014 |
  • 10:00 am
News for Nerds - The Longevity Edition

Welcome back to News for Nerds! This week we'll uncover a surprising link between obesity and academic performance, we'll watch a crazy ant fight, and we'll give scientific credence to the 5-second rule. But first, here are your headlines.

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If you want to live a long, healthy life, you would be wise to eat well, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. But a recent article from Yahoo! Health reveals several other, not-so-obvious predictors for longevity.

Among the factors that correlate with a long life: your education (four years of college can add a decade to your lifespan), your personality (frugal, hardworking people live longer), your dental care (brush and floss!), and your blood count (higher is not necessarily better).

But I was also interested to learn that there are some simple physical tests that are predictive of lifespan. For instance, walking faster correlates to a longer life. And so does how easily you can stand up, and how quickly you can push a button. Pretty weird, huh?

- story from Yahoo! Health, photo from Sun Ladder via Wikimedia Commons

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Last weekend we 'sprung forward' in observance of Daylight Savings Time, causing millions of Americans to forego an hour of sleep and walk around in a grouchy mood for a day or two. Most people are familiar with the concept of Daylight Savings Time, and most people also are aware that a few places, like Arizona and Hawaii, don't bother with it.

But where did it come from, and why do we do it at all?

The great Benjamin Franklin was the first to suggest resetting our clocks in the summer, but the idea didn't catch on until the early 20th century. America first implemented Daylight Savings Time in 1918 as a means of conserving energy while our country was at war. It came and went again a few times after that, and for a while the entire process was chaotic. Neighboring towns may or may not observe DST, leading to all sorts of confusion.

It wasn't until 1966 that Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act, which dictated that any state choosing to observe DST would do so in a consistent way, every single year. In 2007, Congress extended the period of Daylight Savings Time to begin on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday of November. And now you know.

- story from LiveScience, photo from Alan Light via Wikimedia Commons

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

  • A study out of England shows actual scientific evidence in support of the so-called 'Five-Second Rule'. There are some caveats, though, so read closely -- especially if you have hardwood floors.
  • We all know by now that childhood obesity presents a major problem for the future health of our kids. But new research shows that there is a pretty strong link between obesity and school performance in teenage girls, too.
  • And finally . . . it's not just an ant fight, it's a crazy ant fight. Read the story and check out the video:


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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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