News for Nerds - The Restful Weekend Edition

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  • Posted by: Dom Testa|
  • 11/22/2013 |
  • 10:00 am
News for Nerds - The Restful Weekend Edition

Welcome back to News for Nerds! This week we'll check out the first NASA satellite built by high school students, and we'll cover the slightly stinky topic of human flatulence. But first, here are your headlines.

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After a busy work week, sometimes there's nothing better than a nice, lazy weekend, right?

Not so fast. A new study shows that lazy weekends may actually make us more stressed. In a poll of 2,000 people, 43% reported that when they spent weekends on the couch or without other plans, by the following Monday it felt as if they hadn't had enough time off.

Contrast that with the other extreme. Respondents who jammed their weekends full of activities and social engagements reported feeling as though they'd actually had longer weekends -- six hours and 19 minutes longer, on average. So what gives?

One neuroscientist explains it this way: "How long a weekend seems to last is measured by how many memories spring to mind when we look back. If looking back at the weekend triggers a torrent of memories of being in new places, having exciting experiences and doing unusual things then this creates the perception that the weekend seemed very long - it must have been to pack in all those activities, right?

"If you think back to the weekend and no memories of note spring to mind because you had a restful but dull couple of days, then it can seem like it passed in the blink of an eye."

So . . . got any big plans this weekend?

- from The Daily Mail (UK)

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If you thought we'd reached the limit of bizarre 21st century maladies, guess again.

According to a former Apple executive, up to 80% of Americans suffer from something called Email Apnea. That essentially means that you stop breathing normally while typing, causing a lack of oxygen to flow to your brain and potentially harming your health.

Many people are familiar with the condition known as sleep apnea, which manifests in symptoms ranging from tiredness, sore throat, and poor memory, to anxiety, depression, and low libido. Email apnea -- if this is really a thing -- can cause similar issues if left unchecked. That's because apnea triggers the sympathetic nervous system, which can cause pupils to dilate, increase heart palpitations, and even lead to excessive sweating. All of which contributes to deteriorating health.

So how do you deal with this? Linda Stone, the former Apple exec who first brought this into the public consciousness, suggests some common sense tactics. The most basic is that you should monitor your breathing while sitting at the keyboard. "Awareness," says Ms. Stone, "is the first step toward wiping out email apnea."

- from The Daily Mail (UK)

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

  • NASA launched 29 new satellites into space this week. All of them serve fascinating functions and I'm sure all of them have interesting backstories, but my favorite is the PhoneSat 2.4. Why? Because it was built by high school students.
  • And finally, because this is a highbrow feature and I only include the most profoundly important science stories, here's a video that gets to the bottom of the mystery behind 'silent but deadly' flatulence. You're welcome.

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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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