Wednesday, February 12, 2020

New Research Shows You’re Not As Hot As You Think

According to a recent study from Stanford University, the current average body temperature is actually closer to 97.5 degrees. The standard took hold in 1851, says a Stanford researcher, who co-authored the study. German physician Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich took millions of temperature measurements from 25,000 patients in Leipzig, Germany, to determine the “normal” body temperature. However, Wunderlich’s study subjects were likely quite different biologically than people today. “There was a lot of infection in the population like tuberculosis and syphilis and periodontitis,” researchers say. “Lots of chronic inflammation that may well have, we think, influenced the normal body temperature of that era.” Other factors of modern life, such as higher standards of living, better hygiene and spending more time in temperature-controlled spaces likely contributed to the decline as well. Putting less energy into regulating internal temperatures and fighting disease allows the body to run cooler in general. The norm of 98.6 degrees may have been accurate for humans when Wunderlich set the standard during the Industrial Revolution. But since then, research shows that average body temperature has steadily declined. The new study’s research team analyzed body temperature data in Civil War veterans from the 1860s to the 1940s. They compared it to similar data from the 1970s, 2007 and 2017 to better understand if and how body temperature has changed over time. “Overall, we found that the temperatures of the Civil War veterans were higher than the measurements taken from the 1970s,” researchers say. “And in turn, those measurements were higher than those collected in the 2000s.” Today, the average is closer to 97.5 degrees. It’s influenced by many individual factors, such as age, sex, height, weight and even the time of day. For example, women tend to run hotter than men, and the older we get, the lower our average body temperature tends to be. Further research is needed to establish more accurate averages based on the individual factors that affect body temperature, researchers say. (eLife)


Fake cop car gets pulled over by real sheriff

A, Oakland County, Michigan Sheriff’s Deputy wasn’t fooled by a man who was driving an SUV meant to look just like a law enforcement vehicle. “Well, initially it looked to me exactly like a police car,” said the Oakland County sheriff. “It was, it was a police car. They’d had a regular police car push bumpers. It had a whole light array in the back. It had ‘Police Interceptor’ in the back, ‘Dial 911’ on the side, ‘Stay Back,’ K-9 cages in the side rear window.” When Sheriff Deputy got closer, he said the look of the car’s decals made him realize that “something weird is going on.” The Sheriff Deputy ran the license plate, which didn’t come back as belonging to any law enforcement agency, and initiated a traffic stop. “He looks at me and says, ‘Who are you?’ And I said: ‘I’m the sheriff. Who are you?'” the Sheriff’s Deputy said. He noticed the interior of the mock police car was also created to look legitimate. “The guy’s got what looks — intended to look like a computer-aided dispatch computer mounted in the car, a fake radar mounted on the dash,” he said. The 23-year-old driver also had a loaded handgun and a large knife in the vehicle. The impersonator was arrested and now faces charges of false impersonation of a police officer and concealed carrying. (WDIV)


Finding an ‘off switch’ for diabetes

Researchers from Yale University have found a potential means to put the brakes on type 2 diabetes. It all comes down to how our bodies behave during fasting periods, like when we’re asleep. During those periods, two proteins (TET3 and HNF4a) are activated, lifting our blood glucose levels. When healthy people stop fasting, this process shuts down. No such luck for those with type 2 diabetes. So, the Yale team developed a genetic package that could block those problem proteins. (New Atlas)


Here’s two grand, please procreate

Europe’s working-age population has already declined by 12 million compared to 2010 and could fall by another 38 million by 2035. Desperate times call for desperate measures as European countries are coming up with unorthodox ways to boost their birth rates. Poland pays families 500 zloty ($128.18) a month per child until they’re 18, Hungary nowadays offers free IVF treatments and Greece hands out a €2,000 ($2,188.02) baby bonus to families after childbirth. (The Guardian)


We’re running out of transit workers

Public transit systems have grown faster than they can hire, and major U.S. cities are facing a severe labor shortage. This has led to nationwide service disruptions and a precipitous decline in ridership. Passenger trips have sunk for the fourth year nationally, as disruptions push riders to alternative modes of transportation. Meanwhile, historically low unemployment rates in cities like Denver have made it difficult to hire and retain operators. The challenge has not only pushed cities to raise wages and loosen hiring requirements, but to contemplate transit route cuts. (The Wall Street Journal)


Big booze is coming for your coffee

As beer and wine sales decline, alcoholic beverage manufacturers are starting to get crafty, offering “hard” renditions of typically nonalcoholic drinks. In addition to hard seltzer, expect to see offerings like hard coffee, hard kombucha, among other low to no-alcohol concoctions. Big beverage companies are catching on to shifting attitudes about alcohol consumption, particularly among millennials and Generation Z. (The Washington Post)


Indiana bill would allow vehicles to be seized for passing stopped school buses

An Indiana state senator has introduced a bill that would allow for the seizure of a car if a driver passes a stopped school bus with the stop arm extended. Senator Ron Alting proposed Senate Bill 219. It would allow for the vehicle seizure similar to what happens during a drug seizure. If it’s passed, it would take effect in July 2020. (WKRC)


How much sex should couples have?

For couples who live together, married couples, and older people in general, the decline in how much sex they have is even more staggering, per a 2019 study of British adults and teens. Research has shown that couples who have sex at least once a week are happier than their less-bedded counterparts. (A caveat: Happiness levels don’t rise with more time spent under the sheets.) Still, that number doesn’t quite apply for everyone. And, ultimately, experts say how much sex a couple should be having depends on the couple itself. Once a week is a common baseline, experts say. That statistic depends slightly on age: 40- and 50-year-olds tend to fall around that baseline, while 20- to 30-year olds tend to average around twice a week. Although the “sheer pace of modern life” is a contributing factor for why couples are having less sex. Medications, such as antidepressants, can inhibit libido. Most experts, doctors, and therapists agree that there are both physical and psychological benefits to having regular sex:

  • It helps sleep, it has cardiovascular benefits — according to a 2010 study, men with active sex lives are less likely to develop heart disease — and it has benefits for the prostate;
  • Sex releases endorphins and creates a feeling of closeness between you and your partner;
  • But not only does sexual intimacy foster a feeling of well-being, it also can have positive effects for the immune system.

(USA Today)


Woman uses foot to call 911 after she gets her hands trapped while changing a flat tire

A woman in Charlotte, North Carolina was changing a flat tire when she had to use her feet to dial 911 after her car fell off its jack and trapped her hands. The woman was parked on the shoulder of I-95 and installing the spare when the jack slipped and both of her hands got trapped between the tire and the fender. Photos indicate the corner of the car she was working on was parked on the grass siding rather than paved asphalt. Unable to free her hands, after about 35 minutes she’d managed to remove a shoe and use her toes to get her cell phone and dial 911. Colleton County, North Carolina Fire-Rescue crews were able to get one of her hands out with a pry-bar, but had to use a hydraulic spreader to lift the car so she could remove the other hand. The entire ordeal lasted 45 minutes, according to the official report, and the woman suffered severe damage to both hands and all of her fingers, requiring treatment at a local trauma center. (Fox News)


Homeland Security is using location data from games and weather apps to track millions of people

Government agencies are tracking smartphone users via the location gleaned from weather and other apps. The United States Government has bought access to a commercial database that gives users the ability to access the location of millions of people. The database is currently being used by the Department of Homeland Security. The location data is drawn from ordinary cellphone apps, including those for games, weather and e-commerce, for which the user has granted permission to log the phone’s location. The Department of Homeland Security has used the information to detect undocumented immigrants and others who may be entering the U.S. unlawfully, according to these people and documents. One division of Homeland Security, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is reportedly using the location data games and apps report to marketing firms to look for smartphone use out of the ordinary places, like deserts between the U.S. and Mexican border in an attempt to catch illegal border crossings. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court put limits on law enforcement agencies’ ability to collect location data from mobile network operators without a court overseeing the process. However, it is believed the federal government has found a way around that ruling simply by purchasing location data from commercial marketing firms. Doing so allows them to sweep up massive amounts of location data without court supervision. The workaround is something that worries privacy experts, according to the general counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, “This is a classic situation where creeping commercial surveillance in the private sector is now bleeding directly over into government.” (The Wall Street Journal)


Wednesday Shapes Up With:

  • Darwin Day
  • Lincoln’s Birthday
  • Lost Penny Day
  • NAACP Day
  • Oglethorpe Day
  • Paul Bunyan Day (Born Feb. 12, 1834 in Bangor, ME)
  • Safety Pup Day

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