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Death of Trees Correlated With Human Cardiovascular & Respiratory Disease 152

eldavojohn writes "PBS's NewsHour interviewed Geoffrey Donovan on his recent research published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine that noted a correlation between trees (at least the 22 North American ash varieties) and human health: 'Well my basic hypothesis was that trees improve people's health. And if that's true, then killing 100 million of them in 10 years should have an effect. So if we take away these 100 million trees, does the health of humans suffer? We found that it does.' The basis of this research is Agrilus planipennis, the emerald ash borer, has systematically destroyed 100 million trees in the eastern half of the United States since 2002. After accounting for all variables, the research found that an additional 15,000 people died from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 more from lower respiratory disease in the 15 states infected with the bug, compared with uninfected areas of the country. While the exact cause and effect remains unknown, this research appears to be reinforcing data for people who regularly enjoy forest bathing as well as providing evidence that the natural environment provides major public health benefits."

Earthquakes That May Be Related To Fracking Close Ohio Oil Well 299

Frosty P writes "State leaders have ordered that four fluid-injection wells ('fracking') in eastern Ohio will be indefinitely prohibited from opening in the aftermath of heightened seismic activity in the area, an official said. A 4.0-magnitude quake struck Saturday afternoon near several wells that use 'fracking' to release oil deposits. It was the 11th in a series of minor earthquakes in the area."

Parasite Correlated With World Cup Success 366

mahiskali writes "A parasite commonly found in cats, Toxoplasma gondii, has an unnerving relation to World Cup victories by country. (This parasite was discussed here twice in 2006.) Toxo can be found in almost every type of mammal, from rats to humans. The overall goal of the parasite is to end up in a feline stomach, which is the only place it can reproduce. In other mammals, humans for example, the parasite heads for the brain. It is estimated that nearly 1/3 of the human population has a latent Toxo infection, with individual countries having infection rates varying from 6% (Korea) to 92% (Ghana). Countries with greater incidence of this parasitic infection in their populations tend to win more World Cups than those without. The article, written by a Stanford University neuroscientist, goes on to try out various rationales for such a correlation, ranging from increased testosterone to increased dissent of authority — all symptoms of a Toxo infection. Now we just need to find a parasite that causes an inability to referee properly, and we'll have this whole World Cup business all sorted out."

Congressman Wants Health Warnings On Video Games 421

An anonymous reader writes "California Rep. Joe Baca has proposed a bill which would mandate placing health warning labels on any video game rated T (13+) or higher by the ESRB. The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009 would require a cigarette pack-like label that reads, 'WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.'"

Daylight Savings Time Increases Energy Use In Indiana 388

enbody writes "The Freakonomics Blog at reports on a study of Indiana energy use for daylight savings time showing an increase in energy use of 1%. 'The dataset consists of more than 7 million observations on monthly billing data for the vast majority of households in southern Indiana for three years. Our main finding is that — contrary to the policy's intent — D.S.T. increases residential electricity demand.'" Maybe that's just from millions of coffee makers being pressed into extra duty.

Scientists' Success Or Failure Correlated With Beer 349

mernil sends in an article from the NYTimes that casts a glance at a study done in the Czech Republic (natch) on what divides the successful scientists from the duffers. "Ever since there have been scientists, there have been those who are wildly successful, publishing one well-received paper after another, and those who are not. And since nearly the same time, there have been scholars arguing over what makes the difference. What is it that turns one scientist into more of a Darwin and another into more of a dud? After years of argument over the roles of factors like genius, sex, and dumb luck, a new study shows that something entirely unexpected and considerably sudsier may be at play in determining the success or failure of scientists — beer."

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead