Coffee, Tea and Nagging at Japan's Anti-procrastination Café
Writers facing deadlines go to Tokyo's "Manuscript Writing Cafe" with an understanding -- they can't leave until their work is done. The clean, well-lit place in western Tokyo has 10 seats reserved for writers, editors, manga artists and anybody else grappling with the written word and deadlines. Coffee and tea are unlimited and self-serve, and high-speed Wi-Fi and docking ports are installed at every seat. Customers enter, write down their names, writing goals and the time they plan to finish. They can also ask for progress checks as they work, with "mild" just asking them if they have finished as they pay and "normal" being a check-in every hour. Those choosing "hard" will feel silent pressure from staff standing frequently behind them.
--from CNN news
Walpurgis Night: the Pagan Festival of Bonfires, Witches and Celtic Folk Music
Walpurgis Night, also known as 'Walpurgisnacht' and 'Night of the Witches', is a pagan festival celebrated each year on 30 April. The tradition involves lighting bonfires and singing traditional Celtic folk songs to mark the arrival of spring. The origins of the ritual date back to pagan celebrations of fertility rites and the coming of spring. Local variants of Walpurgis Night are observed throughout Northern and Central Europe. Traditionally speaking, the celebration is a night to pay tribute to the 8th century Saint Walpurga. Walpurga, was an English-born nun who has been praised by Christians for successfully warding off pests, illness and witchcraft. A medieval account of her being canonized on 1 May in 870 AD.
--from Euronews, article with vide
'Brain Zap' Technology May Help Hardcore Smokers Quit
Smokers who received noninvasive brain stimulation -- using low-intensity electric or magnetic impulses -- were twice as likely to go without cigarettes over three to six months as those who received sham brain stimulation, according to a new study review from researchers at the University Hospital of Dijon. Transcranial direct current stimulation sends a low-intensity direct current through the brain, using electrodes placed on the patient’s head. This weak current affects brain activity. Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, is a volunteer medical spokesman for the American Lung Association, and director of the Tobacco Treatment Clinic at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. However, he doesn't believe that noninvasive brain stimulation is for every smoker. "Patients need a lot of things to align in their lives to feel like they can do it", he said.
Green Walls in Offices Have a Positive Impact on Skin and Immune Health
It is estimated that one out of five people living in the developed countries suffers from autoimmune disorders, the resulting costs for society are estimated at more than a hundred billion euros per year. The experimental study led by the Natural Resources Institute Finland showed that air-circulating green walls installed inside offices modified microbiota affecting employees’ skin health and enhanced the immune system’s regulation. In the study, the level of TGF-β1 cytokine, linked to effective immune regulation, increased in the blood of those who worked in rooms with green walls installed during a month compared with the control group.
--from Technology Ｎetworks
Climate Change will Force New Animal Encounters — and Boost Viral Outbreaks
Over the next 50 years, climate change could drive more than 15,000 new cases of mammals transmitting viruses to other mammals, according to a study published in Nature. It’s one of the first to predict how global warming will shift wildlife habitats and increase encounters between species capable of swapping pathogens, and to quantify how many times viruses are expected to jump between species. A predicted rise in viruses jumping between species could trigger more outbreaks, posing a serious threat to human and animal health alike, the study warns — providing all the more reason for governments and health organizations to invest in pathogen surveillance and to improve health-care infrastructure.
--from Nature news
根據發表在Nature 上的一項研究，未來50年內，氣候變化可能會導致超過 15,000個哺乳動物將病毒傳播給其他哺乳動物的新案例。此研究是第一個預測全球暖化將如何改變野生動物棲息地、增加物種間交換病原體的交會，並量化病毒跨物種傳播的預測次數。全球暖化也預期會增加病毒跨物種傳播可能，進而引發更多疫病爆發，對人類和動物的健康都構成嚴重威脅；此研究對政府和衛生組織提供警示與更多理由去投資於病原體監測，以及改善醫療保健基礎設施。
A Stark Future for Ocean Life
The year 2021 marked the highest temperature and likely the lowest oxygen content for the oceans since human records began. These changes have put marine species on the front lines of climate change. Penn and Deutsch present extensive modeling to reveal that runaway climate change would put ocean life on track for a mass extinction rivaling the worst in Earth’s history. As warming causes the demand for oxygen to exceed supply in a given location, survival likely becomes untenable, causing extinctions. The authors calibrated their model against the oceanographic changes they reconstructed for the end-Permian mass extinction event. Although not a perfect analog to the current climate situation, the end-Permian mass extinction is one of the most cataclysmic periods in Earth’s history for which there are records of extensive warming and extinction.
--from SCIENCE, Vol 376, Issue 6592．PP.452-453