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Nature Time Improves Health, Well-Being

first_imgStressed? Depressed? Take a forest bath. Another major study shows that outdoor exposure is good for the body and mind.A meta-study (a study of studies) involving 290 million people in 20 countries has concluded that “Living close to nature and spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits.” Science Daily announces, “It’s official — spending time outside is good for you.”Researchers at the University of East Anglia found strong confirmation in 140 studies of what is intuitively obvious: we feel better when we can see trees and sky. The benefits go deeper than intuition:A new report published today reveals that exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure….‘Green space’ was defined as open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation as well as urban greenspaces, which included urban parks and street greenery.The team analysed how the health of people with little access to green spaces compared to that of people with the highest amounts of exposure.“We found that spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration.“People living closer to nature also had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and stress. In fact, one of the really interesting things we found is that exposure to greenspace significantly reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol — a physiological marker of stress.Considering how much work time is lost due to stress, depression and anxiety, time outside could be just what the doctor ordered. The Japanese, once again, seem to be ahead of the Europeans on this point.“Forest bathing is already really popular as a therapy in Japan — with participants spending time in the forest either sitting or lying down, or just walking around. Our study shows that perhaps they have the right idea!”But what causes the benefits? Is it physical activity? Is it socializing? It’s probably those, and more: it gives helpful bacteria a chance to hitch a ride on you! Those, in turn, get your immune system something to practice on.Meanwhile, exposure to a diverse variety of bacteria present in natural areas may also have benefits for the immune system and reduce inflammation.“Much of the research from Japan suggests that phytoncides — organic compounds with antibacterial properties — released by trees could explain the health-boosting properties of forest bathing.”The findings reinforce the idea that human beings were made for outdoor life. We obviously shouldn’t be outside in pouring rain, or on smoky, smoggy days. But life in front of unnatural computer screens in an office cubicle with processed air can take its toll. Wise managers, healthcare professionals and city planners should take this human need for outdoor exposure into account.The research team hope that their findings will prompt doctors and other healthcare professionals to recommend that patients spend more time in greenspace and natural areas.Twohig-Bennett said: “We hope that this research will inspire people to get outside more and feel the health benefits for themselves. Hopefully our results will encourage policymakers and town planners to invest in the creation, regeneration, and maintenance of parks and greenspaces, particularly in urban residential areas and deprived communities that could benefit the most.“This ought to be one subject both creationists and evolutionists can agree on.Creationists can get a laugh over atheist Carl Sagan’s lapse into worship when he said, “It makes sense for us to revere the trees, for we are their children.” OK, Carl; plant an acorn and see if a baby grows from it. Instead, the Bible teaches that God put our first parents not in a city, but in a garden. The future city of God will have lots of open greenspace: rivers, too:Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. This is the real, original created Tree of Life, not Darwin’s fake. Do you see a hint that both Eden and the future New Earth will allow humans to take risks? Why would God make provision for healing with leaves of trees? This suggests that heaven will be adventurous! Don’t think God wants his creatures to be bored, when He outfitted us with all kinds of physical capabilities and minds that soar with high aspirations. The apostle John is watching this vision from a “high mountain,” he says in (21:10). Can’t you envision it festooned with forests and all kinds of living creatures? Who will be first to the top? The gates of the New Jerusalem are open day and night, so we can enjoy all kinds of amazing environments on an unfallen Earth.Our sister site CreationSafaris.com includes many resources to help you get some AWE in your life: Adventure, Worship and Education in the great outdoors! (Visited 295 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Budget hotel begins Africa roll-out in SA

first_img25 March 2013London-based investment holding company Lonrho and British entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s investment business, the easyGroup, have joined forces to open their first African budget hotel in Johannesburg.Located on De Korte Street in Braamfontein – part of Johannesburg’s central business district – the easyHotel by Lonrho follows the easyGroup’s low-cost business model to allow access to a higher number of people.“South Africa is indisputably the largest entry point to the continent, with Johannesburg as the primary international gateway to the African hub,” the organisations said in a joint statement last week.“The country also remains very popular with the US, UK and German markets for both leisure and business travel, while over the last five years, arrivals from China and India have increased year-on-year.”Its location in the central business district was selected to ensure hotel guests have easy access to transport hubs such as the high-speed Gautrain, which connects Johannesburg’s central business district with OR Tambo international airport, Rosebank, Sandton and Pretoria.“EasyHotel is all about simple comfort and great value, so I’m delighted to open our first African hotel in Johannesburg,” said easyGroup chairperson, Sir Stelios Haji- Ioannou.“The city has a wealth of attractions for leisure and business visitors and this new easyHotel will allow them to enjoy the best of Johannesburg.”The opening of the new hotel heralds the roll-out of easyHotels by Lonrho throughout the rest of Africa to meet growing demand, according to Lonrho chief executive, Geoffrey White.“This will be the first of many hotels specifically designed to provide an international standard hotel room at a budget price starting from US$31 (R290) per room per night,” he said.Lonrho signed a long-term lease with property-owners South Point to acquire the property and adopt the existing Hotel Lamunu into its global network.“Opening its first ‘easyHotel by Lonrho’ at the heart of Johannesburg, the commercial capital of South Africa, demonstrates Lonrho Hotels’ corporate objective of operating hotels in Africa’s high demand, high growth destinations,” the organisations said.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Open Thread: How Are Your Social Media “Causes” Actually Helping Anyone?

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting jolie odell A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Open Thread#web Today, Americans are celebrating a very somber but inspiring national holiday: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.As Twitter co-founder Biz Stone wrote in a blog post a few days ago, “People all over the United States are urged to honor Dr. King’s legacy by making this holiday a national day of service.” Stone reminded us of this wonderful quotation by King: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” But often in my sojourn through the social Web, I find myself with no decent answer for that question as I watch hordes of well-meaning people throw their supposed social capital at hashtags and fan pages without doing anything more meaningful than that. What do you think: Is your “whuffie” enough of a donation to a good cause?“What are you doing?” “What’s going on?” The questions most often asked of us by the social Web are essentially navel-gazing. In a recent post about a startup devoted to self-reference, I wrote, “Answering questions all about you, your preferences, your past, your thoughts, your wishes and hopes, your regrets, what you eat and where you live – nothing is more intoxicating to the average social media user. From our first LiveJournal entries to mid-2000s MySpace chain surveys to our latest tweets, we clearly love talking about ourselves.”If the visibility of humanitarian topics in social media is any indication of a trend, we clearly love aligning ourselves with good causes, as well. Sometimes, it seems to me that the latest global tragedy or incurable disease is used as simply another hue on the social Web’s palette – something we use to paint pictures of ourselves. For example, in 2009, I saw waves of green Twitter avatars and locations of “Tehran” as #iranelection peaked on Twitter’s trending topics. But what did any of us actually do to help the citizens on the ground there? The green pro-free Iran icons really did nothing to help the folks getting wounded and killed in Iran. And the new “censored” Twitter avatars we’re seeing? Well, since Twitter’s blocked in most countries that are aggressively censoring Web content, it does absolutely no good.As Kiva fellow and social media philanthropist Sloane Berrent told me a few months ago, “People are so fast to click a button, and that can be great. Retweeting, forwarding and Facebook walls are great engagements. But what’s more difficult is the donate button. That’s the big hurdle and disconnect.”In other words, from Haitians to humanitarians, they all wish we’d put our money where our mouths (or status updates) are.Our latest international disaster was Haiti’s earthquake last week. I’m sure many of the folks reading this post did a lot to help via donations to the Red Cross and other organizations, but how often can we say that our social media or other actions are truly doing something for others? And how often are those actions as ineffective as a lapel pin on a politician or as meaningless as a prayer on the lips of a hypocrite? In many cases, the social media user is doing nothing for others, but is instead highlighting his own awareness and sociopolitical “involvement.”There are some organizations such as SocialVibe (scroll to the last part of the post) or Drew Olanoff’s Blame Drew’s Cancer campaign that allow brands to foot the bill for fundraising as users simply point and click their way through Web interfaces to show their support. And there’s no doubt that social media tools have made it easier for struggling groups to communicate their needs for help. But by and large, I believe that our social media actions don’t do nearly as much for others as they do for us ourselves.Perhaps, before we fire off rant-replete blog posts or make our avatars into 50 x 50 pixel political statements, we should ask ourselves the question Dr. King posed so many years ago: “What does my action DO for others?” And on the flip side of that coin, “What does my action do for me?”If the answers to those questions embarrass you, take a step back, make a sizeable donation to a related humanitarian organization, then post away and tell others how much you donated and to whom, and create channels for others to do the same.What do you think? Am I completely wrong; is awareness and communication through social media the “new” currency for donating to a good cause? What points have I missed in my thought process? Let me know your opinions in the comments, and also share how you plan to make your actions count for others today.For another perspective on this topic, see Mashable editor Ben Parr’s column on CNN.com, or check out ReadWriteWeb’s Charity & Social Good archives.center_img Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

How to Get That Terrence Malick Look in Your Next Film

first_imgAll of the great directors have a signature style that is at once recognizable and wholly representative of their work. Perhaps one of the most iconic cinematic styles belongs to the enigmatic director Terrence Malick as seen throughout his four-decade career.Top image via WikimediaIn a conversation about Tree of Life, Christopher Nolan calls Terrence Malick’s work “instantly recognizable.”His films are all very connected with each other and very recognizably his work. But it’s very tough to put your finger on why that is or what you’re seeing in that the technique is not immediately obvious.While the Malick-style is built on a rich tapestry of motifs and pathos, the cinematic tropes are distinctive and actually quite achievable on projects big and small. Here are some of the key ingredients to capture that “Terrence Malick look.”1. Shoot During Magic HourMost notable in the picturesque big Hollywood production Days of Heaven, Malick’s insentience to shoot as many scenes as possible in fleeting dusk light might be his most notable hallmark. The shadowless glow of twilight is perfect for capturing that Malick lighting style (as well as evenly lighting your scenes).2. Wide-Angle HandheldAfter Days of Heaven, Malick disappeared from cinema for 20 years. Once he returned, he completely abandoned many of the traditional Hollywood styles in which he was forced to work early in his career. The set two-shots and conversational cut-betweens seen in most narrative formats were eliminated in favor of a wandering wide-angle camera that constantly circles around subjects as they wander through the film.3. Close-Ups of HandsIf there is a Terrence Malick “shot” that has been most pastiched and reused, it would have to be the close-up of a hand being held out and lightly touching flowing blades of grass or wheat. You can see the same shot in pretty much every one of Malick’s films, as well as appropriated in shots from The Assassination of Jesse James and Marie Antoinette.4. Cutaway Inserts of NatureThis is a style that stems back to his first feature, Badlands. Whether it’s simply light through tree branches, snakes sliding across grass or buffalo gawking at Richard Gere, Malick seemingly has never passed up any opportunity to break from filming movie stars to shoot scenic inserts of nature in its beauty.5. Whispering Existential NothingsAll the Malick footage in the world would be for naught if it didn’t include characters from the filming whispering existential non-sequiturs to no one in particular. Bonus points if the actor or actress whispering is being subjectively circled while lightly touching a tree branch in a friscilating dusk.If you’d like to see some of Malick’s influences firsthand, here’s a great supercut put together by Jacob T. Swinney of Malick-style shots in non-Malick directed films. What are your thoughts on the Malick look? Have any other style examples to share? Let us know in the comments!last_img read more

Gymnastics: Dipa racing against time to be fully fit

first_imgDipa Karmakar has been hogging the limelight ever since her bronze-medal winning feat at the Commonwealth Games. At Glasgow, she became India’s first woman gymnast to win a CWG medal. Dipa is looking forward to carry on her form at the Asian Games but she is racing against time to be fully fit.The injury in her right ankle which she suffered at Glasgow is preventing her from giving her all in training. But Dipa sounds hopeful that the injury will not be a hindrance to her participation.”I hurt my ankle during the CWG on the first day of the competition. I have not been able to give much time for recovery and there are only two weeks left now,” Dipa told Mail Today.”I have cut down a bit on my training because I do not want to aggravate the injury. We have four apparatus, but I am focussing more on vaulting table which is my strength. I feel some problem during the landing so I am practicing in foam pit. The treatment is on and my aim is still to give my best,” said the Tripura girl.She points out why a medal at the Asian games is so important to her. “When Ashish bhaiya (Ashish Kumar) won medals in 2010 CWG and then the Asian Games, boys’ gymnastics got a fillip. So I wanted to do the same for girls’ gymnastics. I have the same target of winning medals at the CWG and the Asian Games.”The competition will be tougher at the Incheon Asian Games but Dipa is looking to excel. “It will be tough but it is not like we cannot do it. The medal at the Commonwealth Games has given me immense confidence.In CWG, the top gymnasts are from Australia, Canada and England to compete against. In Asian Games too there are three countries–China, Japan, and Korea against whom we will have a stiff competition. But it is not that we cannot match their standards. If we play to our potential we can definitely win medals in the Asian Games too. We are looking to win 2-3 medals.”advertisementLife has changed for Dipa after her success at Glasgow. “People have started to know me and it is good to see that gymnastics is getting popular. I am proud of the fact that I was able to perform a difficult vault (Produnova vault) successfully at the CWG. People appreciated me there after that after that. It is very difficult to get the landing right in that but I got it right.””I am thankful to SAI and the federation. SAI has been a big support. I was able to learn and practice the Produnova vault only after the pit that was built at IG stadium.”[email protected]last_img read more