By: Tracey Rose
Spending time outdoors in sub-zero temperatures isn’t the ideal weight loss plan, but lowering the thermometer a few degrees and exposing the body to colder temperatures in moderation can aid in the fight against obesity. Extreme conditions aren’t needed to see results. New research suggests that while many people keep their indoor temperatures closer to 70 degrees in an effort to stay comfortable, lowering it to the mid 60s can make a difference.
The journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism published evidence from researchers in the Netherlands that shows how body temperature regulation aids weight loss. Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt and his team at the Maastricht University Medical Center studied 51 men over 10 days. They exposed the men to a 62 degree room and found that exposure to cooler temperature increased the production of brown fat to help them lose weight. Colder temperatures tend to cause the shivers, but the alternative is to use the body’s own brown fat as a source of fuel to keep it warm. When fueling the fire with brown fat, the shivers stop and the body learns to adapt.
A Japanese study went a step further and studied body fat levels over a period of six weeks. The thermostat was set at 62.6 for two hours each day. Then they lowered it to 59 degrees. They found that participants didn’t shiver as much as the study went on and their brown fat levels increased. They were also able to adjust easier to lower temperatures once they had been exposed for a while.
The body is capable of warming itself and adjusting to colder temperatures. As a survival technique, the body fights to maintain a higher temperature and adjust to the cold.
Increasing brown fat is a healthy way to burn off the dangerous white fat that is associated with obesity and a host of other health problems. Weight loss occurs as brown fat helps the body adjust to the cooler temperatures.
Does this mean exposure to extreme temperatures is necessary for weight loss? Not necessarily. Though the study of thermogenics shows that ice baths and drinking ice cold water do have an effect, the idea here is that weight loss is possible simply by lowering the thermostat. Winter months typically keep people indoors with the heat set at a comfortable level. Moving the thermostat down from 68 to 62 can make a difference, however. Doing so for even a few hours per day can help the body burn more fat.
Research continues on how cold affects the ability to lose weight and whether brown fat can be used to help reduce obesity. It is believed that increasing the internal temperature helps burn body fat at a faster rate.
Adjusting to a lower room temperature is by no means a replacement for daily exercise or a healthy eating plan. It isn’t a tool to make up for consuming too many calories. However, colder temperatures can aid weight loss when used in combination with proper diet and exercise. Think of it as another habit to support healthy living.
By Associated Press,
The world knows Nelson Mandela as a man who forever changed the course of modern history and who will surely continue to leave his mark long after his death Thursday at the age of 95.
You may know that he spent 27 years in prison, that he led South Africa out of apartheid and that he served as his nation’s first black president.
But did you know about the role of rugby in his legacy? His musings on Valentine’s Day? The lessons he taught sympathetic prison guards during his time behind bars?
Here are some details from Mandela’s life that you might not have known.
FATHER OF THE NATION
Nelson Mandela’s place as South Africa’s premier hero is so secure that the central bank released new banknotes in 2012 showing his face. Busts and statues in his likeness dot the country and buildings, squares and other places are named after him. At Soweto’s Regina Mundi Catholic church, a center of protests and funeral services for activists during the apartheid years, there is a stained glass image of Mandela with arms raised. South African Airways even emblazoned his silhouetted image on planes.
A $1.25 million project to digitally preserve a record of Mandela’s life went online last year at http://archive.nelsonmandela.org. The project by Google and Mandela’s archivists gives researchers — and anyone else — access to hundreds of documents, photographs and videos. In one 1995 note, written in lines of neat handwriting in blue ink, Mandela muses on Valentine’s day. It appears to be a draft of a letter to a young admirer, in which Mandela said his rural upbringing by illiterate parents left him “colossally ignorant” about simple things like a holiday devoted to romance.
At his inauguration, Mandela stood hand on heart, saluted by white generals as he sang along to two anthems: the apartheid-era Afrikaans “Die Stem” (”The Voice”) and the African “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” (”Lord Bless Africa”).
A NEW LIFE
When Mandela went free after 27 years, he walked hand-in-hand with his wife Winnie out of a prison on the South African mainland, and raised his right fist in triumph. In his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom,” he would write: “As I finally walked through those gates ... I felt — even at the age of seventy-one — that my life was beginning anew.”
A WAYS TO GO
Mandela is widely credited with helping to avert race-driven chaos as South Africa emerged from apartheid. But he could not forge lasting solutions to poverty, unemployment and other social ills that still plague his country. Though relatively stable, it has struggled to live up to its rosy depiction as the “Rainbow Nation.”
Since apartheid ended, the country has peacefully held four parliamentary elections and elected three presidents, and Mandela’s African National Congress said in 2013 the economy had expanded 83 percent since 1994. But corruption in the party has undercut some of its early promise, and the white minority is far wealthier than the black majority, partly fueling violent crime.
Mandela’s last public appearance was in 2010. Bundled up against the cold, he smiled broadly and waved to the crowd at the Soccer City stadium during the closing ceremony of the World Cup, an event that allowed his country to take the world spotlight. Mandela had kept a low profile during the monthlong tournament, deciding against attending the opening ceremony after the death of his great-grand daughter in a traffic accident following a World Cup concert.
MANDELA THE RECONCILER
Mandela was born the son of a tribal chief in Transkei, a Xhosa homeland. Many South Africans of all races call him by his clan name, Madiba, which means “reconciler,” as a token of affection and respect.
THE HARSHER SIDE
Despite his saintly image, Mandela could be harsh. When black journalists mildly criticized his government, he painted them as stooges of the whites who owned the media. Whites with complaints were sometimes dismissed as pining for their old privileges. To critics of his closeness to Fidel Castro and Moammar Gadhafi, Mandela insisted he wouldn’t forsake supporters of the anti-apartheid struggle.
Mandela eventually turned to fighting AIDS, publicly acknowledging in 2005 that his son, Makgatho, had died of the disease. The nation, which has the most people living with HIV in the world at 5.6 million, still faces stigma and high rates of infection.
Mandela celebrated holidays and hosted dignitaries among the huts of rural Qunu in a replica of the prison guard’s home where he lived during his final days of confinement. Ever self-deprecating, Mandela maintained he chose to recreate the home from Victor Verster prison because he was already familiar with it and wouldn’t “have to wander at night looking for the kitchen.” But his fellow South Africans saw the decision as an inspiring way to transform the old structure of imprisonment into one of freedom. Many of Mandela’s close relatives live in Qunu, and the family burial plot is just yards from the home.
‘A DEMOCRATIC AND FREE SOCIETY’
A statement Mandela made during his 1964 sabotage trial revealed his resolve in the fight to end white racist rule. “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people,” Mandela said. “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Two months later, he and seven other defendants were sentenced to life in prison.
UNITED BY RUGBY
In 1995, Mandela strode onto the field at the Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg wearing South African colors and bringing the overwhelmingly white crowd of more than 60,000 to its feet. “Nelson! Nelson! Nelson!” they chanted as the president congratulated the victorious home team. Mandela’s decision to wear the Springbok emblem, the symbol once hated by blacks, conveyed the message that rugby, so long shunned by the black population, was now for all South Africans.
Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994. At the close of his inauguration speech, he said: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.”
“Let freedom reign. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement! God bless Africa!”
Mandela was confined to the harsh Robben Island prison off the coast of Cape Town for most of his time behind bars. He and others quarried limestone there, working seven hours a day nearly every day for 12 years, until forced labor was abolished on the island. In secret, Mandela — inmate No. 46664 — wrote at night in his tiny concrete-floored cell.
It was forbidden to quote him or publish his photo, but go-betweens ferried messages from prisoners to anti-apartheid leaders in exile. Prisoners gathered in small groups for Socratic seminars, and Mandela offered lessons on the movement to guards he thought would be open to persuasion. All the guards were white; all the prisoners were black, mixed race, or Asian.
‘LOOK INTO YOURSELF’
“People tend to measure themselves by external accomplishments, but jail allows a person to focus on internal ones; such as honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, generosity and an absence of variety,” Mandela says in one of the many quotations displayed at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. “You learn to look into yourself.”
NELSON AND WINNIE
Nelson Mandela divorced Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 1996, ending a powerful political partnership that had lasted through decades of struggle. As he remained behind bars, she became an activist leader in her own right, leading marches with a fist raised and building a base among the radical wing of the African National Congress. Madikizela-Mandela lost influence as Mandela pushed the ANC along a moderate course.
They had grown apart politically by the time he emerged from prison, and soon the personal toll of the years of physical separation became apparent. But after Mandela retired from public life and focused on the family that had been relegated to second place during his struggle against apartheid, the mother of two of his daughters was welcome alongside his third wife at Christmases and birthdays.
After his retirement from the presidency, Mandela regularly worked from an office in the recently refurbished Johannesburg building that houses the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory. The office includes framed photographs of Mandela in healthier times with his wife, Graca Machel, former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, fellow activist Walter Sisulu, and others.
A boxing glove, cricket bat and a British police helmet are among the gifts on display. Glass cases show penned messages in books given to Mandela from people including Nadine Gordimer, the South African author and winner of the Nobel literature prize in 1991. Cornel West, an American civil rights activist, addressed his book, “Democracy Matters,” to: “Bro’ Nelson Mandela.”
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
By Lauren Hockenson, Giga Om
Facebook on Thursday announced the final phase of removing an old privacy feature from the social media platform. The feature, which allows users to be hidden from search, will finally be taken away for users who have it enabled.
The feature, called "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" was removed from Privacy settings last year (noted in a December blog post) for those who didn't have it enabled. When enabled, the setting removes the ability for users to access a Timeline profile via search, even when a user puts in the exact name of the person he or she is locating. Now, users that still have that feature enabled will begin to see removal notices from Facebook, indicating that they will be present and visible in Graph Search along with the rest of the Facebook user base.
Facebook says in the blog post that the feature is a vestigial precaution that reaches back before the platform had a sophisticated search algorithm. When Facebook search acted as a mere directory, removing oneself from search made it more difficult for strangers to access a given profile. But now, as Open Graph opens up to search more settings and there is greater visibility of Timelines for friends of friends, the importance of finding a person through search has diminished while controlling the content on any given Timeline has become more important. Facebook says that the feature also caused hiccups in the user experience:
"People told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn't find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search."Of course, the sunsetting of this feature for those who care about it the most only stresses the importance of checking and updating Facebook privacy settings often. Now, it's more important to consider the content of the Timeline itself: a "private Timeline" is only such when content is marked explicitly "Friends Only." As Facebook continues to make search easier, it's important to keep in mind how these changes impact social media privacy at large.
By: Yamiche Alcindor and John Bacon, USA TODAY
Judge adds manslaughter possibility but rejects prosecution request for third-degree murder. Jury deliberations could begin Friday.
SANFORD, Fla. -- Trayvon Martin is dead because George Zimmerman "tracked" and then shot Trayvon Martin instead of waiting for police to arrive, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told the jury at Zimmerman's murder trial.
De la Rionda, presenting the prosecution's closing argument, accused Zimmerman of taking the law into his own hands during their February 2012 confrontation.
The defense team, scheduled to close Friday, has maintained that Trayvon, 17, was the aggressor and that Zimmerman, 29, shot him in self-defense.
Using a projector, de la Rionda showed jurors a photo of Zimmerman taken at the police station the night of the shooting -- alongside a close up of Trayvon's dead body.
De la Rionda noted that Trayvon's hands had no blood on them, said his hoodie string may have been pulled down by Zimmerman in a struggle.
"His (Trayvon's) body speaks to you," de la Rionda said. "It proves to you that this defendant is lying about what happened."
De la Rionda focused on his theory that Trayvon was an innocent teen who was wrongly profiled and murdered by Zimmerman. De la Rionda told jury the key word in the prosecution case was "assumptions."
"He automatically assumed that Trayvon Martin was a criminal and that is why we are here," de la Rionda said of Zimmerman. Later he said Trayvon was not trespassing in the gated community, but rather was being a normal teen making a trip to the store.
De la Rionda also painted Zimmerman as someone who already knew he could ultimately win any confrontation with Trayvon.
"He's got a gun, he's got the equalizer," de la Rionda said. He asked the six-woman jury to use "your God-given common sense" and find the former neighborhood watch volunteer guilty of second-degree murder.
Earlier, Judge Debra Nelson agreed to add manslaughter to the second-degree murder charge Zimmerman already faced, but rejected a prosecution request that a third-degree murder count also be added.
Zimmerman's attorneys had objected to adding any lesser charges.
The last-minute effort to add charges was seen by some legal experts as an indication that prosecutors were not confident about their chances for a second-degree murder conviction. Zimmerman has been portrayed by prosecutors as a wanna-be cop.
"They aren't going to go all or nothing," said Jose Baez, a Florida criminal defense attorney, of state prosecutors. "They aren't blind to the fact that they haven't proven second-degree murder." Baez successfully defended Casey Anthony, a Florida mother accused of killing her daughter in a high-profile capital murder case.
Second-degree murder in Florida carries a possible life sentence. If convicted of manslaughter, Zimmerman could get up to 30 years.
Elizabeth Parker, a Florida criminal defense attorney who has been monitoring the case, said the third-degree murder count could bring a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Prosecutors also had considered but then decided against trying to add the charge of aggravated assault, which would carry no more than a five-year prison term.
The third-degree murder charge request drew a heated argument. Third-degree murder can involve death that results from committing a felony, even if the accused did not mean to kill the victim.
Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei, arguing for the count, said Zimmerman committed "child abuse" -- a felony -- on Trayvon.
Don West argued against their claim, saying child abuse had never been mentioned during the trial. He called the attempt to add the third-degree murder charge a "trick by the state."
Zimmerman's attorneys get three hours for their closing Friday. The state will then get one hour to present rebuttal statements.
The jury could begin deliberations Friday.
By Fox News
Mariah Carey returned to the set of her new music video on Sunday just hours after she was hospitalized with a dislocated shoulder and cracked rib in a desperate attempt to finish the shoot.
The pop superstar was filming a promo for a remix of her track #Beautiful with rapper Young Jeezy when she took a tumble and had to be treated at a New York medical centre for her injuries.
Her husband Nick Cannon, who had been directing the project, offered to abandon his duties to be by his wife's side, but Carey refused to let her pain stand in the way of her work and ordered the TV personality to continue on in her absence.
During an appearance on U.S. breakfast show Today on Tuesday, he said, "It was pretty serious. Not only did she dislocate her shoulder, she actually cracked her rib. She chipped her shoulder bone during the video shoot. She was in this nice, beautiful gown, heels on and everything, it was kinda on this platform, she kinda slipped and fell on her whole side. She's such a trooper, like I was gonna rush to the hospital, she was like, 'You get back in there and finish the video'.
"Then, after they put the shoulder back in place, bandaged her all up, she came back to the video early in the morning and finished out everything. She's like, 'This better be a good video after all this pain I went through!...' I would be crying and passed out if something like that happened to me. She was right back to work!"
The Hero hitmaker is now recovering at home and resting up for her performance at a Hurricane Sandy benefit concert on Saturday.
By TOM LAURICELLA, CHRISTOPHER S. STEWART and SHIRA OVIDE
A short-lived hoax on Twitter briefly erased $200 billion of value from U.S. stock markets on Tuesday, underscoring the vulnerability of financial markets to computerized trading programs that buy and sell shares without human intervention.
A tweet purportedly from the Associated Press just before 1:08 p.m. reported two explosions in the White House and that President Barack Obama had been injured. The posting sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling roughly 145 points in an instant.
Minutes later, the AP said the tweet was a fake resulting from hacking by an outside group, and the White House confirmed there were no explosions. But traders employing so-called algorithms that automatically buy and sell shares after scanning news feeds—including posts on social media sites such as those run by Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. FB +0.04% —had already taken action.
The two-minute selling spree left many traders stunned and dismayed, even though the market quickly recovered the losses afterward.
"It's frustrating and scary that a tweet can erase hundreds of billions from the market in a short time, but that's the world we live in," said R.J. Grant, associate director of equity trading at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.
A group called the Syrian Electronic Army took responsibility on its own Twitter account for the fake AP message. The group, which describes itself as "a group of enthusiastic Syrian youths" who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, recently has targeted other media organizations. An AP spokesman said the news organization was unable to determine the origin of the hacking incident.
Securities and Exchange Commission officials are looking into trading activity that took place in response to the AP tweet, according to a spokesman, who said the agency routinely looks into irregular market action. Regulators looking into the activity said it was too early to tell if the tweet was intended to disrupt the market.
At 1:07:50 p.m. Eastern time, the fake tweet appeared. Stock prices began to head lower in a selloff that quickly picked up steam. In a little more than two minutes, the Dow fell from around 14700 to 14554.
At roughly 1:10 p.m., the first denials began to appear saying that the AP's Twitter account had been hijacked. Within seconds stocks began to turn higher and by 1:13 p.m. had recovered most of the ground that had been lost. At the day's end the Dow was up 152.29 points, or 1.05%, to 14719.46.
In an echo of the May 2010 "flash crash," when the Dow lost 600 points in a matter of minutes, market participants say liquidity—a measure of traders' ability to sell stock positions quickly—dried up while the market was falling.
"It wasn't even that people really had a chance to sell as much as that bids just walked away," said Ian Winer, director of trading at Wedbush Securities.
Some said the episode revealed the influence of computer-driven, high-frequency-trading hedge funds, which by some measures account for as much as half of U.S. stock market volume. The computer programs some of them use have expanded their reach to social-media platforms such as Twitter. The Securities and Exchange Commission recently gave the green light to companies to release important information through those venues.
Such computer programs "are incredibly sophisticated," said Eric Pritchett, chief executive at Potamus Trading, a brokerage firm that specializes in electronic trading. A program "reading the feed and seeing 'blowing up' can also read the one saying the account was 'hacked,' " he said.
The Syrian Electronic Army recently took responsibility for an attack on National Public Radio, where the words "Syrian Electronic Army Was Here" were splashed across its website earlier in the month. Over the weekend, the website Syrianelectronicarmy.com said the group had hacked into the Twitter feeds of CBS News broadcasts "60 Minutes" and "48 Hours."
A spokesman for NPR said that it was monitoring the situation, and "60 Minutes" tweeted that it was "working with Twitter to resolve."
The AP spokesman said the hack was preceded by an attempt to get into its corporate email network. That original attack was blocked, said the spokesman, who added that "there is no evidence any AP systems beyond email were compromised."
The twitter feed of the Syrian Electronic Army is linked to a similarly named website, which says it members "could not stay passive towards the massive distortion of facts about the recent uprising in Syria." The site vows to "remain Syria's loyal soldiers." The group could not be reached for comment.
Security experts said the attacks on the AP and other media organizations highlight the need for those operating online to take appropriate precautions.
"We haven't seen anything like this before," said Giovanni Vigna, co-founder and chief technology officer of the security firm Lastline. "They wanted to shock people and draw attention to their cause."
Mr. Vigna said the dramatic reaction on Wall Street was likely linked to the edginess created by the Boston Marathon bombing. He said that it could foreshadow a dangerous future for investors. "Imagine a situation where knowing a tweet of this kind can cause a market to go down," he said. "You buy at a low price, and when the market rebounds, you make a profit."
Amid Tuesday's tumult, some traders emphasized their human advantages. A staffer at Los Angeles-based JonesTrading Institutional Services LLC said during Tuesday's turmoil, over a companywide loudspeaker: "Careful, those things can be hacked," according Tom Carter, a managing director at the brokerage.
"We made sure no one made a call on it, and sure enough, look what happened," Mr. Carter said. "You've really got to be careful in those moments. It would be irresponsible to start calling clients about it."
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