Now You Can Officially Suffer From “Burnout”

For a number of people pressure at the work place has been affecting their lives for years, but there was never any medical condition to ascribe it to. It was simply taken as the stress of living and working. A revision and updation of the International Classification of Diseases or ICD by the World Health Organization has changed that recently. Burnout has been added as a syndrome to the ICD-11 which is what the new updated list is being called.

According to the classification burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life. It is characterized by three dimensions. One, feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion. Two, increased mental distance from one’s job. Three reduced professional efficacy. WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic confirmed in a statement that it was the first time that burnout has been included in the classification.

The ICD-11 will be effective January 2022 on wards. There are a number of new additions that can be expected in this scientific record which reflect the changing times that we live in today. Addictions such as drugs and gambling have already had an entry, but now video gaming addiction will also be seen.

Leave a Comment

World’s Oldest Fungus Fossil Found

The creation of fossils is easier when there is a definite shape for the rocks to embed. Fossils of large animals with bones that take a long time to disintegrate are much easier to form, and easier to find by archaeologists as well. Fungus on the other hand is not that easy to fossilize. That’s why when micro fossils of a globular spore connected to a T-shaped filament were found in the Arctic region, it was a rare and celebrated find.

The researchers in northwestern Canada found the fungus fossil which sheds light on the origins of one of the important branches of the tree of life on Earth. The multi-cellular fungus in the fossil has been named Ourasphaira giraldae. It is supposed to have lived in an estuary environment over a billion years ago. This makes it the oldest fungus fossil found to date.

The Ourasphaira giraldae is an ancestor for many diverse forms of fungus and mold that exist today. Everything from different forms of mushrooms to yeast used in baking has descended from this multi-cellular fungus. The more scientific studies can determine about the past, the better equipped we become to handle our future.

Leave a Comment

Antibiotics are Cause for River Contamination

When we think of Antibiotics we think in positive terms. Life saving drugs that made a huge difference in our fight against many diseases that used to be fatal. Our very survival as a species was helped by the discovery and administration of Antibiotics, so it’s going to be difficult to think of them as a contaminant. A serious problem causing harm to life in waterways around the world.

As humankind gives antibiotic treatments to themselves, they happily share the powerful drugs with their domesticated livestock and cultivated plants. This means the drugs are mixed in the feed and fertilizers on many farms. Not all of it is consumed by the intended targets and often there is a run off of the excess Antibiotics that gets absorbed by rivers in the region.

As global study of rivers around the world has revealed that countries like Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan and Nigeria have the highest concentration of Antibiotics in their rivers. 14 commonly used antibiotics were found in rivers of as many as 72 countries. The levels are dangerously high as per the scientific study and could cause major damage to the plants and fish living in the rivers. This is a global problem that needs to be addressed before it causes more damage than it already has.

Leave a Comment

Ethical Gold Rush

The story of blood diamonds was a lesson to the world. The greed of mining diamonds to make money at the cost of human welfare was unpalatable to a large part of the human population. The horror stories that came from the mines made everyone rethink their desire to buy these cheap diamonds. This made jewelers realize that no matter how appealing the jewelry, it’s sad origins would take a toll on the sales.

Now people are even more concerned about the impact of mining of precious metals like gold on the environment. Given the trend, jewelers also try and source their raw material from verified suppliers who have strict standards to minimize the negative impact of mining metals for jewelry making. There are new scientific methods that help reduce the impact such human activity has. More mines are beginning to use these methods.

These artisanal mines don’t produce much gold annually, but they seek to preserve the environment in terms of methods of extraction used. They ensure humane working conditions for their miners and they are now producing what’s called “fairmined” gold. This ecologically friendly label makes them more in demand for big name gold smiths and jewellers.

Leave a Comment

VEM for Space Station

A fire is a dangerous thing if left to go out of control. In a highly combustible area in close quarters it can be quite devastating. While all precautions are taken to ensure that no fire hazard occurs, more often than not most cities have seen fire fighting required.

Now imagine how that scenario would play out in the International Space Station. It can even be bad in a area under water such as on a submarine. A fire is pretty much the death knoll in such cases.

Can one use a highly pressurized foam to put out fires in low gravity conditions? Not really. That’s why the need to develop VEM or the Vacuum Extinguish Method. The fire extinguisher here doesn’t throw out anything. In fact it sucks in the flames as well as the combustion product in complete reversal of the traditional fire fighting technique.

The apparatus developed at the Toyohashi University of Technology uses VEM to create a fire extinguisher that can be used in space as well as submarines. The system allows the removal of fume, particulate matter, toxic gases, and components that could cause a health issue. This is one science project that has amazing practical uses.

Leave a Comment

New Record for Female Astronaut

The longest time spent in space by a woman was previously recorded at 288 days by Peggy Whitson in 2016-17. Now female astronaut Christina Koch is all set to break the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman. The forty year old will be spending 328 days in space to help study the effects of long term spaceflights on the human body.

Christina has been on board the ISS since March 2019 and will continue to be there till February 2020, if all goes to plan. NASA is gearing up for it’s foray to Mars and is collecting scientific data on the effects on being in space for longer periods of time than the standard four months that most astronauts usually spend on the ISS.

This has led to longer in space time for certain astronauts to help study the potential issues that may crop up during the long flight to Mars and back. While the ISS is merely orbiting about 200 miles above the Earth, the conditions on board the space craft traveling to Mars are likely to be pretty much the same. This science project is taking planning ahead to a whole new level!

Leave a Comment

Rage Welcome Here

As a society we are not very tolerant of people who tend to lose their temper frequently. However as any mental health expert will tell you, anger is a valid emotion and needs to be addressed in a healthy manner. Holding on to your rage is eventually going to show up as high blood pressure and cardiac problems, possibly even a stroke that could leave you paralyzed.

Being able to release your rage in a controlled environment is the key. You get to vent it all out, safely, without hurting yourself or anyone else. People at the AXE Rage Room in Jordan, Amman, have to agree that smashing things like televisions, computer screens and other old discarded junk is rather liberating.

Another way they deal with their anger is by writing their problems on a blackboard and targeting them. Yes somewhat similar to throwing darts on the photographs of your ex, your mean boss and other who may bother you, it seems to release all that rage in a controlled and healthy way. Now there’s a science experiment that couples undergoing a divorce may like to participate it!

Leave a Comment

User Controlled TV

The film that you are watching has a preset plot and characters that walk you through it. You sit back and watch the show as it unfolds as a mute spectator. Now imagine that the characters turn to you mid dialogue and ask you for your advice in what to do next! Does it sound like you fell asleep while watching the film and are now dreaming?

It may not really be necessary that you are dreaming. In fact user controlled TV is coming soon. These choose your own adventure type of stories will require input from the watchers to develop the story line along many possibilities. You can choose what the characters will do next, rather like some gaming apps at present.

Netflix recently launched it’s first interactive film, Bandersnatch. Now it’s successful reception has led the producers to consider making two full series of interactive adventures. One will be an animated series for children in a futuristic-medieval world. The other is an action based adventure for adults.

Would you consider it a cool scientific experiment to make your characters climb a mountain instead of entering a jungle? Who knows what else you will be able to make them do in the future!

Leave a Comment

Staph on ISS

One would imagine that the International Space Station would be a place where the common contagions found on Earth would not be found. Unfortunately it seems that microbial and fungal colonies seem to thrive there just as they would on the surface of the planet. What’s more while the fungal communities are stable, the microbial communities change over time.

The microbes were found littered across the International Space Station by a team of NASA researchers with a consistency that one would associate with a gym or an officer on Earth. They are just as likely to threaten the health of the astronauts on the space station, as they are to make the people in an office fall ill due to constant exposure.

The microbes found were mostly human associated ones which are considered opportunistic pathogens on Earth. Examples of microbes found include Staphylococcus aureus, Pantoea and Bacillus. Given that there are currently six residential astronauts on the International Space Station, someone may want to take up a clean up drive to ensure that no one falls ill in space.

Think about it as a science project whose sole aim is to ensure that the residents of the ISS remain healthy during the time that they serve on the space station.

Leave a Comment

99 Years With Situs Inversus

In order to live a long and healthy life, you need to have a healthy body that you pay attention to. You need to eat nutritious food, get exercise and have a good lifestyle. At least that’s what conventional wisdom will tell you, but what if you have been born with a rare condition called Situs Inversus? What’s the possibility of you surviving to a ripe old age then?

Situs Inversus is a rare condition in which the major visceral organs are reversed or mirrored from their normal positions. This means that organs like the liver, stomach, and other internal abdominal organs are shifted from right to left. Rose Marie Bentley, a woman from the Pacific NorthWest never knew she even had this condition.

Her heart was still on the left side of her chest, but the rest of the organs were transposed from right to left. Her body was donated to research in 2017 after she died by her husband. It was only when the students at the Oregon Health and Science University used her cadaver for science experiments during a normal anatomy class that the rare condition was revealed. Now that’s one way to prove that your textbooks were wrong!

Leave a Comment