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Not so healthy apps

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After food and sex, health is probably the third most talked about topic in the cyberspace. But downloads promising to improve well being may be misleading and some even dangerous.

This is the result of a brief analysis carried out by the John Hopkins University researchers. After putting under scrutiny some of 165,000 healthcare apps currently available online, they came to the conclusion greater availability comes at a price. Their review of health related advise show only a handful of apps have science behind, while the vast majority is utterly useless. Moreover, by setting overambitious goals and lead people to believe they are able to reach them, the downloads that are counted in billions may actually do more harm than good.

After the fail of fitness trackers, that proved to be of similarly limited use, it increasingly looks like our well being may not be entrusted to the machines, but good old blood, sweat and tears.

The romatic fruit

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Be it their seducing sweetness, the deep red colour or the heart shaped fruits, strawberries have a long and intimate relationship with love. At times when sweets are the nemesis of healthy living, food merchants are trying to trade sugar with fruit for Valentine’s Day.

From Ancient Romans and Cherokees to Medieval France, all were cherishing the fragrant strawberries, that are botanically not even berries, but a part of the rose family. Considered to have healing powers since ancient times, the small red berries soon became also a synonym for romance. The French thought they were aphrodisiac and cooked them into a precious soup for newlyweds to drink. The times, however, when people headed for meadows and woods to pick little red beads are long gone. Luckily, new sorts of button size berries have been developed in the last centuries, that can be easily grown in home gardens, balconies or windows, but even with accessibility their passionate spirit has not been lost. Dipped in dark chocolate, accompanied by Champagne or simply eaten fresh, they still bear a scent of luxury, making them a popular Valentine’s choice.

Connoisseurs believe the best way to enjoy strawberries is to take off the leaves and munch the whole fruit in a single bite, thickest part first. That way the heavenly taste of the juicy sweetness will do the magic and maybe even make us forget about the pesticides.

The colourfull graphene future

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The new material brought their inventors the Nobel prize in physics and has been stirring the imagination of scientists ever since. But putting wondrous properties of graphene into good use proved to be a challenging task.

Instead of ending as a part of futuristic electronics, it has now found its way into fashion. This extremely strong material with the thickness of a single atom has recently been interwoven with nylon and made into a dress. As expected from the cutting edge material, it was not just an average gown, but could change colour according to the wearer’s breathing.

What a step from an ordinary piece of graphite we are using to doodle with.

Forever young

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It looks like scientists just cannot make up their mind, one day coffee will kill you, the next day it is your best friend. Now, there is another argument for having that extra cup of the heavenly brew.

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have recently discovered that caffeine might help our bodies stay young. After analysing blood samples from people of different age, they found out the older participants with lower levels of inflammation were all passionate coffee drinkers. As fighting inflammation is the key to increase life expectancy, the researchers now believe drinking 5 or more cups a day may just be ok. They found no limit, the more caffeine people consumed, the more protected from chronic diseases they were, coffee seems to be the key to longevity.

Next time you ask yourself Should I have another cup of coffee? pops up, go for it.

Two sizes too small

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While development of online tools is trying to simplify our lives, the end result can often do just the opposite. The latest attempt by Asos to help its customers choosing the right size of clothes not only made a stir among buyers, but also insulted them.

By using past purchase history, including pieces returned for not fitting properly and valuation of sold items, the British online store launched a tool assisting its customers to determine their size for a desired product. This time, however, it was not privacy concerns that rippled across social media, but the tone of the messages that made many feeling self conscious and angry.

With words like for your height and weight this size is way too small, who would blame them.

Pickling through winter

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After organic and local, the new health craze are the bacteria. Scientists have recently proved microorganisms play bigger role in our bodies that previously thought. What started with lactobacillus, is now spreading to vegetables and it will go on and on.

The industrial food processing came with a promise food poisoning is a thing of the past. But modern techniques, that kill everything, including the healthy microorganisms proved not to be good enough to keep us healthy through the winter. Forgetting about seasonal food and consuming fresh vegetables grown in greenhouses did not help either. Now the food business is rethinking their ways and they are turning for help to grandmas. During harsh winter times in Eastern Europe pickling vegetables was not only the way to preserve the abundance of crops, but also to secure useful vitamins all through the year. This synonym of poverty and savviness was quickly abandoned when fresh food became available all year round. Now the scientists discovered the bacterial world pickled in jars is much healthier than the one the shipping containers bring from distant places.

It is easy to preserve every vegetable imaginable in salt or vinegar, we should try and pickle ourselves through wintertime again.

Hiding from the Big Brother

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The facial recognition is on the rise. Despite coming with a promise to make our lives easier, it is posing a real threat to our privacy. The surveillance technology, however, has now revealed its soft spots.

When Facebook and Apple used the system to tag photos of its users, most were fine with it, but when Amazon started using facial recognition in their store, it became physical. Now, even KFC China is trying to make a library of its customers to guess what they want. Next time a mid aged woman will step into their parlour, she might be offered porridge and soy bean milk for breakfast. The privacy advocates are on their toes, but rest assured the technology is not without flaws. The program has already successfully been tricked with funky makeup and counter surveillance clothes.

For those who do not want to walk around wearing Ziggy Stardust like makeup or shirt full of printed faces, Pittsburg University researchers came up with yet another solution. Putting on a pair of wild patterned glasses successfully hides from the Big Brother.

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