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Just a little mindfulness can ease pain and negativity

Futurity.org - 9 hours 45 min ago

Just a brief introduction to mindfulness helps people deal with physical pain and negative emotions, according to a new study.

The effect of mindfulness was so pronounced, they found, that even when participants experienced high heat on their forearm, their brain responded as if it were a normal temperature.

“It’s as if the brain was responding to warm temperature, not very high heat,” says corresponding author Hedy Kober, associate professor of psychiatry and psychology and corresponding author of the sutdy in Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience.

Study participants reported less pain and negative emotions when employing mindfulness techniques.

Mindfulness—the awareness and acceptance of a situation without judgment—has been shown to have benefits in treating many conditions such as anxiety and depression. But Kober and colleagues wanted to know whether people with no formal training in meditation and mindfulness might benefit from a brief 20-minute introduction into mindfulness concepts.

Researchers tested participants in two contexts while undergoing brain imaging scans—one for assessing response to physical pain from high heat on the forearm and another for gauging their response when presented with negative images.

In both contexts, researchers found significant differences in brain signaling pathways when they asked participants to employ mindfulness techniques compared to when they asked participants to respond as they normally would.

Specifically, participants reported less pain and negative emotions when employing mindfulness techniques, and at the same time their brains showed significant reductions in activity associated with pain and negative emotions.

These neurological changes did not occur in the prefrontal cortex, which regulates conscious or rational decision-making, and so were not the result of conscious willpower, the authors note.

“The ability to stay in the moment when experiencing pain or negative emotions suggests there may be clinical benefits to mindfulness practice in chronic conditions as well—even without long meditation practice,” Kober says.

Source: Yale University

The post Just a little mindfulness can ease pain and negativity appeared first on Futurity.

The Finance 202: Mike Bloomberg’s rivals agree: A Wall Street billionaire shouldn’t be the nominee

Washington Post - 9 hours 45 min ago
They attacked him with more gusto than they went after Trump.

Al Pacino hunts Nazis in 'Hunters.' The premise tops its execution

CNN - 9 hours 47 min ago
"Hunters" is such an enticing premise as to overcome its execution problems, at least for a while. But the tone of this Amazon series -- which counts Al Pacino among its ensemble cast -- varies wildly, leaving behind a show that isn't bad, but which really should be a whole lot better.

Your home’s water quality can vary from room to room

Futurity.org - 9 hours 49 min ago

The water quality of a home can differ in each room and change between seasons, according to a new study.

The findings challenge the assumption that the water in a public water system is the same as the water that passes through a building’s plumbing at any time of the year.

“This study reveals that drinking water in the service line water is clearly not the same quality at your faucet,” says Andrew Whelton, an associate professor of civil engineering and environmental and ecological engineering at Purdue University.

Water quality in your house

The study is so far the largest and most intensive investigation of water quality over time and throughout a single house. The researchers collected data 58 times at the house over the course of a year, logging more than 222,000 hours and 2.4 billion records.

While more studies at this scale are needed before generalizing findings to other American homes, the results are concerning: 10% of the time, researchers did not find disinfectant in the water entering the house studied, meaning that the water was not properly protected from bacteria growth once it entered the home.

There were also increases in water pH inside the house and large fluctuations in organic carbon. Either can indicate drastic changes in drinking water chemistry.

The study took place at a three-bedroom house in West Lafayette, Indiana, that also functions as a living laboratory for developing technologies that would make homes more sustainable. Whirlpool Corp. funds the home, called the Retrofitted Net-zero Energy, Water, and Waste (ReNEWW) House. It’s the first lived-in retrofitted net-zero energy, water, and waste home. Whirlpool engineers also were actively involved in the study.

Federal and state law does require water utilities to report their drinking water’s chemical quality where it enters a buried water distribution network and at select locations throughout that network. But that water may not be representative of the water quality in a building.

And even when utility companies check for lead and copper at a building faucet, they are not required to check faucets throughout the entire house or between seasons.

“We found that the water chemical quality varied significantly through water fixtures due to water temperature, plumbing fixture, and different water uses,” says Maryam Salehi, an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Memphis who was previously a postdoctoral research associate at Purdue.

Spatially, there was no disinfectant exiting the house’s water heater more than 85% of the time. While the team found other chemicals to be higher than others between seasons or throughout the house, most of these levels aren’t harmful according to national guidelines.

The level of lead in the ReNEWW house did, however, exceed the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended exposure limit for children. No children were living in the home.

Researchers also found some of the house’s lead-free plumbing components leached lead in a bench-scale test.

What needs to change and what you can do

These findings call for a closer look at both how often utility companies should monitor lead concentration in a home. They also raise the question of whether governments should more broadly provide financial support to homeowners for testing their own water quality.

Climate change may also exacerbate seasonal variability in water quality.

“It’s known that warmer temperatures allow microorganisms to persist in source water for longer periods of time. Heavier precipitation can also result in combined sewer overflows in some locations, while droughts affect water quantity and available source water,” says Jade Mitchell, an associate professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering at Michigan State University.

Some of the study’s findings could already have implications for other houses in the US, given that the ReNEWW house has a similar square footage and plumbing design compared to the average American home.

“After water enters a home it continues to age. Older water is more likely to have contaminants that are problematic. Because the quality of water delivered to a single home can vary significantly, and building plumbing can change the water too, predicting drinking water safety at every building faucet is currently not possible,” Whelton says.

The researchers note that different plumbing materials, a varying number of house occupants, and other factors could affect the water quality of a home. These factors warrant future study.

More studies like this one could inform the development of new technology for preventing people from encountering unsafe water in their home.

In the meantime, there are several precautions consumers could take to improve their home’s water quality.

“Choose plumbing designs that minimize the amount of water and time that water sits still. This should help limit microbial growth and lessen the chance that chemicals leaching from the plumbing exceed unacceptable levels. If you have an existing home, flush the faucet before taking a drink to get rid of the old water. Flushing can help bring in new, fresher water from the building entry point,” Whelton says.

More plumbing safety tips and resources are available on Whelton’s site.

The research appears in the journal Building and Environment. Additional researchers from Purdue, the University of Memphis, and Michigan State University contributed to the study. The EPA funded the study.

Source: Purdue University

The post Your home’s water quality can vary from room to room appeared first on Futurity.

Opinion: Trump's budget will wreak havoc on the American economy

CNN - 9 hours 50 min ago
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump released his 2021 budget proposal. It is likely going nowhere in Congress, since Democrats control the House of Representatives. But for the economy's sake, we should be glad that the president's budget has no shot at passage. It is full of outdated ideas that would instantly weaken the economy and undermine our ability to grow and prosper over time. If enacted, it would be an economic calamity.

6 takeaways from the Democratic debate

CNN - 9 hours 52 min ago
Michael Bloomberg's billions got him onto the debate stage -- but did nothing to spare him from the barrage he faced Wednesday night here in Las Vegas.

When is a man really a man? Photo exhibit explores the male mystique

CNN - 9 hours 53 min ago
It can seem like there have never been so many ways to be a man -- or at least look like one.

Gucci Declares the Death of the Fashion Show Greatly Exaggerated

NY Times - 9 hours 58 min ago
It’s a “ritual” said Alessandro Michele. And he’s not giving it up any time soon. Plus communion at Jil Sander and ’80s revivalism at Alberta Ferretti.

SZA sounds done with photo shoots

CNN - 9 hours 59 min ago
We may be seeing less of SZA from now on.

Spotify May Be Allowed to Stream Directly on HomePod and Set as Default Music App in iOS 14

MacRumors - 10 hours 1 min ago
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman today reported that Apple is working to allow third-party music services like Spotify and Pandora to be streamed directly on the HomePod with Siri in a future software update, as is possible with Apple Music. Spotify currently can only be streamed on the HomePod via AirPlay.

The report adds that Apple is also considering allowing third-party music services to be set as default in iOS 14, which would let users ask Siri to stream music from the likes of Spotify without specifying "with Spotify" at the end of the command. Siri currently defaults to Apple Music for these requests.

In early 2019, Spotify announced that it had filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission over unfair ‌App Store‌ practices. At the time, Spotify took issue with Siri's lack of Spotify support on both iOS devices — which has since changed to a limited extent — and the HomePod.

An excerpt from its "Time to Play Fair" website — the wording has since been tweaked:Apple ignores users' preferred choice of music service and instead steers them to use Apple Music exclusively. So can you ask Siri to play your favorite playlist from Spotify? No, not even if you actively want Spotify to be your default streaming service. Or can you listen to Spotify through your Apple HomePod? Sorry, no luck with that either. And by the way, Spotify is available on pretty much every other speaker device out there.Apple has faced increasing scrutiny as of late over the way it runs its ‌App Store‌, beyond Spotify's complaint. Allowing third-party apps to be set as default would certainly help alleviate some of those concerns.

More Coverage: Bloomberg: Apple May Let iOS Users Set Third-Party Web Browser and Mail Apps as Defaults Over Stock Apps

Related Roundup: HomePodTags: Spotify, bloomberg.comBuyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)
This article, "Spotify May Be Allowed to Stream Directly on HomePod and Set as Default Music App in iOS 14" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Wanted: Half a million workers to help count people for the census

CNN - 10 hours 1 min ago
The Census Bureau is ramping up recruiting in a push to hire up to half a million temporary workers for this year's count.

The Health 202: Democrats seize on Sanders’s tensions with Nevada union to attack Medicare-for-all

Washington Post - 10 hours 3 min ago
They hope it becomes a liability ahead of Saturday’s caucus.

Billie Eilish: Online comments were ruining my life

CNN - 10 hours 14 min ago
In an interview with BBC, singer Billie Eilish said internet trolls and "cancel culture" make it harder for her to engage with fans online.

WaPo: Mulvaney says GOP has been inconsistent on deficit concerns under Trump

CNN - 10 hours 21 min ago
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Wednesday that the Republican Party views federal deficits as "the worst thing" when Democrats are in power but are "a lot less interested" when their own party is in the White House, The Washington Post reported.

The Cybersecurity 202: Most Democratic presidential campaigns score high on cybersecurity protections

Washington Post - 10 hours 21 min ago
But lots of hacking dangers lurk before the election.

Paris Saint-Germain president charged with criminal offenses in FIFA case

CNN - 10 hours 32 min ago
Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has been charged in Switzerland for criminal offenses around the awarding of media rights for various World Cups and Confederations Cups.

Huge tunnel network creates new railway link through the Alps

CNN - 10 hours 47 min ago
Thousands of feet under the Swiss Alps, a new high-speed, high-capacity railway is close to completion.

Biggest moments during Fashion Week in London

CNN - 10 hours 48 min ago
A haze of melancholia colored the proceedings at London Fashion Week Autumn-Winter 2020. In contrast to previous seasons, there were few overt political messages seen on the runways. Vivienne Westwood was the only designer to use her platform for literal protest, when she staged a call to arms to free Julian Assange.
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