Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Glimpse of black hole swallowing star, shooting flare
Scientists for the first time caught a glimpse of a black hole swallowing a star and shooting out a high-speed flare of matter at the centre of a nearby galaxy.
 
The finding, reported in the US journal Science, tracked this star -- about the size of the Sun -- as it shifted from its customary path, slipped into the gravitational pull of a supermassive black hole and was sucked in, Xinhua quoted lead author Sjoert van Velzen of the Johns Hopkins University as saying on Thursday.
 
Though extremely rare, supermassive black holes were spotted previously eating a star alive. Scientists have also seen flares, or jets, from supermassive black holes.
 
"But this is the first time we got a clear view of the stellar destruction, followed by the jet," van Velzen said.
 
"The jet is also of much lower power than what we have seen before, which is present an interesting puzzle."
 
Van Velzen led the analysis and coordinated efforts of 13 other scientists in the US, the Netherlands, Britain and Australia. The team compared the energy produced by the jet in this event to the entire energy output of the Sun over 10 million years.
 
They concluded that it was likely all supermassive black holes swallowing stars launched jets but this discovery was made possible because the black hole is relatively close to the Earth and was studied soon after it was first seen.
 
The black hole is only 300 million light-years away from the Earth and the team was able to make their first observations using radio telescopes only three weeks after it was found, they said.
 
"Our new findings suggest that this type of jet could indeed be common," he said. 
 
"Finding more of these rare events may further our understanding of the processes that allow black holes to launch such spectacular outflows."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Pulse Beat
The Mediterranean Diet Myth
 
This myth—of Mediterranean diet being the cause of longevity—was doing the rounds in medical circles for decades and many people still believe it blindly. Although the diet in that region is healthier than in the rest of the Western world, it cannot be the sole factor for their longevity. A recent in-depth study, looking at the whole picture, gives a different story about their lifestyle which might be the prime mover. 
 
In general, people there are happier and have less worry. They love life and have better social interactions. Even while eating, they eat with friends and family—and enjoy their meals. Junk food and stale, preserved foods are not on their menu. Olive oil could be a better oil for cooking; but it is not as good as coconut oil. They eat slowly and take time to enjoy their food. They have more outdoor life in the sun and walk much more than the other Westerners. Smoking is much less. Although they do not have a regimented exercise schedule, they walk all day and use vehicles much less.
 
Now that this study gives us a better perspective, the myth could be set to rest. Another important aspect of this study is that this is not funded by any vested interests. This is a public funded study.
 
Toilet Seat and Resulting Infections
 
As much as 85% of women interviewed said that they never sat on the toilet seat to micturate but crouched on it. Such is the fear! Toilet seats are not bad as people think they are. It is very difficult to catch any disease from the seat if one has intact skin of the buttock and thighs. Many studies have shown that door handles and cell-phones have more bugs than toilet seats.
Washing hands after using the toilet seat thoroughly with soap and water should protect one from any danger. Many germs find it hard to survive on a polished seat for long. 
 
The Placebo Effect
 
There seems to be a lot of interest in the placebo effect in medical research. It is now found that drug companies—after spending lot of money on a new drug molecule—find it hard to get the molecule passed as better than a dummy pill (placebo). The more the common man gets to know about drugs, the more he falls prey to this placebo trap! No one has been able to explain why this occurs. What we do know, though, is that the human mind has a very powerful effect on the human body, as both of them are but two faces of the same coin. As I have been always saying, even ‘major’ surgical operations, where ‘heroic’ surgeons boast that the patient got better because of them, the placebo effect has been shown as having an equally good effect. This is evident even in the so-called coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), also known as heart bypass surgery!
 
I look forward to the day, not far away from today, where the patient will be able to use his/her own mind to direct the body to correct itself, an effect so eloquently described in ancient Ayurveda and Indian scriptures. There was a discussion on BBC about the placebo effect, recently. That goes to show that this new finding seems to agitate conventional researchers who sought to prove that it is their chemical potions and surgical methods that keep mankind going on this planet. 
 
I could find one reference to this in Western literature in a book by a respected NIH (National Institute of Health, US) researcher, Candace Pert, in her book Molecules of Emotion. Oliver Wendell Holmes, a Harvard graduate, once wrote that the most potent drug that mankind can ever discover is: two kind words of a human doctor. How very true!

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Why dead men keep getting shot
“Man develops breasts from eating chicken,” said the headline of a report sent to me by a reader in China.
 
I was about to dismiss it as an urban legend when a journalist colleague said it actually happened. The guy lived largely on wings of hormone-filled chickens and doctors said they were the most likely cause of him having grown breasts large enough to cause his male friends to suffer from complex, confused feelings.
 
All of us were horrified by the story except for one guy who said that if it happened to him, he would have to keep sneaking off to “have another look”.
 
This led to a conversation about people’s favorite bizarre headlines. One colleague offered a recent one from the US: “Michael Jackson Impersonator Charged With Molesting Boys”. He quipped: “I can only conclude that the guy took his profession very seriously indeed.”
 
And of course, you can find lots of examples of amusing headlines on the internet, like “Dead Body Found At Cemetery” and the like. These tend to be from the US, but journalists elsewhere like to point out that the rest of the world has some intriguing ones, such as “Woman with arms held”, a headline from the Times of India, and this one from Canada’s Toronto Sun: “Woman’s ‘stomach bug’ actually baby”.
 
A good one, source forgotten, was this one: “Miners refuse to work after death”, which conjures up images of mean bosses making departed spirits dig coal. And a paper in Hong Kong had this one: “China may be using sea to hide its submarines” - as if other countries hid theirs in the clouds or tucked them upright behind trees.
 
Then there are the typos. A misspelt caption in a California newspaper, the Modesto News-Herald, was odd in that country but would have made sense in parts of Asia or Africa: “Here the bridal couple stood, facing the floral setting, and exchanged cows.”
 
Harder to explain was a misprint in the Holland Evening Sentinel of Michigan: “It took many rabbits many years to write the Talmud.” Did the writer mean “rabbis” or was this the first miracle?
 
The most common odd headline is “dead man shot” which comes up all the time. In the UK Guardian recently, there was “Oklahoma cop shoots dead man” and in the Daily Mail: “Cambridgeshire police shoot dead man”.
 
The curious thing is that a dead man WAS actually shot in Australia recently. Forensic scientists in that country discovered that the victim died just before the bullet arrived. However, the shooter was still charged with attempted murder because he THOUGHT the man was alive when he pulled the trigger. I assumed the phrase “It’s the thought that counts” was what you said when grandma gave you a horrible jumper for your birthday, but apparently it also applies in law.
 
That means that when Google finally releases its mind-reading machine, all males on the planet are going to be in unbelievable trouble. (They might as well jail us all now.)
 
On the same lines, this writer was particularly worried by a headline in the La Crosse Tribune, a US newspaper: “Wisconsin woman takes husband to police for ‘talking stupidly’.” What, that’s illegal now? Does writing silly columns count?
 
Disclaimer:  Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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