Perseids Visible with No Moon in Sight

This year we are lucky that visibility for the annual Perseid meteor shower will be ‘stellar.’ That is because the shower, which always falls from the 11th to 13th of August, this year will not have a moon ruining the visibility, which can sometimes happen. Where will the moon be, perhaps you are asking. Well, the phases of the moon are well known by all; the fact that the moon starts out each month as a tiny crescent resembling the tip of a thumbnail and grows to be a bright, full circle two weeks later, and then shrinks again until the moon disappears altogether is noticed by all. But what many people do not pay attention to is that the moon rises and sets later and later each night. When the moon is small, at the beginning of the lunar month, the moon sets about the same time as the sun. About two weeks later the moon is full, and rises at about the same time as the sun sets, and sets at about the same time as the sun rises. That is why, when the moon is full we see it  the entire night.  At the end of the month you would need to wake up just before sunrise to witness the moonrise, and the only time the moon is in the sky is during the day, when it’s view is washed out by the brightness of the sun.

This year the Perseids happen to fall during the first few days of the lunar month, and the moon will have set shortly after the sun, and will no longer be visible in our nighttime sky. Watch for it this Thursday evening, August 12th, setting in the west an hour or two after the sun has set. It will just be a tiny crescent, but it will be there.

Giving Of Your Time

There is so much to learn when you are in college.  Of course, there is the academic side that you signed up for but there is also much in terms of life lessons.  One really needs to make the most of all the opportunities that are there for them.  One good thing to do – especially for those people who enjoy animals – is to volunteer with the elderly using an animal.  So often the elderly are incredibly lonely but it is difficult for strangers to just come and talk to them.  If you take a dog with you however, then you break the ice easily and you may enjoy the visit more too.  Sometimes it can even be advisable to take a more senior dog along with you; that way it won’t be so feisty and the elderly individual can feel an affinity with them.  A friendly, licking dog can really make an old person feel good.  There are no judgments, no questions, no “why don’t you do anything all day?”  All dogs want to do is give love.  And students have the opportunity and often the time to take these loving pets to the homes of the elderly in the community.  It’s just a great way to give back.

Staying Healthy While Feeding Your Furry Friend

While you love your dog or cat, you may not realize that your animal’s food may actually be causing health risks for your child.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that salmonella bacteria in dried dog and cat food sparked an outbreak of salmonella infections between 2006 and 2008.

The CDC investigators, in their report in Pediatrics, explained that the connection did not come from children actually eating the pet food.  More likely, it came from bugs that spread by direct contact with the pets.  Infection, they found, was certainly more likely if pet bowls were kept in the kitchen.

Certainly, pet owners should wash their hands after feeding pets or handling pet food.  Move pet food out of the kitchen or clean your floors frequently.  Wash your hands after playing with your animal and avoid flea and tick-control products that have organophosphate pesticides in them.

Broaden Your Horizons Learning Meditation

College is a time of unparalleled opportunity.  You have perhaps more time to justifiably explore new things in life than maybe ever before. Soon you’ll be working around the clock trying to make mortgage payments, so use these precious years to discover something new that also might act as a good tool for you in later life. Something like meditation. The benefits of meditation are tremendous and include: a) reduction in anxiety and depression; b)  increase in capacity to concentrate; c) reduction in oxygen consumption; d) assists in relaxation; e) decreases pre-menstrual syndromes; f) can reduce blood pressure; g) increase blood flow to the heart and more. By learning meditative methods when you are not stressed or pushed for time (like in college), you can take the tools and apply them at a time when things are getting too much. As well, knowing how to meditate may later on lead to you not having to take drugs for anxiety or depression.  You will be able to deal with these trials through your meditative skills.

England Tells Toddlers “Drink Your Milk!”

England is now enmeshed in a debate on whether their ‘Nursery Milk Program’ is “outdated, ineffective, and too expensive” as Ann Milton, the Health Minister asserts. The program supplies 189ml of milk for free to children in childcare until they reach their fifth birthday. Begun in wartime England in the 1940s, the idea was to give young children a little bit extra by way of nutrition when food was rationed and in short supply.

Today, however, according to Ms. Milton, food is cheap and readily available, and there is ‘no evidence’ that the costly free milk program contributes in any way to the health of young children in England. Ann Milton believes it would be better to give families a voucher for the value of the milk supplied by the day care centers so that families can purchase milk as well as other sources of nutrition, such as vegetable, fruit, cheese and meat on their own.

The government decided, however, to go against the advice of the Health Minister, and to stick with the milk program. The government explained that milk is a special food which can easily give children a real ‘nutrition boost’ due to its ‘nutrient dense’ quality. Milk is an amazing source of lots of great nutrients, like protein, zinc, vitamins A, B2 (riboflavin), and B12. Milk also aids in the absorption of iodine, niacin, and vitamin B6.

Milk is also a rich source of calcium which is crucial for growing children. Lots of calcium in the diet assures the development of strong bones. In just 189ml of milk which the milk program provides the children receive half of the daily recommended amount of calcium for children aged four to six. Although there are other sources for calcium and vitamins, such as leafy green vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds, it is much easier to get children to drink a cup or two of milk than to have them “finish your vegetables!”

According to the government, which is retaining the milk program, “milk is the ultimate fast food.” It is a quick and nutritious snack which would be a pity to take away from nutritionally vulnerable young children.

Keep Track of Your Waist Size

New research suggests that not only your weight, but your waist size, plays an important role in determining how long you live.  Researchers found, after looking at the data from 100,000 men and women, that those with the largest waistlines have about twice the risk of dying.

They even found that big-waisted people with healthy body mass indexes had a higher risk of dying.  Every 4 inch increase in waist size was associated with a 25% greater risk of death, says Eric Jacobs, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society.

The study found that the ideal waist size is less than 35 inches for men and 30 inches for women.

Jacobs explains that the take-home message from this study is: “It’s important to watch your waist, not just your weight and to start eating better and exercising more if you see your waist size starting to increase.”