Thursday, April 25, 2013

Best for breasts

The buzz

Retro pic of a woman wearing a bra.

Firm finding: Bras don't prevent breasts from sagging, study shows.

Bras do nothing to prevent breasts sagging, according to a French study of 330 women. In fact, breasts normally left to run free tended to be firmer than those bound in a bra, the researchers, from Besancon University, found. Lead researcher Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sports scientist who has been studying bosoms and bras for the best part of 16 years, reckons breasts become "dependent" on the support provided by a bra and so the nearby musculature deteriorates. "Medically, physiologically and anatomically, breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity," Rouillon says. Telegraph London

Unidentified flying objects

Here's something new to keep you awake at night. While no civilisation-destroying asteroids are expected to collide with Earth this century, space may well be littered with smaller ones that could eradicate a city, say NASA specialists taking part in space threats hearings in Washington, DC, last week. Speaking at the hearings, Lamar Smith, the chair of the US house, space, science and technology committee, said scientists had identified only 10 per cent of the asteroids with potential to destroy a city. Another space expert said it was possible for a spacecraft to ram an Earth-threatening asteroid to alter its path, but this could be done only if the asteroid's course was already known.

Grapes feel the heat


Areas once considered too cold for growing grapes are becoming suitable for wine production, thanks to climate change. But traditional wine regions are also being affected. The US Environmental Defense Fund estimates that by 2050, 85 per cent of land in Mediterranean Europe now suitable for grape growing will become too hot and dry to support crops.

About 60 per cent of Californian wine country is expected to meet the same fate, forcing producers to move to new areas. In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and reported in The New York Times, researchers expressed concern about the effect this could have on wildlife and flora.

The paper says the introduction of vineyards has long-term effects on existing ecosystems. It affects water sources, introduces fertilisers and other chemicals, and is unsuitable for native species.

Turbulence ahead

Fasten your seatbelt, international flights are likely to encounter more turbulence as a result of global warming, according to British researchers. Their paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, estimates that by 2050, increased carbon dioxide levels could create a 170 per cent increase in turbulence over the north Atlantic and a 40 per cent increase in its intensity. The study's authors say other areas of the atmosphere are likely to be similarly affected, and flights will get longer and more expensive as passenger aircraft are forced to avoid areas of turbulence. More fuel used as flights alter their courses means more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which means even more . . .

Pollution link to birth defects

As the Australian Senate inquiry into air quality proceeds in Canberra, research from the US has established a link between exposure to traffic pollution and increased risk of birth defects. The study, published online in The American Journal of Epidemiology, found that mothers living in areas with the highest levels of traffic pollution were almost twice as likely to give birth to a child with a neural tube defect (related to the brain and spinal cord) as are mothers living in areas with the lowest concentrations. The study's authors say further research is needed.
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