Watching nature on TV can boost wellbeing — ScienceDaily

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Watching high quality nature programmes on TV can uplift people’s moods, reduce negative emotions, and help alleviate the kind of boredom associated with being isolated indoors, according to a new study published today in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

The research has also shown that experiencing nature in virtual reality could have even larger benefits, boosting positive feelings and increasing people’s connection to the natural world.

Under laboratory conditions, researchers from the University of Exeter first induced feelings of boredom in 96 participants by asking them to watch a video in which a person describes their work at an office supply company. They then experienced scenes of an underwater coral reef in one of three different ways: on TV; in a VR headset using 360o video; and in a VR headset using computer generated interactive graphics.

The team found that all viewing methods minimised negative feelings such as sadness, as well as significantly reducing boredom. However, only the interactive virtual reality experience led to increases in positive feelings, such as happiness, and strengthened how connected people felt to nature.

Nicky Yeo, lead researcher on the study, believes the findings could have important implications for populations facing extended periods at home. She said:

“Our results show that simply watching nature on TV can help to lift people’s mood and combat boredom. With people around the world facing limited access to outdoor environments because of COVID-19 quarantines, this study suggests that nature programmes might offer an accessible way for populations to benefit from a ‘dose’ of digital nature.”

The team worked with the BBC Natural History Unit to create their experimental conditions, which featured several scenes from the Blue Planet II series, including unseen 360o footage. Their findings support initiatives seeking to bring the therapeutic potential of nature to people at

Cameras that can learn what they are viewing — ScienceDaily

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Intelligent cameras could be one step closer thanks to a research collaboration between the Universities of Bristol and Manchester who have developed cameras that can learn and understand what they are seeing.

Roboticists and artificial intelligence (AI) researchers know there is a problem in how current systems sense and process the world. Currently they are still combining sensors, like digital cameras that are designed for recording images, with computing devices like graphics processing units (GPUs) designed to accelerate graphics for video games.

This means AI systems perceive the world only after recording and transmitting visual information between sensors and processors. But many things that can be seen are often irrelevant for the task at hand, such as the detail of leaves on roadside trees as an autonomous car passes by. However, at the moment all this information is captured by sensors in meticulous detail and sent clogging the system with irrelevant data, consuming power and taking processing time. A different approach is necessary to enable efficient vision for intelligent machines.

Two papers from the Bristol and Manchester collaboration have shown how sensing and learning can be combined to create novel cameras for AI systems.

Walterio Mayol-Cuevas, Professor in Robotics, Computer Vision and Mobile Systems at the University of Bristol and principal investigator (PI), commented: “To create efficient perceptual systems we need to push the boundaries beyond the ways we have been following so far.

“We can borrow inspiration from the way natural systems process the visual world — we do not perceive everything — our eyes and our brains work together to make sense of the world and in some cases, the eyes themselves do processing to help the brain reduce what is not relevant.”

This is demonstrated by the way the frog’s eye has detectors that spot fly-like objects,

Study shows surge of emergency room visits since introduction of rideshare e-scooters — ScienceDaily

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A Henry Ford Health System physician is sounding the alarm on the rising number of injuries caused from riding electric scooters, calling it a growing public health concern.

In a study of e-scooter injuries, Kathleen Yaremchuk, M.D., chair of the Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, says a review of emergency visits in the last three years shows e-scooter injuries have increased significantly with many of them related to head and neck injuries. The study describes how the types of injuries which include concussions, fractures, contusions and abrasions, lacerations and internal organ injuries have changed since the introduction of e-scooter rideshare systems to the public in September 2017.

The study’s break down on the type of injuries shows that head and neck injuries made up nearly 28% of the total injuries. Results were also broken down by age groups and showed that from 2009 to 2017, patients who were 17 years old or younger made up the most injured age group. After 2017, the demographic of 18-to-44-year-olds became the most injured age group, which suggests that e-scooter injuries occur predominantly with older users.

“I’ve seen riders not wearing helmets, two or three riders on one e-scooter recklessly weaving in and out of traffic. The numbers of injuries we’re seeing should be a wake-up call about the safety risks of riding these modes of transportation,” says Dr. Yaremchuk, the study’s senior author.

Results of Henry Ford’s retrospective study were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology.

The Henry Ford research team found that since the introduction of rideshare e-scooters, motorized vehicles that can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, injuries have increased as more people gravitate to the inexpensive and convenient form of transportation used mostly in crowded urban centers.

“We hope

Relationship value and economic value are evaluated by the same part of the brain — ScienceDaily

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Wishing a friend happy birthday or spending a long period of time listening to their problems signifies commitment to the friendship. In other words, these actions serve as commitment signals (*1) and it is known that people value their relationships more with others who behave this way towards them.

Researchers from several Japanese universities have revealed that the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for calculating economic value, is also responsible for judging the value of relationships with friends based on the received commitment signals.

The research group consisted of Professor OHTSUBO Yohsuke (Graduate School of Humanities, Kobe University), Professor OHIRA Hideki (Graduate School of Informatics, Nagoya University), Aichi Medical University’s Lecturer MATSUNAGA Masahiro (and the Department of Health and Psychosocial Medicine research team), and Lecturer HIMICHI Toshiyuki (Kochi University of Technology).

These findings were published in the online edition of ‘Social Neuroscience’ on September 25.

Main Points

  • The researchers investigated whether valuable friendships and valuable objects are processed differently or in the same manner in the brain.
  • Actions that involve spending time on a friend or paying attention to them serve as commitment signals.
  • The orbitofrontal cortex in the brain is activated in response to these commitment signals.
  • It is known that the orbitofrontal cortex is responsible for calculating economic value.
  • The results of this study suggest that relationship value and economic value are calculated in the same way.

Research Background

Many people feel happy when their friends spend time on them and pay attention to them; consequently this makes them consider the relationship to be important. This is true even if the other person’s actions do not give profitable results. For example, if someone listens to your worries, this will strengthen your sense of the friendship’s importance, even if they were unable to resolve the problem.

Compact solid-state pulsed power generators achieve shorter, more powerful pulses — ScienceDaily

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Powerful picosecond generators are in demand in various fields of experimental electrophysics to produce ultrashort electron beams and X-ray pulses in vacuum diodes and to form runaway electron flows in gases.

They also have applications in high-power microwave electronics, but researchers are constantly striving to obtain shorter and more powerful pulses.

In Review of Scientific Instruments, by AIP Publishing, scientists showed compact solid-state pulse generators could generate electrical pulses of less than one-billionth of a second in duration and up to 50 billion watts in power.

“For comparison, the most powerful hydroelectric power plant in China has an output power of 22.5 billion watts,” said Sergei Rukin, one of the authors.

Improving picosecond generators and mastering higher peak power levels in the picosecond range sets the groundwork for new applications in the coming years.

“This also happened with the development of powerful nanoscecond pulsed devices during the last 60 years,” said Rukin.

At first, generators with unique parameters were developed and then, application areas appeared, such as high-power microwave electronics and X-ray imaging devices for medical and engineering applications.

An input pulse of a nanosecond duration from a solid-state semiconductor opening switch generator was amplified in power and reduced in duration by a three-stage magnetic compressor on ferrite gyromagnetic lines.

The line of each stage operated in the magnetic compression line mode, which occurs at close values of the input pulse duration and the period of oscillations generated in the line.

In the picosecond range of pulse duration, record high values of peak power and rate of rise of the output voltage and power were achieved.

A surprising feature was that neither closing nor opening switches were required in the pulse compression system. The pulse amplification in power and its compression in time occurred automatically during the passage of the