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Exercise before breakfast to burn fat

pancreasA recent survey found that over 63 percent of adults in the U.S. are either overweight or obese. Most people know that diet and exercise can get the body back to normal shape, but diet and fitness plans generally do not discuss the mechanisms by which diets work.

The weight of the body is regulated by the digestive system, the respiratory system, and hormones from the pancreas. Food provides proteins, fats and carbohydrates which are macronutrients absorbed by the digestive system and are used to build body tissues and provide energy. The presence of carbohydrates in the blood causes the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism and causes cells to take up glucose from the blood and store it as glycogen in the liver and as fat in the skin, abdomen, hips and muscles.

The islets of Langerhans in the pancreas also have alpha cells that produce glucagon, a hormone that helps convert stored fat into carbohydrates, but the secretion of glucagon is inhibited by the presence of insulin. Thus, the hormones secreted by the pancreas control the level of glucose in the body. When we eat food, insulin reduces the level of sugar in the blood by converting it mostly to fat. When we are hungry, glucagon raises the level of glucose in the blood by converting fat into carbohydrates through lipolysis.

When we lose weight, where does the lost body weight go? Energy is extracted from the nutrients by the mitochondria in the cells. The waste products are carbon dioxide, uric acid and ammonia. These last two are nitrogen-containing compounds. Uric acid is the result of oxidation of nucleic acids found in the DNA of the food that we eat, and ammonia is produced from the metabolism of proteins. The liver combines ammonia and carbon dioxide into urea, and both, uric acid and urea are excreted in the urine, which is how the body removes waste nitrogen from the body. The excess carbon dioxide from carbohydrate and fat metabolism is expelled through the lungs which also take into the body oxygen from the atmosphere. So, the weight is lost through the urine produced by the kidneys and through the carbon dioxide exhaled by the lungs.

Exercise increases the rate of metabolism and promotes the breakdown of body tissues to produce waste products. Every exhalation of breath carries some carbon dioxide that reduces the body weight by a corresponding amount, which is not very much. One hour of exercise, such as walking at a brisk pace, burns 300 calories; this corresponds approximately to the calories in one bagel with a tablespoon of jelly.

The combination of exercise and a nutritious, limited calorie diet is crucial for weight reduction. Exercising in the fasted state before breakfast improves insulin sensitivity and takes advantage of the fact that carbohydrate stores are burned during the night and the body switches to burning fat. Exercise before eating maintains the fat-burning mode, and this can be extended by delaying breakfast for one hour after exercising. It is important not to snack. Even a small morsel of food can trigger the release of insulin and stop the fat-burning mode.

Learn more about Exercise

[1] Van Proeyen, K; Szlufcik, K; Nielens, H; Ramaekers, M; Hespel, P; Beneficial metabolic adaptations due to endurance exercise training in the fasted state, J Appl Physiol. 2011 January; 110(1): 236–245. PMCID: PMC3253005

[2] Van Proeyen K, Szlufcik K, Nielens H, Pelgrim K, Deldicque L, Hesselink M, Van Veldhoven PP, Hespel P., Training in the fasted state improves glucose tolerance during fat-rich diet, J Physiol. 2010 Nov 1;588(Pt 21):4289-302. PMID: 20837645

[3] Kiens, B; Skeletal muscle lipid metabolism in exercise and insulin resistance, Physiol Rev. 2006 Jan;86(1):205-43. PMID: 16371598

[4] Romijn JA, Coyle EF, Sidossis LS, Gastaldelli A, Horowitz JF, Endert E, Wolfe RR. Regulation of endogenous fat and carbohydrate metabolism in relation to exercise intensity and duration. Am J Physiol. 1993;265(3 Pt 1):E380–91. PMID: 8214047

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Carolyn Taylor said,
2012-02-19 @ 14:40:11

Thank you for this important information.

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The Circulatory System

The main structures of the cardiovascular system are the heart, arteries, capillaries and veins. The function of the heart is to pump blood through the arteries to the organs of the body. The arteries branch out into a network of capillaries that carry blood with nutrients to the cells and remove their waste products. The capillaries merge to form the veins that circulate the blood back to the heart.

The pulmonary artery carries blood from the heart to the lungs. The function of the lungs is to exchange gases. The carbon dioxide produced from carbohydrate and fat metabolism is carried in the bloodstream to the lungs where it is released to the atmosphere, and oxygen from the air is absorbed and stored in the hemoglobin of the red blood cells.

The aorta, which is the largest artery in the body, branches from the heart into the mesenteric and renal arteries that carry blood to the intestines and the kidneys, respectively. The blood in the capillaries of the intestines absorbs carbohydrates, proteins, and fats from the foods processed by the digestive system. Blood from the intestines goes to the liver via the hepatic portal vein. The liver removes toxins from the blood. In the liver, the ammonia produced from protein metabolism is combined with carbon dioxide to create urea. The blood from the liver flows back to the heart via the hepatic vein and the inferior vena cava. The kidneys remove nitrogen waste products from the blood. Uric acid from nucleic acid metabolism and urea from protein metabolism are filtered out by the kidneys and excreted in the urine. Blood from the kidneys goes through the renal vein, then to the inferior vena cava, and finally recirculates back to the heart.

Cardiovascular diseases, such as arterial plaque and hardening of the arteries, may result in heart attacks and strokes that are some of the leading causes of death. Proper diet and exercise can help to prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Learn how to reduce risks of Cardiovascular Disease

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Problems Coding Games with HTML5, CSS and JavaScript

Applications coded for the Adobe Flash player are ubiquitous on the Internet. Many web sites exist only as flash implementations. Flash provides a rich environment that can render interactive graphics and sound. The problem with Flash is that it is controlled by a private company that cannot react to the demands of the great diversity of devices that access the Internet today. In April of 2010, Steve Jobs wrote an open letter explaining why Apple was not supporting Flash in its line of products. Among the reasons was that Flash does not perform well on mobile devices and that it is the number one reason why Mac computers crash. He also suggested that Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools which are completely open and controlled by a standards committee.

In my opinion, HTML5 still has a long way to go to equal the functionality of Flash. One of the problems that I have consistently encountered in writing web pages is cross-browser compatibility. What works on one browser may not work in another. The most persistent problem is providing sound to an application. HTML5 defines the <audio> element as a standard way to embed an audio file on a web page, but of the five major browsers, only Google Chrome can play all three of the supported file formats (MP3, Wav, and Ogg). The only way to provide audio on all browsers is to use something like the AudioBox applet, but this does not work for the 5 percent of users who turn off JavaScript to avoid advertisements.

I implemented a Sudoku game with HTML5, CSS and JavaScript to test the level of support provided by various browsers. I found several surprises. When adapting the JavaScript code obtained from dhtmlgoodies.com, the command to provide a hint placed a graphic box in the wrong place. The reason was that the getLeftPos() and getTopPos() functions in JavaScript provided a value that was offset by the left and top margins specified in the <div> element with absolute position that contained the game. The JavaScript expressions had to be modified to subtract these values. I cleaned up the code by processing the JavaScript with javascriptlint.com and added curly brackets that were missing and removed multiple declarations of variables.

While testing locally on my Windows 7 system, I left the browser while I switched to work on another application; when I returned to the Sudoku game, the browser was frozen. This happened for FireFox and Internet Explorer, but not for Safari. This was not caused by buggy JavaScript code, but was the result of a missing Java applet for which Safari issued the proper diagnostic. Once the problem was fixed, all the browsers worked properly.

Another concern is the way that browsers handle asynchronous events, such as keyboard input and mouse clicks. It is possible that these unseen processes implement rules that are different from what a user intends. A case in point is the ambiguity of the arrow keys. The Sudoku game can use the arrow keys for navigation around the 9x9 matrix. If only the game matrix is displayed and the browser does not need to use scroll bars to display the web page, everything works fine. The user can navigate the matrix using the arrows without any problem. However, if the game matrix is in a page with additional text that requires the browser to show a vertical scroll bar, then there is an ambiguous situation. The game application uses the down arrow to move the cursor within the matrix, but simultaneously, the web browser interprets the down arrow as a command to scroll the web page down one line. The result is that the whole Sudoku matrix moves when it should stay fixed. Programmers need to use the preventDefault() function for keystrokes to avoid the unwanted browser action, but then the page can only be scrolled with the mouse. Developing games with HTML and JavaScript requires being aware that special coding may be required depending on how the browser renders the web page.

Try the JavaScript Sudoku Game

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Spectacular Sunrise improves your mood

There is something magical about a pretty sunrise. It sets the mood for a wonderful day regardless of the problems that you have to face. The small picture above gives but a tiny glimpse of the beauty of the day. You get a different perspective when you actually see the beautiful colors of the sunrise across the whole horizon and you smell the crisp, fresh air. All your senses wake up. The progression of the colors as the sun relentlessly approaches the horizon is breathtaking. First you see the purples and dark reds. A few moments later, the reds turn to hues of orange that progress to yellow. When the sun finally peeks over the horizon, the whole sky is aflame with light. It is good to be alive to enjoy the beauty of nature.

See more pictures taken from the top of the penthouse.

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Christmas cookies and candies

German Honey CookiesChristmas is a time of the year when the family gets together to eat delicious food and celebrate. On Christmas eve, cookies and a glass of milk are placed for Santa Claus near the Christmas tree, and Santa places gifts under the tree while the children sleep.

The tradition of baking cookies and sweet treats for the Christmas holidays was started in medieval Europe. By the 16th century, cookies were being flavored with many types of spices and fruits. In Germany, honey cookies like the ones pictured above are particularly popular.

Honiglebkuchen - Honey Cookie Recipe

Candies are also popular during Christmas, and almond brittle is a favorite because the new crop of almonds is harvested in the fall. Brittle is a hard candy embedded with nuts such as pecans, almonds, or peanuts. The candy is easy to make by just melting sugar and adding the nuts.

Almond BrittleAlmond Brittle Recipe

Learn about the History and Traditions of Christmas

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Delicious pasta shapes - farfalle and garganelli

Everybody loves pasta, and it is not hard to make your own. The pasta that you buy in the store is usually made only from flour and water. When you make your own pasta, you can make it more nutritious by adding eggs like traditional Italian pasta. You can also create fun shapes that are decorative and appetizing.

The picture above shows farfalle (butterflies) and garganelli tubes. Farfalle are made by folding and pinching pasta squares, and the garganelli are made by wrapping pasta squares on the handle of a wooden spoon while pressing the pasta tubes against a gnocchi board to make ridges.

Learn how to make ravioli and other types of pasta

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World Geography Scrambled

A New World Map
Australia has the shape of a dog's head. Africa looks like a human skull with a horn in the forehead and Lake Victoria forms an eye. Italy is shaped like a boot, and the other boot is New Zealand, but it is broken. Are there enough geographical pieces to create a human figure?

The new world map has a man with two boots accompanied by a dog. The biggest problem was to find a torso for the body parts. It was not an easy task, but by turning Eurasia on its side, we can pretend that it is a torso. In this new map, Russia corresponds to the back, and the Bering Strait is the neck. Spain ends up as a pubic appendage, India takes the place of a breast, and the Arabian peninsula is a hip. It is not a pretty map, but there are not enough well-shaped pieces to work with.

Just like the ancient astronomers were able to imagine celestial figures for the groupings of stars that we call constellations, this new map adds an imaginary dog's body to Australia's dog head, and the human figure gets a hat. America is not on the map, but you can imagine it as a beautiful young woman who has lost her dog and has not come into the picture yet.

The shapes of the continents are determined by the level of the ocean. Fifteen thousand years ago, a large volume of water which is in the ocean today existed as thick ice sheets that covered the continents. The sea level was 130 meters lower than today and this created a Bering land bridge between Alaska and Siberia that allowed human migration from Asia to America. Melting of the ice deposits on Greenland and Antarctica by global warming will change the shapes of our continents in the future.

Learn more about the geological history of the world

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Types of Cardiovascular Diseases


The word "cardiovascular" derives from the Greek root cardio (heart) and the Latin root vascular (vessel). The word "cardiovascular" refers to the heart and all the blood vessels, including the arteries that carry blood from the heart, capillaries that distribute the blood throughout the body, and veins that return the blood to the heart.

The terms "heart disease" and "cardiovascular disease" are often used interchangeably. Heart disease refers to defects in the function of the heart or the coronary blood vessels that directly supply the heart. Heart disease includes irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), racing heartbeat (tachycardia), heart infections, coronary artery disease, and congenital heart defects. Cardiovascular disease is most commonly associated with conditions involving blocked, narrowed or stiffened blood vessels that can lead to chest pain (angina), heart attack, or stroke. Cardiovascular disease reduces the blood flow to the heart, brain or other parts of the body and may cause symptoms such as numbness, pain, weakness or coldness in the legs or arms.

The principal cause of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. This condition develops when plaques of fatty substances build up in the inner walls of arteries. The buildup of plaques is slow, but grows over time. The plaques narrow the blood vessels and make the heart work harder causing high blood pressure (hypertension). When a plaque in a blood vessel ruptures, the blood forms a clot (thrombus) around the plaque material, and the clot may partially obstruct or completely stop blood flow in a blood vessel. The tissues deprived of blood eventually die from lack of oxygen.

Coronary arteries are blood vessels that supply blood to the heart muscles. The blockage of a coronary artery (coronary thrombosis) causes a heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction. An ischemic stroke occurs when the blood flow of an artery to the brain is blocked by a clot. The cells of the brain tissue die within a few minutes after a stroke and often result in paralysis and speech impediments. Aneurysms are bulges or weakened sections of the blood vessels that can occur anywhere in the body. The bursting of an aneurysm causes internal bleeding. The rupture of a blood vessel inside the brain is called a hemorrhagic stroke.

Heart failure, peripheral artery disease and cardiac arrest are other common complications of heart disease. Heart failure occurs when the muscles of the heart weaken and the heart cannot pump enough blood. Peripheral artery disease is a condition where the legs or other limbs do not receive enough blood flow. Cardiac arrest is the sudden, unexpected loss of heart function usually caused by an electrical disturbance in the heart.

Learn more about the Circulatory System

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The search for extraterrestrial life

Many years of robotic exploration of Mars have not produced evidence of life on the Red Planet. During the next twenty years, NASA will conduct several missions to try to determine whether life ever arose on Mars. NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission Curiosity rover, will launch in late 2011 and land on Mars in August 2012. The search will focus on places where there may be liquid water at sources of geothermal energy. There is great expectation that there may be Martian microbial life, but it would really be surprising to find multicellular organisms. Some scientists think that life on Earth may have had its start from microorganisms that traveled on rocks ejected from Mars after meteorite impacts. If life is found on Mars, DNA analysis will be used to identify similarities to Earth organisms.

The search for intelligent life has been a dream of science fiction. The Star Trek television series started each episode with the prologue "Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

Establishing a technologically advanced society has a great number of special requirements. We have been able to achieve this because we live in an oxygen atmosphere where we can make fire that makes it possible to smelt metals. Our manual dexterity enables us to manipulate objects easily and to build tools. Had we been relegated to the realm of the sea with flippers instead of hands with opposable thumbs, even with all our brain power we would not have been able to build the technology to send a probe to another world. The Neanderthals who preceded us were able to use fire for cooking and for warmth, but in the 250,000 years that they were on Earth they did not advance beyond the stone age. Modern humans have existed for about 60,000 years, and civilizations were only established 10,000 years ago. In the last 250 years, our industrialization has managed to pollute the atmosphere to the point that we may trigger a global warming event within a couple of hundred years and cause the extinction of many species, perhaps even our own.

Learn more about the evolution of life on Earth

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The Moon stood still for twelve hours

On November 6, 2010 I posted a theory that Mare Moscoviense on the far side of the Moon is the result of overlapping impacts from comet fragments. The image above highlights what I think are four of the major impacts. So far, I am the only person who believes in this idea.

On the one hand, geologists are of the opinion that impacts have to retain specific shock characteristics from the high impact forces.[1] The reason for this is that, on Earth, many volcanic features can be easily confused with impact craters, and the shock characteristics can help to differentiate between volcanic and impact features. This works fine when a single isolated impact is involved, but the criteria do not take into consideration multiple overlapping impacts which would be very different because impacts after the first would fall on a surface melted by a previous impact.

A second prevalent idea is that ancient craters can be flooded by lava so that only the rims remain visible.[2] This may be true, but impacts on viscous fluids also produce what appear to be "flooded craters", but this mechanism has never been considered because impacts by a cluster of impactors would be a very remote possibility. In 1994, we saw the fragments of comet Shoemaker Levy 9 strike Jupiter, so the possibility of multiple impacts is small, but real. Unfortunately, Jupiter is a gas giant; there were no impacts on a solid surface that we could use for comparison.

In trying to make the case for an impact origin for Mare Moscoviense, I have tried to identify the characteristics that would differentiate volcanic lava from impact lava. Interestingly, the 40,000 square kilometers covered by Mare Moscoviense are very smooth and there does not seem to be any volcanic cone from which such a great quantity of lava could have come. I have also experimented with impacts on soft clay to show that these impacts may have some morphological similarity to impacts on molten rock. I then estimated the volume of molten lava in Mare Moscoviense and calculated that the proposed impacts could have had enough energy to melt all that rock. The last thing that I accomplished was to identify a viable collision trajectory between a string of cometary fragments and the Moon. In this trajectory, the Moon appears to remain still for at least a period of 12 hours while the string of fragments has the opportunity to hit the Lunar surface repeatedly in the same location. The figure below shows a tangential collision during the first quarter or third quarter Moon that fulfills these requirements.

Several months ago, I notified two of the main Japanese scientists who worked on the KAGUYA Lunar mission about my theory, but I have not received a reply. I expect that many years will pass before this idea is considered seriously.

Learn more about Mare Moscoviense

[1] French, B.M.; Koeberl, C., 2010, "The convincing identification of terrestrial meteorite impact structures: What works, what doesn't, and why" Earth-Science Reviews, 98 (2010) 123–170.
[2] Morota, T., et al., 2009-b, Ages and Thicknesses of Mare Basalts in Mare Moscoviense: Results from SELENE (KAGUYA) Terrain Camera Data, 40th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, (Lunar and Planetary Science XL), held March 23-27, 2009 in The Woodlands, Texas, id.1280

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