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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Science Scene

Too much TV could lead to depression

A study out of the University of Pittsburgh reports that watching television during one’s adolescence could lead to depression down the road.

Researchers used data from 4,142 adolescents who were not depressed when the study began. After seven years, over 7 percent showed signs of depression. The study reports that 6 percent of those who watched less than three hours of television per day were depressed, while over 17 percent who watched more than nine hours per day had depression symptoms.

The association between television and depression was found to be stronger in boys than in girls, but the study found no association with computer games, videocassettes or radio.

Scientists stressed that since they don’t know what it is about television exposure that is associated with depression they were uneasy to make anyblanket recommendationsbased on their findings.

(Source: nytimes.com)


Obama to crackdown on mercury

The Obama administration announced last week that it will seek to reverse the Bush administration laissez-faire approach to regulating mercury pollution from power plants.

An appeals court previously ruled that the Bush administration’s policy of letting utility companies buy emission credits instead of actually reducing emissions violated the law. The former administration subsequently brought the case to the Supreme Court.

Obama’s Department of Justice submitted documents to the Supreme Court on Friday aiming to dismiss the Bush administration’s appeal of the current mercury regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency also said it plans to write a rule limiting power plant mercury emissions.

Coal-burning power plants are the largest human-induced release of mercury into the environment. The mercury vapor these plants emit eventually settles into water and works its way into the aquatic food chain. High mercury levels in fish can cause harmful health effects especially in small children and pregnant women leading to neurological problems, according to the EPA.

(Source: Associated Press)


New fishing grounds closed in Arctic Sea

Thanks to global warming, over 150,000 square nautical miles north of the Bering Strait are now accessible to commercial fishing.

But while the ice sheets may have melted to make the rich fishing area physically accessible, a federal fishery panel voted Thursday to close it off. The pre-emptive closure was unusual because both the fishing industry and conservation groups alike supported the unanimous decision.

This marks the first time the United States closed a fishery as the result of climate change, as opposed to overfishing. The closure does not include any existing fishing sites in the Arctic, which accounts for a large portion of American seafood.

The ban will remain in place until more scientists can complete a more thorough analysis of the area. Indigenous populations will continue to be allowed to fish for subsistence.

(Souce: nytimes.com)




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