A report published in Medical Xpress suggested that people suffering from the mental health fallouts associated with the pandemic saw better outcomes if they practised mindfulness techniques. A group of volunteers was asked to take part in a daily ritual of mindfulness through an app that lasted as little as ten minutes. Those people who did the sessions every day reported a happier mood than those who did not in the control group. Crucially, those who were happier reported being less affected by COVID-related news.
Staying mindful is proven to reduce COVID stress shutterstock/maxpetrov
One of the drawbacks associated with electric cars is that they need longer to charge than refuelling at a pump. However, if they could be charged while driving, that could be a game changer. According to the automotive press, a German firm has developed a type of concrete that can be used for road surfaces which will charge electric vehicles as they pass over it. There's already a test bed in operation over a stretch of road which charges cars wirelessly via coils embedded in the road. It functions well over a distance of a quarter of a mile and could soon be upgraded.
Making steel comes with an associated high energy cost. It's a material that's incredibly useful but steel makers have long sought more environmentally sound ways of producing it. In August the Swedish carmaker Volvo accepted its first batch of so-called green steel from a producer in the country. As reported in the Guardian, a company called Hybrit has managed to make steel of a commercial grade without burning any coal and it's hoped this will become the new way many steel makers produce it in the future.
The Kingdom of Thailand has placed an outright ban on the use of certain sunscreens in the entire country. This is because certain chemical agents in some of these products are known to damage corals. Given that corals are largely endangered globally, the move could set a precedent in that other countries will now follow. According to a report in Oceanographic, oxybenzone, butylparaben octinoxate and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor are the banned substances. People who are found to be applying a sunscreen with the forbidden chemical ingredients could now face a fine of over £2,000. The move follows a similar one in force in Hawaii.
Protection of Thailand's coral reefs is being stepped up shutterstock/solarisys
A new robot has been developed that's said to be able to pick up tiny fragments of plastic from sandy beaches at a rate that's around 30 times more efficient than collection by hand. The so-called BeBot works down into the sand to collect plastic and other rubbish that's on the surface and beneath. Making use of on-board solar panels to power it, the robot is semi-autonomous and controlled by an operator who can be up to 300 metres way. According to Design Boom, plastic parts as small as 1cm wide can be sifted from beaches using the bot.
A report in Science Daily highlighted a scientific study into physical activity and depression in August. According to the findings of the research, exercising does more to the brain than merely releasing endorphins that give the brain a sense of neural reward. The German researchers have found that physical activity increases the brain's ability to change itself. Although it's long been known that exercise reduces the severity of symptoms of chronic depression, it now seems that it can have a more deep-rooted and long-term effect, as well.
Exercise is a great anti-depression tool Syda Productions
Ed Gould is a UK-based journalist and practitioner of Reiki.
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