Science Says You Should Watch More Cat Videos

Lil Bub (whose owner Mike Bridavsky helped distribute the survey via social media). Image courtesy of Mike Bridavsky/www.lilbub.com

Lil BUB (whose owner Mike Bridavsky helped distribute the survey via social media). Image courtesy of Mike Bridavsky/www.lilbub.com

Cat videos were viewed almost 26 billion times on YouTube last year alone, so it is no surprise that almost everyone loves to watch furry felines, like Grumpy Cat or Lil BUB. However, science is giving us another reason to tune in – watching cat videos online actually boosts your energy and decreases your negative feelings, according to a new study.

Jessica Gall Myrick, an assistant professor at the Indiana University Media School, surveyed almost 7,000 people about how viewing cat videos affected their mood. After watching cat-related online media, participants said they felt more energetic and positive, and had fewer negative emotions, including anxiety, annoyance, and sadness.

Jessica Gall Myrick. Image courtesy of Indiana University.

Jessica Gall Myrick. Image courtesy of Indiana University.

Overall, the participants agreed that the pleasure they got from watching cat videos outweighed any guilt they felt about procrastinating (many watched videos at work or while studying). Myrick says the results suggest that future research could explore how online cat videos might be used as a form of low-cost pet therapy.

“If we want to better understand the effects the Internet may have on us as individuals and on society, then researchers can’t ignore Internet cats anymore,”stated Myrick in a press release.  “Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional pay-off may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward.”

To learn more about the study, it was published in the latest issue of Computers in Human Behavior.

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ETE is the plate for better portion control

There are so many expensive calorie-counting, eating pace-controlling devices and apps out there now, but a new plate sticks to simple lines to help you eat healthier. ETE is a well-designed plate that keeps things old-school by using visual markers to make sure you’re eating well-balanced portions.

The plate, which was created by a Singapore-based team, has colorful lines that outline the ideal portion of food items per meal based on U.S. and European Union recommendations. The lines help people to visualize how much of certain things they should be eating. This is especially noticeable for vegetables, which are often absent from many meals.

ETE is designed to serve as a guide though rather than an ultimatum for every meal; as such, certain things, like dairy, are noticeably absent.

ETE plate is currently in the middle of its Indiegogo campaign, with over one-fifth of its funds raised in the first few days. One plate currently starts at $15 for the early bird price.

Disney’s Playmation Makes Combines Physical Play With High-Tech Adventures

A child plays with the Repulsor, part of the Playmation Marvel's Avengers starter pack.  GearFriday, May 15, 2015 in Encino, Calif. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision for Disney/AP Images)

A child plays with the Repulsor Gear, part of the Playmation Marvel’s Avengers starter pack. GearFriday, May 15, 2015 in Encino, Calif. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision for Disney/AP Images)

The Walt Disney Company has always sought to innovate the way stories are told and experienced, and the twenty-first century is no exception. In its quest to continue pushing the boundaries of storytelling, the company is introducing Playmation, a new technology that reinvents classic, make believe play.

Disney Consumer Products describes Playmation as “the next step in the evolution of play, where digital gets physical and imagination becomes real.” The system combines wearables for kids that interact with smart toys.

According to Disney, parents wanted kids to move around more, and Playmation is an answer to their plea. Like a real life video game, kids need to get moving as Jedi, Avengers, and Princesses if they want to defeat the bad guys and unlock new content.

Image created with Imgur meme generator. imgur.com/memegen

Image created with Imgur meme generator. imgur.com/memegen

“Innovation and creativity are the driving forces behind Disney, and our goal is to inspire children to unleash the power of their imaginations through the stories we tell and the experiences we create,” stated Leslie Ferraro, president of Disney Consumer Products, in a press release. “With Playmation, we’re taking the next step in that tradition – bringing the worlds of play, storytelling, and technology together – in a new and very exciting way.”

The Playmation line is a collaboration with Hasbro. The first line to be released is Marvel’s Avengers, with gear hitting stores this October (in time for the Christmas season of course with a price tag of $119.99)

Children (and adults) will first be able to get their hands in an Iron Man repulsor glove and follow Jarvis’ cue to defeat a classic villain. Star Wars and Frozen Playmation lines are also in the works for 2016 and 2017.

Continuing the high-tech tradition

Playmation doesn’t come too much as surprise because it draws upon the merging of art and science that Disney has always strived for. Recently, the company added the Magic Band to their Walt Disney World experience, which was also dreamed up by a team of technologists, Imagineers and storytellers from across Disney. Tomorrowland, which is in theaters, is also the first Dolby Vision theatrical release.

How To Pick The Right Brand Of Sunscreen

Image courtesy of Jeff Wilcox.

Image courtesy of Jeff Wilcox.

June means the official start of summer, whether you’re counting by the end of the school year or the official calendar date. Americans will trade in jackets for towels, and days cooped up for those spent lounging by the pool. But regardless of whether you’re wearing short shorts, a wide-brimmed sunhat, or stylish maxi dress, there’s one thing you should not leave the house without – sunscreen.

Chances are, if you’re like most Americans, you do just that. A recent study found that only 14% of men and 30% of women regularly wear sunscreen, putting themselves at risk for skin cancer.

The rate of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, has risen 250%  for children, adolescents, and young adults since 1973, according to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. And it doesn’t matter if you burn or not,  by not using sunscreen, you’re putting yourself at risk for cancer.

“Anyone can get skin cancer, so everyone should take steps to protect themselves from the sun,” stated Dr. Mark Lebwohl, president of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

So what is the ideal brand of sunscreen?

According to the AAD, it’s one that is broad-spectrum, water-resistant, and has an SPF of 30 or higher. Be sure the sunscreen says those words on the label, or else you may just be getting protection against sunburns and not against skin cancer and early aging.

Although the AAD’s website doesn’t list specific sunscreens, here are a few that meet that criteria: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer, Banana Boat Ultramist, Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Ultra Guard, Sun Bum Lip Balm.

You can learn more about picking the right sunscreen, preventing skin cancer, and sunscreen application tips on the AAD’s website.

Infographic courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Infographic courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology.