Discovered: Early BPA exposure has some nasty effects for adults, a new feathery dinosaur, preschoolers don't play outside enough and the longer the commercial the better.
- Early exposure to BPA has the same bad effects as early mercury exposure. When testing the chemical found in many common plastics, researcher Daniel Weber noticed it had the same effects as mercury. Specifically, early exposure to the stuff caused problems both right after birth and later in life. "What was amazing is that exposure only happened at the embryonic stage," says Weber, "but somehow the wiring in the brain had been permanently altered by it. Oh, by the way, BPA is found in a lot of common things like, baby formula and canned soup. Scary, eh? [University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee]
- A new feather-covered dinosaur. Actually, the largest, feathered animal to ever exist, thinks science. Discovered in China, the 125-million-year-old dinos measured at least 30 feet long and weighed a ton and a half -- 40 times the size of Beipiaosaurus, the previous holder of the largest feathered dino title. We're thinking this guy looked a lot like Bird Bird? Feathery dinosaurs are a new theory for science, explains researcher Dr. Mark Norell. "The feathered dinosaurs show how the whole conception of dinosaurs has really changed in the last 15 years." [The New York Times]
- Preschoolers don't play outside enough. Nearly half of all tots don't get taken out to play by their parents on a daily basis. So many caged up kids! "Preschool age children should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day," explains researcher Dr. Pooja Tandon. "But many preschoolers are not meeting that recommendation. Young children need more opportunities to play outdoors and to help them be more active," she continues. Kids should take advantage of outdoor time while they can. (Adult life doesn't lend itself to much sun exposure.) Plus, parents, there are all those studies finding the benefits of vitamin D -- the sun vitamin -- including one today on how it adds days to lives of the critically ill. [Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine]
- Longer commercials are better? With YouTube and the Internet and evil-technology shrinking our attention spans, yadda yadda, it's hard to believe that longer commercials would have a bigger impact. But, even with everything working against us, longer ads had a stronger emotional impact on viewers than the shorter versions of those same commercials. The study tested "emotional response" with a heart-rate monitor and a BlueTooth connection that transmits those signals to a wireless device. Assuming that all really measures one's real response to something, we, as children of YouTube, feel pretty okay about our attention spans. [Tecnalia Centre for Applied Research]