Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Norwegian town installs series of Massive Mirrors to bring in light during winter months of darkeness... -

Norwegian town installs series of Massive Mirrors to bring in light during winter months of darkeness... - 

The Norwegian town of Rjukan is shrouded in darkness for five months every year, but a project completed this month promises to bring a bright spot to the town's central square via the recently completed installation of a series of massive mirrors that will reflect sunlight onto the meeting spot.

Rjukan, which is located about halfway between Bergen and Oslo and is encircled by sun-obstructing mountains, is a dreary place to be between September and March, when the sun's rays cannot reach its quaint streets.

But the effort, dubbed the "Mirror Project," will ensure that Rjukan residents have a place to bask even in the darkest days of frigid Scandinavian winters.

"The aim of this project is to illuminate the town square of Rjukan with reflected sunlight. Rjukan is a town surrounded by mountains which prevent the sun from reaching the floor of the valley for five months of the year," an online description of the plan states. "The project will result in a permanent installation which, with the help of 100 [square-meter] mirror[s], will redirect the sun down into the valley. The square will become a sunny meetingplace in a town otherwise in shadow."

The 538-foot mirrors, which were installed in July with the help of helicopters, have yet to be tested, but as the sun recedes behind the mountains for the last time this year in September, the town's residents and science-lovers around the world will be watching to see if they can really keep the town from its typical winter gloom.

The mirror plan was originally conceived by a Norwegian industrialist almost 100 years ago, but the lengthy wait has not dampened enthusiasm about the project's completion.

Read more -

Antioxidant found in red wine may actually undo the effects of exercise -

Antioxidant found in red wine may actually undo the effects of exercise - 

Talk about the ultimate buzzkill.  
A new study has found that resveratrol, a natural antioxidant found in red grapes, may actually undo the benefits of cardiovascular exercise in older men, Medical News Today reported.
Red wine is often considered to be beneficial for the heart due to the presence of resveratrol, and many drug companies have manufactured the antioxidant into supplements, touting its cardiovascular benefits.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen followed 27 men with an average age of 65 who were in good health.  Over an eight-week period, all of the study’s participants performed high-intensity exercises, but half received 250 milligrams of resveratrol each day, while the other half received a placebo.
For the men taking resveratrol supplements, it seemed as though the benefits they received from exercising had been reduced.
"We found that exercise training was highly effective in improving cardiovascular health parameters, but resveratrol supplementation attenuated the positive effects of training on several parameters, including blood pressure, plasma lipid concentrations and maximal oxygen uptake," said Lasse Gliemann, a researcher who worked on the study.
According to Medical News Today, previous animal studies have shown that resveratrol helps to decrease vascular disease and improve cardiovascular health, so the researchers had initially expected the supplement to improve cardiovascular functions in older men.  However, the study revealed that the antioxidant may perform differently in humans than in their animal counterparts.
The University of Copenhagen research suggests that too many antioxidants may actually be harmful to health and that "reactive oxygen species, generally thought of as causing aging and disease, may be a necessary signal that causes healthy adaptions in response to stresses like exercise."