28 Feb 2013

February 28th

After enduring a quarter of a century together, a wedded couple could achieve stardom and be read about in history books for generations to come.

The Inspiration Mars Foundation plans to send a middle-aged married couple into space—this one a round trip to Mars and back. Fifty years ago on Christmas Eve 1968, during the Opollo 8's first circumnavigation of the moon, the whole world listened to astronauts' reflections while looking down at the Earth from space. The foundation intends to start its one-and-a-half-year mission in January 2018 if it can raise enough funds. Read the article here.

They plan to choose an older couple whose relationship would be able to withstand the stress of living in a confined environment for two years. During the selection process, they will look for a resilient couple that would be able to maintain a happy upbeat attitude in the face of adversity. Even carefully screened individuals are likely to suffer from psychological problems from a prolonged space mission. People find long periods of isolation very challenging. In theory, living close to someone you truly cared for would help. 

Even though the couple would receive extensive training and would be able to draw on psychological support from mission control throughout the mission, there would be no getting off the spacecraft—they must stay for the duration of the trip.

I don't know about you, but wouldn't look forward to being cramped up with my loved-one for two years without enough room to even wear a space-suit, recycling pee and eating dried food. No matter how close, any married couple has their disagreements. My husband and I are generally harmonious, but a small thing can set off a bomb which will drive us apart until we work through the problem. All pleasure would be gone from life—eating, entertainment and a stroll in the park to contact nature. 

Anyone for a cramped trip into space for two years?

27 Feb 2013

February 27th

In Europe, the plunder of the ocean for wild fish continues. See the whole sad story here.  The sea exemplifies the world's on-going failure to manage shared natural resources.

Despite mass public pressure by campaigners, some countries are acting like selfish, bullying children, wanting to take everything in reach.

There's widespread agreement among nations on the need to conserve fish stocks but often disagreement on the details of how to do it. And the need for harmony in the European Union process allows a handful of Mediterranean countries to put the immediate interests of fishing crews before the fish stocks themselves. It all means that globally about 85% of stocks are said to be fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted or slowly recovering. The US, Australia and the UK have created marine reserves to protect their shores.

I'm stunned that the EU ministers continue to argue over this issue. Almost a quarter of all catches go back overboard dead because they are not the fish the crews intended to catch. They've agreed to phase out the controversial practice of dumping unwanted fish, which is a step in the right direction, yet w a UK trial uses CCTV on fishing boats to crack down on discards, yet Spain, France and Portugal will be allowed to discard 9%, shrinking to 7%. The British government, one of the campaigners for change, said it was disappointed that the ban was not absolute, but that last night’s result was an historic victory to end a scandalous policy.

And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
With the world's resources depleting, we can't afford to squander her riches.

26 Feb 2013

February 26th

Longing for a good nights sleep? It's more than just rest you need.

U.K. researchers have found that sleep deprivation dramatically alters the body. So, not only do those people who don't get a good night's sleep walk around like zombies half the time, but their body is changing too.

Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and poor brain function have all been linked to substandard sleep. Tests compared the blood of 26 people after they had had plenty of sleep, up to 10 hours each night for a week, with the results with samples after a week of fewer than six hours a night. More than 700 protein-building genes were altered by the shift—they produced less.
A run of poor sleep can affect the internal workings of the immune system and how the body responds to damage and stress.

Tests are good—no doubt about that. However, at the moment there is no cure. Scientists are working towards finding a drug that could eliminate the effects of sleep deprivation. Sleep accentuates regeneration of the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems in the body.

I have always been a good sleeper, as were my children. Maybe they inherit sleep patterns from their mothers. Scientists say that babies can decipher speech as early as three months before birth. I'm sure they pick up stress or calm from their mother too. 

On the other hand, my husband doesn't sleep well. He tosses and turns to get comfortable, has violent dreams where he kicks and shouts and invariably catches up on missed zzzzs in the morning.

This works well for me, allowing me free time to write my blog and carry on writing my books. I wake bright and fresh with a positive outlook and cheerful disposition. I follow a routine to carry me through a productive morning. When I greet Mr. Grumpy-head with a kiss and a reassuring rub on the shoulder, he begins to brighten. I learned this one morning last week when he asked me what was the matter. That took me aback. When asked what he meant, he said, "You're always so cheerful in the morning."

So, unable to help my own husband, I have no advice to offer all the bad sleepers. I can only add that my conscience is clear, my outlook positive and my trust in goodness, God, and a higher power, intact.