(BPT) - It’s everywhere — inside as well as outside your home. As digital device usage increases, you’re exposed to more and more of it without realizing how it may affect your vision in the future. We’re talking about blue light.
In its natural form, your body uses blue light from the sun to regulate your natural sleep and wake cycles. This natural light also helps boost alertness, heighten reaction times and elevate moods.
However, we use our eyes much differently than prior generations because we now use a number of artificial sources of blue light including digital screens, electronic devices and LED lighting. The evolution in digital screen technology has advanced dramatically over the years, and many of today's electronic devices use LED back-light technology to help enhance screen brightness and clarity.
These LEDs emit very strong blue light waves. Because of the widespread use and increasing popularity of these devices, we are now exposed to more sources of blue light for longer periods of time. Studies suggest 60 percent of people spend more than six hours a day in front of a digital device.
The flickering of this artificial blue light creates a glare that can reduce visual contrast, affecting sharpness and clarity. That in turn could contribute to eyestrain, headaches, physical and mental fatigue due to increasing amounts of time sitting in front of a computer screen or other electronic device.
Studies show this high-energy, blue-violet light has been found to cause significant damage to retinal cells, and is a risk factor for the onset of age-related macular degeneration, a deterioration of the part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision.
Our eyes' natural filters do not provide sufficient protection against blue light rays from the sun, let alone the blue light emanating from these devices, or from blue light emitted from fluorescent-light tubes.
Mother Nature arms us with “internal sunglasses” made up of macular pigment. This pigment, which is comprised of zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zan-thin) and lutein at a ratio of 2:1, is found in the center of the macula (fovea). This pigment absorbs harmful blue light that can affect eye health. These “sunglasses” protect the rods and cones needed for central as well as peripheral vision.
However, if this macular pigment isn’t at optimal density, it will allow more blue light to damage these rods and cones, negatively affecting not just what you see, but how you see.
Zeaxanthin and lutein aren’t produced by the body, they must be ingested in order to ensure optimal macular pigment density. Zeaxanthin can be found in foods like corn, wolf berries and peppers. Lutein is found in foods like spinach and kale.
Since the average American diet is scarce in zeaxanthin, supplementing this antioxidant is key. Vitamins for macular health, like those made by EyePromise, can be of big benefit.
Vision becomes even more precious as we age, since the loss of independence a very real threat to aging Americans. Reduce your risk of harmful effects of blue light to your vision by increasing the density of your “internal sunglasses.”
(BPT) - Are you longing for a new smartphone this holiday season? Tech gifts top everyone’s holiday wish lists. In fact, a whopping 65 percent of all Americans, roughly 160 million people, are planning to buy tech gifts this holiday season, according to the Consumer Technology Association's 22nd Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study.
Emerging technologies such as smartphones are holiday must-haves, but once your shiny new device is in hand, learning about all its features can be overwhelming. No need to worry -- these five tips will help guide you so you can get the most out of your new smartphone:
Tip #1: Set up security
Whether it’s your own phone, your partner’s or you kid’s, security settings should be top of mind. Take time to set up the home screen’s lock features. In addition to a number pad, some phones like the new LG V10 use a fingerprint sensor for added security. If desired, you’re able to set up parental controls on your children’s phones. These features are often found within “settings.” Finally, complete your connection to the cloud so all your contacts, photos, videos and texts are protected.
Tip #2: Go to camera settings
Explore your phone’s camera features and capture life’s in-between moments. Your phone may have editing tools built in, but if not it’s easy to download an app and you’ll be taking professional-level photos in no time. With the LG V10, you’re able to take videos and photos in Manual Mode making the experience more interactive than ever before. The LG V10 smartphone also features 5MP Dual Front Cameras with two separate lenses to capture standard 80-degree selfies or perfect wide-angle selfies of 120-degrees. Learn more at LG.com/V10.
Tip #3: Maximize battery life
Even with powerful lithium-ion batteries, you may use your new phone so much, that you’ll run out of juice faster than you think. Be proactive and take a few steps to maximize your battery life. Start by adjusting the brightness on your screen to the lowest level you’re comfortable viewing. When using your phone, close apps when you’re done utilizing rather than leaving them running in the background. Finally, if you need a quick charge, set your phone to airplane mode and plug in. You’ll be back to enjoying your smartphone with a full battery in no time. Not ready to give up brightness or change settings for extended battery life? Grab LG’s V10 with a removable battery to go from zero percent to 100 in 15 seconds, just by changing the battery.
Tip #4: Explore video capabilities
Think you can’t go on vacation without a separate camcorder? Modern smartphones are taking video to the next level so you may not need additional devices after all. Learn about your phone’s features, resolutions and aspect ratios so you can get the best video possible. The LG V10 is the first smartphone to offer Manual Mode for video, making it easy to create professional-quality videos by adjusting options such as shutter speed, frame rate, ISO, white balance and focus while recording. Videos can be recorded in three resolutions — HD, Full HD or Ultra HD — and two aspect ratios — 16:9 standard or 21:9 cinematic.
Tip #5: Synch calendars and set up email
Your new smart phone is a central hub for all aspects of your life. Make sure to synch your work and home calendars to stay on task. It’s also a smart idea to set up email access from your most-used domains. That way you can email Grandma that adorable picture and prep for that upcoming presentation without worry.
Five hacks to travel smart with your smartphone
(BPT) - Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple or with your entire extended family, there’s one thing you likely won’t forget to bring on your trip: your smartphone or tablet. Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, according to the Pew Research Center, and almost half own a tablet. Right next to socks and a toothbrush, your mobile device is one of the most important and useful items you’ll bring with you.
These devices are meant to be mobile and while on the road, our mobile devices help us navigate new places, entertain us during long flights and keep us connected to back home. However, what might throw your trip into a tailspin is the amount of data these devices can consume. Streaming video, photo sharing, travel apps and Internet browsing can eat up data fast and if you don’t have the right data plan you could end up having your trip cost a lot more in overage fees.
And trends show our need for data is growing exponentially. In fact, individual data usage will increase from almost 2 GB used per month in 2014 in North America to almost 11 GB in 2019, according to Cisco’s Mobile Visual Networking Index. The last thing you want to come home to is a huge bill of data overages because you or your child used too much data. To get the most out of your smartphone and tablet without the headaches of low batteries and data charges, consider these expert travel tech tips:
Connect to Wi-Fi whenever possible
One simple proactive step can dramatically decrease your data usage: connect to Wi-Fi. While not always possible, Wi-Fi is widely available at airports, train stations, restaurants and many other public places. If you’re dealing with a delay, connect to the local Wi-Fi network and you can check email, surf the web or shop online until your heart’s content.
Download playlists and movies
Taking a long plane trip or heading out on an epic road trip? Traveling to another country? Download playlists and movies before you leave so your content is ready to go when you’re not able to be connected to a network. You’ll enjoy immediate access to what you want even in airplane mode or without network coverage.
Streaming video and music can use a ton of data so be careful what you choose to watch. T-Mobile recently launched “Binge On” which lets customers enjoy video streaming from top select partners like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, ESPN and more without using their high-speed data bucket. That means watching the game, catching up on your favorite series or movies for the kids won’t cost you any data on T-Mobile. And the best part is, it’s automatically included in qualifying plans. T-Mobile also offers a similar program for music streaming as well. Learn more at www.T-Mobile.com.
Ready devices for travel abroad
It’s important to know your plan and ready your devices for traveling to other countries. Call your carrier to make sure you’re covered and avoid outrageous international roaming fees. If you are constant international traveler, check out T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan, you get LTE data and texting at no extra charge in more than 140 countries. And, as an added bonus, T-Mobile customers traveling to Canada or Mexico, can use their phone just like the US. The company’s Simple Choice plan is one of the best in wireless for people that travel a lot.
Nothing is worse than running out of battery while traveling. Your directions, your entertainment, and some argue, your sanity, are gone! If you’re road tripping, remember to pack a car charger. If you plan to be away from a charging port, an extra battery or portable charger can be a life saver. Only have a few minutes to charge before takeoff? Charge devices faster by switching to “airplane mode” before plugging in.
(BPT) - As with all technology, mobile phones have come a long way in a short amount of time. Gone are the days of big, bulky phones. Today, phones are sleek and slender and, in most cases, smart, allowing users to surf the Internet, watch movies and keep in touch with friends and family.
The potential downside of smartphones is the assumption that they are difficult to use. However, with a few simple tips, smartphones can be easier to operate than older cell phone models. Once the basics are mastered, users can easily take advantage of all the features, giving them a new way to communicate with friends and family - particularly younger family members.
With more than 2 million users and the highest overall customer satisfaction of any mobile carrier, according to Nielson Mobile Insights, Consumer Cellular caters exclusively to the boomer and senior demographic. If you’re uncomfortable with contracts, don’t worry. The company offers popular smartphones, like the Apple iPhone, without forcing you to sign a contract. This offers you the flexibility to pay month by month with the option to cancel at any time. It’s a perfect option for anyone who wants to try something new.
Consumer Cellular recently teamed up with AARP to offer smartphone classes for seniors. The classes don’t just cover the basics of how to operate a phone, but also delve into how smartphones can enhance your lifestyle. So if you’re ready to upgrade to a smartphone, or already have one but just want to better understand it, here are five tips that can help:
1. Communicate easier with family members – Text messaging has become one of the most widely used forms of communication. Many seniors report once they start texting, they are able to communicate with grandchildren more frequently. A unique “text” language has also developed, and many find it enjoyable to send emojis (small cartoonish pictures) or abbreviated phrases such as “idk” (I don’t know) or “omg” (oh my gosh!).
2. Learn to type faster – On first use, typing on the small touch screen can seem clumsy. The best way to become accustomed to typing on a smartphone is to hold the phone horizontally in landscape mode. Next, learn to love predictive text. While you’re typing out a word, the phone will offer several options, or predictions, of what word you want. If the word you’re typing appears, simply tap on it and move on. Once you get used to this you’ll be amazed how fast you can type.
3. Access the Internet on the go – Being able to access the Internet from almost anywhere is one of the most useful smartphone features. Access to the Internet allows you to check and send email, view local news, shop online or visit your favorite website. Connecting to Wi-Fi, which is available at many establishments, allows you to surf the Internet without using your cellular data plan.
4. Share your experience with pictures – Smartphones come with a powerful camera that takes high quality pictures that can rival most digital cameras. With the capabilities of sending photos as texts, you can instantly share your photos and experiences with loved ones.
5. Find your way and discover more with maps – Stopping to ask for directions is a thing of the past. You can easily find your way with the highly accurate maps smartphones can connect to, as well as discover new places to visit. For example, if you’re in an unfamiliar area and in need of a cup of coffee, all you need to do is type “coffee” in your map’s search bar, and you’ll see the locations to all the nearby coffee shops. You’ll even get directions on how to get there!
Smartphones are designed to be user friendly, and it’s easier to learn the basics than you might first think. It’s amazing from one handheld device, you can access the Internet, watch movies, store photos, listen to music and so much more. Visit www.consumercellular.com to find the phone that’s right for you.
(BPT) - The new Star Wars movie, Adele’s new album or the latest tech gadget — what headlines grabbed your interest in 2015? For many, the most riveting stories didn’t come out of pop culture, they came from the world of science.
The hottest science headlines of 2015 encompassed topics that were truly compelling (such as health and the environment), controversial (global warming and anti-vaccination), or offbeat and fun (like the dubious correlation between foot size and sexual endowment). Altmetric tracks coverage of academic research in scholarly forums and mainstream media, along with shares and comments on blogs, Wikipedia and social media platforms like Twitter, Reddit and Facebook.
Every year, the company publishes a list of the top 100 most-shared and talked about academic research of the preceding year.
Drum roll please … According to Altmetric’s data-crunching, the top 10 science stories of 2015 were:
1. Help is on the way … Just in time?! — An international team of researchers discovered a new antibiotic that inhibits the growth of a range of drug-resistant bacteria. This news offers hope for efforts aimed at combating antibiotic resistance since, over time, bacteria can become resistant to certain antibiotics currently in widespread use.
2. Once again, debunking the MMR Vaccine/ Autism myth — Researchers studied 95,000 children with older siblings, some of whom had Autism and some who didn’t. Weighing in on a polarizing topic, the researchers concluded that getting the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine didn’t increase Autism risks.
3. Mass extinctions, and we’re the asteroid — Extinction rates over the last century are 100 times higher than normal and humans are to blame. That was the conclusion of research by scientists at six different universities. The report was widely publicized, prompting The Daily Beast to headline the story “We’re not the dinos: We’re the asteroid.”
4. “Bad luck” the major cause of cancer — Scientists have long known certain body tissues are more prone to develop cancer than others, but have never been able to explain why. Research from scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Johns Hopkins indicates the majority of cancers occur because of “bad luck,” rather than environmental factors or genetics.
5. Oh, sure it worked once, but can you do it again? — Being able to reproduce test results in subsequent experiments is a basic principle of all science, but it’s not always easy to do. Researchers at dozens of universities examined how easy (or difficult) it is to reproduce the results of psychological studies. Their conclusion: it’s hard to reproduce results, even when you repeat the study using all the same factors the original researchers did.
6. An island of plastic in the oceans … and it’s growing — Researchers climbed in boats to assess with their own eyes just how much plastic and trash are floating around the world’s oceans, then used their observations and math to estimate the total pollution load. Their conclusion: more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing more than 250,000 tons, are floating around out there.
7. What we’ll have to leave in the ground to fight global warming — University College London researchers studied just how much of the world’s untapped fossil fuel reserves need to remain that way in order for the world to slow global warming to just two degrees Centigrade (the widely agreed-upon limit). They concluded that a third of the world’s oil reserves, half its gas reserves and 80 percent of coal reserves should remain unused between now and 2050.
8. That’s totally academic — Not all the year’s research focused on high-brow topics. Researchers at the University of Giessen in Germany evaluated the two software programs most commonly used in the preparation of scholarly documents. In the end, they concluded that which one to use really is a matter of preference for whoever is writing the document.
9. Art by … Vincent Van Computer?? — Researchers in Germany and the U.S. developed and reported on an artificially intelligent program that detects individual artistic styles, such as that of Vincent Van Gogh, and can adapt a photograph to mimic that style.
10. Does religion make you selfish? — A team of researchers in Canada, China, Jordan, Qatar, South Africa, Turkey and the U.S. evaluated the generosity of 1,170 children ages 5-12 in Christian, Muslim and non-religious households. The test assessed how willing kids were to share their favorite stickers, and the results were not what you might expect. Children in non-religious homes were more likely to share than kids from either Christian or Muslim households (and there was no difference in generosity between children of the two faiths). Researchers said the study results “call into question whether religion is vital for moral development, supporting the idea that the secularization of moral discourse will not reduce human kindness — in fact, it will do just the opposite.”
Beyond the top 10, other fascinating findings spread throughout the Altmetric 100 list include:
* E-readers are bad for your sleep/health (No. 15).
* Male sexual endowment and foot size are not connected, but we do have an answer to the eternal question of “what is normal?” (No. 46).
* Eating fat doesn’t give you heart disease, but drinking diet soda does make you fat (Nos. 56 and 64).
* If you want to be smarter as you get older, you should eat like a Greek (No. 82).
* Video games don’t make you sexist, but being a loser does (Nos.24 and 54).
To dig down into these and many others on the full top 100 list, visit www.altmetric.com/top100.
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