Mites in Eco-roof forces a School to close

However good a product or invention maybe, there are some disadvantages associated with it. The Eco-roofs installed across various schools and other buildings in the United Kingdom, have an untold problem, the mites. For the harvest mites, these Eco-roofs are a safe haven. A haven that they like very much. Such an instance happened at a School in Cumbria, where the pupils were sent home early, as the mites began to bite them.
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Fumigation teams were called to deal with the pests, which the secondary school described as “still an ongoing problem“.

Dennis Laird, chair of governors at Walney School, told the North West Evening Mail: “As a result of an insect infestation, the school’s management team took the decision to close the school today at lunchtime.

“We are now working closely with the county council to resolve this issue and it is anticipated that the school will re-open on Monday as normal.

“Clearly it is not acceptable and pupils and parents will rightly expect the problem to be solved quickly.”

Walney School said the pest control company fumigated the venting systems throughout the weekend and used smoke bombs to keep the mites at bay. Acting headteacher Helen Collis admitted the problem lies “with the type of roof that has been installed”, and said a council representative would be meeting with the Department for Environment to resolve the issue.

The grass eco-roof has been in place for around 12 months.

A Cumbria County Council public health spokesperson said: “Although a bite can be itchy and uncomfortable, harvest mites in the UK do not carry any diseases that present a risk to humans.

“The best way to get rid of mites on the body is a hot bath or shower, and to make sure clothes are washed at a normal temperature.”

A Pill to erase painful Memories

There is no backspace or CTRL+Z in life. Whatever once happened, could never be changed forever. If it is a painful thing, then the memory will haunt us for our entire life. Not anymore, says Scientists of MIT. They have discovered a pill that will erase  painful memories from our brain and let us lead a peaceful and happy life.

It sounds like a plot from a Hollywood sci-fi movie, but neurologists believe they have come a step closer to being able to erase those haunting memories you’ve never been able to shake.

Echoing the 2004 Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a group of researchers think they have identified the gene, called Tet1, which performs the fascinating role of ‘memory extinction’.

The process, which occurs when old memories are replaced by new ones, is being treated as the key to arriving at a stage where memories can be managed and even deleted completely.

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Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who have conducted the research, say that if a way can be found to amplify the activity the Tet1, it could lead to medical advances such as treating the memories of those who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

As part of their study, the researchers compared learning behaviour of mice with the Tet1 to mice who had their version of the gene inhibited, or as the scientists put it, ‘knocked out’.

Both sets were trained to fear a certain cage by giving them a mild electric shock each time they were placed inside.

The mice whose tet1 has been ‘knocked out’ learned to associate the cage with the shock, just like the normal mice.

But when the researchers put the mice back in the same cage without delivering the shock, the two groups behaved differently.

To the astonishment of scientists, mice with the Tet1 gene did not fear of the cage, because their memory of being hurt had already been replaced by new information.

The ‘knockout’ mice, whose memories had not been replaced, were still traumatised by the experience.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, study co-author Andrii Rudenko, said in a written statement: ‘They don’t relearn properly.

‘They’re kind of getting stuck, and cannot extinguish the old memory.’

After the animal test, the researchers now say that if they can find a way to boost the activity of the Tet1 gene, it might be possible to help people suffering from addiction as well as PTSD.

Rudenko said: ‘We think the most likely way to boost Tet1’s activity would be to use some drug: a type of pharmacological activator – such an activator still needs to be identified.’

Read while you Run, with Run-n-Read!!

Every morning we spend some time for our treadmill, and some more to grasp a bit of daily newspaper. What if, if we could combine them together? Reading while jogging is considered impossible until Weartrons came up with this innovative idea. Their idea is very simple, the text on your mobile’s screen will jog along with your head. All with a help of a little wearable device called Run-n-Read.

 

Run N Read device
This smart device can be clipped either to your headband or you tshirt

 Weartrons, a group of New York-based developers, has created a fitness tracker called Run-n-Read that lets you read as you jog- it clips onto a headband or shirt collar and tracks the runner’s head and shoulders.

Run-n-Read then syncs with an dedicated e-reader app on a tablet or phone and will bounce the text on the screen in time with a runner’s eye movements, making it appear as if the words aren’t moving at all, published in an article.

The Run-n-Read clip from New York-based Weartrons can be attached to a headband or shirt collar and tracks head and shoulder movements. The system works with a dedicated e-reader app installed on a tablet or phone and will bounce the text on the screen in sync with the runner’s eyes

The clip has a built-in accelerometer to measure speed and movement and connects to an Android or iOS tablet wirelessly via Bluetooth.

The company claims: ‘The system essentially makes reading while running in a stationary position as easy as reading while standing motionless. Weartrons is currently asking for funding using the Dragon Innovation website in order to mass produce the product.

The company has raised around $8,000 (around £5,000) of its $30,000 (£19,000) goal and, if successful, plans to ship the device by January 2014 for around $40 (£25). Run-n-Read can be used with ‘treadmills, elliptical trainers, stepmills, stairmasters, and exercise bikes.

Its makers add that it can also help reduce eye strain when travelling on a train, bus, or car. To flip between pages on a book, the runner can either swipe the screen of the tablet or tap the Run-n-Read clip once to move forward a page, or twice to move back.

The clip can work out the position of a runner’s eyes by monitoring the movement of their head, when attached to a headband or by tracking shoulder movements when attached to a shirt collar. The device is also a fitness tracker and can additionally be fitted to a belt when not being used for reading.

There is also a rechargeable battery with a micro-USB port and Weartrons claims the clip will last for 20 hours when used regularly, or one month on standby. It weighs 10g and is approximately one inch wide by 1.25 inches tall.

The device only works with the dedicated iOS or Android app, that also displays the workout history and physical activity levels. When being used to track fitness, and not for reading, the clip can be worn on a belt. Weartrons are in discussion with airlines and gyms to add the technology to various equipment.

The company is also looking at ways to make it work with a television screen, for example.