I wrote a long time ago that cannabis sativa may not be good for your health, and today I see that the University of South Wales, Sydney has published a research paper titled Heavy teenage cannabis use linked with anxiety disorders in late 20s. The article cites a noted relationship between teenage weed use and late-20s anxiety mental disorders:
Teenagers who smoke cannabis weekly or more are twice as likely as non-users to have an anxiety disorder in their late 20s, even if they stop using, a study of 2000 Victorian teenagers has found. [...] [T]he really striking finding say the authors is the persistent association between frequent teenage cannabis use and adult anxiety disorders up to a decade after cannabis use has ceased. The relationship between cannabis use and anxiety disorders was present even after the researchers took into account other possible explanations such as mental health problems in their teens or other drug use in their twenties.
The researchers note that causation has not yet been explained:
Professor Patton, lead investigator of the 2000 stories cohort, said that the findings could be explained by lasting changes to brain function caused by introducing cannabis at a time when the brain is developing rapidly. Equally it could be that the very factors which predispose people to use cannabis early also predispose them to common mental health problems.
The study itself notes a possible positive note:
There were no consistent associations between adolescent cannabis use and depression at age 29 years.
You can read the research paper (PDF) for yourself to get the dirty details.
Are there real-life versions of the Angry Birds? What inspired Rovio to make their angry birds the way they are? Did they model the birds after nature in either look or function? These are questions worth answering; if you’ve played the game, you might wonder where all the angry birds came from. The real angry birds!
Red Angry Bird
Our first contestant, the bird you get first in Angry Birds, is Mr. Red. We speculate that he might actually be a Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, or perhaps Gould’s Sunbird. From the round, rotund shape of his body, we definitely know it’s from Aethopyga:
Is the red angry bird actually a sunbird?
The Angry Blue Splitters
The blue flycatcher known as Plumbeous Water-redstart, or red-tailed robin, is a kind of water bird which loves to feed on insects. They are territorial and have a red tail, a flash of contrasting colours:
What a beautiful bluebird!
The Yellow Bird
I think this is most like a baby Martin Branch Swallow, with its yellow coloration, angry face, and wide beak. In fact, the swallows and the triangle of the “little yellow bird” have something in common, a certain “hard acceleration” property. Swallows have one of the best flying air technique of all the birds, by far the fastest.
Fly fast, yellow Swallows!
Fat Black Bird
Perfectly coal black, the Common Blackbird is definitely the model for Angry Birds. The real life bird is notable for mimicry of other sounds, and is a sly trixster.
Serious business, the Blackbird
The white angry bird which drops explosive eggs is probably a Snow Bunting, a sort of mottled white and brown bird which lives in naturally cold climes. Sometimes they’re called “snowflake.”
Or maybe it’s a Chicken, IDK
Pictures and the idea from 如果愤怒的小鸟要拍电影; we thought it worth bringing some of the concept to English too.
The New York Times had a fantastic article today Drivers and Legislators Dismiss Cellphone Risks about the risks of driving while using a cellphone to make calls or send txt messages. Not to be under-emphasized is the incremental distraction risk other gadgets, such as GPS navigation, mp3 players, XM radio, and iPod docks, offer. Let’s take a brief look at some of the scientific research going into the problem:
The U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a series of papers, one of which, Association Between Cellular-Telephone Calls and Motor Vehicle Collisions notes:
The risk of a collision when using a cellular telephone was four times higher than the risk when a cellular telephone was not being used. The relative risk was similar for drivers who differed in personal characteristics such as age and driving experience; calls close to the time of the collision were particularly hazardous; and units that allowed the hands to be free offered no safety advantage over hand-held units.
Another paper from the DoT, The Impact of Internal Distraction on Driver Visual Behavior highlights the hypothesis (yet to be tested in that forum) that increased complexity in processing non-visual stimuli leads to a direct reduction of visual processing ability:
It is known from past research (e.g., Miura, 1990) that patterns of visual search may be influenced by environmental complexity, such as that available in the road scene. There is also evidence that visual search behavior may be influenced, not only by the external environment, but also by factors internal to the person, such as the cognitive complexity of an ongoing task. Recently, Recarte & Nunes (2000) measured eye fixations while driving. They reported that drivers’ visual functional-field size was reduced (vertically and horizontally) when drivers performed a demanding cognitive task while driving.
According to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, “the use of cell phones by drivers may result in approximately 2,600 deaths, 330,000 moderate to critical injuries, 240,000 minor injuries, and 1.5 million instances of property damage in America per year.” A particularly telling quote comes from University of Utah psychology professor David Strayer: “If you put a 20-year-old driver behind the wheel with a cell phone, their reaction times are the same as a 70-year-old driver who is not using a cell phone. It’s like instantly aging a large number of drivers.”
The problem seems to be quite simple: competing stimuluses rob our brains of the processing power to focus attention on driving, primarily a visual-motor task. The solution, I believe, comes from video games and the air force: HUD displays. If we can collapse all of the tasks we want to perform into a single visual field, motorists will be able to keep their focus on driving. There are lots of ways for technology to assist driving, if voice recognition can be used to direct navigation, with a display directly on the dash, if communications were built into the vehicle, and with additional range-sensing equipment to recognize and highlight obstacles and dangers.
BMW has already begun building heads-up-displays (HUD) into their cars:
Next-generation HUDs will wraparound the entire windshield and contain more, higher-density information. Cars should have the ability to highlight aspects of their surroundings and obstacles to the driver, or take corrective action in their own right. With a HUD to handle coherent output, and good voice-recognition to handle input, drivers will no longer be distracted by outside stimuluses when driving.