23-27 Dec Weekly News


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Dec 27, 2019


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Live concerts and museums help you live longer

Researchers have found that people who go to live concerts, shows and museums can live longer than those who do not. Experts from University College London looked at the lifestyles of over 6,700 British people for 15 years. They examined how often the people went out and what kinds of events they attended. They found that over-50s who regularly went to concerts and shows were around 30 per cent less likely to die over the next 14 years. The researchers said the over-50s could extend their life by engaging with the "receptive arts". These include art galleries, concerts, museums, musicals, the opera and the theatre. In addition to living longer, concertgoers could also have more fun.

Lead researcher Dr Daisy Fancourt said money played a big role in whether or not people went to concerts and engaged with the arts. She wrote: "Over 40 per cent of people in the least wealthy group reported that they never accessed cultural activities." The UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock believes there could be a lot of truth in the research. He said arts and culture could improve things like mental health, ageing and loneliness. He recently announced plans for the UK's National Health Service to use the arts to improve people's wellbeing and health. The researchers said: "Overall, our results highlight the importance of continuing to explore new social factors that affect our health."


Head transplants possible by 2030, say doctors

A doctor said head transplants could be possible by 2030. Organ, face and other transplant surgery is now like science fiction. The doctor explained why he believes head transplants could be possible. He was working with an author on a science fiction novel. He said: "Initially, our intention was just to brainstorm an idea and it seemed rather silly, but then I realised, it actually isn't. If you transplant the brain and spinal cord together, it's not impossible."

The doctor said head transplants would only be possible if the head was accompanied by its spinal cord. Advances in spinal cord technology mean this could be possible before 2030. The doctor said: "Keeping the spinal cord in one piece has always been totally daunting." He also believes consciousness could move with the head from one body to another. The technology could treat spinal cord injuries and diseases like muscular dystrophy.


Chimpanzees love dancing, say researchers

Who knew that chimpanzees love to dance? They also like to clap along to music, and nod their head, tap their feet and move in time with the rhythm. A new study shows that chimpanzees could appreciate music. The researchers are from Kyoto University in Japan. They say their study could help us understand how early humans developed an interest in music. Researchers Dr Yuko Hattori and professor Masaki Tomonaga conducted tests on seven chimps. They played the apes six two-minute songs on a piano for six days. The researchers said the chimps had a definite sense of rhythm and it changed their mood. The male chimpanzees seemed to respond to the melodies more than the females.

The researchers wrote that chimpanzees could have passed on a liking for music and dance to early humans millions of years ago. This could have happened via a common ancestor around six million years ago. The researchers said the study suggested that our love of dancing was deep inside the earliest humans. Dr Hattori said: "Chimpanzees dance to some extent in the same way as humans." She added: "In humans, listening to music causes rhythmic movement, suggesting a close connection between the auditory and motor areas in the brain." She believes the research could shed light on the evolution of dancing in humans and why we love melody and rhythm so much.


Violence across the US

At least 28 people were shot in three separate incidents across three states over the weekend. In Chicago, 13 people were shot early Sunday morning at a house party held in honor of a man who was killed earlier this year. The victims range in age from 16 to 48, and four of them were in critical condition yesterday. A few hours later, seven people were gunned down as they waited to get into a lounge in downtown Baltimore. Two shooters exited a car near the lounge just after 2 a.m. and began firing on those in line, a Baltimore police officer said. Within hours of the incidents in Chicago and Baltimore, a 19-year-old man was killed and seven others were injured in a shooting in a restaurant parking lot in Minnesota.


Oil spill

Scientists and environmentalists are not going to be happy about this. Emergency teams in the Galapagos Islands are working to contain a 600-gallon oil spill after a cargo vessel overturned early Sunday, officials said. The spill happened on San Cristobal Island after a crane appeared to lose control of a large container that was being loaded onto the ship's deck. Video shows the crane and container falling onto the ship, causing it to tip into the ocean and forcing the crew to jump off as it began capsizing. San Cristobal is just one of the islands that make up the volcanic archipelago located hundreds of miles off Ecuador's coast. Conservationists have gone to great lengths to protect the Galapagos, which is home to many species that can't be found anywhere else on Earth.


Chile fires

At least 200 homes in Chile have been destroyed after forest fires swept through a residential area in the port city of Valparaiso on Christmas Eve. Hundreds of firefighters struggled to control the fast-moving blaze, which continued into Christmas Day and was made worse by dry weather and strong winds. Images show dozens of houses destroyed by the flames as residents tried to salvage any belongings. Military units and helicopters were deployed to help battle the flames and residents were evacuated to shelters. The regional leader of Valparaiso said the fires were believed to have been started intentionally, while another official said that authorities were investigating.


Philippines typhoon

Another deadly typhoon has hit the Philippines, this time on Christmas Day. At least 16 people are dead after Typhoon Phanfone, known locally as Typhoon Ursula, barreled into the country's central islands, toppling transmission towers, tearing off roofs, damaging homes and disrupting flights during the busy Christmas period. Many people in the region, which is majority Catholic, were preparing for family celebrations as the typhoon hit. The typhoon has affected more than 2,300 people and more than 1,600 were taking refuge in evacuation centers, according to the country's national disaster management agency. About 58,000 people were evacuated before the typhoon hit. Power and communications in several areas is still cut off, so authorities aren't sure yet just how much damage has been done.


Kazakhstan plane crash

At least 12 people are dead after a plane with 98 people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff near the city of Almaty in Kazakhstan this morning. The plane was heading for the capital of Nur-Sultan when it lost altitude after takeoff, hitting a concrete fence and a two-story building, an airport official said. The Fokker 100 aircraft, a medium sized twin-turbofan jet often used for short haul flights, was operated by the Kazakhstan-based carrier Bek Air. Video and photos of the crash site show the damaged plane broke into several parts. But parts of the fuselage appeared to be relatively intact, raising hopes that many people on board survived the initial impact. Rescue operations began immediately, and all Fokker 100 flights are temporarily suspended as authorities investigate.


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