Fascinating Facts About Cats

CatCats have internal GPS systems.

Lost cats really can find their way home. Various experts point to sunlight angles, the earth's magnetic fields and another capability referred to as PSI Traveling. Whatever the case, recorded facts about cats confirm their often long and arduous journeys to reach home and a favored human companion.

Cats can use pet doors.

For families that maintain indoor-outdoor cats, nothing's more convenient than a pet door. Know who came up with the idea? Gravity King Sir Isaac Newton! According to various tales passed down over the years, Newton was experimenting with light in a darkened room and one of his most prized cats kept opening the door and disrupting the experiment. To keep his work intact and allow the cat free roam, he cut a small hole in the door and covered it with cloth. That evolved into what is today known as a pet door, suitable for both cats and dogs.

Cats can use the toilet, and they can flush.

Cat-training experts say and they claim that there's no need for kitty litter. You can definitely train your cat to use the toilet.


Facebook: Surprising Cause of Stress

Surprising Cause of StressYou love taking a midday break from work and finding out what your pals are up to, but could everyone else's status updates be stressing you out? Maybe, says expert. Social networking, like any relationship, can have an impact on your emotions, adding that online news bites can sometimes, inadvertently, make others feel inadequate.

For instance: the status update from your old friend from high school who announced that she/he's just met her/his soul mate, who's spending time on a two-week Mediterranean cruise, just as you've signed your divorce papers.

Notice how you're feeling when you spend time on Facebook and pay attention to why. If it makes you feel bad, trust your instincts and log off. Call a friend, curl up with a good book, go for a walk-do something that genuinely brings you pleasure."


Happy Couples do stuff together

happy couplesWhen that pheromone-crazy feeling of falling in love passes and happy couples no longer spend all day in bed, they look outward. They start businesses, refinish the attic or take up cooking together.

Of all the variables in a relationship -from commitment to communication- the amount of fun couples have together is the strongest factor in determining their overall marital happiness, according to a landmark study by Howard Markman, Ph.D., codirector of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver. Time spent playing together, says Dr. Markman, is an "investment in the relationship"; it provides a relaxed intimacy that strengthens the bond between two people.

So even if your life is impossibly frantic, make the time for play. And do all you can to eliminate distractions. Leave the kids with a sitter, ditch the beeper and cell phone. The activity doesn't have to be anything elaborate or costly. Exercising together, browsing in antiques stores, or renting a classic movie can help bring the two of you closer.


Why a cup of coffee (or two) isn't so bad?

cup of coffeeA couple of cups of joe may perk you up in more ways than you think. Coffee gets a bad rap because of the caffeine, but it may actually help regulate your mood. A recent study published in Archives of Internal Medicine showed that women who drank two to three cups of coffee daily had a 15% lower risk of depression. Photo by iStock

"Caffeine helps activate the brain chemicals involved in mood, like dopamine and serotonin," says study author Alberto Ascherio, MD, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. Coffee is also a rich source of antioxidants and other healthy compounds that may help protect against cancer, according to new research.

One caveat: If you don't drink coffee, don't start (caffeine is a stimulant and can cause jitters or an upset stomach in some people). But if you're a java lover, consider this permission to pour yourself an extra cup.


Expert tips for calming pre-date jitters

pre-date jittersHelp is here. Here're some tips on how to overcome this common problem. We’ve rounded up advice from experts who teach people how to stay calm in nerve-wracking situations. Try their tips below for putting your best dating foot forward.

Tip #1: Keep a healthy perspective about what first dates are really for “The first and most important step in overcoming the fear is to put your first date in perspective: this is not an appointment with the dentist or brain surgeon who may inflict pain on you; rather, it is a conversation with another person. The worst thing that can happen is that you won’t connect with the person sitting across from you — it’s hardly the end of the world! Second, think of this date as a two-way process. You are interviewing a potential partner as much as your date is interviewing you. Is there a good fit here? What looks good on the surface or on paper may not be what it appears to be for either party. Investigate whether this person is a good match for you and whether you want to invest a significant part of your life and energy in future dates.”

Tip #2: Breathe deeply while counting silently to calm yourself down “Here is a simple (but amazingly powerful) breathing technique you can easily do to manage stress while sitting in the car or on the train before a date. While breathing through the nose only, inhale to the count of three and exhale to the count of six. It only takes about two or three minutes to experience a noticeable, full-body calming effect. The reason? Deep breathing triggers your parasympathetic nervous system to counteract the ‘fight-or-flight’ response that underlies your jitters and results in shallower breathing. And if, during the date, you feel yourself getting nervous again, ask an open-ended question, like: ‘So, what’s working at a college really like?’ and then put a soft smile on your face while you breathe the shakes away!”

Concentrate on the present moment instead of worrying about the future “Dating is like auditioning — the stakes are high, so nerves will undoubtedly come into play. I would tell daters the same thing I tell my actors: When you get nervous, put your concentration into the present moment instead of the outcome. Every time you start to think about the future — “Will this person ask me out on a second date?” — force yourself to focus on the conversation at hand. You stand a better chance of booking another date if you can let someone see the type of person you really are, and that you’d be easy to get along with. You can’t do that if you’re draining your own energy trying to figure out what your date wants and what the result might be.”

Release pre-date tension by working up a sweat in the gym
“Work out first! You’ll have a positive feeling from all the endorphins, you’ll feel more confident about your appearance, and you’ll have released the tension from your muscles. Or, instead of going right to the date from your office or home, socialize a bit first — either by meeting a friend somewhere or otherwise putting yourself in a situation where you’re turning on your most positive personality for others. Doing this will make you walk into the date already feeling engaged and ‘up.’ Just do not talk about the upcoming date while you’re socializing, because that will put your mind back on the subject... and could make you nervous all over again.”

Put any negative thoughts in writing, then put a positive spin on them before leaving for your date “Divide a sheet of paper in half. On the left side of the page, write down how your critical inner voices or negative thoughts are undermining your self-confidence. Write them down as though you are talking to yourself; for example, ‘Don’t get too excited about this date. He/she is not going to find you attractive enough.’ Next, on the right-hand side of the page, write down a more realistic or congenial statement about yourself. Like, ‘I may not be a supermodel, but I have good features and a sense of humor.’ Decide which of these more positive, realistic statements you will act on before your date begins. They reflect the real you.”


Tip for Couples: How to fight constructively

couples fightThere's fighting and then there's fighting. When couples start yelling and throwing things, when they dredge up every single complaint they've ever had (or "kitchen-sinking," as marital experts typically call it), you can be sure that they won't be celebrating their silver anniversary together. Studies show that the way couples handle conflict is the most important factor in determining whether or not they stay together, according to experts in relationship study.

Happy couples have learned the art of constructive arguing, whose research has demonstrated that it's possible to predict whether or not a couple will divorce after watching them argue for 10 or 15 minutes. In strong marriages, the partners take control of their disagreements by establishing ground rules. They may, for example, call a mutually agreed-upon time-out if the conflict is escalating and unproductive, agreeing to continue the discussion after a cooling-off period.

They also truly listen to each other and won't prematurely try to solve the problem before they've heard each other out. Above all, no matter how angry they get, they don't resort to name-calling and insults - key danger signs.


Bottled-Water Secret: It’s hurting our planet

Bottled-WaterMost water bottles are made of a plastic called polyethylene terepthalate, or PET. There are two problems with PET bottles.

Problem 1: They take a boatload of crude oil to produce. University of Louisville researchers estimate that around 17 million barrels of oil are used each year to produce PET water bottles—a major reason why bottled water costs roughly four times as much as gasoline.

Problem 2: We’re chucking our water bottles in the trash, instead of the recycling bin. According to the Container Recycling Institute, nearly 90 percent of the 30 billion PET water bottles we buy annually end up in landfills—a huge problem when you consider that PET bottles take from 400 to 1,000 years to decompose.

The bottom line: We should take more tap water whenever possible.


The Most Used Password

lockThe number one way hackers get into protected systems isn't through a fancy technical exploit. It's by guessing the password. That's not too hard when the most common password used on business systems is "Password1."

There's a technical reason for Password1's popularity: It's got an upper-case letter, a number and nine characters. That satisfies the complexity rules for many systems, including the default settings for Microsoft's widely used Active Directory identity management software.

Security services firm Trustwave spotlighted the "Password1" problem in its recently released "2012 Global Security Report," which summarizes the firm's findings from nearly 2 million network vulnerability scans and 300 recent security breach investigations.

Around 5% of passwords involve a variation of the word "password," the company's researchers found. The runner-up, "welcome," turns up in more than 1%.

Easily guessable or entirely blank passwords were the most common vulnerability Trustwave's SpiderLabs unit found in its penetration tests last year on clients' systems. The firm set an assortment of widely available password-cracking tools loose on 2.5 million passwords, and successfully broke more than 200,000 of them.


Why are men always so focused on sex, sex and sex

men and sexChalk this one up to testosterone, the “male” hormone that advises the brain, too. “In utero, the male fetal brain ‘marinates’ in testosterone, which makes his brain’s area for sexual pursuit grow to be two and a half times larger than in a female brain,” Expert says.

And then, the ‘fuel’ that drives this area in the brain — testosterone — increases in a male by 250 percent between ages 9 and 15. So by the time he’s a teenager, a male’s visual circuits — all of which are located in his brain — start focusing on female body parts and fantasizing about how to get a girl to have sex with him, and, you may have noticed, this act of “focusing” doesn’t exactly stop after high school.


Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables

more fruits and vegetablesWe're told to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables, but new rule says to fill half your plate with produce.

A serving of broccoli is about five florets. A serving of raw spinach, one cup. A serving of mango, roughly the size of a fist. It's not surprising that people get confused over what, exactly, a serving is, said dietitian.

Many dietitians say to stop counting and instead make half of every meal produce. You don't need a big mound on your plate. Six asparagus spears at dinner, a spinach salad at lunch, and a sliced banana and some berries at breakfast should do it.

And quality counts: Even two or three daily servings of deeply hued fruits and veggies (like blueberries, bok choy, or red peppers) may help reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease. It's like darts. The goal is to hit the bull's-eye. But hitting nearby is good, too.


What happens when I spend the day sitting around?

sit all dayThe inside story: Remember that old saying "the devil finds work for idle hands"? Spending a lazy day on the sofa may not seem evil to you, but your body finds plenty of ways to make trouble with the sugar, or glucose idling in your bloodstream. Taking a walk or getting any other type of physical activity forces muscle cells to soak up glucose, which it uses to produce energy. On a day when you don't give your muscles enough work to do, glucose goes unused. Over time, a sit-around lifestyle encourages two major problems:

* Your body converts some unused sugar to fat. Build up too much and your butt, thighs, and belly will expand. The latter flab depository is the most worrisome; research shows that fat cells around the waistline produce chemicals that cause insulin resistance and low-grade inflammation, which promotes heart disease and other conditions.

* Having lots of glucose lingering in the blood increases levels of dangerous compounds called AGEs that damage nerves and blood cells. That's why high blood sugar causes diabetes complications such as blindness and kidney disease.

Getting up off the sofa and heading out the door for a walk can help you to avoid these fates, of course. Exercise is a reliable fat burner and research shows that physical activity lowers levels of AGEs, too - among many other benefits.

Conclusion: Sitting around all day may help you get caught up on your favorite cable shows, but it is also a set-up for bad blood sugar, weight gain, and all the problems they can cause.