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Why Greg Lynn could walk free from prison

<p>Greg Lynn has applied to be freed from jail until his sentencing hearing over the murder of Carol Clay. </p> <p>The former Jetstar pilot, who was found guilty of murdering the 73-year-old while she was camping with her secret partner Russell Hill in March 2020, is appealing the guilty verdict which the jury came to after a weeks-long trial in June. </p> <p>The 57-year old appeared in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday where Justice Michael Croucher heard the convicted killer had been the victim of prison attacks during his six-week trial. </p> <p>The court heard Lynn's barrister Dermot Dann KC is in the process of compiling submissions calling on Justice Croucher to hold of on sentencing his client until an appeal over his conviction can be heard by the Court of Appeal. </p> <p>If granted, the "stay" of sentence could allow Lynn to apply for bail while his appeal goes through the court. </p> <p>The court also heard that Lynn had been placed in isolation within the Metropolitan Remand Prison for his own safety since the guilty verdict was read, but now fears he will be targeted by inmates at whatever prison he ultimately ends up in. </p> <p>Mr Dann said a successful appeal could result in Lynn being set free altogether without the possibility of a re-trial, due to doubts over whether he could obtain a fair trial because of the significant publicity surrounding the case and the murder conviction. </p> <p>"The chances of a fair re-trial are non-existent," Mr Dann said. </p> <p>The experienced barrister said any potential jurors would have been "polluted or poisoned" by the "inadmissible evidence" that has "flooded" news sites since the guilty verdict was delivered.  </p> <p>The court heard Mr Dann believed his client had multiple reasons to push for an appeal over his verdict, including the "unfair" way in which he claimed the Office of Public Prosecutions carried out the trial. </p> <p>Mr Dann reiterated to the court that his client has always maintained his innocence, saying, "He maintains that he's never killed any person at any time, at any place, anywhere, ever."</p> <div data-component="EmphasisedText"> <p>"The long-term future of that guilty verdict must be seen as being in grave doubt."</p> <p><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;">The case was adjourned until a pre-sentence hearing on September 12th. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif;">Image credits: Facebook</span></em></p> </div>

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We have too few aged care workers to care for older Australians. Why? And what can we do about it?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>In a country like Australia, we all expect that when we get old, we’ll be able to rely on a robust aged care system. But aged care providers can’t find staff and a crisis is brewing.</p> <p>If the problem isn’t fixed, there are serious risks to quality and access to services for older people who need support. There are also broader social, economic and political consequences for undervaluing the rapidly expanding health and social assistance workforce.</p> <p>Aged care <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/10/2020-aged-care-workforce-census.pdf">employs</a> around 420,000 people. Around 80% of those are front line staff providing care and demand for them is increasing rapidly.</p> <h2>Australians are ageing</h2> <p>The number of people aged 80 and over is <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-03/IGR_2010_Overview.pdf">projected to double</a> by 2050. At the same time, informal family care is becoming less available. In the next 25 years, <a href="https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/executive/shortfall-of-400000-aged-care-workers-predicted-by-2050/">twice as many</a> aged care staff will be needed.</p> <p>Currently, about 1.4 million older people <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australians/contents/aged-care">receive</a> aged care services, including basic and more intensive home care and residential care.</p> <p>Health care and social support job vacancies and ads are the highest of any industry. Between 30,000 and 35,000 additional direct aged care workers a year are already needed. By 2030 the <a href="https://cedakenticomedia.blob.core.windows.net/cedamediacontainer/kentico/media/attachments/ceda-duty-of-care-3.pdf">shortfall</a> is likely to be 110,000 full time equivalent workers.</p> <h2>Why don’t enough people want to work in aged care?</h2> <p>Despite recent <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/aged-care-workforce/what-were-doing/better-and-fairer-wages">pay increases</a>, it is difficult to attract and retain aged care workers because the work is under-valued.</p> <p>The Australian workforce is undergoing profound change. A generation ago, manufacturing made up 17% of the workforce. Today it has fallen to 6%. By contrast, the health care and social assistance workforce has doubled from 8% to 16%.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The manufacturing workforce has declined, while health, aged care and social assistance has risen.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">ABS 6291.0.55.001 Labour Force, Australia.</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Manufacturing jobs were <a href="https://australiainstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Manufacturing-Briefing-Paper-FINAL.pdf">mainly</a> secure, full-time, reasonably paid jobs dominated by male workers.</p> <p>By contrast, jobs in aged care are often insecure, part-time and poorly paid, dominated by women, with many workers coming from non-English speaking backgrounds.</p> <p>Since moving to take over aged care in the 1980s, the federal government has over-emphasised <a href="https://arena.org.au/a-genealogy-of-aged-care/">cost constraint</a> through service privatisation, activity-based funding and competition, often under the cover of consumer choice.</p> <p>The result is a highly fragmented and poorly coordinated aged care sector with almost 3,200, often small and under-resourced providers centrally funded and regulated from Canberra.</p> <p>This has <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/a-matter-of-care-australia-s-aged-care-workforce-strategy.pdf">led to</a> high levels of casualisation, low investment in training and professional development, and inadequate supervision, particularly in the home care sector.</p> <p>Aged care is facing a perfect storm. Demand for care and support staff is increasing dramatically. The sector is poorly coordinated and difficult to navigate. Pay and conditions remain poor and the workforce is relatively untrained. There are no minimum standards or registration requirements for many front-line aged care staff.</p> <h2>What are the consequences?</h2> <p>An understaffed and under-trained aged care workforce reduces access to services and the quality of care and support.</p> <p>Aged care providers <a href="https://www.agedhealth.com.au/content/compliance-and-governance/news/troubled-outlook-for-aged-care-reforms-1224428737#:%7E:text=Its%20report%20found%20that%2053.8,was%20%22impossible%20to%20achieve%22.">routinely report</a> it is difficult to attract staff and they can’t meet the growing demand for services from older people.</p> <p>Staff shortages are already having an impact on residential care occupancy rates falling, with some regional areas now down to only 50% occupancy.</p> <p>That means older people either don’t get care or they are at increased risk of neglect, malnutrition, avoidable hospital admissions and a poorer quality of life.</p> <p>Inevitably, lack of aged care workers puts pressure on hospital services when older people have nowhere else to go.</p> <h2>What needs to be done?</h2> <p>Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach. Australia will need a massive increase in the number of aged care workers and the quality of the care they provide. Wages have to be competitive to attract and retain staff.</p> <p>But better pay and conditions is only part of the story. Unless aged care becomes a career the community recognises, values and supports, it will continue to be difficult to train, attract and retain staff.</p> <p>The recent <a href="https://www.royalcommission.gov.au/aged-care">Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety</a> highlighted the need for a more skilled workforce, emphasising the importance of ongoing professional development for all staff.</p> <p>To date the federal government’s aged care workforce initiatives have been underwhelming. They are a limited and piecemeal rather than a coherent workforce strategy.</p> <p>In the short term, skilled migration may be part of the solution. But progress to bring in skilled aged care workers has been glacial. Currently only about 1% of providers <a href="https://theconversation.com/overseas-recruitment-wont-solve-australias-aged-care-worker-crisis-189126">have agreements</a> to bring in staff from overseas. At best, overseas migration will meet only 10% of the workforce shortfall.</p> <p>Registration, qualifications and training for direct care work have to become mandatory to make sure care standards are met.</p> <p>Much more significant and systematic incentives and support for training will be needed. Supervision, career progression and staff development will also have to be dramatically improved if we are to attract and retain the workforce that is needed.</p> <p>“Learn and earn” incentives, including scholarships and traineeships for aged care, are needed to attract the future workforce.</p> <p>At the same time, a much broader investment in upskilling the entire workforce through continuing professional development and good quality supervision is necessary.</p> <p>Like manufacturing a generation ago, aged care needs to become valued, skilled, secure and well-paid employment if it is going to attract the staff that are needed to avoid a looming crisis.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232707/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, Emeritus Professor of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-have-too-few-aged-care-workers-to-care-for-older-australians-why-and-what-can-we-do-about-it-232707">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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Why do dogs have different coats? Experts explain – and give grooming tips for different types

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-hazel-402495">Susan Hazel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mia-cobb-15211">Mia Cobb</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Dog hair comes in many varieties, from shaggy to short, curly to straight. If you live with a dog, you live with their hair – on your couch, in your clothes, it’s everywhere!</p> <p>Beyond colour, have you ever wondered what’s behind the differences in coat type?</p> <p>We actually know quite a lot about why dogs have different coats, and it comes down to their genes.</p> <h2>What are the main coat types in dogs?</h2> <p>The three main features of dog coats are how long the hairs are, whether they are curly or straight, and whether they have extra flourishes. The flourishes are called “furnishings”, and can include a hairy moustache and shaggy eyebrows.</p> <p>Combinations of these three features result in seven different coat types in dogs: short, wire, wire and curly, long, long with furnishings, curly, and curly with furnishings.</p> <p>We know from a <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/abs/10.1126/science.1177808">study of more than 1,000 dogs with varying coats</a> that differences in only three genes are responsible for this variety.</p> <p>The gene responsible for long hair (called FGF5) is <a href="https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/basics/patterns">recessive</a>, meaning dogs must have two copies of the mutated gene to have long hair. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1402862111">In humans</a>, the same gene has been identified in families with excessively long eyelashes.</p> <p>Curly coats in dogs are related to a gene called <a href="https://www.pawprintgenetics.com/products/tests/details/173/">KRT71</a>, which affects keratin, a protein involved in hair formation. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2974189/">Mutations in this gene</a> in cats result in hairless (Sphynx) or curly-haired (Devon Rex) breeds.</p> <p>The gene responsible for furnishings (<a href="https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/rspo2/">RSPO2</a>) is involved in establishing hair follicles. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-follicle">Hair follicles</a> are small pockets in the skin that grow hair.</p> <p>Variations in these three genes could explain the coat type in most (but not all!) of the dogs tested. For example, the long coat of the Afghan hound is not explained by these three genes. Further study is needed to identify less common mutations and genes controlling the coat in these dogs.</p> <p>The earliest dog breeds would have been short-haired, as a result of the “wild-type” genes. Later changes would have arisen through mutation and deliberate selection <a href="https://theconversation.com/managing-mutations-of-a-species-the-evolution-of-dog-breeding-96635">through modern breeding practices</a>.</p> <p>If all three mutations are present, the dog has a long, curly coat with furnishings. An example is the Bichon Frisé.</p> <h2>What else varies in dog coats?</h2> <p>Dog coat types can also be single or double. In a double-coated breed such as a Labrador, there is a longer coarse layer of hairs and a softer and shorter undercoat. Wolves and ancestral dogs are single-coated, and the double coat is a result of a <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4425/10/5/323">mutation in chromosome 28</a>.</p> <p>In the Labrador, the mutation was probably selected for as they were bred to <a href="https://www.gov.nl.ca/releases/2023/exec/0525n07/">retrieve fishing nets in Canada</a>. The double coat is a great insulator and helps them to stay warm, even in icy water.</p> <h2>Why does it matter what kind of coat a dog has?</h2> <p>We know with climate change our world is going to get hotter. Dogs with a double coat are less able to tolerate heat stress, as their hair prevents heat loss.</p> <p>In a study of dogs <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/avj.13296">suffering heat-related illness</a>, most of the 15 breeds at higher risk had double coats. The death rate in these dogs was 23%. We can only imagine how it must feel going out on a 40 degree day wearing a thick fur coat.</p> <p>Dogs with a double coat shed more hair than dogs with a single coat. This means even short-haired breeds, like the Labrador retriever, can shed an astonishing amount of hair. If you can’t tolerate dog hair, then a dog with a double-coat may not suit you.</p> <p>When we think of wool we think of sheep, but in the past <a href="https://www.si.edu/stories/woolly-dog-mystery-unlocked">woolly dogs were kept for their wool</a> that was <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adi6549">woven by Indigenous groups</a> and used to make blankets.</p> <p>A dog’s coat also affects how much time and effort is needed for grooming. Dogs with long or curly hair with furnishings are likely to need more time invested in their care, or visits to a professional groomer.</p> <p>Designer dogs (cross-bred dogs often crossed with a poodle, such as groodles), are likely to be curly with furnishings. In a US study, people with designer dogs reported meeting their dogs’ maintenance and grooming requirements was <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/12/23/3247">much harder than they expected</a>.</p> <p>It’s not just bank balances and the time needed that can suffer. If people are unable to cope with the demands of grooming long-haired dogs, lack of grooming can cause welfare problems. A study of animal cruelty cases in New York found <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2022.827348/full">13% involved hair matting</a>, with some hair mats causing strangulation wounds and 93% of affected dogs having long hair.</p> <h2>How can you prevent problems?</h2> <p>If you have a curly- or long-haired breed of dog, it will help to train them to like being brushed from an early age. You can do this by counter-conditioning so they have a positive emotional response to being groomed, rather than feeling anxious. First show the brush or lightly brush them, then give them a treat. They learn to associate being brushed with something positive.</p> <p>If you take your dog to the groomer, it’s very important their first experience is positive. A scary or painful incident will make it much more difficult for future grooming.</p> <p>Is your dog difficult to groom or hard to get out of the car at the groomers? It’s likely grooming is scary for them. Consulting a dog trainer or animal behaviourist who focuses on positive training methods can help a lot.</p> <p>Keeping your dog well groomed, no matter their hair type, will keep them comfortable. More important than looking great, feeling good is an essential part of dogs living their best lives with us.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232480/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-hazel-402495">Susan Hazel</a>, Associate Professor, School of Animal and Veterinary Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mia-cobb-15211">Mia Cobb</a>, Research Fellow, Animal Welfare Science Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-do-dogs-have-different-coats-experts-explain-and-give-grooming-tips-for-different-types-232480">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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Why Ray Martin is planning his own funeral

<p>Ray Martin is planning his own funeral as he prepares for his 'Last Goodbye', as part of an eye-opening new series. </p> <p>The veteran journalist will be planning his memorial service for an upcoming SBS documentary series which explores cultural traditions surrounding death.</p> <p>The three-part series, called <em>Ray Martin: The Last Goodbye</em>, will explore various taboos surrounding death with comedic and witty anecdotes. </p> <p>The series will investigate various funeral trends and rituals around the world and will address some deep questions, including why people choose certain ceremonies, songs and resting places, and how geography, religion and social class impacts these choices. </p> <p>At 79 years old, Ray said in a statement that statistically he is only four years away from his own death and wants to explore the topic with a serious yet funny nature. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9QoU-goAtY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9QoU-goAtY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by SBS Australia (@sbs_australia)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Martin will also have a range of special guests on the show, including veteran presenter Gretel Killeen, 61, and comedian Alex Lee.</p> <p>SBS Commissioning Editor Bethan Arwel-Lewis said, "At SBS we aren't scared to tackle those subjects that are sometimes provocative or difficult in our programming."</p> <p>"So an exploration of death – one of our last taboos is the perfect subject for us to lift the lid on, and who better to take us into this world and get us talking and even laughing about death, than Ray Martin."</p> <p>Last year, Martin insisted that he still has a lot of life left in him, as he grows older gracefully and continues to work. </p> <p>"I'm never going to retire. David Attenborough is in his 90s and he's my role model. He says you've got to keep doing what you love," he told <em>Woman's Day</em> magazine.</p> <p><em>Ray Martin: The Last Goodbye</em> will premiere on Wednesday, August 14 at 8.30pm on SBS and SBS On Demand.</p> <p><em>Image credits: SBS</em></p>

TV

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We know what to eat to stay healthy. So why is it so hard to make the right choices?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nina-van-dyke-822557">Nina Van Dyke</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/victoria-university-1175">Victoria University</a></em></p> <p>A healthy diet <a href="https://www.who.int/initiatives/behealthy/healthy-diet">protects us</a> against a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.</p> <p>From early childhood, we receive an abundance of <a href="https://cdn.who.int/media/docs/default-source/healthy-diet/healthy-diet-fact-sheet-394.pdf?sfvrsn=69f1f9a1_2&download=true">information</a> about how we <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating">should eat</a> to be healthy and reduce our risk of disease. And most people have a <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/1479-5868-11-63.pdf">broad understanding</a> of what healthy eating looks like.</p> <p>But this knowledge <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001209216310584?casa_token=6CZgCmT1RMgAAAAA:sSRsj2o6swVfvoBxMIVrMTxqdczSAiFwfTCYzYQ8U3z4ey_WLQ6knpmk8WRH77zugAS3wEAQrA">doesn’t always result</a> in healthier eating.</p> <p>In our new research, we set out to <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/s12889-024-18432-x.pdf">learn more</a> about why people eat the way they do – and what prevents them from eating better. Lack of time was a major <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/obr.12472?casa_token=1D1mi-l0TR0AAAAA:dgebTQx-wgw7jbREfdawxZ5AZSDRztvrt8t1tuKyDy1x2mmXlyLDY8z9NbUf0v4hnh80HY_RbAk08Q">barrier</a> to cooking and eating healthier foods.</p> <h2>How do you decide what to eat?</h2> <p>We spoke with <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/s12889-024-18432-x.pdf">17 adults</a> in a regional centre of Victoria. We chose a regional location because less research <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/s40900-020-0179-6.pdf">has been done</a> with people living outside of metropolitan areas and because rates of obesity and other diet-related health issues are <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/rural-remote-australians/rural-and-remote-health">higher</a> in such areas in Australia.</p> <p>Participants included a mix of people, including some who said they were over their “most healthy weight” and some who had previously dieted to lose weight. But all participants were either:</p> <ul> <li>young women aged 18–24 with no children</li> <li>women aged 35–45 with primary school aged children</li> <li>men aged 35–50 living with a partner and with pre- or primary-school aged children.</li> </ul> <p>We selected these groups to target <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022318212803669">ages and life-stages</a> in which shifts in eating behaviours may occur. Previous research has found younger women <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1470-6431.2007.00642.x?casa_token=33QKWwhc2ogAAAAA:ZvJ6wfXiRC_6eoqvoxD121JOSKSPmIRHcrdiGl2uHzkq5pY6VVPL6WI2DhmxQ2q9i6bBGvLiFl8afQ">tend to</a> be particularly concerned about appearance rather than healthy eating, while women with children often shift their focus to providing for their family. Men <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/obr.12472?casa_token=KakMB6hAOQ0AAAAA:fLnpoxZQiiJIdEkg_TOcCq8hBwZef1iZETZKTiG5W6zW2x_PYzK0oLeOg5F9arKThq9RzMWEi4x4Xw">tend to be less interested</a> in what they eat.</p> <p>We asked participants about how they decided what food to eat, when, and how much, and what prevented them from making healthier choices.</p> <h2>It’s not just about taste and healthiness</h2> <p>We found that, although such decisions were determined in part by taste preferences and health considerations, they were heavily influenced by a host of other factors, many of which are outside the person’s control. These included other household members’ food preferences, family activities, workplace and time constraints, convenience and price.</p> <p><a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2767106">Healthy eating</a> means consuming a balanced diet rich in nutrients, including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats, while limiting processed foods, added sugars and excessive salt. Healthy eating also includes how we eat and <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0244292">how we think about</a> food and eating, such as having a positive relationship with food.</p> <p>One 35- to 45-year-old woman, for example, said that time constraints and family preferences made it difficult to prepare healthier food:</p> <blockquote> <p>I love the chance when I can actually get a recipe and get all of the ingredients and make it properly, but that doesn’t happen very often. It’s usually what’s there and what’s quick. And what everyone will eat.</p> </blockquote> <p>One of the 35- to 50-year-old men also noted the extent to which family activities and children’s food preferences dictated meal choices:</p> <blockquote> <p>Well, we have our set days where, like Wednesday nights, we have to have mackie cheese and nuggets, because that’s what the boys want after their swimming lesson.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/joss.12649?casa_token=gsnU9O_G2GQAAAAA:mV2vtHlnEd0jqBGJPFkfml_ecLIDqwSlH5xksSwt4eQb_FP_UShyAKm9sLNnKy6Mkf2q9aKAlDEixA">Research shows</a> that children are often more receptive to new foods than their parents think. However, introducing new dishes takes additional time and planning.</p> <p>An 18- to 24-year-old woman discussed the role of time constraints, her partner’s activities, and price in influencing what and when she eats:</p> <blockquote> <p>My partner plays pool on a Monday and Wednesday night, so we always have tea a lot earlier then and cook the simple things that don’t take as long, so he can have dinner before he goes rather than buying pub meals which cost more money.</p> </blockquote> <p>Despite popular perceptions, healthy diets are not more expensive than unhealthy diets. A <a href="https://preventioncentre.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/1702_FB_LEE_4p_final_lr.pdf">study</a> comparing current (unhealthy) diets with what the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/the-australian-dietary-guidelines">Australian Dietary Guidelines</a> recommend people should eat found that the healthy diet was 12–15% cheaper than unhealthy diets for a family of two adults and two children.</p> <p>However, learning and planning to prepare new types of meals <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/3/877">takes effort and time</a>.</p> <p>Simply educating people about what they should eat won’t necessarily result in healthier eating. People want to eat healthier, or at least know they should eat healthier, but other things <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s00394-017-1458-3.pdf">get in the way</a>.</p> <p>A key to improving people’s eating behaviours is to make it easy to eat more healthily.</p> <p>Policy changes to make healthy eating easier could include subsidising healthier foods such as fresh produce, providing incentives for retailers to offer healthy options, and ensuring access to nutritious meals in schools and workplaces.</p> <h2>So how can you make healthier food choices easier?</h2> <p>Here are five tips for making healthy choices easier in your household:</p> <ol> <li> <p>If certain days of the week are particularly busy, with little time to prepare fresh food, plan to cook in bulk on days when you have more time. Store the extra food in the fridge or freezer for quick preparation.</p> </li> <li> <p>If you’re often pressed for time during the day and just grab whatever food is handy, have healthy snacks readily available and accessible. This could mean a fruit bowl in the middle of the kitchen counter, or wholegrain crackers and unsalted nuts within easy reach.</p> </li> <li> <p>Discuss food preferences with your family and come up with some healthy meals everyone likes. For younger children, <a href="https://healthykids.nsw.gov.au/downloads/file/campaignsprograms/NewFoodsFussyEaters.pdf">try serving</a> only a small amount of the new food, and serve new foods alongside foods they already like eating and are familiar with.</p> </li> <li> <p>If you rely a lot on take-away meals or meal delivery services, try making a list ahead of time of restaurants and meals you like that are also healthier. You might consider choosing lean meat, chicken, or fish that has been grilled, baked or poached (rather than fried), and looking for meals with plenty of vegetables or salad.</p> </li> <li> <p>Remember, fruit and vegetables taste better and are often cheaper when they are in season. Frozen or canned vegetables are a <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/the-cost-of-fresh-fruit-and-veggies-is-rising-is-canned-or-frozen-produce-just-as-healthy/tzuhnfrnr">healthy and quick alternative</a>.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231489/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> </li> </ol> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nina-van-dyke-822557">Nina Van Dyke</a>, Associate Professor and Associate Director, Mitchell Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/victoria-university-1175">Victoria University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-know-what-to-eat-to-stay-healthy-so-why-is-it-so-hard-to-make-the-right-choices-231489">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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Ambulance ramping is getting worse in Australia. Here’s why – and what we can do about it

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonathan-karnon-290">Jonathan Karnon</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-partington-93821">Andrew Partington</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p>We’ve seen countless <a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/ballarat/ambulance-ramping-leaves-paramedics-unable-to-respond-to-emergencies-says-union/news-story/54b6fee380eb7b7f1c9b2784edf3d2cd">media reports</a> in recent days, weeks and months about the <a href="https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/qld-politics/worst-cases-of-ambulance-ramping-at-queensland-hospitals-revealed/news-story/bcf4833b5197774329cf983029d77cb4">ramping of ambulances</a> at <a href="https://thewest.com.au/news/health/ambulance-ramping-reaches-record-levels-in-june-as-hospitals-struggle-with-surging-winter-demand-c-15192504">hospital emergency departments</a> (EDs) around Australia.</p> <p>Ambulance ramping occurs when paramedics are made to wait at the hospital’s entrance and are unable to transfer their patient into the emergency department within an appropriate time frame – defined as <a href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/about+us/our+performance/ambulance+waiting+times">30 minutes</a> in South Australia.</p> <p>Ramping is an indicator of hospital stress. It means patients are waiting longer to receive care in the emergency department, and patients requiring inpatient care are waiting longer to access a hospital bed.</p> <p>Research suggests <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2022/217/5/influence-ambulance-offload-time-30-day-risks-death-and-re-presentation-patients">ambulance ramping</a> and <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1742-6723.13699">having to wait longer</a> for a hospital bed are associated with a greater risk of patients dying up to 30 days after their initial presentation.</p> <p>So why is ambulance ramping still a problem? And what can we do to fix it?</p> <h2>Ramping is getting worse</h2> <p>Available data indicate the problem has become worse over time. In <a href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/about+us/our+performance/ambulance+waiting+times">South Australia</a>, for example, ramping has been steadily increasing since 2017, from around 500 hours “ramped” per month to around 4,000 hours per month in 2024. This is the sum of the time ambulances spend waiting beyond 30 minutes after arriving at the hospital.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.bhi.nsw.gov.au/data-portal">New South Wales</a>, we calculate the numbers of patients being ramped increased from around 44,000 patients per month in early 2022 to more than 50,000 in early 2024.</p> <h2>What’s driving the increase in ramping?</h2> <p>The ambulance ramping bottleneck reflects an imbalance between the number of people presenting at emergency departments and the capacity to treat patients and transfer those requiring inpatient care to a ward.</p> <p>Potential drivers of this imbalance are increased emergency department presentations and reduced availability of inpatient beds. The latter may reflect increased demand for beds, including longer hospital stays.</p> <p>Between the financial years 2018–19 and 2022–23 (the latest period for which figures are available), Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data show the numbers of more serious presentations (triage categories 1 to 3) increased by <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/emergency-department-care">almost 700,000</a> across Australia.</p> <p>Some 100,000 fewer patients who presented to an emergency department were <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients">admitted as inpatients</a> during this period, but the additional presentations will nonetheless have contributed to more ramping.</p> <p>In the same period, admissions to inpatient beds that did not come through an emergency department increased by <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients">almost 400,000</a> across the country. These include admissions for the management of chronic conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and so on) and infections and viruses (COVID, flu, RSV and others).</p> <p>Further, COVID and other viruses are likely to have contributed to increased hospital stress via <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/workforce/health-workforce">workforce shortages</a>. This has possibly led to delays in seeing patients in the emergency department and in discharging patients from hospital.</p> <p>There has not been a significant increase in <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients">patients’ time in hospital</a> receiving required care, but there appear to be increasing numbers of patients waiting for placement in an aged care facility or for home care services after their treatment <a href="https://www.ama.com.au/sites/default/files/2023-02/Hospital%20exit%20block%20-%20a%20symptom%20of%20a%20sick%20health%20system_Final.pdf">has finished</a>.</p> <h2>Many admissions may be preventable</h2> <p>Increased vaccination rates could reduce the impact of viruses. For example, only <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/immunisation-and-vaccination">21% of Australians</a> aged 65 to 74 received the 2023 COVID booster recommended for their age group.</p> <p>We know there were significant increases in people delaying or avoiding seeing a GP <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/more-people-putting-seeing-health-professionals-due-cost">due to cost</a> in 2022–23, which can put extra pressure on hospitals. The government is trying to address this issue by increasing <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/increases-to-bulk-billing-incentive-payments">incentives to GPs</a> to reduce costs to patients.</p> <p>Meanwhile, government health departments may not have been provided with enough funding to meet increasing demand for health care. Year on year the gap between supply and demand grows. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/article/2024/jun/27/victoria-hospitals-recruitment-freeze-cost-cuts-premier-jacinta-allan">Victorian hospitals</a> are reportedly scrambling to reduce spending in light of proposed budget cuts.</p> <h2>What are the solutions?</h2> <p>The creation of new hospital beds is not the only option for increasing capacity. Governments should design, implement and scale up services that free up hospital capacity by providing appropriate and cost-effective out-of-hospital care.</p> <p>For example, there is further scope to care for patients admitted to hospital in their own homes with the support of digital technologies. Programs such as <a href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/services/hospitals/my+home+hospital/my+home+hospital">My Home Hospital</a> in South Australia aim to provide an alternative to inpatient care.</p> <p>Across Australia, such “hospital in the home” care was provided 150,000 times in 2022–23, compared to <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients">6.8 million episodes of care</a> in public hospitals.</p> <p>Virtual ED services are a growing phenomenon across Australia, using <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-virtual-emergency-department-and-when-should-you-visit-one-228098">virtual consultations</a> to identify patients for whom urgent care can be provided outside hospital. The Victorian virtual ED service is targeting a capacity of <a href="https://www.afr.com/policy/health-and-education/meet-the-two-doctors-revolutionising-emergency-healthcare-20240415-p5fjud">1,000 consults</a> per day.</p> <p>Longer-term solutions require co-operation between state and territory governments and the federal government to prevent and better manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, outside hospital. This includes boosting access to GPs and improving communication between GPs and hospitals.</p> <p>Greater investment in well-designed policies and programs to support healthy ageing would also likely help, as well as improving access to required out-of-hospital aged care and disability services for patients waiting to leave hospital.</p> <p>All these measures could ease the pressure on hospitals and reduce the likelihood of patients waiting in an ambulance, unable to get inside and receive the care they need.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232720/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonathan-karnon-290">Jonathan Karnon</a>, Professor of Health Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-partington-93821">Andrew Partington</a>, Research Fellow (Health Economics), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/ambulance-ramping-is-getting-worse-in-australia-heres-why-and-what-we-can-do-about-it-232720">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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What are financial years – and why are they different from calendar years?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michaela-rankin-1544784">Michaela Rankin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>Yesterday was July 1, the first day of the new financial year in Australia.</p> <p>Also called fiscal years, financial years are often abbreviated in print. The one that’s just begun in Australia – July 1 2024 to June 30 2025 – will typically be denoted by FY24/25 or FY25.</p> <p>As the name suggests, financial years are used for financial reporting, tax and budgeting purposes. Whether you are preparing an individual tax return or financial statements for a business, it is important to understand the difference between financial and calendar years.</p> <p>Both have 365 days. But the calendar year, based on the <a href="https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/gregorian-calendar.html">Gregorian calendar</a>, runs from New Years’ Day on January 1 through to December 31.</p> <p>Australian financial years on the other hand run from July 1 of one year to June 30 the next.</p> <p>But this July to June financial year <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20200430054150/https:/www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/228.html">does not apply</a> in all countries. Many align their financial year with the calendar year, but others have further variations still.</p> <p>So why are they different, and what does that mean for businesses operating across borders?</p> <h2>Different around the world</h2> <p>In contrast to our own, the United Kingdom’s financial year starts on April 6 each year and runs to April 5 the next.</p> <p>The English and Irish New Year traditionally fell on March 25, when taxes and other accounts were due. But in the 18th century, the British empire switched from the Roman Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, and had to <a href="https://www.bowesbrooks.co.uk/why-does-the-tax-year-start-on-6th-april/">adjust the start date</a> to avoid losing tax revenue.</p> <p>India’s fiscal year runs from April 1 until March 31, for a <a href="https://www.idfcfirstbank.com/finfirst-blogs/finance/reasons-why-the-financial-year-starts-from-april">number of reasons</a>. Historically a country that was heavily focused on agriculture, this timeframe aligned with the crop cycle and allowed the government to develop financial plans for the sector.</p> <p>The British empire also influenced the April reporting schedule in India, as prior to independence many financial policies were based on the British system.</p> <h2>Government budgets play a role</h2> <p>In the United States, fiscal years once ran from July 1 to June 30, like Australia’s do now. But in 1974 this was <a href="https://www.federaltimes.com/management/budget/2022/09/20/why-the-us-federal-fiscal-year-2023-starts-in-october/">changed</a> to instead span October 1 to September 30, giving Congress more time to agree on a budget each year.</p> <p>In the US, however, companies can also <a href="https://www.business.com/articles/how-to-decide-on-fiscal-year/">choose their own</a> fiscal years. Some choose a calendar year, but others elect dates that better align with their business cycle.</p> <p>Walmart’s, for example, ends on January 31 each year to reflect its typically strong financial performance over the holiday period at the end of the year.</p> <p>In Australia, the financial year matches government reporting cycles.</p> <p>Unlike the northern hemisphere, our parliamentarians typically take holidays over summer in December and January, which makes meeting over November and December to approve government budgets difficult.</p> <p>The federal budget is issued in May for the following financial year, giving parliament time to consider it before the new fiscal year begins.</p> <h2>Comparing (and taxing) performance</h2> <p>Regardless of the time period over which a financial year operates, its primary purpose is to provide a standardised time frame for financial reporting.</p> <p>Financial years allow income and expenses to be tracked and compared over the same timeframe each year. This allows investors to compare business performance across consistent periods. They are also used to determine the collection of personal income tax.</p> <p>Our government uses this information to calculate the amount of tax it will collect through the Australian Taxation Office each year.</p> <p>Businesses with operations spanning multiple countries may have to contend with fiscal years that do not align. Where this is the case, they may need to choose one financial year for the whole company, typically that used by the parent company.</p> <p>Keeping track of the financial year is helpful for individuals, in knowing when tax returns need to be prepared (and when to expect end-of-financial-year sales).</p> <p>It is also important for businesses to consider the financial year in making budgeting, business and tax planning decisions. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/233655/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michaela-rankin-1544784"><em>Michaela Rankin</em></a><em>, Professor and Head, Department of Accounting, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-are-financial-years-and-why-are-they-different-from-calendar-years-233655">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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We finally know why some people got COVID while others didn’t

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marko-nikolic-1543289">Marko Nikolic</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kaylee-worlock-1543639">Kaylee Worlock</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a></em></p> <p>Throughout the pandemic, one of the key questions on everyone’s mind was why some people avoided getting COVID, while others caught the virus multiple times.</p> <p>Through a collaboration between University College London, the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Imperial College London in the UK, we set out to answer this question using the world’s first controlled <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01780-9">“challenge trial” for COVID</a> – where volunteers were deliberately exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, so that it could be studied in great detail.</p> <p>Unvaccinated healthy volunteers with no prior history of COVID were exposed – via a nasal spray – to an extremely low dose of the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. The volunteers were then closely monitored in a quarantine unit, with regular tests and samples taken to study their response to the virus in a highly controlled and safe environment.</p> <p>For our <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-024-07575-x">recent study</a>, published in Nature, we collected samples from tissue located midway between the nose and the throat as well as blood samples from 16 volunteers. These samples were taken before the participants were exposed to the virus, to give us a baseline measurement, and afterwards at regular intervals.</p> <p>The samples were then processed and analysed using single-cell sequencing technology, which allowed us to extract and sequence the genetic material of individual cells. Using this cutting-edge technology, we could track the evolution of the disease in unprecedented detail, from pre-infection to recovery.</p> <p>To our surprise, we found that, despite all the volunteers being carefully exposed to the exact same dose of the virus in the same manner, not everyone ended up testing positive for COVID.</p> <p>In fact, we were able to divide the volunteers into three distinct infection groups (see illustration). Six out of the 16 volunteers developed typical mild COVID, testing positive for several days with cold-like symptoms. We referred to this group as the “sustained infection group”.</p> <p>Out of the ten volunteers who did not develop a sustained infection, suggesting that they were able to fight off the virus early on, three went on to develop an “intermediate” infection with intermittent single positive viral tests and limited symptoms. We called them the “transient infection group”.</p> <p>The final seven volunteers remained negative on testing and did not develop any symptoms. This was the “abortive infection group”. This is the first confirmation of abortive infections, which were previously <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04186-8">unproven</a>. Despite differences in infection outcomes, participants in all groups shared some specific novel immune responses, including in those whose immune systems prevented the infection.</p> <p>When we compared the timings of the cellular response between the three infection groups, we saw distinct patterns. For example, in the transiently infected volunteers where the virus was only briefly detected, we saw a strong and immediate accumulation of immune cells in the nose one day after infection.</p> <p>This contrasted with the sustained infection group, where a more delayed response was seen, starting five days after infection and potentially enabling the virus to take hold in these volunteers.</p> <p>In these people, we were able to identify cells stimulated by a key antiviral defence response in both the nose and the blood. This response, called the “interferon” response, is one of the ways our bodies signal to our immune system to help fight off viruses and other infections. We were surprised to find that this response was detected in the blood before it was detected in the nose, suggesting that the immune response spreads from the nose very quickly.</p> <h2>Protective gene</h2> <p>Lastly, we identified a specific gene called HLA-DQA2, which was expressed (activated to produce a protein) at a much higher level in the volunteers who did not go on to develop a sustained infection and could hence be used as a marker of protection. Therefore, we might be able to use this information and identify those who are probably going to be protected from severe COVID.</p> <p>These findings help us fill in some gaps in our knowledge, painting a much more detailed picture regarding how our bodies react to a new virus, particularly in the first couple of days of an infection, which is crucial.</p> <p>We can use this information to compare our data to other data we are currently generating, specifically where we are “challenging” volunteers to other viruses and more recent strains of COVID. In contrast to our current study, these will mostly include volunteers who have been vaccinated or naturally infected – that is, people who already have immunity.</p> <p>Our study has significant implications for future treatments and vaccine development. By comparing our data to volunteers who have never been exposed to the virus with those who already have immunity, we may be able to identify new ways of inducing protection, while also helping the development of more effective vaccines for future pandemics. In essence, our research is a step towards better preparedness for the next pandemic.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/233063/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marko-nikolic-1543289">Marko Nikolic</a>, Principal Research Fellow/Honorary consultant Respiratory Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kaylee-worlock-1543639">Kaylee Worlock</a>, Postdoc Research Fellow, Molecular and Cellular Biology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-finally-know-why-some-people-got-covid-while-others-didnt-233063">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Julian Assange has been in the headlines for almost two decades. Here’s why he’s such a significant public figure

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/matthew-ricketson-3616">Matthew Ricketson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” is a famous quotation usually attributed to Thomas Jefferson, a founder of US democracy.</p> <p>For Julian Assange, the price of freedom has been five years in jail while he fought extradition to the United States to face charges no democracy worthy of the name should ever have brought.</p> <p>It is profoundly heartening news to see Assange’s release from London’s Belmarsh prison and flight home to Australia via a US territory in the western pacific. He’ll face a hearing and sentencing <a href="https://theconversation.com/julian-assange-plea-deal-what-does-it-mean-for-the-wikileaks-founder-and-what-happens-now-233207">this morning</a> in Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, to formalise a plea deal with the US government.</p> <p>It is profoundly disheartening, though, to see the lengths to which a nation state has gone to punish a publisher who released documents and videos that revealed US troops allegedly committing war crimes in the Iraq war two decades ago.</p> <p>Assange has been a controversial international figure for so many years now it’s easy to lose sight of what he has done, why he attracted such fiercely polarised views, and what his incarceration means for journalism and democracy.</p> <h2>What did he do?</h2> <p>Assange, an Australian national, came to prominence in the 2000s for setting up <a href="https://wikileaks.org/">WikiLeaks</a>, a website that published leaked government, military and intelligence documents disclosing a range of <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-47907890">scandals</a> in various countries.</p> <p>Most of the documents were released in full. For Assange, this fulfilled his aim of radical transparency. For critics, it led to the release of documents that could <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2011/9/3/wikileaks-criticised-over-uncensored-cables">endanger the lives</a> of intelligence sources.</p> <p>This remains a point of contention. Some have asserted Assange’s attitude toward those named in leaked documents was cavalier and that the publication of some documents was <a href="https://apnews.com/article/b70da83fd111496dbdf015acbb7987fb">simply unnecessary</a>.</p> <p>But critics, especially those in the US military, have been unable to point to <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-new-book-argues-julian-assange-is-being-tortured-will-our-new-pm-do-anything-about-it-183622">specific instances</a> in which the release of documents has led to a person’s death. In 2010, Joe Biden, the then vice-president, <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna40702904">acknowledged</a> WikiLeaks’ publications had caused “no substantive damage”. Then US Defense Secretary Robert Gates <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/04/12/712659290/how-much-did-wikileaks-damage-u-s-national-security">said</a> at the time countries dealt with the US because it was in their best interests, “not because they believe we can keep secrets”.</p> <p>The key to WikiLeaks’ success was that Assange and his colleagues found a way to <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-11026659">encrypt the documents</a> and make them untraceable, to protect whistleblower sources from official retribution. It was a strategy later <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/05/guardian-launches-securedrop-whistleblowers-documents">copied</a> by mainstream media organisations.</p> <p>WikiLeaks became famous around the globe in April 2010 when it released hundreds of thousands of <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-47907890">documents</a> in tranches known as the Afghan war logs, the Iraq war logs and Cablegate. They revealed numerous alleged war crimes and provided the raw material for a shadow history of the disastrous wars waged by the Americans and their allies, including Australia, in Afghanistan and Iraq following the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks.</p> <p>Documents are one thing, video another. Assange released <a href="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/transcoded/6/61/CollateralMurder.ogv/CollateralMurder.ogv.360p.vp9.webm">a video</a> called “Collateral Murder”. It showed US soldiers in a helicopter shooting and killing Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists in 2007.</p> <p>Apart from how the soldiers in the video speak – “Hahaha, I hit them”, “Nice”, “Good shot” – it looks like most of the victims are civilians and the journalists’ cameras are mistaken for rifles.</p> <p>When one of the wounded men tries to crawl to safety, the helicopter crew, instead of allowing their US comrades on the ground to take him prisoner as required by <a href="https://www.icrc.org/en/rules-of-war">the rules of war</a>, seeks permission to shoot him again.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-1064" class="tc-infographic" style="border: none;" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/1064/0f0903c8d2249ac24316f2a86f5e0f231b6546e6/site/index.html" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>The soldiers’ request for authorisation to shoot is granted. The wounded man is carried to a nearby minibus, which is then shot to pieces with the helicopter’s gun. The driver and two other rescuers are killed instantly while the driver’s two young children inside are seriously wounded.</p> <p>US army command investigated the matter, <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-new-book-argues-julian-assange-is-being-tortured-will-our-new-pm-do-anything-about-it-183622">concluding</a> the soldiers acted in accordance with the rules of war. Despite this, US prosecutors <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/jun/15/julian-assange-indictment-fails-to-mention-wikileaks-video-that-exposed-us-war-crimes-in-iraq">didn’t include</a> the video in its indictment against Assange, leading to accusations it didn’t want such material further exposed in public.</p> <p>Equally to the point, the public would never have known an alleged war crime had been committed without the release of the video.</p> <h2>Going into exile</h2> <p>Assange and WikiLeaks had no sooner become famous than it all began to come to a halt.</p> <p>He was alleged to have sexually assaulted <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50473792">two women</a>. He holed up the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/17/world/americas/ecuador-to-let-assange-stay-in-its-embassy.html">Ecuadoran embassy</a> in London for <a href="https://apnews.com/article/7276b35e8d5944e7b5ca280ab0390b26">seven years</a> to avoid being extradited to Sweden for questioning over the alleged assaults, from where he could then be extradited to the US. Then he was <a href="https://mondediplo.com/2024/02/11assange">imprisoned in England</a> for the past five years.</p> <p>It has been confusing to following the byzantine twists and turns of the Assange case. His character has been reviled by his opponents and revered by his supporters.</p> <p>Even journalists, who are supposed to be in the same business of speaking truth to power, have adopted contradictory stances towards Assange, oscillating between giving him awards (a <a href="https://www.walkleys.com/board-statement-4-16/">Walkley</a> for his outstanding contribution to journalism) and shunning him (<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/23/opinion/julian-assange-wikileaks.html">The New York Times</a> has said he is a source rather than a journalist).</p> <h2>Personal suffering</h2> <p>After Sweden eventually <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50473792">dropped</a> the sexual assault charges, the US government swiftly ramped up its request to extradite Assange to face charges under the Espionage Act, which, if successful, could have led to a jail term of up to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/article/2024/jun/25/explainer-who-is-julian-assange-and-what-are-the-details-of-his-plea-deal#:%7E:text=After%20his%20departure%20from%20the,to%20175%20years%20in%20prison.">175 years</a>.</p> <p>Until this week, most of the recent headlines about Assange have been about this extradition attempt. Most recently, he was granted the <a href="https://theconversation.com/julian-assanges-appeal-to-avoid-extradition-will-go-ahead-it-could-be-legally-groundbreaking-227859">right to appeal</a> the UK Home Secretary’s order that he be extradited to the US.</p> <p>This brings us to now, where if all goes according to legal planning, Assange will <a href="https://theconversation.com/julian-assange-plea-deal-what-does-it-mean-for-the-wikileaks-founder-and-what-happens-now-233207">plead guilty</a> to one count under the US Espionage Act, then fly back to Australia.</p> <p>But the long, protracted and very public case, legal or otherwise, has raised questions yet to be fully reckoned with.</p> <p>Nils Melzer, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, thoroughly investigated the case against Assange and laid it out in forensic detail in a <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-new-book-argues-julian-assange-is-being-tortured-will-our-new-pm-do-anything-about-it-183622">2022 book</a>.</p> <p>In it, he wrote:</p> <blockquote> <p>The Assange case is the story of a man who is being persecuted and abused for exposing the dirty secrets of the powerful, including war crimes, torture and corruption. It is a story of deliberate judicial arbitrariness in Western democracies that are otherwise keen to present themselves as exemplary in the area of human rights.</p> </blockquote> <p>He’s also suffered significantly in legal and diplomatic processes in at least four countries.</p> <p>Since being imprisoned in 2019, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/article/2024/jun/25/julian-assange-plea-deal-with-us-free-to-return-australia#:%7E:text=WikiLeaks%20said%20on%20X%20that,isolated%2023%20hours%20a%20day%E2%80%9D">Assange’s team says</a> he’s spent much of that time in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day, has been denied all but the most limited access to his legal team, let alone family and friends, and was kept in a <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-54060427">glass box</a> during his seemingly interminable extradition hearing.</p> <p>His physical and mental health have suffered to the point where he has been put on <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/wikileaks-julian-assange-at-very-high-risk-of-suicide-attempt-psychiatric-expert-tells-court/">suicide watch</a>. Again, that seems to be the point, as Melzer writes:</p> <blockquote> <p>The primary purpose of persecuting Assange is not – and never has been – to punish him personally, but to establish a generic precedent with a global deterrent effect on other journalist, publicists and activists.</p> </blockquote> <p>So while Assange himself is human and his suffering real, his lengthy time in the spotlight have turned him into more of a symbol. This is true whether you think of him as the hero exposing the dirty secrets of governments, or as something much more sinister.</p> <p>If his experience has taught us anything, it’s that speaking truth to power can come at an unfathomable personal cost.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/233232/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/matthew-ricketson-3616">Matthew Ricketson</a>, Professor of Communication, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Vianney Le Caer/Shutterstock Editorial</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/julian-assange-has-been-in-the-headlines-for-almost-two-decades-heres-why-hes-such-a-significant-public-figure-233232">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Why you should expect to pay more tourist taxes – even though the evidence for them is unclear

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rhys-ap-gwilym-1531623">Rhys ap Gwilym</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/linda-osti-1431286">Linda Osti</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a></em></p> <p>In April 2024, Venice began its controversial experiment to <a href="https://www.timeout.com/news/venice-will-charge-tourists-5-to-enter-the-city-from-next-year-090823">charge day trippers</a> €5 (£4.30) to visit the city on some of the busiest days of the year. But it’s not just the lagoon city, with its <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/travel/article/20230928-venices-new-5-entry-fee-explained#:%7E:text=Over%20the%20past%20three%20decades%2C%20Venice%20has%20become,thirds%20of%20visitors%20come%20just%20for%20the%20day.">30 million visitors</a> a year which is interested in trying out new tourism taxes.</p> <p>In the UK, a council in the county of Kent <a href="https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftheconversationuk.cmail20.com%2Ft%2Fr-l-tiuhhult-iukktlluuk-o%2F&amp;data=05%7C02%7Cr.a.gwilym%40bangor.ac.uk%7C39ac5db833674c1a026508dc63a24fa7%7Cc6474c55a9234d2a9bd4ece37148dbb2%7C0%7C0%7C638494795990617858%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C0%7C%7C%7C&amp;sdata=D6oVizx3pFoiwRaTcKaakQ079%2FIQx86jcbFpj2%2FS0RQ%3D&amp;reserved=0">has recommended</a> introducing a tourism tax on overnight stays in the county. In Scotland, it seems likely that <a href="https://edinburgh.org/planning/local-information/visitor-levy-for-edinburgh/#:%7E:text=The%20Edinburgh%20Visitor%20Levy%2C%20otherwise%20referred%20to%20as,would%20then%20be%20invested%20back%20into%20the%20city.">visitors to Edinburgh</a> will be paying a fee by 2026, and the Welsh government <a href="https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-government-announces-tourists-pay-26591498">plans to introduce</a> similar legislation later this year.</p> <p>Such taxes may seem new to the UK, but there are more than 60 destinations around the world where this type of tax is already in place. These vary from a nationwide tax in Iceland to various towns across the US. Some have been in place for a long time (France was the <a href="https://www.impots.gouv.fr/taxe-de-sejour">first in 1910</a>), but most were introduced during the last decade or two.</p> <p>Before the pandemic really struck (and tourism was put on hold), 2020 was described by one newspaper as the <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/tourist-tax-amsterdam-venice/">“year of the tourist tax”</a>, as Amsterdam joined an ever-growing list of destinations, which includes Paris, Malta and Cancun, to charge visitors for simply visiting.</p> <p>Introducing these tourist taxes has often been controversial, with industry bodies <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-62707152">voicing concerns</a> about the potential impacts on the tourist trade.</p> <p>And it appears that the link between such levies and visitor numbers is not simple, with several studies reaching different conclusions. For example, some have suggested that tourism levies have hindered <a href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S0261517704000238">international tourism in the Balearics</a> and <a href="https://journals-sagepub-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/doi/pdf/10.1177/00472875211053658">the Maldives</a>, and that they may dissuade people from participating in <a href="https://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/35087/1/ADEDOYIN%2C%20Festus%20Fatai_Ph.D._2020.pdf">domestic tourism</a>.</p> <p>Yet in one of the world’s most popular tourism spots with a levy, Barcelona, visitor numbers have <a href="https://groupnao.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/TOURISM-TAXES-BY-DESIGN-NOV12-2020_rettet-compressed-2.pdf">consistently risen</a>, with hotel guests increasing from 7.1 million in 2013 to 9.5 million in 2019.</p> <p>In fact, the relationship between a visitor levy and tourist flow is so complex that there is no unified view, even within the same country. Italy has been one of the most studied, and results <a href="https://crenos.unica.it/crenosterritorio/sites/default/files/allegati-pubblicazioni-tes/Indagine_Villasimius_Quaderno_Crenos_ISBN.pdf">are inconsistent</a> <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jtr.2123">there too</a>.</p> <p>Another study, looking at three neighbouring Italian seaside spots finds that only in one destination has the visitor levy <a href="https://www.rivisteweb.it/doi/10.1429/77318">reduced tourist flow</a>. And a study on the Italian cities of Rome, Florence and Padua shows that these cities <a href="https://link-springer-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-61274-0_23">have not experienced any negative effects</a> either in terms of domestic or international demand.</p> <p>So the impact of tourism taxes on visitor numbers is inconclusive.</p> <p>But what about other effects, such as the potential benefits of spending the revenues raised? As part of an ongoing research project, we looked at seven different destinations in which tourist taxes are levied to look at how the money raised is then spent.</p> <p>For most places, tourism tax revenues were being used to fund marketing and branding – so invested directly into promoting more tourism. The income was also commonly used to fund tourism infrastructure, from public toilets and walking or cycling paths to a multi-billion dollar <a href="https://www.occc.net/About-Us-Media-Relations-Press-Releases/ArticleID/569/Orange%20County%20Board%20Votes%20to%20Approve%20Convention%20Center%20Completion%20with%20Tourist%20Development%20Tax%20Revenues">convention centre</a> in Orange County, Florida.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.caib.es/sites/impostturisme/en/l/projects/?mcont=95762">the Balearics</a>, revenues tend to go to projects that mitigate the negative impacts of tourism on the environment, culture and society of the islands. These include waste management, conserving natural habitats and historical monuments, and social housing.</p> <p>But in general, tourism taxes have been implemented successfully across the destinations we looked at, and there is little evidence of tourists being put off from visiting.</p> <p>Research also suggests that when tourists are told what the levy is used for – and when it relates directly to <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2227-7099/5/2/21">improving their experience</a> or <a href="https://ejtr.vumk.eu/index.php/about/article/view/2813/605">enhancing sustainable tourism</a> – <a href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S2212571X20301621?casa_token=HcD-yQh65XcAAAAA:GhVRo4vX9JY1E3Lcx5ZPaTr5ZHArMGNrmK_2ASJCtMPjVpdCQLdun25BmFEYquGgz8-1riOWdg">tourists are willing to accept and pay</a> the levy.</p> <h2>Day trippers</h2> <p>For many tourism destinations, the major problem is not overnight tourists, but rather <a href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fuming-snowdonia-visitors-demand-self-30203642">day visitors</a> who use local resources while making little in the way of a financial contribution. For these reasons, taxes might also be used to deter day visits and instead encourage longer stays.</p> <p><a href="https://www.economist.com/why-venice-is-starting-to-charge-tourists-to-enter?utm_medium=cpc.adword.pd&amp;utm_source=google&amp;ppccampaignID=18156330227&amp;ppcadID=&amp;utm_campaign=a.22brand_pmax&amp;utm_content=conversion.direct-response.anonymous&amp;gad_source=1&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjw_qexBhCoARIsAFgBleshST3IQMYR8hONLSLnA_loj9dukAqxURhdVCn1RmGeD5iOQzw_r2caAsqrEALw_wcB&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds">Venice is at the forefront</a> of this shift. And in April 2024, after long discussions between the local authority, residents and business owners, Venice started a <a href="https://cdamedia.veneziaunica.it/en/video/it-is-difficult-to-book-a-visit-to-venice/">trial</a> of a day visitor tax (a so-called <a href="https://cda.veneziaunica.it/en">“access fee”</a>).</p> <p>Back in Kent, it may take longer for any such radical plans to come to fruition. In contrast to Scotland and Wales, there are currently no national plans to <a href="http://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2023-09-13/199425">introduce tourist taxes</a> in England.</p> <p>This might be considered shortsighted, given the dire need of many destinations in England to improve local infrastructure that tourists rely on, including <a href="https://www.reading.ac.uk/news/2024/Research-News/Swimming-in-sewage-Bathing-forecasts-not-keeping-people-safe">clean bathing water</a> and <a href="https://www.lancs.live/news/cumbria-news/lake-district-warning-parking-issues-27173650">public transport</a>. In <a href="https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/business/finance-strategy/manchester-acts-as-trailblazer-for-tourist-tax">Manchester</a> and <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/0e0385e6-29ec-4302-9903-6fbf63d8854a">Liverpool</a>, businesses have implemented voluntary overnight charges on visitors, in the absence of the statutory basis to implement compulsory levies.</p> <p>Many other English towns and cities will probably follow their lead. Tourism taxes are something we might all have to consider budgeting for in our future travel plans, wherever we choose to visit.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229134/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rhys-ap-gwilym-1531623">Rhys ap Gwilym</a>, Senior Lecturer in Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/linda-osti-1431286">Linda Osti</a>, Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-you-should-expect-to-pay-more-tourist-taxes-even-though-the-evidence-for-them-is-unclear-229134">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Why can’t I sleep? It could be your sheets or doona

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chin-moi-chow-169404">Chin Moi Chow</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cynthia-xinzhu-li-1532937">Cynthia (Xinzhu) Li</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-halaki-1532934">Mark Halaki</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>It’s winter, so many of us will be bringing out, or buying, winter bedding.</p> <p>But how much of a difference does your bedding make to your thermal comfort? Can a particular textile help you sleep?</p> <p>Is it wool, or other natural fibres, such as cotton? How about polyester? With so much choice, it’s easy to be confused.</p> <p>Here’s what we <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jsr.14217">found</a> when we reviewed the evidence – not just for winter, but also for the summer ahead.</p> <h2>The importance of bedding</h2> <p>We <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2020.110097">rely on our bedding</a> to maintain a comfortable temperature to help us sleep. And the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378778817317681">right textiles</a> can help regulate our body temperature and <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9783527342587.ch31">wick away moisture</a> from sweat, promoting better sleep.</p> <p>In the cooler months, we’re mainly concerned about a textile’s insulation properties – keeping body heat in and the cold out. As the temperature climbs, we’re less concerned about insulation and more concerned about wicking away moisture from sweat.</p> <p>Another factor to consider is a textile’s breathability – how well it allows air to pass through it. A breathable textile helps keep you cool, by allowing warmth from your body to escape. It also helps keep you comfortable by preventing build-up of moisture. By releasing excess heat and moisture, a breathable textile makes it feel cooler and more comfortable against the skin.</p> <h2>Different textiles have different properties</h2> <p>Some textiles are better than others when it comes to insulation, wicking away moisture or breathability.</p> <p>For instance, cotton and wool have tiny air pockets that <a href="https://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/24505/1/IJFTR%2031(1)%20177-186.pdf">act as insulation</a> to provide <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0379711281900072">warmth</a> in cold weather. Thicker fabrics with more air pockets tend to be warmer, softer and more breathable. But these factors are also affected by the type of fibre, the weave of the fabric and the manufacturing process.</p> <p>Cotton and wool are also breathable fabrics, meaning they help regulate temperature.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="CqVe0" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/CqVe0/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>While cotton absorbs moisture (sweat) from your skin, it doesn’t wick it away efficiently. This retained moisture can make cotton feel clingy and uncomfortable, potentially leading to chills in warm weather.</p> <p>But wool is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jsr.14217">highly absorbent</a> and wicks moisture effectively. In warmer weather, when we sweat, wool fibres allow for airflow and moisture transfer, promoting efficient sweat evaporation and cooling, and preventing overheating. So wool (in different thicknesses) can be a good option in both summer and winter.</p> <p>Linen, although breathable and having moisture-wicking properties, provides less insulation than wool and cotton due to its hollow fibres. This makes linen less effective for keeping warm in winter but is effective for keeping cool in summer.</p> <p>Polyester is a synthetic fibre that can be made to trap air for insulation, but it is not naturally breathable. Usually, it absorbs moisture poorly. So it can trap sweat next to the skin, causing discomfort. However, polyester can be specially treated to help control moisture from sweat.</p> <h2>Which sheets help you sleep?</h2> <p>As part of our review, we couldn’t find any studies that directly compared sheets made from different textiles (for instance, regular cotton and flannelette) and their impact on sleep when it’s cold.</p> <p>However, linen sheets are particularly effective in warmer conditions. In one study, conducted at 29°C and high humidity, linen sheets <a href="https://openurl.ebsco.com/EPDB%3Agcd%3A10%3A26460954/detailv2?sid=ebsco%3Aplink%3Ascholar&amp;id=ebsco%3Agcd%3A87732897&amp;crl=c">promoted</a> less wakefulness and fewer stages of light sleep than cotton sheets.</p> <h2>How about doonas?</h2> <p>If you don’t heat your bedroom at night in winter, a goose down doona (one made from fine, goose feathers) might be an option.</p> <p>These promoted the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378778818321728">longest, deep-sleep</a>, followed by duck down, then cotton when sleeping at 11°C. This may be because down offers better insulation (by trapping more air) than cotton. Down also has lower thermal conductivity than cotton, meaning it’s better at keeping warmth in.</p> <p>Choosing between a wool or polyester doona? In a wool-industry funded <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.2147/NSS.S100271">study</a> two of us (Chow and Halaki) co-authored, there wasn’t much difference. The study in young adults found no significant difference on sleep at 17°C or 22°C.</p> <h2>So how do I choose?</h2> <p>The choice of bedding is highly individual. What feels comfortable to one person is not the same for the next. That’s because of variations in body size and metabolic rate, local climate, bedroom temperature and building insulation. These can also affect sleep.</p> <p>This variability, and a wide range of study designs, also makes it hard to compare different studies about the impact of different textiles on sleep. So you might need to experiment with different textiles to discover what works for you.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Many factors can affect your sleep, not just your bedding. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, you can find more information from the <a href="https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/">Sleep Health Foundation</a>. If symptoms continue, see your GP.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229604/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chin-moi-chow-169404">Chin Moi Chow</a>, Associate Professor of Sleep and Wellbeing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cynthia-xinzhu-li-1532937">Cynthia (Xinzhu) Li</a>, PhD candidate studying menopause and sleep, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-halaki-1532934">Mark Halaki</a>, Professor of Human Movement, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-cant-i-sleep-it-could-be-your-sheets-or-doona-229604">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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The surprising reason why pilots don’t have beards

<p dir="ltr">When walking through an airport before you board a flight, it's very common to pass a pilot or two walking around the terminals. </p> <p dir="ltr">But there’s one thing you may not have noticed that unites the male pilots, and it's not just their clean cut uniforms. </p> <p dir="ltr">While trendy facial hair is very common amongst men, it seems that pilots are swapping the beards and moustaches for a more clean cut look. </p> <p dir="ltr">And there is one key reason for the sleek look: safety. </p> <p dir="ltr">It turns out sporting a beard could lead to issues with using oxygen masks, with the hair preventing a seal from forming. </p> <p dir="ltr">A study in 1987 titled <em><a href="https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars/index.cfm/go/document.information/documentid/22765">The Influence of Beards on Oxygen Mask Efficiency</a></em> outlined how facial hair could impede the efficiency of masks, with pilots still adhering to the procedure. </p> <p dir="ltr">"A Department of Navy study reported an average inboard leakage of 16 to 67 percent for military-type crew oxygen masks when tested with subjects wearing beards to altitudes of 18,000 feet," the report noted.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The data resulting from these tests indicated that decrement in performance does occur when facial hair is present along the sealing surface of crew oxygen masks."</p> <p dir="ltr">The Civil Aviation Authority in New Zealand told Stuff Travel that there are no "explicit written rules specifically addressing pilot dress codes in its regulatory framework".</p> <p dir="ltr">"The focus of the CAA rules is primarily on operational, technical, and safety requirements for aviation activities​," said a spokesperson.</p> <p dir="ltr">"However, individual airlines may have their own internal policies and standards regarding pilot dress codes. These policies ensure a professional appearance and may be part of broader company procedures and safety protocols."</p> <p dir="ltr">Air New Zealand's head of flight operations, Captain Hugh Pearce, said the airline allows moustaches and goatees, "but not full beards".</p> <p dir="ltr">"This is a safety-driven policy to ensure the best fit and most effective use of an oxygen mask if deployed, and is also recommended practice from mask manufacturers.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The safety of our customers and crew is our number one priority and it is of utmost importance that our pilots are equipped to act in the unlikely event of an emergency."</p> <p dir="ltr">Jetstar goes one step further, with goatees also getting the snip: "For safety reasons our pilots don't have beards or goatees. This is to ensure the best possible seal on quick donning oxygen masks."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

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Do you have a mental illness? Why some people answer ‘yes’, even if they haven’t been diagnosed

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jesse-tse-1429151">Jesse Tse</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-haslam-10182">Nick Haslam</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722"><em>The University of Melbourne</em></a></em></p> <p>Mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders have become more prevalent, especially among <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/mental-health/overview/prevalence-and-impact-of-mental-illness#changeovertime">young people</a>. Demand for treatment is surging and prescriptions of some <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35176912/">psychiatric medications</a> have climbed.</p> <p>These upswinging prevalence trends are paralleled by rising public attention to mental illness. Mental health messages saturate traditional and social media. Organisations and governments are developing awareness, prevention and treatment initiatives with growing urgency.</p> <p>The mounting cultural focus on mental health has obvious benefits. It increases awareness, reduces stigma and promotes help-seeking.</p> <p>However, it may also have costs. Critics worry <a href="https://www.bacp.co.uk/bacp-journals/therapy-today/2023/april-2023/the-big-issue/">social media</a> sites are incubating mental illness and that ordinary unhappiness is being pathologised by the overuse of diagnostic concepts and “<a href="https://www.bustle.com/wellness/is-therapy-speak-making-us-selfish">therapy speak</a>”.</p> <p>British psychologist <a href="https://www.psych.ox.ac.uk/team/lucy-foulkes">Lucy Foulkes</a> argues the trends for rising attention and prevalence are linked. Her “<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0732118X2300003X">prevalence inflation hypothesis</a>” proposes that increasing awareness of mental illness may lead some people to diagnose themselves inaccurately when they are experiencing relatively mild or transient problems.</p> <p>Foulkes’ hypothesis implies that some people develop overly broad concepts of mental illness. Our research supports this view. In a new study, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666560324000318?via%3Dihub">we show</a> that concepts of mental illness have broadened in recent years – a phenomenon we call “<a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1047840X.2016.1082418">concept creep</a>” – and that <a href="https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-023-05152-6">people differ</a> in the breadth of their concepts of mental illness.</p> <h2>Why do people self-diagnose mental illnesses?</h2> <p>In our new <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmmh.2024.100326">study</a>, we examined whether people with broad concepts of mental illness are, in fact, more likely to self-diagnose.</p> <p>We defined self-diagnosis as a person’s belief they have an illness, whether or not they have received the diagnosis from a professional. We assessed people as having a “broad concept of mental illness” if they judged a wide variety of experiences and behaviours to be disorders, including relatively mild conditions.</p> <p>We asked a nationally representative sample of 474 American adults if they believed they had a mental disorder and if they had received a diagnosis from a health professional. We also asked about other possible contributing factors and demographics.</p> <p>Mental illness was common in our sample: 42% reported they had a current self-diagnosed condition, a majority of whom had received it from a health professional.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, the strongest predictor of reporting a diagnosis was experiencing relatively severe distress.</p> <p>The second most important factor after distress was having a broad concept of mental illness. When their levels of distress were the same, people with broad concepts were substantially more likely to report a current diagnosis.</p> <p>The graph below illustrates this effect. It divides the sample by levels of distress and shows the proportion of people at each level who report a current diagnosis. People with broad concepts of mental illness (the highest quarter of the sample) are represented by the dark blue line. People with narrow concepts of mental illness (the lowest quarter of the sample) are represented by the light blue line. People with broad concepts were much more likely to report having a mental illness, especially when their distress was relatively high.</p> <p>People with greater mental health literacy and less stigmatising attitudes were also more likely to report a diagnosis.</p> <p>Two interesting further findings emerged from our study. People who self-diagnosed but had not received a professional diagnosis tended to have broader illness concepts than those who had.</p> <p>In addition, younger and politically progressive people were more likely to report a diagnosis, consistent with some <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666560321000438">previous research</a>, and held broader concepts of mental illness. Their tendency to hold these more expansive concepts partially explained their higher rates of diagnosis.</p> <h2>Why does it matter?</h2> <p>Our findings support the idea that expansive concepts of mental illness promote self-diagnosis and may thereby increase the apparent prevalence of mental ill health. People who have a lower threshold for defining distress as a disorder are more likely to identify themselves as having a mental illness.</p> <p>Our findings do not directly show that people with broad concepts over-diagnose or those with narrow concepts under-diagnose. Nor do they prove that having broad concepts <em>causes</em> self-diagnosis or results in <em>actual</em> increases in mental illness. Nevertheless, the findings raise important concerns.</p> <p>First, they suggest that rising mental health awareness may <a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg25934573-900-why-being-more-open-about-mental-health-could-be-making-us-feel-worse/">come at a cost</a>. In addition to boosting mental health literacy it may increase the likelihood of people incorrectly identifying their problems as pathologies.</p> <p>Inappropriate self-diagnosis can have adverse effects. Diagnostic labels may become identity-defining and self-limiting, as people come to believe their problems are enduring, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165032724002489?via%3Dihub">hard-to-control</a> aspects of who they are.</p> <p>Second, unwarranted self-diagnosis may lead people experiencing relatively mild levels of distress to seek help that is unnecessary, inappropriate and ineffective. Recent <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37844607/">Australian research</a> found people with relatively mild distress who received psychotherapy worsened more often than they improved.</p> <p>Third, these effects may be particularly problematic for young people. They are most liable to hold broad concepts of mental illness, in part due to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010440X22000682?via%3Dihub">social media</a> <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10810730.2023.2235563">consumption</a>, and they experience mental ill health at relatively high and rising rates. Whether expansive concepts of illness play a role in the youth mental health crisis remains to be seen.</p> <p>Ongoing cultural shifts are fostering increasingly expansive definitions of mental illness. These shifts are likely to have mixed blessings. By normalising mental illness they may help to remove its stigma. However, by pathologising some forms of everyday distress, they may have an unintended downside.</p> <p>As we wrestle with the mental health crisis, it is crucial we find ways to increase awareness of mental ill health without inadvertently inflating it.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231687/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jesse-tse-1429151">Jesse Tse</a>, PhD Candidate at Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-haslam-10182">Nick Haslam</a>, Professor of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/do-you-have-a-mental-illness-why-some-people-answer-yes-even-if-they-havent-been-diagnosed-231687">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Why doesn’t water help with spicy food? What about milk or beer?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>Spicy foods taste spicy because they contain a family of compounds called capsaicinoids. Capsaicin is the major culprit. It’s found in chillies, jalapeños, cayenne pepper, and is even the active ingredient in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31334983/">pepper spray</a>.</p> <p>Capsaicin doesn’t actually physically heat up your mouth. The burning sensation comes from receptors in the mouth reacting to capsaicin and sending a signal to the brain that something is very hot.</p> <p>That’s why the “hot” chilli sensation feels so real – we even respond by sweating. To alleviate the heat, you need to remove the capsaicin from your mouth.</p> <p>So why doesn’t drinking water help make that spicy feeling go away? And what would work better instead?</p> <h2>Water-loving and water-hating molecules</h2> <p>To help us choose what might wash the capsaicin away most effectively, it’s helpful to know that capsaicin is a hydrophobic molecule. That means it hates being in contact with water and will not easily mix with it.</p> <p>Look what happens when you try to mix hydrophobic sand with water.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/H8cj9CpHW7w?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>On the other hand, hydrophilic molecules love water and are very happy to mix with it.</p> <p>You’ve likely seen this before. You can easily dissolve hydrophilic sugar in water, but it’s hard to wash away hydrophobic oils from your pan using tap water alone.</p> <p>If you try to wash hydrophobic capsaicin away with water, it won’t be very effective, because hydrophilic and hydrophobic substances don’t mix.</p> <p>Going for iced water will be even less effective, as hydrophobic capsaicin is even less soluble in water at lower temperatures. You may get a temporary sense of relief while the cold liquid is in your mouth, but as soon as you swallow it, you’ll be back where you started.</p> <p>Instead, a good choice would be to consume something that is also hydrophobic. This is because of an old-but-true adage in chemistry that “like dissolves like”.</p> <p>The idea is that generally, hydrophobic substances will not dissolve in something hydrophilic – like water – but will dissolve in something that is also hydrophobic, as this video shows:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/s5yfs-Pr_y8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>My mouth is on fire. What should I drink instead of water?</h2> <p>A swig of oil would likely be effective, but is perhaps not so palatable.</p> <p>Milk makes for an ideal choice for two reasons.</p> <p>The first is that milk contains hydrophobic fats, which the capsaicin will more easily dissolve in, allowing it to be washed away.</p> <p>The second is that dairy products contain a protein called casein. Casein is an emulsifier, a substance that helps oils and water mix, as in this video:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S4XeQhZRLDE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Casein plays a large role in keeping the fat mixed throughout your glass of milk, and it also has a strong affinity for capsaicin. It will readily wrap up and encapsulate capsaicin molecules and assist in carrying them away from the receptor. This relieves the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36510373/">burning sensation</a>.</p> <h2>OK but I hate drinking milk. What else can I try?</h2> <p>What about raita? This dish, commonly served with Indian curries, is made primarily from yoghurt. So aside from being its own culinary experience, raita is rich in fats, and therefore contains plenty of hydrophobic material. It also contains casein, which will again help lock up and remove the capsaicin.</p> <p>Ice cream would also work, as it contains both casein and large amounts of hydrophobic substances.</p> <p>Some studies have also shown that consuming <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9328490/">drinks with large amounts of sugar</a> can relieve spiciness.</p> <p>What about reaching for that ice cold beer?</p> <p>This is commonly suggested as a suitable approach to stop the burning. At first glance, this may seem a good idea because capsaicin is highly soluble in alcohol.</p> <p>However, most beers only contain between 4–6% alcohol. The bulk of the liquid in beer is water, which is hydrophilic and cannot wash away capsaicin. The small amount of alcohol in your beer would make it slightly more effective, but not to any great degree.</p> <p>Your curry and beer may taste great together, but that’s likely the only benefit.</p> <p>In truth, an alcoholic beverage is not going to help much unless you go for something with a much, much higher alcohol content, which comes with its own problems.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226624/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-doesnt-water-help-with-spicy-food-what-about-milk-or-beer-226624">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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Why you should be wary of charging your phone in an airport

<p dir="ltr">While charging stations at airports can often be life-savings before boarding a flight, it turns out these handy outlets can be leaving you vulnerable. </p> <p dir="ltr">Many people have fought over a spot to charge up your devices at the last minute before embarking on a holiday, but next time you leave home with your phone or laptop needing some more juice, think again. </p> <p dir="ltr">Emily Stallings, co-founder of tech retailer <em><a href="https://www.getcasely.com/">Casely</a></em>, says that by plugging your phone into a power outlet at a public USB charging station, you're at risk of data breaches and malware infection.</p> <p dir="ltr">"If a device gets infected, it could end up leaking sensitive information or even stop working properly," she told <em><a href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/charging-phone-at-the-airport-danger-expert/57d141df-33ba-4a50-89e5-26f6f2a0c18d">9Travel</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">These public USB ports have often been compromised by cybercriminals, who then use these unsecured ports to steal sensitive information transmitted between devices.</p> <p dir="ltr">"From personal emails to financial data, the information intercepted through these compromised ports could lead to identity theft, financial loss, and other serious consequences," explains Stallings.</p> <p dir="ltr">The best way to get around this threat, without letting your phone run out of battery, is to pack a portable charging device in your carry-on bag every time you travel.</p> <p dir="ltr">With your own cord and power bank, it's far less likely that any sneaky hackers will be able to access your device's data.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stallings says you can also enable security features such as USB Restricted Mode on your device, for those moments when you're desperate for a charger and have to rely on public ports. </p> <p dir="ltr">"This adds an extra layer of protection against potential data breaches and malware infections when charging from public USB ports."</p> <p dir="ltr">"By activating USB Restricted Mode or similar security features, you restrict data transfer over USB connections, effectively preventing unauthorised access to your device's data while charging in public spaces."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Tips

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Why do I poo in the morning? A gut expert explains

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vincent-ho-141549">Vincent Ho</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p>No, you’re not imagining it. People really are more likely to poo in the morning, shortly after breakfast. Researchers have actually studied this.</p> <p>But why mornings? What if you tend to poo later in the day? And is it worth training yourself to be a morning pooper?</p> <p>To understand what makes us poo when we do, we need to consider a range of factors including our body clock, gut muscles and what we have for breakfast.</p> <p>Here’s what the science says.</p> <h2>So morning poos are real?</h2> <p>In a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1379343/">UK study</a> from the early 1990s, researchers asked nearly 2,000 men and women in Bristol about their bowel habits.</p> <p>The most common time to poo was in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1379343/pdf/gut00573-0122.pdf">early morning</a>. The peak time was 7-8am for men and about an hour later for women. The researchers speculated that the earlier time for men was because they woke up earlier for work.</p> <p>About a decade later, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16200717/">a Chinese study</a> found a similar pattern. Some 77% of the almost 2,500 participants said they did a poo in the morning.</p> <h2>But why the morning?</h2> <p>There are a few reasons. The first involves our <a href="https://theconversation.com/circadian-rhythm-nobel-what-they-discovered-and-why-it-matters-85072">circadian rhythm</a> – our 24-hour internal clock that helps regulate bodily processes, such as digestion.</p> <p>For healthy people, our internal clock means the muscular contractions in our colon follow <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19926812/">a distinct rhythm</a>.</p> <p>There’s minimal activity in the night. The deeper and more restful our sleep, the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4677652">fewer</a> of these muscle contractions we have. It’s one reason why we don’t tend to poo in our sleep.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=565&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=565&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=565&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Diagram of digestive system including colon and rectum" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Your lower gut is a muscular tube that contracts more strongly at certain times of day.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/illustration-healthcare-medical-education-drawing-chart-1984316789">Vectomart/Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>But there’s increasing activity during the day. Contractions in our colon are most active in the morning after waking up and after any meal.</p> <p>One particular type of colon contraction partly controlled by our internal clock are known as “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1411356/">mass movements</a>”. These are powerful contractions that push poo down to the rectum to prepare for the poo to be expelled from the body, but don’t always result in a bowel movement. In healthy people, these contractions occur a few times a day. They are more frequent in the morning than in the evening, and after meals.</p> <p>Breakfast is also a trigger for us to poo. When we eat and drink our stomach stretches, which triggers the “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549888/">gastrocolic reflex</a>”. This reflex stimulates the colon to forcefully contract and can lead you to push existing poo in the colon out of the body. We know the gastrocolic reflex is strongest in the morning. So that explains why breakfast can be such a powerful trigger for a bowel motion.</p> <p>Then there’s our morning coffee. This is a very <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2338272/">powerful stimulant</a> of contractions in the sigmoid colon (the last part of the colon before the rectum) and of the rectum itself. This leads to a bowel motion.</p> <h2>How important are morning poos?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1846921/pdf/brmedj02601-0041.pdf">Large international</a> <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20205503/">surveys</a> show the vast majority of people will poo between three times a day and three times a week.</p> <p>This still leaves a lot of people who don’t have regular bowel habits, are regular but poo at different frequencies, or who don’t always poo in the morning.</p> <p>So if you’re healthy, it’s much more important that your bowel habits are comfortable and regular for you. Bowel motions <em>do not</em> have to occur once a day in the morning.</p> <p>Morning poos are also not a good thing for everyone. <a href="https://gut.bmj.com/content/61/Suppl_2/A318.1">Some people</a> with <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-irritable-bowel-syndrome-and-what-can-i-do-about-it-102579">irritable bowel syndrome</a> feel the urgent need to poo in the morning – often several times after getting up, during and after breakfast. This can be quite distressing. It appears this early-morning rush to poo is due to overstimulation of colon contractions in the morning.</p> <h2>Can you train yourself to be regular?</h2> <p>Yes, for example, to help treat constipation using the gastrocolic reflex. Children and elderly people with constipation can use the toilet immediately after eating breakfast <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549888/">to relieve symptoms</a>. And for adults with constipation, drinking coffee regularly can help stimulate the gut, particularly in the morning.</p> <p>A disturbed circadian rhythm can also lead to irregular bowel motions and people more likely to poo in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7147411/">evenings</a>. So better sleep habits can not only help people get a better night’s sleep, it can help them get into a more regular bowel routine.</p> <p>Regular physical activity and avoiding <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2787735/">sitting down a lot</a> are also important in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16028436/">stimulating bowel movements</a>, particularly in people with constipation.</p> <p>We know <a href="https://theconversation.com/nervous-tummy-why-you-might-get-the-runs-before-a-first-date-106925">stress</a> can contribute to irregular bowel habits. So minimising stress and focusing on relaxation <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5193306/">can help</a> bowel habits become more regular.</p> <p>Fibre from fruits and vegetables also <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/665565/">helps</a> make bowel motions more regular.</p> <p>Finally, ensuring <a href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-what-causes-constipation-114290">adequate hydration</a> helps minimise the chance of developing constipation, and helps make bowel motions more regular.</p> <h2>Monitoring your bowel habits</h2> <p>Most of us consider pooing in the morning to be regular. But there’s a wide variation in normal so don’t be concerned if your poos don’t follow this pattern. It’s more important your poos are comfortable and regular for you.</p> <p>If there’s a major change in the regularity of your bowel habits that’s concerning you, see your GP. The reason might be as simple as a change in diet or starting a new medication.</p> <p>But sometimes this can signify an important change in the health of your gut. So your GP may need to arrange further investigations, which could include blood tests or imaging.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229624/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vincent-ho-141549">Vincent Ho</a>, Associate Professor and clinical academic gastroenterologist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-do-i-poo-in-the-morning-a-gut-expert-explains-229624">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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Why your health issues keep flaring up – and how to switch them off

<p><em>Author, </em><em>accredited Clinical Nutritionist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Coach, Trauma Therapist &amp; PhD Scholar </em><em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Filipa Bellette shows us how you can tap into your body's ancient wisdom and finally find relief from chronic health issues by learning to deeply listen, connect, and trust yourself.</em></p> <p>Have you been struggling with chronic health issues for years, maybe even decades? Things like fatigue, anxiety, gut issues, food sensitivities, body pain, headaches, menopausal symptoms (if you’re a woman)? You’ve probably tried everything under the sun - GP visits, lab tests, naturopaths, supplements, diets, even yoga and breath-work - but still those annoying symptoms keep coming back. Sound familiar?</p> <p><strong>My Chronic Health Story</strong></p> <p>I was there once too. I have experienced chronic “weird” health issues three times. I struggled with a mix of anxiety, insomnia, gut issues, low immunity, body pain, female hormone issues, low energy, chemical sensitivity and histamine intolerance.</p> <p>The first time was after my first baby and I resolved some of the issues with lifestyle changes - sleep, movement, wholefoods and low-tox living. It was GREAT, until baby number two came along, and all my symptoms flared back up, even though my lifestyle was dialled in. This is when I came across functional medicine, and I <a href="https://www.chrisandfilly.fm/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">became a practitioner</a> and started lab testing my own body systems and therapeutically supporting imbalances in my body with natural medicine supplements.</p> <p>This worked amazing, and I got on top of my symptoms. Until … COVID came along, and I was under a lot of stress, and all the same issues flared up again! I realised I still hadn’t addressed the deepest root-cause of my health issues, and that was the “baggage” stuck in my unconscious mind (dysfunctional unconscious core beliefs, deep-seated perfectionism, people pleasing and addictive-doing patterns, and unprocessed past distressing events), that were dysregulating my nervous system.</p> <p><strong>The Missing Piece In Healthcare</strong></p> <p>What I’ve found in the health industry as a whole, is that we have lost the ability to communicate with our bodies. You go to a GP or medical specialist and they are the expert dictating what tests to do, and what medications you need to be on. I even see this in natural medicine modalities, like <a href="https://www.chrisandfilly.fm/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">functional medicine (which I practice)</a>, where the practitioner runs some labs and creates a protocol for the patient. This is great for therapeutic support, and something I do with clients, however, it is still promoting the message that “others know best.”</p> <p>This is simply not true.</p> <p><strong>You Are The Expert of Your Body</strong></p> <p>I wholeheartedly believe that 95% of what you need to heal is already inside of you. Our bodies hold ancient wisdom, and you know inherently what is good for you, and what isn’t. The thing is, society as a whole has lost the ability to listen to and communicate with our bodies.</p> <p>I’m here to change that! In our practice we work with clients to rebuild trust with self, to learn how THEIR body communicates to THEM, and to act on the messages.</p> <p>When you act, magic happens! I have literally seen symptoms “switch off” in the moment when clients listen to their bodies and act accordingly. For example, I spoke at a business women’s conference on the Gold Coast on the weekend, and took attendees through a process to communicate with their unconscious mind through the symptoms in their bodies. One lady stood up at the end and said her chronic headache that had been hanging around for days completely disappeared (she’d even taken 4 pain-killers that morning, which didn’t budge the headache!).</p> <p>Oh my gosh, how cool! I see this again and again for myself and with our clients, how quickly chronic health issues can be resolved when you deeply listen, connect, trust and love yourself.</p> <p>I’ve seen:</p> <ul> <li>Chronic fatigue disappear over months</li> <li>Heartburn clear up in a moment</li> <li>Anxiety ease</li> <li>Chronic pain in the body switch off within days</li> <li>Brain fog lift</li> <li>Food sensitivities dissolve</li> <li>Plus so much more!</li> </ul> <p><strong>It’s Not Woo-Woo – It’s Science</strong></p> <p>If you’re someone who needs the facts, let me tell you this way of holistic healing isn’t just “woo woo” or “magic”. It’s how we’re wired as human beings.</p> <p>For example, let’s look at pain. Pain is not your enemy. As humans we have evolved for safety and survival. Pain is a primitive way our bodies have warned us of danger. You touch fire, you get burned, your brain creates a neural pathway to never touch the fire again because it hurts!</p> <p>The nervous system, too, is so important at sending you messages of safety or danger. It’s always trying to keep us safe and alive. So if it deems something unsafe - this could be your own beliefs about yourself, self-doubt, uncertainty, shame, guilt, frustration, or fears about eating certain foods, smelling perfumes, being around mould, etc – your system gets very good at creating symptoms to alert you of danger, which then leads to chronic health issues.</p> <p>When you can create the space to ask: what is unsafe? What’s the story behind the symptom? And what do you need from me, body, to feel safe and loved and to heal? Then you can finally end your state of dysregulation and body burnout.</p> <p><em>Filipa Bellette, author of Ending Body Burnout ($29.95), is an accredited Clinical Nutritionist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Coach, Trauma Therapist &amp; PhD Scholar. She is co-founder of multi award-winning health practice Chris &amp; Filly Functional Medicine, best known for ending body burnout (for good!) in “busy” people with energy, mood &amp; gut issues. Find out more at <a href="http://www.chrisandfilly.fm/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">www.chrisandfilly.fm</a>  </em></p> <p><em>Image: Courtesy of </em><em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Filipa Bellette</em></p>

Caring

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"Why is the water so salty?" and other priceless questions from clueless tourists

<p>In the heart of the stunning intersection where the Daintree Rainforest kisses the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll find <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g499639-d1045292-Reviews-Ocean_Safari-Cape_Tribulation_Daintree_Region_Queensland.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ocean Safari</a> – a top-notch, eco-certified tour company. Brooke Nikola, one of their delightful tour guides, has been guiding wide-eyed adventurers through this paradise for years. With thousands of tourists coming from all corners of the globe, she’s accumulated a treasure trove of amusing anecdotes that could rival the size of the reef itself.</p> <p>Let’s dive right into the deep end with some classic moments <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/australian-holidays/queensland/hilarious-comments-from-clueless-tourists/news-story/ad90a419cbf4fed9d454d3edef0cb096" target="_blank" rel="noopener">per news.com.au</a>. One sunny day, while marvelling at the endless blue expanse, a curious tourist asked Brooke, “Why does the water taste so salty?”</p> <p>“Well, it’s the ocean,” Brooke gently reminded them. Ah, the wonders of seawater – still a mystery to some.</p> <p>Then there was the time aboard the Ocean Safari vessel, cruising serenely over the waves, when a perplexed guest inquired, “How far above sea level are we?” </p> <p>And who could forget the would-be scientist who attempted to bottle the stunning blue ocean water, only to be baffled when it turned out clear. We can only imagine Brooke explaining the tricky science of light refraction and how the ocean's mesmerising blue doesn't quite fit into a bottle. No doubt their holiday turned into an impromptu science lesson.</p> <p>The complaints Brooke hears are just as priceless. One guest, dripping after a snorkelling session, grumbled, “Ugh, snorkelling makes me so wet.” </p> <p>Then there was the revelation about the rainforest. As rain drizzled through the lush canopy, a bewildered tourist remarked, “It’s so rainy in the rainforest!” Who knew that rain would be part of the rainforest experience? Certainly not that guest!</p> <p>Geography can be tricky, especially in a place as uniquely named as Cape Tribulation. As tourists boarded the Ocean Safari vessel from Cape Tribulation beach, one asked where the Daintree Rainforest was – oblivious to the verdant scenery they had driven through for the past hour. Brooke had to kindly point out that they had been in it this whole time.</p> <p>Another classic came from a guest who thought Cape Tribulation was an island. They earnestly asked, “So, how big is the whole island?” To which Brooke replied, “It’s pretty big. So big, in fact, it’s known as Australia!”</p> <p>Through all of these delightful moments, no doubt Brooke remained a fountain of patience and good humour. So, next time you find yourself at Cape Tribulation, remember to bring your sense of wonder – and a good laugh. Because as Brooke can tell you, the Great Barrier Reef is full of surprises, both above and below the water!</p> <p><em>Images: Ocean Safari / Instagram</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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What are compound exercises and why are they good for you?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mandy-hagstrom-1180806">Mandy Hagstrom</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anurag-pandit-1534963">Anurag Pandit</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>So you’ve got yourself a gym membership or bought a set of home weights. Now what? With the sheer amount of confusing exercise advice out there, it can be hard to decide what to include in a weights routine.</p> <p>It can help to know there are broadly two types of movements in resistance training (lifting weights): compound exercises and isolation exercises.</p> <p>So what’s the difference? And what’s all this got to do with strength, speed and healthy ageing?</p> <h2>What’s the difference?</h2> <p>Compound exercises involve multiple joints and muscle groups working together.</p> <p>In a push up, for example, your shoulder and elbow joints are moving together. This targets the muscles in the chest, shoulder and triceps.</p> <p>When you do a squat, you’re using your thigh and butt muscles, your back, and even the muscles in your core.</p> <p>It can help to think about compound movements by grouping them by primary movement patterns.</p> <p>For example, some lower body compound exercises follow a “squat pattern”. Examples include bodyweight squats, weighted squats, lunges and split squats.</p> <p>We also have “hinge patterns”, where you hinge from a point on your body (such as the hips). Examples include deadlifts, hip thrusts and kettle bell swings.</p> <p>Upper body compounded exercises can be grouped into “push patterns” (such as vertical barbell lifts) or “pull patterns” (such as weighted rows, chin ups or lat pull downs, which is where you use a pulley system machine to lift weights by pulling a bar downwards).</p> <p>In contrast, isolation exercises are movements that occur at a single joint.</p> <p>For instance, bicep curls only require movement at the elbow joint and work your bicep muscles. Tricep extensions and lateral raises are other examples of isolation exercises.</p> <h2>Compound exercises can make daily life easier</h2> <p>Many compound exercises mimic movements we do every day.</p> <p>Hinge patterns mimic picking something off the floor. A vertical press mimics putting a heavy box on a high shelf. A squat mimics standing up from the couch or getting on and off the toilet.</p> <p>That might sound ridiculous to a young, fit person (“why would I need to practise getting on and off a toilet?”).</p> <p>Unfortunately, we lose strength and muscle mass as we age. Men lose about <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/physiology/articles/10.3389/fphys.2012.00260/full">5%</a> of their muscle mass per decade, while for women the figure is about <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/physiology/articles/10.3389/fphys.2012.00260/full">4%</a> per decade.</p> <p>When this decline begins can vary widely. However, approximately 30% of an adult’s peak muscle mass is lost by the time they are 80.</p> <p>The good news is resistance training can counteract these <a href="https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2019/08000/resistance_training_for_older_adults__position.1.aspx">age-related changes</a> in muscle size and strength.</p> <p>So building strength through compound exercise movements may help make daily life feel a bit easier. In fact, our ability to perform compound movements are a good indicator how well we can function <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1442-2018.2007.00317.x">as we age</a>.</p> <h2>What about strength and athletic ability?</h2> <p>Compound exercises use multiple joints, so you can generally lift heavier weights than you could with isolation exercises. Lifting a heavier weight means you can build muscle strength more efficiently.</p> <p>One <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/physiology/articles/10.3389/fphys.2017.01105/full">study</a> divided a group of 36 people into two. Three times a week, one group performed isolation exercises, while the other group did compound exercises.</p> <p>After eight weeks, both groups had lost fat. But the compound exercises group saw much better results on measures of cardiovascular fitness, bench press strength, knee extension strength, and squat strength.</p> <p>If you play a sport, compound movements can also help boost athletic ability.</p> <p>Squat patterns require your hip, knee, and ankle to extend at the same time (also known as triple extension).</p> <p>Our bodies use this triple extension trick when we run, sprint, jump or change direction quickly. In fact, research has found squat strength is strongly linked to being able to <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/38/3/285.short?casa_token=hQDvLoU1GWYAAAAA:bx5DqM5HevN8AJpVLOWN5KlNKgqYubTysTvl5dqYr8855acTxNgf4QEmPELWU1hzL6HG9ZezysFQ">sprint faster and jump higher</a>.</p> <h2>Isolation exercises are still good</h2> <p>What if you’re unable to do compound movements, or you just don’t want to?</p> <p>Don’t worry, you’ll still build strength and muscle with isolation exercises.</p> <p>Isolation exercises are also typically <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079612303430033">easier to learn</a> as there is no skill required. They are an easy and low risk way to add extra exercise at the end of the workout, where you might otherwise be too tired to do more compound exercises safely and with correct form.</p> <p>In fact, both isolation and compound exercises seem to be equally effective in helping us <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/physiology/articles/10.3389/fphys.2017.01105/full">lose body fat and increase fat-free muscle mass</a> when total intensity and volume of exercises are otherwise equal.</p> <p>Some people also do isolation exercises when they want to build up a particular muscle group for a certain sport or for a bodybuilding competition, for example.</p> <h2>I just want a time efficient workout</h2> <p>Considering the above factors, you could consider prioritising compound exercises if you’re:</p> <ul> <li> <p>time poor</p> </li> <li> <p>keen to lift heavier weights</p> </li> <li> <p>looking for an efficient way to train many muscles in the one workout</p> </li> <li> <p>interested in healthy ageing.</p> </li> </ul> <p>That said, most well designed workout programs will include both compound and isolation movements.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228385/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mandy-hagstrom-1180806">Mandy Hagstrom</a>, Senior Lecturer, Exercise Physiology. School of Health Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anurag-pandit-1534963">Anurag Pandit</a>, PhD Candidate in Exercise Physiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-are-compound-exercises-and-why-are-they-good-for-you-228385">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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