Daily Orbit – Dirty Human Habits

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,492
    6-12-13: On this episode of the Daily Orbit, the scary truth about how bad we are at washing our hands, dust storms are on the rise in the west, and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield retires.

    Emerald Robinson: A dirty story about human habits. The dust is flying. Celebrating a Canadian hero's retirement. And, well, we're just celebrating! On today's Daily Orbit!


    Hello and welcome to the 200th episode of the Daily Orbit. I'm Emerald Robinson. I thought we could have a little celebration since today's marks our 200th episode. And here's a dirty little story for you to celebrate. Don't get excited. It's literally dirty. 


    A new report says that one in ten people don't wash their hands after using the restroom. Ewww! And of those that do, one-third don't use soap especially men. What's the point if you're not going to use soap people? Only five percent of hand washers actually wash them long enough to kill the germs that can lead to infections. 


    How do scientists know this? They had college students observe people in public restrooms while trying to be inconspicuous. Poor kids! Improper washing of hands spreads infection and causes nearly half of all food borne illnesses. The CDC recommends 15 to 20 seconds of vigorous hand washing with both water and SOAP-you hear that men? Soap. I'll keep my antibacterial gel just in case.


    What's up with all this dirt? It's supposed to be a party today! A study from the University of Colorado Boulder says the West is getting dustier. Dust storms are a way nature reorganizes nutrients and minerals, so researchers looked at calcium deposits as a proxy for dust measurements since calcium has been monitored since the 70s. They found an increase in calcium in the region, suggesting an overall increase in dust. And they added it lined up with what the old timers were saying that there are more dust storms than before. Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado have seen the biggest increase, which researchers say could be a result of drought, windstorms or human activity.


    And don't expect this man to be collecting dust even if he is hanging up his astronaut suit. Commander Chris Hatfield announced his retirement from the Canadian Space Agency. Hadfield is a man of firsts, first Canadian Commander of an ISS mission, first Canadian to do a spacewalk, the first to or astronaut general to tweet from space and they are first to rock out in a music video on the ISS. 


    His breathtaking images from space captivated the Earthly audience. He said "it's been an incredible adventure" but that it's "time for me to do something else." Thanks Chris Hadfield for making space even more fun for those of us who have to keep our feet on the ground!


    And we may be on the ground but there's a lot to be done terrestrially as well! Case in point, the new stealth electric motorcycle. The company, Zero Motorcycles together with the US Special Operations Forces, have, well, joined forces to create a very special motorcycle. 


    The Zero MMX Military Motorcycle takes off quickly from a standstill, has no engine noise, runs through a meter of water, and is electric! And for all you civilians out there, they incorporated all the powertrain enhancements of the military bike into their new 2013 line for the public.


    The company already makes bikes for police who say they can reach 95 mph and they're quiet enough to perform surveillance. Want your own stealth motorcycle? Yeah me too, Zero MX is retailing a public version for around $9,500. But you know as a civilian rider that engine noise can be helpful. It might keep from getting side swiped from a stressed out driver!


    Driving is stressful! Especially here in DC. Audi and MIT got together to discover just how stressful exactly in what they call the Road Frustration Index, a scorecard they used to measure how stressful traffic conditions are in different parts of the US. They monitored drivers' heart rate and reactions while driving, an Audi of course outfitted with three cameras and GPS tracking while driving in major U.S. cities.


    They found that peaks in stress for a driver in Boston are higher than some of the lower points experienced by a skydiver. I can believe that. They scored cities based on sentiments from Twitter, traffic and weather conditions, and incidents. Cities like Boston, Atlanta, Cleveland and LA scored the highest on the RFI scale. Phoenix, Charlotte and Baltimore scored the lowest with New York City also being surprisingly low. Huh...they obviously didn't do DC!


    Well that's all for the 200th episode of the Daily Orbit! See you tomorrow for number 201! Let's play the music.