Best of Web: Twitter banned at royal wedding

Twitter banned at royal wedding


First The Chaser, now Twitter has effectively been banned from the royal wedding with signal-blocking technology to be installed at Westminster Abbey.

According to Yahoo, the move was suggested by members of the royal family and approved by security.

A police official confirmed the technology, which also blocks calls and therefore untimely ringtones, will be turned on early Friday morning local time and will run for the duration of the ceremony.

The news comes after the ABC was forced to scrap The Chaser team's satirical coverage of the wedding after the BBC denied access to footage for anything other than a serious telecast of the event.

The royal wedding is not the first event to make moves to stop guests from tweeting.

Logies organisers effectively banned Twitter from Sunday night's ceremony by advising mobile phones would not be permitted.

Now, a nasal spray to beat depression


London: Scientists have developed a new nasal spray which they claim could help beat depression and anxiety within two hours.

The spray, which contains a natural brain chemical, is designed to penetrate the brain areas involved in mood.

According to researchers, the spray could be effective within two hours, compared to other antidepressants which take several days to work, the Daily Mail reported.

It is estimated that one in four women and one in ten men will require treatment for depression at some time in their lives. One of the downsides of antidepressants is that they can take a long time to work - between two and eight weeks.

In a trial at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, researchers are investigating the use of the spray containing neuropeptide Y -- the chemical which is used by nerve cells in the brain to communicate with each other.

According to scientists, some of the brain chemicals, especially the 'neuropeptide Y', are thought to be involved in how the brain regulates behaviour and mood.

This compound is the most abundant peptide in the human brain, and is found in nerve fibres alongside another chemical called norepinephrine, which is thought to be involved in regulating mood and anxiety. Past research has also shown that stress leads to the release of the chemical, and a recent study by University of Michigan found that people with low neuropeptide levels may be at higher risk of developing depression.
Though research has suggested neuropeptide Y may be effective for treating psychiatric disorders, there have been problems in moving the compound into the brain.

This is mainly because it's a large molecule, and has difficulty in passing through the blood-brain barrier which protects the brain from harmful compounds in the blood.

However, the researchers believe that nasal sprays can overcome this problem.

The upper part of the nose is like a back door into the brain as the nerves involved in smell provide a pathway straight into the central nervous system.

The new trial, which involves 15 volunteers aged 25 to 45, is designed to investigate how well the spray and neuropeptide Y work in the brain, and the effects will be compared with a placebo.

Researchers, who expect results in about two months, use an extra-powerful device to get the liquid as high as possible in the nose, into the area at the very top which is rich in nerves used for detecting smells.

Commenting on the research, a spokesperson from mental health charity Mind says: "This research is at an early stage and it remains to be seen whether this trial will lead to a new treatment.

"It is important to recognise that alternative approaches to antidepressants, such as talking therapies and exercise, can also have positive results."

Hitler tried to build flying saucers during WWII


London: Adolf Hitler tried to build a fleet of flying saucers to attack London and New York, a media report said.

The Sun reported that one alleged site of production of the Nazi UFOs is a series of tunnels buried under the Jonas Valley in Thuringia, central Germany.

Under the command of SS General Hans Kammler, slave labourers there toiled to bring Hitler's fantasies into existence, it said.

The German science mag PM has reported how "advanced" the programme was as scientists toiled in secret factories to produce the "wonder weapon" to win the war.

The magazine quotes eyewitnesses who saw a flying saucer marked with the German Iron Cross flying low over the Thames in 1944. "America also treated the existence of the weapons seriously," it said.

The US believed Germany could use it to drop weapons on New York - a target the Fuhrer was obsessed with as the war progressed.

At the time the New York Times reported on a "mysterious flying disc" with photos of the device seen travelling at extremely high speeds over the city's high-rise buildings.

"Apparently that machine was capable on its maiden flight of travelling 2,000 km," added the PM report. "The Germans had destroyed much of the paperwork of their activities but there are numerous hints that it did indeed exist."

The Nazi UFO project was driven by engineers Rudolf Schriever and Otto Habermohl and was based in Prague between 1941 and 1943.

Initially a Luftwaffe project, it eventually fell under the control of armaments minister Albert Speer before being taken over once again in 1944 by Kammler, according to The Sun. Joseph Andreas Epp, an engineer who served as a consultant to the Schriever-Habermohl project, claimed 15 prototypes were built.

Hot red pepper can help burn calories


London: Spicing up the daily diet with some red pepper can curb appetite and help burn unwanted calories, a study says.

"We found that consuming red pepper can help manage appetite and burn more calories after a meal, especially for individuals who do not consume the spice regularly," said Richard Mattes, professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University, who led the study.

"Dietary changes that don't require great effort to implement, like sprinkling red pepper on your meal, may be sustainable and beneficial in the long run, especially when paired with exercise and healthy eating," the journal Physiology and Behaviour, quoting Mattes, said.

Other studies have found that capsaicin, the component that gives chili peppers their heat, can reduce hunger and increase energy expenditure burning calories.

The current study measured the effects of the spice using quantities of red pepper - one gram or half a teaspoon - that are acceptable for many consumers, according to a Purdue statement.

Other studies also have looked at consumption via a capsule, but doctoral student Mary-Jon Ludy and Mattes' study demonstrated that tasting the red pepper may optimise its effects.

This study used ordinary dried, ground cayenne red pepper.

Cayenne is a chili pepper, which is among the most commonly consumed spices in the world.

Most, but not all, chili peppers contain capsaicin.

A group of non-overweight people, half who liked spicy food and half who did not, participated in the six-week study.

The preferred level of pepper for each group was determined in advance, and those who did not like red pepper preferred 0.3 grams compared to regular spice users who preferred 1.8 grams.

In general, red pepper consumption did increase core body temperature and burn more calories through natural energy expenditure.

Mattes said the findings also show that red pepper should be consumed in non-capsule form because the taste - the sensory experience - maximises the digestive process.

Julian Assange is not a criminal: global poll


New York: A 24-country poll found that most people believe WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange is not a criminal and should not be charged by the US government for releasing thousands of secret US documents.

The poll by Ipsos found 79 percent of people were aware of WikiLeaks and two-thirds of those believed Assange should not be charged and three-quarters supported the group's bid to make public secret government or corporate documents.

US respondents had a far more critical view, with 81 percent aware of WikiLeaks and 69 percent of those believing Assange should be charged and 61 percent opposing WikiLeaks' mission.

The countries found least likely to support legal action against Assange by the US government were South Africa, Germany, Russia and Argentina, while the highest support was in the United States, South Korea, Britain, India and Indonesia.

WikiLeaks obtained more than 250,000 leaked US cables and since late last year has released embarrassing disclosures that exposed US intelligence and views and revealed confidential discussions with foreign governments.

On Sunday, 'The New York Times' and several other news organizations reported on a cache of classified US military documents provided to them by WikiLeaks that revealed intelligence assessments on nearly all the 779 people who have been detained at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

The US military has charged a soldier, Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking the sensitive documents to WikiLeaks, and US prosecutors are looking at where charges can be brought against Assange.

Assange, an Australian computer expert, is fighting extradition from Britain to Sweden over alleged sex crimes.

Ipsos polled 18,829 adults online between March 2 and March 14 and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

The countries surveyed were Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

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