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Tetris proves effective treatment for lazy eyes

24 Apr 2013


Sneak has often been accused of letting video games get in the way of work. But there are days when it's only the prospect of getting a highest score on Stick Cricket that makes the prospect of heading into the office palatable. But thanks to Canadian doctors, Sneak now has the perfect excuse.

A McGill university team have shown that playing Tetris can be used to treat lazy eye. According to the researchers, the game makes users' eyes work together, providing a more effective approach than the traditional patch.

“It's much better than patching, much more enjoyable, it's faster and it seems to work better," Dr Robert Hess, the group's lead researcher, told the BBC.

The researchers got their volunteers to play the game while wearing specially modified goggles, which enabled one eye to see only falling objects and the other the blocks piling up on the ground. A hour's Tetris-playing a day for two weeks was enough to demonstrate an improvement.

And not only does Tetris provide an effective treatment, other computer games might also work, he added.

Sneak is quietly confident that all those accusations of laziness will soon be a thing of the past.

Big data finds the rat that links man and beasts

08 Feb 2013


Sneak has always been suspicious of the so-called big data trend – mainly because the term is so lame. But the latest scientist breakthrough has really put the tin lid on. Now, and indeed thanks, to so-called big data it has proven what some readers may long suspected: that Sneak is related to an ancient rat.

According to scientists at Stony Brook University, human beings' common ancestor with other mammals that raise infants in utero was a half-pound, rat like creature that scoffed insects and lived millions of years ago.

The Stony Brook team, along with colleagues dotted across the globe, were only able to make this discovery thanks to the data-crunching capabilities of an online genetic matching platform, known as Morphobank.

They used it to study 4,500 mammalian characteristics - from the skull, the skeleton, teeth to the internal organs, muscles and even fur patterns. That represented 10 times more characteristics than they'd previously been able to study at one time.

Attempting to identify a common ancestor using all those data points was a far bigger database problem than the palaeontologists involved had ever attempted before.

“At one point I didn't think we'd ever finish,” Micharl Novacek, provost for science at the American Museum of Natural History told the New York Times.

Frankly, given that Sneak's endured a lifetime of being branded a dirty rat, he almost wishes they never had.

Facebook use makes you fat

15 Jan 2013

Health crisis

As the pizza boxes pile mounting by the bin can attest, Sneak's New Year diet is not going to plan. Of course, Sneak knows only too well that his lack of self control hasn't helped matters, but this inability to ignore the alluring call of a 15in stuffed crust deep pan with extra mozzarella and sausage is not proof of a personality defect. As it turns out, Sneaks complete lack of willpower is entirely Facebook's fault.

At least that's the interpretation Sneak had from reading a newly released piece of research from the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia Business School.

Researchers Andrew Stephen and Keith Wilcox studied 1,000 Facebook users to see how their experience of using the social networking site impacted their lives. They found users that had strong ties with friends via Facebook were more likely to experience an increase in self-esteem, which is nice for them.

“We find that people experience greater self-esteem when they focus on the image they are presenting to strong ties in their social networks," said Wilcox. "This suggests that even though people are sharing the same positive information with strong ties and weak ties on social networks, they feel better about themselves when the information is received by strong ties than by weak ties."

But the researchers discovered this was a double-edged sword. So while users felt better about themselves after using Facebook, they also showed far less self control after doing so.

“The results suggest that greater social network use is associated with a higher body-mass index, increased binge eating, a lower credit score, and higher levels of credit-card debt for individuals with strong ties to their social network," they wrote.

The research has been published by the Journal of Consumer Research.

Given Sneak's Facebook habit and the advent of online pizza ordering, little wonder the diet has gone for a burton.

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