Dead Skin Is In The Air In Subway Systems

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Dead Skin Is In The Air In Subway Systems

Several million people ride the New York City subway system every single day. As you might imagine, it's not quite the picture of cleanliness. According to research conducted in 2007 and 2008 by biologists from the University of Colorado, 15% of the matter analyzed in New York City subway system air consisted of human skin. Most of this skin came from the heads and heels of riders, but smaller portions originated from riders' belly buttons, ears, underarms, and rear ends. The air is just one place to find pollutants in the subway. Christopher Mason of Cornell University tested samples from every subway station in New York City to map the bacteria. His study, published in 2015, states that traces of disease like the bubonic plague, meningitis, and staph infections were present. "Our data show evidence that most bacteria in these densely populated, highly trafficked transit areas are neutral to human health, and much of it is commonly found on the skin or in the gastrointestinal tract," Mason said. "These bacteria may even be helpful, since they can out-compete any dangerous bacteria." Watch the video below to learn more about Mason's research.

Even If You're Not A Redhead, You May Have This Potentially Dangerous Gene

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Even If You're Not A Redhead, You May Have This Potentially Dangerous Gene

It's not surprising that redheads are at higher risk for developing skin cancer, because they generally have lower levels of melanin in their skin. But scientists uncovered a surprising fact about a gene variant associated with red hair that can exist in non-redheads. This "silent" gene, which is a genetic variant of MC1R, is present in redheads, but not exclusively. Redheads have two strains of the gene, but there are people with blonde or light brown hair that may carry a single strain, and even that can increase the risk of sun-related skin cancer. The effect of the gene is comparable to 20 years of sun exposure, in terms of cancerous changes. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

How Important is SPF for Sun Protection?

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How Important is SPF for Sun Protection?

When it comes to sunscreen, a higher SPF should protect against more UV rays than a lower one. And it does, but not by much. SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93% of UVB radiation. SPF 30 blocks around 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%. "As you get higher and higher, it's not really a practical difference," American Academy of Dermatology president Dr. David M. Pariser told the New York Times. Here's why: companies calculate SPF by comparing the time it takes a person to burn unprotected with the time it takes for them to burn wearing sunscreen. Therefore, if you burn after 20 minutes with no sunscreen, you should theoretically be able to last for 15 times longer -- a whopping five hours -- with SPF 15. But sunscreen itself doesn't usually last that long. Sweat, friction, and simple quirks of product formulation can make it wear off, which is why dermatologists recommend reapplying every two hours. That means it doesn't really matter whether you get the SPF 30 or the SPF 100, since the formula will probably wear off before the difference in protection becomes important. What is important is applying sunscreen properly: for a full-body application, you should use an ounce of sunscreen, or roughly the volume of a shot glass. And because SPF is only a measure of UVB protection, you should look for a full-spectrum formula that protects againsts both aging-related UVA and sunburn-related UVB rays.

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Key Facts to Know

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    Sunscreens protect skin from UV light, which can damage skin cells and cause sunburn, moles, freckles, and wrinkles. 0:48

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    UV-B light is the primary cause of sunburn. UV-A penetrates more deeply, causing more long-term damage like wrinkles and age spots. Both can cause skin cancer. 1:02

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    SPF 15 protects the skin from 93% of UVB rays. SPF 30 protects it from 97%. 2:38

Dermatographia Turns Your Skin Into A Canvas

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Dermatographia Turns Your Skin Into A Canvas

People with dermatographia are, in essence, allergic to touch: rubbing or scratching the skin, even lightly, can trigger an inflammatory response that causes unusual puffiness, redness, and swelling in the affected area. This can be a source of embarrassment for sufferers, since even a rub of the eye or a scratch of the neck can leave them looking red and swollen. But some, like Brooklyn artist Ariana Page Russell, use it as an opportunity for artistic expression. As a way to own her condition, Russell began etching words, hearts, and abstract patterns into her skin, then taking artistic photographs of the resulting designs. Her online gallery has given many sufferers of dermatographia (which literally translates to "skin writing") a new outlook on their conditions.

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from geobeats

Key Facts to Know

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    Touch allergy is also known as "skin-writing disease," since sufferers are able to scratch words and patterns into their skin. 0:11

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    Also known as seminal plasma hypersensitivity, sex allergies are caused by the fluid carrying male sperm. 0:51

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    Nickel allergies cause itchy rashes whenever the sufferer comes into contact with nickel. 1:14

Grinders Hack Their Own Bodies By Implanting Tech Under The Skin

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Grinders Hack Their Own Bodies By Implanting Tech Under The Skin

Grinders. Biohackers. Transhumanists. These words encompass movements that aim to augment and improve the human body with technology, creating real cyborgs. Grinders are on the more anarchical end of the transhumanist spectrum, and they have a penchant for body modification. One popular procedure is placing a small magnet beneath the skin of your finger. Not only does this implant mean that you can attract other magnets using only your flesh-it also imparts a "sixth sense," enabling you to "feel" the electromagnetic fields in your microwave or the power lines outside your house. Such operations are not without their risks, however. Your body could reject the magnet, and anesthetic or help from a hospital is thus far not part of the package. Ben Popper, a reporter for the Verge, had a magnet implanted by a grinder for a story, and said that the pain "ranked alongside breaking my arm and having my appendix removed."

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Key Facts to Know

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    "Grinders" biohack their bodies with implants to gain new abilities. 0:03

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    Grinder Amal Graafstra has been biohacking himself for more than 10 years, and has several scars from past experiments. 1:01

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    Neil Harbisson is the world's first person to have an antenna implanted in his skull. 2:08