These $2 million floating homes will be able to withstand Category 4 hurricanes

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floating home

South Florida — especially Miami and the Keys — was one of several regions that Hurricane Irma pummeled in early September. The Category 4 storm brought winds up to 70 mph, destroyed hundreds of houses, and knocked out power for 5.8 million homes and businesses in Florida.

A new type of solar-powered home could withstand future storms and rising seas. Designed by architect Koen Olthuis and housing startup ARKUP, the design will be presented at this month’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Olthuis told Business Insider that the moveable home will be able to withstand Category 4 winds up to 156 mph. In the event of a storm, it will be buoyed, so that when water levels rise, the home will bob with it.

Check out renderings of the home, which the team hopes to start selling next summer, below.

SEE ALSO: These 10 cities are the most prepared for the future

The luxury homes, which Olthuis and ARKUP call "livable yachts," will feature hydraulic jack-up systems to anchor and stabilize them during storms. To prevent flooding, the systems will be able to lift the home 40 feet above the ocean floor.

Each home’s layout will be customizable.

The homes will be completely powered by solar panels located on the roof.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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How Frequently Should You Take a Vacation?

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I know, you’re busy and you have work to do, but you also need to take some time off to recharge those batteries. So, should you plan one big vacation for the year? Or should you sparse out your days for multiple vacations throughout? Quantity can sometimes beat quality.

First and foremost, regardless of how you use your vacation days, you need to be using them—and soon. The longer you put off your time off, the worse you’re making things for yourself. Not only are you at risk for burnout, one nine-year long study, published in Psychosomatic Medicine, suggests not taking at least one vacation a year may increase your risk of mortality due to cardiovascular disease. So, not only are you killing your joy, you’re possibly killing yourself. Give yourself a break, people.

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When you should take those breaks, however, depends on a few factors. How many days you have available to use, what activities bring you joy, whether you have a family or not, and other variables come into play. Because of that, there’s no perfect formula that works for everyone—sorry. But there are still a few things everyone can try to shoot for! We know that in terms of maximizing relaxation, you should aim for vacations that range somewhere between seven and 11 days long. That gives you enough time to let go of your stress at work, completely loosen up, and achieve full-on calm.

That same study, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, also recommends you space out your vacations evenly instead of using up all of your days at once. Now, eight days might sound like a lot for someone who only gets 10 days of vacation a year, but if you frame your days off with weekends, you can manage two evenly spaced, eight-day vacations a year. If you have 14 days of paid time off, that’s almost three separate eight-day vacations you can use to split your year into thirds. As tempting as it might be to use all your days to take one long “summer break,” your overall goal should be to achieve the perfect balance between quality (length plus joy) and quantity (frequency).

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Vacation frequency is also important because planning multiple breaks throughout the year means you always have something to look forward to. Planning things, and the anticipation that comes with that, tends to make us happier. If you only take one long vacation every year, the excitement builds much more slowly and seems so far off it can actually lead to feelings of despair. Also, some studies (like this one, and this one) suggest that pre-vacation stress may be higher in the case of long vacations—since they often require more preparation. Spontaneous vacations or leisure activities can often be more rewarding than trips you meticulously plan out as well, since it’s all play and no work.

The best thing you can do for yourself, researchers suggest, is look at time off from work as a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle:

Asking why we should keep going on vacations is therefore comparable to asking why we should go to sleep considering the fact that we get tired again. A period of effort investment at work should necessarily be alternated with periods of recovery in order to remain healthy in the long run. Therefore, instead of skipping vacations or taking only one long vacation in years, it seems much more reasonable to schedule several shorter vacations across a work year in order to maintain high levels of H&W [happiness and well-being].

The best time to plan a vacation is when you think you’ll need it the most. As you plan out your year, ask yourself, “Where will time off be the most valuable to me?” It may not be in the middle of summertime when everyone else travels, but in the spring, after a stressful winter. Or maybe you think you’ll need a recharge at the end of summer before a busy fall. When will you need stress relief the most? Determine those times first, then try to space out a few quality vacations throughout the year. You’ll be much happier if you do.

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Poor Guy Accidentally Steals and Then Destroys $300 Million Worth of Ether Cryptocurrency

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Image: Gizmodo / Pixabay

Thanks to a string of screw-ups and bugs, an unsuspecting developer recently took possession of an estimated $300 million worth of the Ethereum cryptocurrency by accident. In an attempt to give back the money, however, the poor guy ended up locking up the funds permanently. In effect, that money is just gone.

So, this sucks for everyone. And obviously, hackers started the trouble. Parity, the cryptocurrency wallet service at the crux of this clusterfuck, was recently hacked and robbed of $32 million worth of Ether. In an attempt to patch the vulnerability and prevent hackers from stealing more, Parity accidentally introduced a new bug that affected multi-signature wallets. (These are wallets that, as the name implies, require several people to enter keys before funds get transferred.) Ether is the second largest cryptocurrency—second only to Bitcoin—so this number of wallets amounted to a very large amount of internet money.

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Then things really got turned upside down. While Parity hasn’t explained exactly how, a user called “devops199” mistakenly triggered the bug and took control of all multi-sig wallets. This screenshot of someone with the devops199 handle has been circulating on social media, and if it’s the real user, they seem completely perplexed:

In the end, devops199 tried to reverse the process that was triggered by the Parity bug, but that simply destroyed all of the funds. More specifically, the bug caused a chain reaction of events that locked all multi-sig wallets in such a way that they can’t be unlocked. In a security alert, Parity confessed about the situation, “This means that currently no funds can be moved out of the multi-sig wallets.” While some report the amount locked is upwards of $300 million, others estimate that it’s as low as $154 million. Regardless, lots of money.

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This all reads like a Greek tragedy of cryptocurrency carelessness, down to the pun in the name “Ether.” There might be a third act, too. As The Guardian reports, it’s possible that Ethereum users could agree on a “hard fork” by “by effectively asking 51 percent of the currency’s users to agree to pretend that it had never happened in the first place.” This worked well a couple years ago when $150 million of Ether was stolen, though there’s no guarantee it would work this time.

But that’s the crypto life, baby. One minute no money exists, and the next minute, the money’s there. Wait another minute, and it’s gone again. Why needs government backed currency when volatility is so much fun?

[The Guardian]

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Scientists think they’ve discovered a fourth type of fuel for humans — beyond carbs, fat, or protein

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hvmn

  • Ketones could super-charge the body in a way that’s unlike any other source of fuel.
  • San Francisco-based startup HVMN recently launched a drink made of pure ketone ester to harness its performance-boosting qualities.
  • The company partnered with Oxford University to leverage $60 million-worth of scientific research on elite athletes.

 

The nutrition label on a shot-sized bottle of this clear, odorless liquid defies traditional explanation. It contains 120 calories — roughly the equivalent of a hearty slice of bread — yet it has no fat, no protein, and no carbohydrates.

Those calories instead come from ketones, an ingredient that Geoff Woo, cofounder and CEO of San Francisco-based human performance startup called HVMN (pronounced "human"), likes to call "the fourth macronutrient."

"It’s not a fat, it’s not a protein, it’s not a carb, but your body gets fuel from it," Woo told Business Insider.

With that in mind, Woo launched his company’s first ketone product, a 2.2-oz bottle of ketone ester called Ketone. The drink, now available for pre-order, promises improved athletic ability, energy, and a heightened sense of focus. To make the product, HVMN leveraged more than a decade and $60 million-worth of scientific research through an exclusive partnership with Oxford University.

Ketone could boost performance ‘unlike anything we’ve ever seen’

Most of the food we eat contains carbs, from fruits and starchy vegetables to potatoes and pasta. In fruit, carbs come from naturally-occurring sugars; in potatoes, veggies, and pasta, they come from starch. They’re all ultimately broken down into sugar, or glucose, for energy.

hvmn ketone esterWhen robbed of carbs, the body turns to fat for fuel.

In the process of digging into its fat stores, the body releases molecules called ketones. A high-fat, low-carb diet (also known as a "ketogenic diet") is a shortcut to the same goal. Instead of going without food, someone on the diet tricks the body into believing it is starving by snatching away carbohydrates, its primary source of fuel.

This is why,as long as you’re not eating carbs, you can ramp up your intake of fatty foods like butter, steak, and cheese — and still lose weight. The body becomes a fat-melting machine, churning out ketones in its drive to keep running.

If you could ingest those ketones directly, rather than starving yourself or turning to a keto diet, you could essentially get a super-power.

"You could run up a wall, but you don’t want to," is how Brianna Stubbs, lead researcher at HVMN and a postgraduate student at the University of Oxford, put it.

In studies with athletes, it appears that combining ketones and carbs produces what Stubbs called a "stacking effect."

That performance boost is "unlike anything we’ve ever seen before," said Kieran Clarke, a professor of physiological biochemistry at Oxford and the scientist leading the charge to translate her work on ketones and human performance into HVMN Ketone.

This is an energy drink that goes far beyond caffeine

In a small study published in July 2016 in the journal Cell Metabolism, Clarke gave an early version of HVMN’s ketone drink to a group of elite cyclists (some of whom were former Olympians) and compared how they performed on a 30-minute cycling exercise to two other groups who were either given either a carb-rich drink or a fat-rich drink.

The high-performing cyclists on the ketone drink went an average of 400 meters further than the best performers who’d had the carb or fat drink. They likely didn’t even feel a difference, Clarke said.

Cyclists in full tuck position.JPG"It’s not like caffeine or anything, it’s not a stimulant. If you’re not watching what you’re doing, you think, ‘Oh I’m doing alright, everything feels normal,’ but then you look down and all of a sudden you see, ‘Oh, wow, I’ve gone a lot further than usual!’ You’ll find on a rowing machine, for example, you’re going a lot faster and you didn’t even realize it," Clarke said.

A bottle of HVMN Ketone delivers 25 grams of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), one of the substances the body naturally produces during a fast or a period of starvation.

Within an hour of consuming it, the drink can raise ketone levels to a level similar to what you would see after at least seven days of fasting, Woo said. That’s based on two small studies published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology in which adults were given drinks containing either ketone ester or ketone salts, a supplement that combines ketones and sodium.

When we (Erin Brodwin, a science correspondent, and Melia Robinson, an innovation reporter) tried it out for ourselves in October, we used meters to measure our blood glucose and ketone levels before and after drinking it. To our surprise, we saw immediate and measurable results.

During the hour before and the hour after we drank the ester, Erin’s ketone levels rose from 1.2 mmol/l to 4.2 mmol/l. Melia’s ketone levels rose from 0.6 mmol/l, a low-level state of ketosis, to 6.0 mmol/l, a deep state of ketosis that can typically only be achieved through fasting. Most people maintain a non-existent level of ketosis of 0.1 mmol/l, but we started with higher levels because one of us happened to be trying a fast while the other was eating a low-carb diet.

But did those shifts in numbers reflect a difference in performance? It’s hard to say.

Two people do not make for a sufficient sample size in a study of the drink’s effects, and it’s impossible to separate our perception from any placebo effect. Still, both of us noticed some improvement in focus, and we both skipped our usual 3 p.m. coffee — a change we didn’t notice until hours later.

"[Ketone] sort of like makes life easy," Clarke said. "Rather than making you feel as though your heart is racing or you’re exhausted … you have this energy. Energy you just don’t normally have."

SEE ALSO: The startup behind chewable coffee is launching a performance-enhancing ‘superhuman fuel’ — we gave it a try

DON’T MISS: I tried the popular Silicon Valley diet credited with boosting energy and prolonging life — and I can see why people are obsessed

Join the conversation about this story »

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Modern Men’s Sperm Levels Are Falling; Here’s How to Protect Yours

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Several years ago researchers presented modern males with some pretty bad news: men today have 20% less testosterone than men did at the same age just two decades ago. On the heels of those unfortunate findings has recently come another bad omen for male virility: sperm counts have dropped by more than half over the last 40 years. The average man from the mid-1970s had about 99 million sperm per milliliter of semen; today, that number is down to 47 million.

Unfortunately, there are no solid conclusions about the why behind that drop. Theories abound, of course: maternal chemical/plastics exposure while the baby boy is still in the womb, increased adiposity (fat percentage) in men, a more sedentary lifestyle, cell phones in men’s pockets, etc. The causal factor may be one of those things, or more likely, a combination of them.

You’ll actually find many researchers and scientists claiming to not be too worried about the drop, as normal fertility is considered to be anywhere above 40 million sperm per milliliter; we aren’t yet in danger of a Children of Men scenario where humans are no longer able to conceive at all. But sperm counts are getting awfully close to that critical threshold, and if you extrapolate that same fall over the next 40 years, you’re looking at a real problem.

Even if the current population-wide drop in sperm doesn’t yet affect fertility, every man who has even a glimmer of interest in one day having a kid should know how to protect the health of the sperm he does have.

While fertility is a subject most often aimed at women, it takes two to tango, and you ought to understand your role in the equation. When the time comes that you’re ready to beget some progeny, you’ll want the process to go as smoothly as possible, and while you can’t control all the factors at play in reproduction, you can take steps to raise your chances of a quick conception that results in a healthy baby.

Below we’ll get into the details of how to keep your swimmers in tip-top condition, but first let’s take a look at how sperm is made, and the three elements of sperm health.

How Is Sperm Made?

When Brett did his series on testosterone, sperm was also briefly covered because the beginning process for the two is the same. Each shares several steps before the processes diverge into their own unique systems. Let’s then take a brief look at how sperm (and T) is created in the testicles (from Brett’s article a few years back):


  1. The process gets kicked off in our brain. When our hypothalamus detects that our body needs more testosterone, it secretes a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone. The gonadotropin-releasing hormone makes its way over to the pituitary gland in the back of our brain.
  2. When our pituitary gland detects the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, it starts producing two hormones: 1) follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinzing hormone (LH). The FSH and LH hitch a ride down to our testicles on the freeway that is our bloodstream.
  3. When the FSH and LH reach our testicles, they tell them to do two different things. FSH kicks off sperm production, while LH stimulates the Leydig cells in our testicles to create more testosterone.

While the processes by which sperm and testosterone are created are intimately connected, it should be noted that low T does not necessarily mean low fertility — though one does make the other a little more likely. The inverse is also true — high T does not necessarily make for a very fertile man. There could be damage to the testicles or other problems that are unique to the sperm-production process. In general though, the testosterone and sperm producing systems work in a feedback loop.

There’s much more to it than that, of course, but we’ll be concentrating more on the practical side of things in this piece. If you’re interested in more of the science though, here’s a good resource.

3 Important Health Metrics for Your Sperm

The average male produces 1,500 sperm every second. Over the course of a lifetime, that’s 500 billion sperm. While that’s obviously a ton of little swimmers, only a tiny overall percentage of the billions of sperm created are actually able to make a little human.

Whether your sperm can get the job done depends both on their sheer numbers, as well as a couple other metrics:

Count (Quantity). A man is considered “fertile” if he has a sperm count at about 40 million per milliliter or higher (it can be all the way up to 300 million!). Under 10 million/ml is considered “poor” fertility. Numbers in between may be okay, if the factors below are in good shape.

Health (Quality or Morphology). A man is considered fertile if more than 4% of sperm have a normal shape and structure. That means the sperm has a nicely-shaped oval head without irregularities, and a long tail. If the head is too large or small, or tapered in any way, or if the tail is kinked or too short, the sperm is not considered healthy.

Swimming Ability (Motility). A man is considered fertile if 40% or more of his sperm are swimming. Even if you have a lot of healthy sperm, they need to be able to travel those few inches up the cervix to the egg. In short, they need to be able to wiggle really well to make a baby.

Now that we have a few basics covered, let’s get into what you can do to increase the count and general health of your sperm.

How to Boost the Health of Your Sperm, and Your Chances of Conceiving

Just because you’ve had problems conceiving in the past doesn’t mean you’re doomed. Sperm production takes about 2.5 months, meaning there are plenty of lifestyle changes you can make that will have an effect on your sperm count and health in a relatively short span of time. The below tips should really be followed at all times for your overall sperm health (primarily in the years before trying to conceive; if you’re done with kids some of these things don’t matter so much!), but especially starting a few months before you officially start trying to conceive, and of course continuing throughout that process. 

NATURALLY raise your testosterone. As noted above, T and sperm production are connected. When your body makes more T, it’s generally also going to make more sperm. With men’s T levels at a historical low, it’s really no surprise then that sperm count levels are as well. So, if you take steps to naturally raise your testosterone, you’ll also naturally raise your sperm count (again, generally — it’s no guarantee, but it’s a good bet). That said, I can’t recommend enough reading Brett’s article on the topic. He goes deep into diet, lifestyle, and vitamin/supplement recommendations that are proven to boost your T. Heed his advice. (And much of the below in fact piggybacks on those recommendations.)

One additional note: Testosterone replacement therapy (or TRT) in any form tricks your brain into thinking you have enough T in your system, and will therefore stop giving orders to the testes to make both testosterone and sperm. In fact, up to 90% of men doing TRT have sperm counts that eventually drop to zero. And even when you stop TRT, sometimes the body doesn’t go back into natural T production for up to 2 years (if at all). The research isn’t quite there yet to make any sweeping pronouncements about what happens to fertility after coming off TRT. If you’re on it now, though, and want to conceive in the near future, consult your doc ASAP.

Avoid nicotine and other drugs altogether. If you’re trying to conceive, it’s best to avoid nicotine entirely (regardless of how it’s delivered — smoking, chewing, vaping, etc., though smoking may have even more deleterious effects than nicotine alone), as it comes with a host of problems for your swimmers. It not only decreases your sperm count, but also the quality and motility of the sperm (and even lowers your libido and increases your chances of impotence). On top of that, nicotine can harm the sperm’s DNA, potentially causing problems for your unborn child.

Marijuana, even though legal in many states now, can decrease motility and diminish sperm quality. Harder drugs like heroin and cocaine cause all kinds of systems in your body — including all parts of the reproductive system — to do weird things. Not only are those drugs illegal, addictive, and harmful in numerous other ways, but they’ll screw with your chances of conceiving a child.

Limit alcohol. While not as damaging as nicotine, too much alcohol consumption diminishes both the quantity and quality of your sperm. For men, limiting alcohol means sticking to 1-2 drinks per day.

Cut down on your caffeine intake (mainly in soda form). Some researchers theorized that caffeine intake could be a driver in the declining sperm counts of modern men. Upon initial testing, there was found to be some correlation between caffeine and lower sperm counts/quality. However, further research revealed that it was not coffee or tea that was the problem, but rather the sugary soft drinks that were delivering that caffeine. Limit your sodas, but also don’t go crazy with coffee or tea. One of the general rules is that whatever is good for your overall health is good for your reproductive health. So even though it’s not proven specifically, guzzling down half a dozen coffees probably isn’t going to be great for your swimmers. Limiting your overall caffeine intake is bound to have some other benefits as well.

Lose a few pounds. There is a correlation between being overweight and having a low sperm count. While not proven to be causal, it would be a good idea to lose a few pounds for numerous reasons, let alone the possibility of it impacting your chances of conception.

There are a couple reasons being overweight may lead to lower sperm production: 1) inside the body, fatty tissue can negatively affect the secretion of gonadotropin (which, remember, is what tells the testes to produce sperm), 2) outside the body, fatty tissue in the groin area can actually be heating up your testicles above the ideal ~93 degrees. And of course there may yet be other reasons that extra poundage is affecting your sperm count. Either way, the point remains: make an effort to lose a few pounds, and your sperm will likely be happier for it.

Hit the gym/pavement. Not only do you want to lose fat, you want to put on some muscle. Research has shown that men who work out regularly (7+ hours a week) have 50% higher sperm counts than men who don’t work out at all or sparingly (1 hour or less a week). Specifically, as Brett noted in his testosterone series, lift heavy things and do HIIT cardio workouts. Not only do you get benefits directly from the workouts, you also get lower stress (good for reproductive health) and vitamin D if you’re working out outside (which may help boost your sperm count).

Eat well. Eat not only for optimal testosterone, but for antioxidants as well, which are shown to improve the quality and quantity of sperm. Fruits, vegetables, a glass of red wine with dinner — all of these will help your swimmers.

Also avoid soy, which contains phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen. Your body may respond by producing less T, which means less sperm. Soy sauce, edamame, tofu, veggie “burgers,” etc. This is especially important for guys who may already have lower sperm counts. It’s unlikely that soy would make a fertile man infertile.

Learn to manage your stress. Cortisol — a stress hormone — decreases testosterone production. And when that slows, so does sperm production. In short bouts — the way stress was biologically meant to be experienced — this isn’t a problem. After the stressful experience, your testosterone production goes back up to normal like nothing happened. But when stress is chronic, and you’re feeling it in high doses every day, your sperm production is going to take a major hit. Learn to manage and decreases your stress levels if you’re trying to make a baby.    

Keep your balls cool. One of the most important factors in maintaining the production and health of your sperm is maintaining a cool temperature for your man parts. This is in fact why male reproductive organs are on the outside of our body, differing from the ladies. Your residual body heat is too much for sperm to thrive in. Heed the below tips:

  • Limit or eliminate hot tub/bath times. Don’t spend more than 10-20 minutes in a hot tub, bath, or sauna at a time, and no more than a couple days per week. Many experts even say you might as well skip it altogether when trying to conceive.
  • Limit bike time. Spending more than 30 minutes on a bike seat, especially when wearing tight bike shorts, will increase scrotal temperature and possibly harm your sperm.
  • Don’t keep your laptop on your lap. Computers get hot. When they’re on your lap, your man parts will also get hot. Keep computers on tables and desks, or put a lap desk between your crotch and your laptop.
  • Skip the tighty whities. At least while actively trying to conceive. They constrict things down there and heat up your groin area too much.
  • Stand up more! If you sit all day for work, it’s likely your groin is getting overheated from being compressed by your legs and abdomen. Get up and walk around, move a little, air out your man bits.
  • Consider keeping your phone out of your pocket. Partially due to radiation from electronic and radio waves, and partially due to the heat that phones create with high use and charging, some experts recommend that men keep their mobile devices in shirt pockets or on the desk/table when trying to conceive.

Avoid lubricants during sex. Lubricants and lotions can interfere with sperm motility, making it harder for your swimmers to find their target. Certain chemicals in certain lubricants can also actually kill your sperm. If lubrication is needed, use natural oils instead.

Ask your doctor about the medications you’re on. Some medications can have an effect on your sperm production and sperm health. If you’re trying to make a mini-me and are taking medicines, make an appointment with your doc to discuss it.

This is especially true for cancer treatments, which may render you permanently infertile. So even if you aren’t trying to conceive, but are dealing with cancer, ask your doctor about saving and freezing your sperm.

Take fertility-boosting vitamins/supplements. No, not that “Fertility Magic” stuff you might see on the web. That’s probably marketing baloney with jacked-up prices. It is shown, though, that deficient levels of vitamin C, zinc, and/or folic acid can contribute to not only low sperm counts, but also chromosomal abnormalities in your sperm, which can result in miscarriages. It’s in fact estimated that more than half of first trimester miscarriages are due to these abnormalities (which come from deficits on both the female and male sides of the equation).

First, zinc. It’s necessary for all three facets of sperm health, and while important for women, it’s even more crucial for men. Boosting your zinc has been proven to boost sperm count, quality, and motility. Good zinc-heavy foods include oysters, beef, lamb, sesame/pumpkin seeds, shrimp, and yogurt. Unfortunately, cooking these foods reduces zinc levels by up to 50%, so for things you can safely consume raw, do it that way.

Next, folic acid. While you’ll often see that women trying to conceive need to be taking a multivitamin that includes folic acid, it helps if dad does too. You can also eat folate-rich foods like beans, leafy greens, and whole grain breads and pastas. In total you should be getting about 400 milligrams daily.

Finally, vitamin C. Studies have shown that 1,000 milligrams (aka 1 gram) a day of supplementation can boost sperm count, health, and motility. Beyond just improving the sperm itself, vitamin C protects the DNA from chromosomal defects, possibly protecting against early miscarriage.  

Avoid xenoestrogens and other chemicals. Brett covered this topic very well in his article and experiment in naturally raising his testosterone, so I’ve cribbed and modified a large chunk below. Just as xenoestrogens hurt your T levels, they hurt your sperm count as well:


Many endocrinologists are sounding the alarm about the damaging effects that come with exposure to common household chemicals. Called “endocrine disruptors,” these chemicals interfere with our body’s hormone system and cause problems like weight gain and learning disabilities. One type of endocrine disruptor is particularly bad news for our testosterone levels.

Xenoestrogen is a chemical that imitates estrogen in the human body. When men are exposed to too much of this estrogen-imitating chemical, T levels drop significantly. The problem is xenoestrogen is freaking everywhere — plastics, shampoos, gasoline, cows, toothpaste. You name it and chances are there are xenoestrogen in it. The ubiquitous nature of this chemical in our modern world is one reason some endocrinologists believe that testosterone levels are lower in men today than in decades past. It’s also a reason doctors say the number of boys born with hypospadias — a birth defect in which the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis and not at the tip — has doubled.

Despite the stacked deck, there are still steps you can take to avoid xenoestrogens the best you can:

Store food in glassware and never, ever heat food in plastic containers. Most modern plastics contain phthalates. Phthalates are what give plastic their flexibility, durability, and longevity. But they also screw with hormones by imitating estrogen. So prepare/store your food in glassware, and never heat it in plastic containers, as heat increases the transfer of phthalates into food.

Avoided exposure to pesticides and gasoline. Gas may be a manly smell, but it contains xenoestrogen. Same goes for pesticides. Limit your exposure to these products. If you do come in contact with them, make sure to wash it off thoroughly.

Eat organic when possible. Pesticides and hormones that are used in our food can imitate estrogens in our body. When possible, eat organic. If budget doesn’t allow, at least make sure to wash your fruits and veggies before eating and find meat and milk that comes from cows that haven’t been treated with hormones.

Use natural grooming products. Most grooming products these days contain parabens, another type of xenoestrogen. And by most, I mean more than 75% of all products. When possible, choose natural, paraben-free grooming products.

Avoid BPA. Studies suggest that BPA, a chemical that lines food cans and thermal printer paper, may reduce testosterone. Look for foods and products that are BPA free.


Concluding Thoughts

While there are hacks and different plans out there for protecting the health of your sperm, you actually tend to see the same wellness advice over and over from experts: eat plenty of fruits, veggies, good fats, and proteins; avoid processed foods/sugars as much as you can; work out regularly with a good variety of exercises (but don’t workout too much); don’t drink or smoke or get too stressed. Doing these things will of course not only make your reproductive system healthier, but all of your body’s other systems as well. A few things — keeping your testicles cool, avoiding lubricants, taking some supplements — are directly sperm- and fertility-related, but a lot of this is stuff you should be doing throughout your life anyway.

You can’t control all the factors out there that are diminishing men’s sperm counts. Nor can you can control all the factors that go into conceiving a healthy baby. But you can do everything possible to nurture and protect the seed you have and may one day contribute towards the creation of new life.

The post Modern Men’s Sperm Levels Are Falling; Here’s How to Protect Yours appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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Microsoft Word’s new ‘Resume Assistant’ uses LinkedIn to make your resume better

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Microsoft and LinkedIn are teaming up to make one of the most important parts of job-hunting easier: writing your resume.

The companies introduced a new Resume Assistant feature that puts LinkedIn data directly in Microsoft Word to help users write better resumes.

The feature, which will begin rolling out to Microsoft Insider this week, pulls in relevant LinkedIn data as you’re writing a resume based on your industry and what type of job you want. It automatically detects the job descriptions you’ve written and highlights what people with similar experience have put on their resumes. For example, it will show you how people who’ve worked in similar roles in your industry describe their job experience and skills.

The idea, according to the companies, is to help provide more inspiration to people who aren’t sure the the best way to describe their experience and skills.

The feature also ties into some of LinkedIn’s job-finding tools: It will pull in job listings from LinkedIn’s database, which should help you further customize your resume, and you can opt-in to LinkedIn’s feature that tells recruiters you’re interested in a new job

The update is the latest way Microsoft and LinkedIn are working to tie their two services closer together following Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition last year. Though the LinkedIn data is available to anyone outside of Resume Assistant too, it shows how the two companies are combining their data to make their platforms more personalized to each user.

After first rolling out to Office 365 subscribers that are signed up for Microsoft’s Insider program, resume assistant will be available to all Office 365 subscribers "over the coming months."

from Mashable! http://on.mash.to/2jc1SZP
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An Enhancement to Working from Home

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It doesn’t matter how interconnected your devices are, how tight your scheduling skills might be, or how organized you think you are… the juggle struggle is real for those of us who work from home! Designed just for us, BAL is a modular system of interconnected smart screens that connect you to everything you need to be productive and efficient in an entirely new way.

Each hexagonal module can be programmed to display everything from the weather to important blogs and reminders to blueprints. All while being visually separated and available with just a quick glance up from your desktop. Perfect for users who operate visually and interactively, these touch screen panels are perfect for getting organized or simply staying in the know.

Designer: Caner Aras

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from Yanko Design http://bit.ly/2Ao7cwH
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Bill Clinton says America needs more immigration and an “inclusive culture”

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Things sure have changed since 1993.

Bill Clinton went on Conan on Wednesday night. When asked whether America had changed a lot since his presidency, Clinton’s answer was "yes and no."

Clinton went on to speak very eloquently about the state of America, its need for immigration to bring down the average age, and its need for an inclusive economy.

He also turned his attention to the "dictator’s club," and said that dictators desire two things, nuclear armament and to erase the lines between fact and fiction.

Wonder who he’s referring to there?! Read more…

More about Conan O Brien, Bill Clinton, Culture, Celebrities, and Politics

from Mashable! http://on.mash.to/2yM0G6j
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