The Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships Were Yesterday

The World Mobile Phone Throwing Championship took place yesterday in the small town of Savonlinna, Finland. In this international, no-holds-barred competition, people from across the globe throw phones as far as possible to win the sought-after grand prize – a new phone.

The Rules

Contestants can’t actually use their own phones (which is probably for the best). Instead, they must select one of the models provided by the organizers. Choosing the perfect phone requires a lot of strategy. There’s a bit of a Goldilocks principle at work – the perfect phone can’t be too light, too heavy, or too pink.

Once competitors have selected their phones, it’s time to let the games begin!

There are two official styles of throwing. First is the traditional over-the-shoulder throw, which is judged solely on distance. This throw has men’s, women’s, and junior divisions. Each competitor gets 2 throws, and only the longest one is measured.

But for non-traditionalists, there’s also the freestyle throw, where contestants are awarded points for creativity. Each competitor only gets one shot – and it better be pretty! An honorable jury evaluates these throws on style and aesthetics, awarding each contestant a score of 1 to 6. Almost anything goes -- some folks toss the phones while juggling or performing acrobatic feats. Others throw with their mouth or punt the phone.

There are also team divisions in both the original and freestyle categories, where groups of up to three people can compete.

The Fate of the Phones

So what happens to the phones once they’ve been tossed? When the winners have been crowned, everyone gathers them up and tapes them up so they can be reused the following year. After all, it would be a shame to waste a perfectly good throwing device.

The Message

The Mobile Phone Championship -- first organized by the translation company Fennolingua in 2000 -- is about more than furiously chucking cell phones. It’s also a respite from today’s plugged-in world. The organization’s website states, “A part of the philosophy is also a spiritual freedom from being available all the time.”

It’s also a tongue-in-cheek jab at Finland’s consumers. When it comes to cell phones, Fins are notoriously fashion conscious, frequently replacing perfectly functional phones the instant newer, sleeker models come around.

And the Winner Is...

Finland’s Ete Ere Karjalainen took home the gold and set a new record, chucking his mobile device an astounding 101.46 meters (333 feet). The 18-year-old told Reuters he prepared for the event by "mainly drinking."

For the rest of results, check out the competition’s website.

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Feeling Down? Lifting Weights Can Lift Your Mood, Too
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There’s plenty of research that suggests that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. In some cases of depression, in fact—particularly less-severe ones—scientists have found that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants, which don’t work for everyone and can come with some annoying side effects. Previous studies have largely concentrated on aerobic exercise, like running, but new research shows that weight lifting can be a useful depression treatment, too.

The study in JAMA Psychiatry, led by sports scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland, examined the results of 33 previous clinical trials that analyzed a total of 1877 participants. It found that resistance training—lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push ups, and any other exercises targeted at strengthening muscles rather than increasing heart rate—significantly reduced symptoms of depression.

This held true regardless of how healthy people were overall, how much of the exercises they were assigned to do, or how much stronger they got as a result. While the effect wasn’t as strong in blinded trials—where the assessors don’t know who is in the control group and who isn’t, as is the case in higher-quality studies—it was still notable. According to first author Brett Gordon, these trials showed a medium effect, while others showed a large effect, but both were statistically significant.

The studies in the paper all looked at the effects of these training regimes on people with mild to moderate depression, and the results might not translate to people with severe depression. Unfortunately, many of the studies analyzed didn’t include information on whether or not the patients were taking antidepressants, so the researchers weren’t able to determine what role medications might play in this. However, Gordon tells Mental Floss in an email that “the available evidence supports that [resistance training] may be an effective alternative and/or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms that could be prescribed on its own and/or in conjunction with other depression treatments,” like therapy or medication.

There haven’t been a lot of studies yet comparing whether aerobic exercise or resistance training might be better at alleviating depressive symptoms, and future research might tackle that question. Even if one does turn out to be better than the other, though, it seems that just getting to the gym can make a big difference.

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