Magic Cans

Beer drinkers have been dreaming about self-cooling cans for years now. And it looks like they're finally going to get what they've been begging for - a can that drops a beer's temperature by 30 degrees Fahrenheit in three minutes! Tempra Technology has partnered with Crown Holdings, one of the biggest beverage-can producers in the world, to make this amazing can available in the coming months.

 

This isn't the first time a self-cooling can has been released, but the first one, the Chill Can, was shot down by the EPA because it released ozone-depleting gases each time it was activated. Tempra's new I.C. Can (stands for Instant Cool) works much differently and is environmentally safe. The July issue of Business 2.0 explains how it works:

Twisting the can's base pierces a foil seal separating a cylinder of watery gel from a vacuum chamber. Like a refrigerator pump, the gel pulls heat from the beer into the base, where it's trapped in a heat sink.

The I.C. Can will certainly make a can of beer a bit more expensive at first (about $2 per can) but the price should drop pretty quickly and I'm guessing there are plenty of beachgoers and tailgaters who will gladly pay the extra cents for this amazing science project in a can. It's great that they're willing to pay a bit more to support science, right?

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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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