Poochie Power

It’s a happy day when a lost dog finds its way home, but how does it get back? A New York Times article offers two explanations:

It could be that a dog’s hypersensitive sense of smell allows them to create a map
of scents around their neighborhood, using gardens or grocery stores and human aroma as markers.

Or, it could be that they are sensitive to magnetic orientation. One study of dozens of canines observed that dogs tend to adopt a north-south orientation when they relieve themselves outside in an open area, but that preference vanished when the magnetic field around them was disturbed.

Icy Hot News

Making ice is easy, right? Just pour some water into a tray, pop it into the freezer, and wait a few hours… Actually, as an article on the Popular Mechanics website points out, there are many different kinds of ice.

The ice we use in drinks is called Ice I. Other types of ice— almost two dozen varieties— are created by applying pressure to ordinary ice. Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, hoping to create an exotic new form of ice, conducted an experiment: They trapped a droplet of
water in a tight space and then blasted it with six lasers.

The lasers heated the droplet to approximately 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which compressed it by creating a pressure a million times higher than the Earth’s atmosphere.

The result, Ice XVIII, isn’t found on Earth outside of the lab, but scientists believe it could be formed on icy worlds like Uranus and Neptune, watery planets whose size might be capable of producing the same heat and pressure sustained in the laboratory. If so, this new ice could help astronomers better understand the worlds in our solar system and across the galaxy.

Dream On

Some people think daydreaming is a waste of time, but it can be a powerful tool for sharpening your creativity. Entrepreneur magazine website spells out why:

• Motivation. Daydreaming about something you’d like to do can increase your motivation to go out and pursue your goals, and also helps structure your thoughts.
• Visualization. Use your daydreams to go into detail about your goals so you can identify possibilities and options. You can mentally narrow down ideas.
• Problem solving. You can’t always attack a problem with logic and brute force. Spend some time letting your mind roam. Daydreaming relaxes you and reduces stress, so it might help you spot a solution you’d otherwise miss.
• Productivity. This may seem counterintuitive, but daydreams can help you focus. By daydreaming about a problem or opportunity, you give your brain a chance to concentrate on your goal without clutter or pressure from the world around you.

A Tingling Idea

A mild dose of electricity might improve memory in older people, according to an article on the U.S. News & World Report website. Working memory declines as we age because brain regions fall out of sync with each other.

Researchers at Boston University devised a special EEG cap that delivers
electrical stimulation to the neocortex and frontal lobes to synchronize brain waves, which play a big role in working memory. They tested the caps, which produce a slight tingling sensation, in 42 participants age 54–76 who were asked to perform working memory activities on separate days, sometimes with the cap and sometimes without it.

With the caps delivering electrical stimulation, participants’ working memory improved to the level of a control group of adults 20–29. The scientists tracked participants for about 50 minutes after the electrical delivery, but believe the results last longer. Electrical stimulation is already used on patients with Parkinson’s disease, but doctors caution that more research is necessary before anyone can walk into an office and get a dose to the brain to improve his or her working memory.

Housing Demand Improves in July

Vancouver, BC – August, 2019. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 7,930 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in July, an increase of 12.4 per cent from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $684,497, a decline of 1.6 per cent from July 2018. Total sales dollar volume was $5.43 billion, a 10.5 per cent increase from the same month last year.

“BC home sales climbed higher for the first time in 18 months on a year-over-year basis in July,” said BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir. Housing demand has also trended higher since March, rising 21 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis. “Households appear to be adjusting to the tighter credit environment as the shock of the B20 stress test dissipates.”

MLS® residential active listings in the province trended lower in July, down 3 per cent from June and 6 per cent from April on a seasonally adjusted basis. Active listings were up 12.4 per cent to 41,621 units on a year-over year basis, while overall market conditions remained unchanged from 12 months ago with the sales-to-active listings ratio at 19.1 per cent.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 18.9 per cent to $30 billion, compared with the same period in 2018. Residential unit sales decreased 14.4 per cent to 43,612 units, while the average MLS® residential price was down 5.3 per cent to $687,413.

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For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.