THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- JULY 25, 2020
“Summertime, an' the livin' is easy” proclaims the 1935 song by George Gershwin. Given the stressful summer underway right now it may seem like those lyrics are a stretch, but there are a few things that do fit Gershwin's theme.
With the nice weather we're having, news from the Global Wellness Summit is timely and welcome. “When it comes to workouts that are scientifically-linked to keeping your brain healthy the best one is walking.” It's the number one activity for maintaining cognitive sharpness.
It turns out that walking is more than just a stroll in the park. “We think of walking as so easy, but there are actually over 200 muscles engaged every time you take a step. That may have big impacts on brain health, specifically your cognition.”
Walking is connected to longevity, social interaction, and stress relief. “Chronic stress can literally shrink the brain in size. Just ten minutes of walking a day has been linked to effectively reducing stress.” (https://www.wellandgood.com/exercise-and-brain-health/)
A daily walk might also include taking the family dog along. Don't leave the kidlings behind, because (regarding children) researchers have concluded: “Joining the family dog on walks and playing with the dog seemed to offer benefits. Those who joined their family on dog walks at least once per week were thirty-six percent less likely to have poor social and emotional development.”
In addition: “Children who grow up with a dog in their house tend to be better behaved and more considerate than children who don’t. Children from dog-owning households were thirty percent less likely to indulge in antisocial behavior. The children were also thirty-four percent more likely to engage in considerate behavior.” (https://news.yahoo.com/best-dogs-children-153115105.html)
Walking, of course, is part of a favorite summer sport – golf. Now, golf has been described as “a good walk spoiled,” but golfers will tell you a bad day on the golf course is better than a good day just about anywhere else.
Golf, as you know, involves chasing around a little white ball. But did you know the dimples on a golf ball determine how far it will go? A Golf.com article explains the importance of dimple pattern design. “The small depressions found all over the ball ultimately determine velocity, launch and spin rate after it leaves the clubface. Alter the depth of a dimple by as little as 1,000th of an inch and you could negatively affect the ball’s aerodynamics (lift and drag) while it’s rocketing through the air. Even the most expensive ball in the world isn’t going anywhere without dimples.” (https://golf.com/gear/golf-balls/dimpleless-golf-ball-titleist-tour-players/)
To prove this point, they had four golf professionals hit dimpleless Titleist Pro V1 golf balls. “What it did was to turn the best golfers in the world into average hacks who struggled to get the ball in the air and beyond 150 yards.” To watch the (hilarious) video of this test, go to: https://youtu.be/5jC-guSi7hI.
If all the walking makes you hot, don't worry anymore. Sony‘s Reon Pocket wearable air conditioner is now available for purchase. “Accompanied by a special T-shirt that holds the device in the middle of your back below the neck, the portable device utilizes the Peltier effect to serve as a heat pump to cool the body. The Sony Reon Pocket can reduce a wearer’s body temperature by as much as twenty-three degrees Fahrenheit. Basically speaking, it is like being inside an air-conditioned room.”
Of course, there's an app for this. “The companion app for iOS and Android devices allows for manual adjustment and an automatic mode that regulates temperate using motion sensors that detect user activity.”
And don't worry about the Reon when the weather turns cold. “During the winter months, wearers may also adjust the gadget to work as a heater, helping to raise the body temperature to as much as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.” (https://hypebeast.com/2020/7/sony-reon-pocket-wearable-air-conditioner-release and https://www.techtimes.com/articles/250907/20200707/now-buy-sonys-reon-pocket-wearable-air-conditioners-cheap-price.htm)
This was all originally developed for use in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but the Sony Reon Pocket is now available for the general public. See it on video at: https://youtu.be/C56zONHJryk.
If you prefer to cool off in a more low tech manner, it's National Ice Cream Month. If you're a true Michigander, you'll probably belly up to the ice cream counter and order a tall cone of Michigan's favorite ice cream flavor – Superman. “According to a study by WorkWise software, Michigan is the only state where Superman’s the overall favorite, beating out the number one flavor across the nation — cookies and cream.” (https://www.workwisellc.com/blog/most-popular-ice-cream-flavors/)
The strange thing about Superman ice cream is that “...even those behind the ice cream cases are pretty clueless about Michigan’s favorite flavor.” There seems to be a mystery “...surrounding the exact flavors of the red, yellow, and blue ice creams that when swirled together make up Superman.”
We do know Stroh’s Brewery (in Detroit) is widely credited with inventing Superman ice cream. “Stroh’s version of Superman included three flavors: lemon, Blue Moon, and Red Pop, based on Faygo’s classic strawberry soda.” What the “flavors” are nowadays is up for debate. Flavor profiles vary a bit depending on the ice cream company. (https://gandernewsroom.com/2020/07/16/learn-about-michigans-fave-flavor/)
In a bit of related trivia, making the history of Superman ice cream even more perplexing, is this nugget: “Superman ice cream was invented during Prohibition, which lasted from 1920 through 1933. But Superman the action hero first appeared in Action Comics Number 1, which came out in 1938.”
Finally, as you enjoy your Superman ice cream on a warm summer night, you might enjoy listening to the Adventures of Superman, one of the longest running programs in the history of American radio. This series spanned over eleven years and one thousand episodes (beginning in February of 1940). You can tap into this treasure on the Internet at: https://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com/adventure/superman-the-adventures-of.