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Just 15 centimetres of water can float a car – but we are failing to educate drivers about the dangers of floodwaters

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-peden-1136424">Amy Peden</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kyra-hamilton-331594">Kyra Hamilton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828"><em>Griffith University</em></a></em></p> <p>Every year in Australia, people driving into floodwaters drown and many more are <a href="https://www.ses.nsw.gov.au/disaster-tabs-header/flood/">rescued</a>. Do <em>you</em> know what to do when there’s water on the road?</p> <p>We searched all state and territory learner and driver handbooks for information about floodwaters, including signage. Our findings, published in the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022437524000860?via%3Dihub">Journal of Safety Research</a>, are disturbing.</p> <p>Across half of Australia’s states and territories, the driver handbook ignores flooding. That’s a missed opportunity, considering the handbook contains road rules and provides advice on how to navigate safely. While some states fail to provide any flood-related information, others give detailed practical guidance. Only the New South Wales handbook includes explanation of the meaning and purpose of flood signage.</p> <p>This is despite almost all states and territories experiencing vehicle-related flood <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jfr3.12616">deaths</a>, including <a href="https://currents.plos.org/disasters/article/causal-pathways-of-flood-related-river-drowning-deaths-in-australia/">drowning</a>, between 2001 and 2017. It’s a major problem that is only going to get worse as the climate changes. So our research shows driver education needs to come up to speed, fast.</p> <h2>Why do people drive into floodwaters?</h2> <p>Our previous <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2212420918301869">research</a> revealed motorists can feel compelled to drive into floodwaters for a range of reasons. These include time pressures such as being late for work or school, or needing to get home to family or pets. Sometimes they feel pressured by their passengers, or motorists behind them on the road, urging them to cross.</p> <p>People also report having been encouraged or instructed as learners to drive into floodwaters. Past experience as a passenger also influences a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369847823000475">learner driver’s</a> future willingness to drive into floodwaters.</p> <p>So the views of significant others, such as their supervising driver, strongly influence decisions around driving into floodwaters.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZtlXpDBjU1Q?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Avoid driving into floodwaters, for life’s sake.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>What we did and what we found</h2> <p>We assessed all publicly available, government-issued learner and driver handbooks (12 documents) across all six Australian states and two territories. We also looked for flood-related signage. We used a method for reviewing online material through a systematic search including in-document key words and imagery.</p> <p>Four jurisdictions provided no information on flooding in the handbook. In the ACT, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria, drivers need to look elsewhere for information on floodwaters and driving safety.</p> <p>Only one jurisdiction provided information on flood signage such as depth markers and “road subject to flooding”. Hats off to the <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2022-11/Road-User-Handbook-English.pdf">NSW Road User Handbook</a>, which warns:</p> <blockquote> <p>Floodwater is extremely dangerous. Find another way or wait until the road is clear. It’s safer to turn around than to drive in floodwater.</p> </blockquote> <p>For the states and territories that did provide information on floodwaters in the handbook, the content varied.</p> <p>NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory warned against entering floodwaters in a vehicle. They highlighted the dangers and financial penalties associated with driving on closed roads.</p> <p>In the NT and Western Australia, handbooks provided practical information on when and how to cross floodwaters safely, such as how to gauge safe water depth based on vehicle size, and to avoid fast-flowing water.</p> <p>Although well-intentioned, judgements around what constitutes fast-flowing water are subjective and hard for any driver to assess, let alone learner drivers. Even drivers of larger vehicles such as four-wheel drives are regularly involved in flood-related <a href="https://currents.plos.org/disasters/article/causal-pathways-of-flood-related-river-drowning-deaths-in-australia/">vehicle drowning fatalities</a>.</p> <p>Just <a href="https://www.ses.vic.gov.au/news-and-media/campaigns/15-to-float">45cm</a> of water can float a large 4WD, and considerably less for smaller vehicles.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/t4ilUbMXZAQ?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">A small car can float in just 15cm of water.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>Handbooks represent valuable sources of safety information, particularly for new drivers who must learn important road rules to progress from one licence to another. Such graduated driver licensing schemes reduce road traffic injury, particularly among <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022437523000385">young people</a>.</p> <p>However, many of these handbooks fail to provide consistent, practical evidence-based information about flooding. There is an opportunity here to support safer driving behaviours.</p> <h2>Safety tips for all drivers</h2> <p>We encourage drivers to follow these safety tips:</p> <ul> <li>avoid driving into floodwaters</li> <li>identify alternative routes, so you have a <a href="https://theconversation.com/when-roads-become-rivers-forming-a-plan-b-can-stop-people-driving-into-floodwaters-183036">plan B</a></li> <li>familiarise yourself, and any learner drivers in the household or under your care, with the meaning and purpose of flood signage</li> <li>understand the legal consequences of crossing a road closed sign</li> <li>discuss the dangers of driving into floodwaters with learner drivers and help them formulate their own plan B</li> <li>model safe driving for all passengers, including children.</li> </ul> <h2>Time to lift our game</h2> <p>Driving into floodwaters remains the main cause of <a href="https://currents.plos.org/disasters/article/causal-pathways-of-flood-related-river-drowning-deaths-in-australia/">flood-related drowning</a> in Australia.</p> <p>For our emergency service personnel, driver behaviour, including people ignoring road closed signs, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hpja.181">significantly complicates</a> the already dangerous act of performing a flood rescue.</p> <p>Extreme weather and flooding are likely to become more frequent and intense in the future. That means the chance of being faced with a flooded road is growing. So information about driving during floods is vital for all, from the newly licensed to the experienced driver.</p> <p>We hope our research will encourage all states and territories to include provide practical, evidence-based advice on floods in driver handbooks as soon as possible.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/233116/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-peden-1136424">Amy Peden</a>, NHMRC Research Fellow, School of Population Health &amp; co-founder UNSW Beach Safety Research Group, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kyra-hamilton-331594">Kyra Hamilton</a>, Associate Professor in Applied Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/just-15-centimetres-of-water-can-float-a-car-but-we-are-failing-to-educate-drivers-about-the-dangers-of-floodwaters-233116">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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Why doesn’t water help with spicy food? What about milk or beer?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>Spicy foods taste spicy because they contain a family of compounds called capsaicinoids. Capsaicin is the major culprit. It’s found in chillies, jalapeños, cayenne pepper, and is even the active ingredient in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31334983/">pepper spray</a>.</p> <p>Capsaicin doesn’t actually physically heat up your mouth. The burning sensation comes from receptors in the mouth reacting to capsaicin and sending a signal to the brain that something is very hot.</p> <p>That’s why the “hot” chilli sensation feels so real – we even respond by sweating. To alleviate the heat, you need to remove the capsaicin from your mouth.</p> <p>So why doesn’t drinking water help make that spicy feeling go away? And what would work better instead?</p> <h2>Water-loving and water-hating molecules</h2> <p>To help us choose what might wash the capsaicin away most effectively, it’s helpful to know that capsaicin is a hydrophobic molecule. That means it hates being in contact with water and will not easily mix with it.</p> <p>Look what happens when you try to mix hydrophobic sand with water.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/H8cj9CpHW7w?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>On the other hand, hydrophilic molecules love water and are very happy to mix with it.</p> <p>You’ve likely seen this before. You can easily dissolve hydrophilic sugar in water, but it’s hard to wash away hydrophobic oils from your pan using tap water alone.</p> <p>If you try to wash hydrophobic capsaicin away with water, it won’t be very effective, because hydrophilic and hydrophobic substances don’t mix.</p> <p>Going for iced water will be even less effective, as hydrophobic capsaicin is even less soluble in water at lower temperatures. You may get a temporary sense of relief while the cold liquid is in your mouth, but as soon as you swallow it, you’ll be back where you started.</p> <p>Instead, a good choice would be to consume something that is also hydrophobic. This is because of an old-but-true adage in chemistry that “like dissolves like”.</p> <p>The idea is that generally, hydrophobic substances will not dissolve in something hydrophilic – like water – but will dissolve in something that is also hydrophobic, as this video shows:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/s5yfs-Pr_y8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>My mouth is on fire. What should I drink instead of water?</h2> <p>A swig of oil would likely be effective, but is perhaps not so palatable.</p> <p>Milk makes for an ideal choice for two reasons.</p> <p>The first is that milk contains hydrophobic fats, which the capsaicin will more easily dissolve in, allowing it to be washed away.</p> <p>The second is that dairy products contain a protein called casein. Casein is an emulsifier, a substance that helps oils and water mix, as in this video:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S4XeQhZRLDE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Casein plays a large role in keeping the fat mixed throughout your glass of milk, and it also has a strong affinity for capsaicin. It will readily wrap up and encapsulate capsaicin molecules and assist in carrying them away from the receptor. This relieves the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36510373/">burning sensation</a>.</p> <h2>OK but I hate drinking milk. What else can I try?</h2> <p>What about raita? This dish, commonly served with Indian curries, is made primarily from yoghurt. So aside from being its own culinary experience, raita is rich in fats, and therefore contains plenty of hydrophobic material. It also contains casein, which will again help lock up and remove the capsaicin.</p> <p>Ice cream would also work, as it contains both casein and large amounts of hydrophobic substances.</p> <p>Some studies have also shown that consuming <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9328490/">drinks with large amounts of sugar</a> can relieve spiciness.</p> <p>What about reaching for that ice cold beer?</p> <p>This is commonly suggested as a suitable approach to stop the burning. At first glance, this may seem a good idea because capsaicin is highly soluble in alcohol.</p> <p>However, most beers only contain between 4–6% alcohol. The bulk of the liquid in beer is water, which is hydrophilic and cannot wash away capsaicin. The small amount of alcohol in your beer would make it slightly more effective, but not to any great degree.</p> <p>Your curry and beer may taste great together, but that’s likely the only benefit.</p> <p>In truth, an alcoholic beverage is not going to help much unless you go for something with a much, much higher alcohol content, which comes with its own problems.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226624/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-doesnt-water-help-with-spicy-food-what-about-milk-or-beer-226624">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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"Why is the water so salty?" and other priceless questions from clueless tourists

<p>In the heart of the stunning intersection where the Daintree Rainforest kisses the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll find <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g499639-d1045292-Reviews-Ocean_Safari-Cape_Tribulation_Daintree_Region_Queensland.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ocean Safari</a> – a top-notch, eco-certified tour company. Brooke Nikola, one of their delightful tour guides, has been guiding wide-eyed adventurers through this paradise for years. With thousands of tourists coming from all corners of the globe, she’s accumulated a treasure trove of amusing anecdotes that could rival the size of the reef itself.</p> <p>Let’s dive right into the deep end with some classic moments <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/australian-holidays/queensland/hilarious-comments-from-clueless-tourists/news-story/ad90a419cbf4fed9d454d3edef0cb096" target="_blank" rel="noopener">per news.com.au</a>. One sunny day, while marvelling at the endless blue expanse, a curious tourist asked Brooke, “Why does the water taste so salty?”</p> <p>“Well, it’s the ocean,” Brooke gently reminded them. Ah, the wonders of seawater – still a mystery to some.</p> <p>Then there was the time aboard the Ocean Safari vessel, cruising serenely over the waves, when a perplexed guest inquired, “How far above sea level are we?” </p> <p>And who could forget the would-be scientist who attempted to bottle the stunning blue ocean water, only to be baffled when it turned out clear. We can only imagine Brooke explaining the tricky science of light refraction and how the ocean's mesmerising blue doesn't quite fit into a bottle. No doubt their holiday turned into an impromptu science lesson.</p> <p>The complaints Brooke hears are just as priceless. One guest, dripping after a snorkelling session, grumbled, “Ugh, snorkelling makes me so wet.” </p> <p>Then there was the revelation about the rainforest. As rain drizzled through the lush canopy, a bewildered tourist remarked, “It’s so rainy in the rainforest!” Who knew that rain would be part of the rainforest experience? Certainly not that guest!</p> <p>Geography can be tricky, especially in a place as uniquely named as Cape Tribulation. As tourists boarded the Ocean Safari vessel from Cape Tribulation beach, one asked where the Daintree Rainforest was – oblivious to the verdant scenery they had driven through for the past hour. Brooke had to kindly point out that they had been in it this whole time.</p> <p>Another classic came from a guest who thought Cape Tribulation was an island. They earnestly asked, “So, how big is the whole island?” To which Brooke replied, “It’s pretty big. So big, in fact, it’s known as Australia!”</p> <p>Through all of these delightful moments, no doubt Brooke remained a fountain of patience and good humour. So, next time you find yourself at Cape Tribulation, remember to bring your sense of wonder – and a good laugh. Because as Brooke can tell you, the Great Barrier Reef is full of surprises, both above and below the water!</p> <p><em>Images: Ocean Safari / Instagram</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Belated tributes for iconic Sylvania Waters star

<p>One of Australia's first ever reality TV star has died, but her death went unreported for over a year. </p> <p>Noeline Donaher, the star of <em>Sylvania Waters</em>, died on May 2023, with Australian pop culture producer Matt Fulton bringing attention to her death by sharing a Facebook post written by Donaher’s son, Mick, on X, formerly known as Twitter. </p> <p>“Holy c*** — Noeline Donaher DID pass away May 2023, and there wasn’t a blip in any news/media,” <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Fulton </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">wrote on X. </span></p> <p>“How did we miss this news? I had to do a deep dive to find the info. It really was not reported anywhere," <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">the pop culture producer </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">added. </span></p> <p>The Facebook post announcing her death was shared on May 30 2023 and read: “Dad has asked me to share with you all the sad news that Noeline Donaher, his partner of over 40yrs, recently passed away."</p> <p>“Noeline absolutely loved Appendix J racing ... Together they raced everything from a couple of Valiants to a Lotus Cortina ... More importantly she made lots of great friends over the years and had many laughs/memorable times at tracks all around Australia, including Tasmania and WA!</p> <p>“I’m just with (her husband) Laurie today and going through some old pics on the wall and in albums so thought I’d share a few of them with you all and say THANKS, on their behalf, to the Appendix J Old Boys for many years of fun, friendship and great memories.”</p> <p><em>Sylvania Waters </em>which aired for 12 episodes in 1992 caused a lot of controversy at the time, because of its unique concept. </p> <p>The show followed the Donahers as they went about their lives in their home in the titular south Sydney suburb of Sylvania Waters.</p> <p>At the time, some critics and viewers criticised how the reality TV show depicted the family, saying that it showed all Aussies – as “materialistic, argumentative and heavy-drinking”, according to the <em>SMH</em>. </p> <p>When the series aired in the UK, <em>The Daily Telegraph Mirror</em> dubbed the show  “a vicious putdown tailor-made for British audiences” and many viewers were shocked at the antics of the Australian family. </p> <p>Viewers of the show were stunned to learn that her death went unreported, and many shared their condolences on X. </p> <p>“Vale the original Kath Day-Knight,” wrote one follower, referring to <em>Sylvania Waters</em> influence on another beloved show, <em>Kath and Kim</em>.</p> <p>“One of the world’s first reality TV series, and one that put Sylvania Waters on the map," added another. </p> <p>“Get me a bourbon, Laurie,” wrote a third, citing one of her iconic lines. </p> <p>“Sad. I grew up around the corner and went to school with their kids,” added a fourth. </p> <p><em>Images: X</em></p>

Caring

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Cancer-causing chemicals found in Aussie tap water sparks safety concerns

<p>A landmark ruling in the US has sparked safety concerns over Australian tap water, with many wondering if it is safe to drink. </p> <p>After the US tightened their regulations around drinking tap water, cutting the maximum level of cancer-causing so-called “forever chemicals” allowed, experts have urged Australia to do the same. </p> <p>Earlier this year, the US Environmental Protection Agency found there was “no safe level of exposure” of the chemicals perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water and they were likely to cause cancer.</p> <p>The toxic substances have also been linked to kidney and liver disease, thyroid dysregulation, reproductive problems, and developmental problems.</p> <p>According to a federally funded University of Queensland study published in 2011, Australia permits per-and-poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances at levels up to 140 times higher than those allowed in the US.</p> <p>Health Minister Mark Butler has asked key political players, including Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, for an urgent briefing following the US developments.</p> <p>The National Health and Medical Research Council, which shapes the nation’s water rules, is reviewing its guidelines relating to the chemicals, and that could be expedited ahead of its 2025 end date.</p> <p>“Australian drinking water is regularly monitored for the presence of chemicals, including PFAS, to ensure those are within the limits assessed as safe by Australian regulators,” a spokesperson for the Health Minister said.</p> <p>“This independent review will consider recent guidance and reviews from international and national jurisdictions and determine whether they are suitable to adopt or adapt for Australia.”</p> <p>Nicholas Chartres, a senior research fellow at the University of Sydney, called for a precautionary approach and immediate widespread testing of the nation’s water supplies.</p> <p>“The government needs to take action. They need to be testing the water (and) it will come at a cost,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Weight loss: drinking a gallon of water a day probably won’t help you lose weight

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/duane-mellor-136502">Duane Mellor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/aston-university-1107">Aston University</a></em></p> <p>It’s often claimed that if you’re trying to lose weight, one of the things you should do each day is drink plenty of water – with some internet advice even suggesting this should be as much as a gallon (about 4.5 litres). The claim is that water helps burn calories and reduce appetite, which in turn leads to weight loss.</p> <p>But while we all might wish it was this easy to lose weight, unfortunately there’s little evidence to back up these claims.</p> <h2>Myth 1: water helps burn calories</h2> <p>One <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14671205/">small study</a>, of 14 young adults, found drinking 500ml of water increased resting energy expenditure (the amount of calories our body burns before exercise) by about 24%.</p> <p>While this may sound great, this effect only lasted an hour. And this wouldn’t translate to a big difference at all. For an average 70kg adult, they would only use an additional 20 calories – a quarter of a biscuit – for every 500ml of water they drank.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16822824/">Another study</a> of eight young adults only saw an increase in energy expenditure when the water was fridge cold – reporting a very modest 4% increase in calories burned. This may be because the body needs to use more energy in order to bring the water up to body temperature, or because it requires more energy for the body to filter the increased volume of fluid through the kidneys. And again, this effect was only seen for about an hour.</p> <p>So although scientifically it might be possible, the actual net increase in calories burned is tiny. For example, even if you drank an extra 1.5l of water per day, it would save fewer calories than you’d get in a slice of bread.</p> <p>It’s also worth noting that all this research was in young healthy adults. More research is needed to see whether this effect is also seen in other groups (such as middle-aged and older adults).</p> <h2>Myth 2: water with meals reduces appetite</h2> <p>This claim again seems sensible, in that if your stomach is at least partly full of water there’s less room for food – so you end up eating less.</p> <p>A number of studies actually support this, particularly those conducted in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2859815/#:%7E:text=Thus%2C%20when%20combined%20with%20a,meal%20EI%20following%20water%20ingestion.">middle-aged and older adults</a>. It’s also a reason people who are unwell or have a poor appetite are advised <a href="https://www.ageuk.org.uk/bp-assets/globalassets/salford/forms/improve-your-food-and-drink-intake.pdf">not to drink before eating</a> as it may lead to under-eating.</p> <p>But for people looking to lose weight, the science is a little less straightforward.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17228036/">One study</a> showed middle-aged and older adults lost 2kg over a 12-week period when they drank water before meals compared with people who didn’t drink any water with their meal. Younger participants (aged 21-35) on the other hand did not lose any weight, regardless of whether they drank water before their meal or not.</p> <p>But since the study didn’t use blinding (where information which may influence participants is withheld until after the experiment is finished), it means that participants may have become aware of why they were drinking water before their meal. This may have led some participants to purposefully change how much they ate in the hopes it might increase their changes of losing weight. However, this doesn’t explain why the effect wasn’t seen in young adults, so it will be important for future studies to investigate why this is.</p> <p>The other challenge with a lot of this kind of research is that it only focuses on whether participants eat less during just one of their day’s meals after drinking water. Although this might suggest the potential to lose weight, there’s <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20736036/">very little good-quality evidence</a> showing that reducing appetite in general leads to weight loss over time.</p> <p>Perhaps this is due to our body’s biological drive to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28193517/">maintain its size</a>. It’s for this reason that no claims can be legally made in Europe about foods which help make you <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/satietyenhancing-products-for-appetite-control-science-and-regulation-of-functional-foods-for-weight-management/E4CCAE4C90A220994FD29C27FAE7F666">feel fuller for longer</a> with <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nutrition-and-health-claims-guidance-to-compliance-with-regulation-ec-1924-2006-on-nutrition-and-health-claims-made-on-foods/nutrition-and-health-claims-guidance-to-compliance-with-regulation-ec-19242006#section-6">reference to weight loss</a>.</p> <p>So, although there might be some appetite-dulling effects of water, it seems that it might not result in long-term weight change – and may possibly be due to making conscious changes to your diet.</p> <h2>Just water isn’t enough</h2> <p>There’s a pretty good reason why water on its own is not terribly effective at <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/eating-habits-and-appetite-control-a-psychobiological-perspective/0D0605739F5150D1A7C49420D75F3CDF">regulating appetite</a>. If it did, prehistoric humans might have starved.</p> <p>But while appetite and satiation – feeling full and not wanting to eat again – aren’t perfectly aligned with being able to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20736036/">lose weight</a>, it might be a helpful starting point.</p> <p>Part of what helps us to feel full is our stomach. When food enters the stomach, it triggers stretch receptors that in turn lead to the release of hormones which tell us we’re full.</p> <p>But since water is a liquid, it’s rapidly emptied from our stomach – meaning it doesn’t actually fill us up. Even more interestingly, due to the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16934271/">stomach’s shape</a>, fluids can bypass any semi-solid food content that’s being digested in the lower part of the stomach. This means that water can still be quickly emptied from the stomach. So even if it’s consumed at the end of a meal it might not necessarily extend your feelings of fullness.</p> <p>If you’re trying to eat less and lose weight, drinking excessive amounts of water may not be a great solution. But there is evidence showing when water is mixed with other substances (such as <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30166637/">fibre</a>, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0031938494903034">soups</a> or vegetable sauces) this can delay how fast the stomach empties its contents – meaning you feel fuller longer.</p> <p>But while water may not help you lose weight directly, it may still aid in weight loss given it’s the healthiest drink we can choose. Swapping high-calorie drinks such as soda and alcohol for water may be an easy way of reducing the calories you consume daily, which may help with weight loss.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211311/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/duane-mellor-136502">Duane Mellor</a>, Lead for Evidence-Based Medicine and Nutrition, Aston Medical School, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/aston-university-1107">Aston University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/weight-loss-drinking-a-gallon-of-water-a-day-probably-wont-help-you-lose-weight-211311">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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Drinking lots of water may seem like a healthy habit – here’s when and why it can prove toxic

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p>In late 2023, actor <a href="https://www.glamour.com/story/brooke-shields-recently-experienced-a-full-blown-seizure-and-bradley-cooper-came-running?utm_source=instagram&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_content=instagram-bio-link&amp;client_service_id=31196&amp;client_service_name=glamour&amp;service_user_id=1.78e+16&amp;supported_service_name=instagram_publishing&amp;utm_brand=glm&amp;utm_social_type=owned">Brooke Shields</a> suffered a seizure after “flooding” her body with water. Shields became dangerously low on sodium while preparing for her show by drinking loads of water. “I flooded my system and I drowned myself,” she would later explain. “And if you don’t have enough sodium in your blood or urine or your body, you can have a seizure.”</p> <p>Shields said she found herself walking around outside for “no reason at all”, wondering: “Why am I out here?”</p> <blockquote> <p>Then I walk into the restaurant and go to the sommelier who had just taken an hour to watch my run through. That’s when everything went black. Then my hands drop to my side and I go headfirst into the wall.</p> </blockquote> <p>Shields added that she was “frothing at the mouth, totally blue, trying to swallow my tongue”.</p> <p>Like Shields, many people may be unaware of the dangers of drinking excessive amounts of water – especially because hydration is so often associated with health benefits. Models and celebrities <a href="https://www.teenvogue.com/story/drinking-water-flawless-skin#:%7E:text=If%20you're%20reading%20a,long%20hours%20at%20a%20time.">often advocate</a> drinking lots of water to help maintain clear, smooth skin. Some <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/75-hard-challenge-before-and-after-tiktok-b2382706.html">social media influencers</a> have promoted drinking a gallon of water daily for weight loss.</p> <p>But excessive water consumption can cause <a href="https://patient.info/treatment-medication/hyponatraemia-leaflet">hyponatraemia</a> – a potentially fatal condition of low sodium in the blood.</p> <h2>Worried about hydration levels? Check your urine</h2> <p>The body strictly regulates its water content to maintain the optimum level of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2323003/">total body water</a> and “osmolality” – the concentration of dissolved particles in your blood. Osmolality increases when you are dehydrated and decreases when you have too much fluid in your blood.</p> <p>Osmolality is monitored by <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9074779/">osmoreceptors</a> that regulate sodium and water balance in the hypothalamus – the part of the brain that controls numerous hormones. These osmoreceptors signal the release of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which acts on blood vessels and the kidneys to control the amount of water and salt in the body.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Qghf7Y9ILAs?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>In healthy people, the body releases ADH when osmolality becomes high. ADH tells the kidneys to reabsorb water, which makes urine more concentrated. The reabsorbed water dilutes the blood, bringing osmolality back to normal levels.</p> <p>Low blood osmolality suppresses the release of ADH, reducing how much water the kidneys reabsorb. This dilutes your urine, which the body then passes to rid itself of the excess water.</p> <p>Healthy urine should be clear and odourless. Darker, yellower urine with a noticeable odour can indicate dehydration – although medications and certain foods, including <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3433805/">asparagus</a>, can affect urine colour and odour, too.</p> <h2>How much is too much?</h2> <p>Adults should consume <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/water-drinks-nutrition/">two-to-three litres per day</a>, of which around 20% comes from food. However, we can lose <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236237/">up to ten litres</a> of water through perspiration – so sweating during exercise or in hot weather increases the amount of water we need to replace through drinking.</p> <p>Some medical conditions can cause overhydration. Approximately <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3616165/">one in five</a> schizophrenia patients drink water compulsively, a dangerous condition known as <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/apr/15/woman-died-mental-hospital-excessive-water-drinking-inquest#:%7E:text=Woman%20died%20at%20mental%20hospital%20after%20excessive%20water%20drinking%2C%20inquest%20told,-Parents%20of%20Lillian&amp;text=A%20woman%20collapsed%20and%20died,water%2C%20an%20inquest%20has%20heard.">psychogenic polydipsia</a>. One long-term study found that patients with psychogenic polydipsia have a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18984069/">“74% greater chance</a> of dying before a non-polydipsic patient”.</p> <p>In <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22306188/">some cases</a>, people with <a href="https://psychiatry-psychopharmacology.com/en/childhood-and-adolescence-disorders-psychogenic-polydipsia-in-an-adolescent-with-eating-disorder-a-case-report-132438">anorexia nervosa</a> can also suffer from compulsive water drinking.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ReQew2zcN7c?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>For those suffering from polydipsia, treatment is focused on medication to reduce the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10675986/">urge to drink</a>, as well as <a href="https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-the-treatment-of-hyponatremia-in-adults/print">increasing sodium levels</a>. This should be done gradually to avoid causing <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562251/">myelinolysis</a> – <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551697/">neurological damage</a> caused by rapid changes in sodium levels in nerve cells.</p> <p>In rare but often highly publicised cases such as that of <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/13/newsid_2516000/2516593.stm">Leah Betts</a> in 1995, some users of the illegal drug MDMA (also known as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6119400/">ecstasy)</a> have <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11265566/">died</a> after drinking copious amounts of water to rehydrate after dancing and sweating.</p> <p>The drug <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5008716/">increases body temperature</a>, so users drink water to avoid overheating. Unfortunately, MDMA also triggers the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12105115/">unnecessary release of ADH</a>, causing water retention. The body becomes unable to rid itself of excess water, which affects its electrolyte levels – causing cells to swell with water.</p> <p>Symptoms of water intoxication start with nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and dizziness. As the condition progresses, sufferers can often display symptoms of <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/psychosis/symptoms/">psychosis</a>, such as inappropriate behaviour, confusion, delusions, disorientation and hallucinations.</p> <p>These symptoms are caused by <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470386/">hyponatraemia</a>, where sodium levels are diluted or depleted in blood and the subsequent imbalance of electrolytes affects the nervous system. Water begins to move into the brain causing <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1572349604000149">a cerebral oedema</a> – brain swelling because of excessive fluid buildup, which is usually fatal if not treated.</p> <p>A healthy body will tell you when it needs water. If you’re thirsty and your urine is dark with a noticeable odour, then you need to drink more. If you aren’t thirsty and your urine is clear or the colour of light straw, then you’re already doing a good job of hydrating yourself.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228715/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950"><em>Adam Taylor</em></a><em>, Professor and Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/drinking-lots-of-water-may-seem-like-a-healthy-habit-heres-when-and-why-it-can-prove-toxic-228715">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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Cancer survivor slapped with $15,000 water bill

<p>An Aussie man has been slapped with a $15,645.86 water bill after the <span style="font-family: Inter, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; letter-spacing: -0.16px; background-color: #ffffff;">Goulburn Mulwaree Council </span>claimed he had used more than 35,000 litres a day over 104 days. </p> <p>Anthony, who lives on his own in the Southern Tablelands, said that his bill is normally around $290 and that he uses about 130 litres of water a day, the average amount a person would use according to Sydney Water. </p> <p>"A 15-and-a-half thousand dollar water bill, they can go and get themselves nicked," he told <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <p>"I'm not paying it, no way in the world."</p> <p>The local mechanic is a cancer survivor, but the disease has made it difficult for him to communicate, so he went to a council meeting with his father, Neil, who talked on his behalf. </p> <p>"I couldn't believe it when he showed me the bill," Neil said. </p> <p>"Currently now, we're at this point in stage where we can't get any reasonable common sense from the council.</p> <p>"I said, 'It's got to be the crook meter', and she said, 'We've had a lot of meters tested and they've all come back positive. </p> <p>"And I said, 'What about this meter?' and she said, 'It'll cost you $50 to have it tested but there'll be nothing wrong with it'."</p> <p>Anthony is accused of using more than 3.6million litres of water,  which is equivalent to filling two Olympic sized swimming pools - or having five taps running all-day. </p> <p>He has received multiple emails from the local council asking him to prove his claim. </p> <p>The local mechanic also said that he received an overdue bill notice ordering him to pay it immediately. </p> <p>"I got an email saying I can have a payment plan and all the rest of it... like, get real," he said. </p> <p>"I'm not going to pay it."</p> <p>Anthony uses his own water tank to water his lawn, fill his fishpond and wash his car, and only uses town waters to wash up and shower. </p> <p>He has been asked to prepare a detailed letter of his water usage, which will be presented at a council meeting later this month.</p> <p><em>Image: Nine</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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Mission: Impossible Sydney mansion sells for eye-watering price

<p>One of Sydney's most iconic properties, known as the Boomerang in Elizabeth Bay, has sold for $80 million. </p> <p>The mansion is featured in the second instalment in the <em>Mission: Impossible</em> franchise, with the 2000 movie starring Tom Cruise being set and filmed in Sydney.</p> <p>It was the first house to officially sell for above $1 million in 1978, before setting another record in 2002 when it fetched $20.7 million.</p> <p>Now, multiple sources have confirmed it has been snapped up by a purchaser, originally from Asia, for four times what it last sold for. </p> <p>The property has long been rated as one of Sydney’s Top 50 homes, and has been in the name of Katrina Fox, the daughter of Melbourne-based billionaire trucking magnate Lindsay Fox, since 2005. </p> <p>The impressive home was put up for sale by Ray White in 2017 with hopes of selling for $60 million and then again with Brad Pillinger of Pillinger for $80 million in 2021 — the last agent to have it listed.</p> <p>Pillinger couldn’t be contacted ahead of publication, but other sources have confirmed the property has sold for the $80m asking price, while speculation from other sources that the result was $105 million have been dismissed.</p> <p>Boomerang sits on 4233 square metres of waterfront land, and features 25 rooms including a private cinema modelled on the State Theatre.</p> <p><em>Image credits: realestate.com.au / Paramount Pictures</em></p>

Real Estate

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What is micellar water and how does it work?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>Micellar water, a product found in supermarkets, chemists and bathroom cabinets around the world, is commonly used to remove make-up. It’s a very effective cleanser and many people swear by it as part of their skincare routine.</p> <p>So, what is micellar water and why is it so good at getting makeup and sunscreen off? Here’s the science.</p> <h2>What are micelles?</h2> <p>Oil and water generally don’t mix, which is why you’ll struggle to remove makeup and sunscreen (which both contain oils) with just plain water.</p> <p>But micellar water products contain something called micelles – clusters of molecules that are <em>very</em> effective at removing oily substances. To understand why, you need to first know two chemistry terms: hydrophilic and hydrophobic.</p> <p>A hydrophilic substance “loves” water and mixes easily with it. Salt and sugar are examples.</p> <p>A hydrophobic substance “hates” water and generally refuses to mix with it. Examples include oil and wax.</p> <p>Hydrophilic materials will happily mix with other hydrophilic materials. The same goes for hydrophobic substances. But if you try to combine hydrophilic and hydrophobic materials, they won’t mix.</p> <h2>How are micelles formed? It’s all about surfactants</h2> <p>The micelles in micellar water are formed by special molecules known as surfactants.</p> <p>Surfactant stands for surface active agent. These molecules looked at their hydrophilic and hydrophobic brethren and said, why not both? They are typically comprised of two ends: a head group that is hydrophilic and a tail that is hydrophobic.</p> <p>When a small amount of surfactant is added to water, the two ends of the molecule have competing interests. The hydrophilic head wants to be in the water, but the hydrophobic tail can’t stand water.</p> <p>Add enough surfactant and, eventually, we will pass a critical micelle concentration and the surfactants will self-assemble into clusters of approximately 20 to 100 surfactant molecules.</p> <p>All the hydrophilic heads will be pointing outwards, while the hydrophobic tails remain “hidden” at the centre. These clusters are micelles.</p> <p>These micelles have a hydrophilic exterior, meaning that they are very happy to remain mixed throughout water. However, in the centre remains a hydrophobic pocket that’s very good at attracting oils.</p> <p>This is very handy, and helps explain why adding some detergent (a surfactant) to water will allow you to wash an oily saucepan. The surfactant first helps lift of the oil, and then the oil can remained mixed into the water, finding a new home in the hydrophobic centre of the micelle.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fnRBCn8fm2o?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>Micellar water in action</h2> <p>Surfactants are in your dishwashing detergent, your body wash, your shampoo, your toothpaste and even many foods. In all of these cases, they are there to help the water interact with the dirt and oils, and micellar water is no different.</p> <p>When you apply some micellar water to a cotton pad, another convenient interaction occurs. The wet cotton is hydrophilic (loves water). Consequently, some of the micelles will unravel, with the hydrophilic heads being attracted to the wet cotton pad.</p> <p>Now, sticking out from the surface will be a layer of hydrophobic tail groups. These hydrophobic tails cannot wait to attract themselves to makeup, sunscreen, oils, dirt, grease and other contaminants on your face.</p> <p>As you sweep the cotton pad across your skin, these contaminants bind to the hydrophobic tails and are removed from the skin.</p> <p>Some contaminants will also find themselves encapsulated in the hydrophobic centres of the micelle.</p> <p>Either way, a cleaner surface is left behind.</p> <p>Look at how a cotton wipe soaked in micellar water cleans up a small oil spill, in comparison to water alone.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5Nge5FEiuYE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>So why shouldn’t I just use dishwashing detergent to wash my face?</h2> <p>Technically, that would work as detergent does indeed contain lots of micelle-forming surfactants.</p> <p>But these particular surfactants would probably cause a lot of skin and eye irritation, while also damaging and drying out your skin. Not nice.</p> <p>The surfactants in micellar water are chosen to be mild and well tolerated by most people’s skin. But micellar water isn’t the only skincare product to contain micelles. There are many other face-cleaning products that also make great use of surfactant molecules and work very well too.</p> <p>Now, it’s not perfect. While it is effective at removing a wide range of contaminants, thick or heavy makeup might not come off easily with micellar water (you might need to do a more vigorous clean).</p> <p>Some products say there is “zero residue”, although the fine print clearly states this refers to visible residue.</p> <p>Many products also state there is no rinse off required. Surfactants will remain on your skin after product use, but for many people they don’t cause irritation. If your skin is feeling irritated after using a micellar water product, you can try rinsing afterwards or discontinuing use.</p> <p>And as is the case with many cosmetic products, you should test it first on a small patch of skin before using it all over your face.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/219492/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633"><em>Daniel Eldridge</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-micellar-water-and-how-does-it-work-219492">original article</a>.</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Man's hilariously Aussie response to rising flood water

<p>An Australian man has gone viral for his laid back response to flood waters rising around him, as Queensland continues to be ravaged by Cyclone Jasper. </p> <p>Gavin Dear, a man from the flood-stricken town of Helensvale, and two of his friends took off in his boat to help stranded locals who were displaced from the floods. </p> <p>While filming their rescue mission, the men came across Jonesy, a grey-haired shirtless man who was clinging to a gate as flood waters raced around him. </p> <p>In a clip shared to Facebook, a voice from behind the camera asked, "Jonesy, are you all right?"</p> <p>"Yeah mate. All good," Jonesy responded casually before raising concerns about others in danger nearby.</p> <p>When the men assured Jonesy his neighbours were safe, they asked him again if he needed assistance, to which he said, "Yeah nah mate, bloody fine."</p> <p><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?height=476&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F10NewsQLD%2Fvideos%2F1334777510741703%2F&show_text=false&width=380&t=0" width="380" height="476" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Hundreds of social media users flocked to the comments section to express their praise for the Aussie larrikin. </p> <p>"There's no possible way this could be any more Far North Queensland," one said.</p> <p>"I think that was the most Australian moment since the first ever utterance of G'day," another wrote. </p> <p>"Surrounded by utter chaos, waist deep in flood water, chopper evac in the background, worried about the other blokes and a dog and saying 'yeah, I'm all good'."</p> <p>Others were quick to label the man "a bloody legend" for worrying about his community despite being half underwater himself.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook  </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Aussies brave flood waters for a drink at the pub

<p>A group of flood-stricken Queenslanders are braving the aftermath of the devastating Cyclone Jasper, and risking it all to head out to their local pub. </p> <p>On the banks of the Tully River, 155km south of Cairns, locals flocked to the Hotel Euramo to wait out the storm, with everyone arriving by boat.</p> <p>Instead of the carpark being full of cars, 18 tinnies brought thirsty locals to their watering hole, in what has become a tradition for when the area is impacted by floods. </p> <p>Hotel owner Ollie Muzic told <em>ABC News Breakfast</em> on Monday that it was a local tradition for patrons to turn up at the by either boat or tractor when the town was flooded.</p> <p>"We had no tractors turn up yesterday, but the water level was higher than it ever was before," she said.</p> <p>"Everyone was very high-spirited. We are lucky our water disperses very quickly."</p> <p>Hotel manager Tish Ottone said patrons made the best of the bad situation, and did what they could do enjoy their day at the pub. </p> <p>"It was really good, the atmosphere was amazing," she said.</p> <p>"It was definitely on my bucket list (to arrive by boat) and it is ticked off now so it was surreal, it was pretty cool."</p> <p id="ext-gen32">Six people stayed at the pu8b overnight on Sunday and Ms Muzic said she and staff would be on the premises until waters recede, providing what they could to locals who need help. </p> <p>"The majority of people who are here say they got everything sorted yesterday morning before coming here, everything high and dry and there’s pretty well nothing much you can do except sit around until the water drops down," she said.</p> <p>Although the atmosphere at the pub was festive, Ms Muzic said she was mindful of those in more catastrophic conditions in Queensland, as Cyclone Jasper continues to wreak havoc.</p> <p>"We do understand there are a lot of places in north Queensland absolutely devastated by these floods," she said.</p> <p>"Our hearts go to everybody in Cairns and the surrounding areas who have lost their homes and roads."</p> <p>"Hopefully our government gets in to fix everything up as quick as possible, it’s the week of Christmas."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Woolworths impresses customers with welcome "treat"

<p>Woolworths have given their customers a reason to smile after giving shoppers an unexpected offer. </p> <p>The supermarket giant has been praised for a simple but thoughtful gesture to customers trying to beat the heat while doing groceries. </p> <p>On a particularly hot day, a Woolworths store put bins of ice and bottles of water by the entrance for shoppers to take, with no charge. </p> <p>"Dear customers, we are in for a warm day. Stay safe and hydrated. Please enjoy a bottle of cold water from the store team," read signs attached to tubs at the shop.</p> <p>The small but significant gesture didn't go unnoticed by grateful shoppers, with one customer sharing a photo of the freebies on Facebook and describing it as a "great idea".</p> <p>Another shopper agreed, commenting, "As it was 40°C in Adelaide today, cold water would have been a treat."</p> <p>"Can grab some apples for the kids and a bottle of water," added someone else, referencing the free fruit for children also offered by the retailer.</p> <p>A spokesperson from Woolworths shared with <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/woolworths-stuns-with-unexpected-offer-for-customers-085030601.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Yahoo News Australia</em></a> that this offer embodies a commitment to acts of kindness that are encouraged among the retailer's network of supermarkets.</p> <p>"Our store teams try and bring a little good to our customers every day," the spokesperson said.</p> <p>Not everyone was impressed by the generous offer, however, including a critic who suggested that what the supermarket was "really saying is that there's no air conditioning in their store".</p> <p>Others were also quick to comment that while the bottles of water were a nice offer, what would really help them would be a reduction in soaring grocery prices as the cost of living crisis continues. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Shutterstock</em></p>

Caring

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Eye-watering price tag for "remarkable" first class Titanic menu

<p>A first class dinner menu from the Titanic has been found and sold at an auction in England for £84,000 (around $162,000 AUD) on November 11. </p> <p>The water-stained menu was dated April 11, 1912 just three days before the ship hit an iceberg, ultimately meeting it's ill-fated end causing over 1500 deaths. </p> <p>Wealthy passengers at the time were spoiled with choice, with oysters, salmon, beef, squab (baby pigeon), spring lamb among other dishes on the menu, and that's not including dessert. </p> <p>Auctioneers Henry Aldridge &amp; Son said it was unclear how the menu made it off the ship intact, but the slight water damage suggests that it was recovered from the body of a victim. </p> <p>The rare artefact, which is over 111 years old belonged to amateur historian Len Stephenson, from Nova Scotia, Canada, who passed away in 2017. </p> <p>No one knew he had it, including his family, who only discovered it after going through his belongings following his death. </p> <p>“About six months ago his daughter and his son-in-law, Allen, felt the time was right to go through his belongings,” auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said. </p> <p>“As they did they found this menu in an old photo album.</p> <p>“Len was a very well thought-of historian in Nova Scotia which has strong connections with the Titanic. The body recovery ships were from Nova Scotia and so all the victims were taken back there.</p> <p>“Sadly, Len has taken the secret of how he acquired this menu to the grave with him.”</p> <p>Stephenson worked at a post office and would talk to people, collect old pictures and write letters for them, which might be how he got the rare artefact. </p> <p>According to the auctioneer, no other first class dinner menus dated April 11, 1912 have been recovered from the titanic making this “a remarkable survivor from the most famous Ocean liner of all time”.</p> <p>“There are a handful of April 14 menus in existence but you just don’t see menus from April 11. Most of them would have gone down with the ship,” Aldridge said. </p> <p>“Whereas with April 14 menus, passengers would have still had them in their coat and jacket pockets from earlier on that fateful night and still had them when they were taken off the ship," he added. </p> <p>A few other items recovered from the Titanic were also sold, including a Swiss-made pocket watch recovered from passenger Sinai Kantor which fetched £97,000 (around $187,000 AUD). </p> <p>A tartan-patterned deck blanket, which was likely used during the rescue operation also sold for £96,000 (around $185,000). </p> <p><em>Images: Henry Aldridge &amp; Son of Devizes, Wiltshire</em></p> <p> </p>

Cruising

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Does running water really trigger the urge to pee? Experts explain the brain-bladder connection

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/james-overs-1458017">James Overs</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-homewood-1458022">David Homewood</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/melbourne-health-950">Melbourne Health</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/helen-elizabeth-oconnell-ao-1458226">Helen Elizabeth O'Connell AO</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-robert-knowles-706104">Simon Robert Knowles</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>We all know that feeling when nature calls – but what’s far less understood is the psychology behind it. Why, for example, do we get the urge to pee just before getting into the shower, or when we’re swimming? What brings on those “nervous wees” right before a date?</p> <p>Research suggests our brain and bladder are in constant communication with each other via a neural network called the <a href="https://www.einj.org/journal/view.php?doi=10.5213/inj.2346036.018">brain-bladder axis</a>.</p> <p>This complex web of circuitry is comprised of sensory neural activity, including the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. These neural connections allow information to be sent <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics12123119">back and forth</a> between the brain and bladder.</p> <p>The brain-bladder axis not only facilitates the act of peeing, but is also responsible for telling us we need to go in the first place.</p> <h2>How do we know when we need to go?</h2> <p>As the bladder fills with urine and expands, this activates special receptors detecting stretch in the nerve-rich lining of the bladder wall. This information is then relayed to the “periaqueductal gray” – a part of the brain in the brainstem which <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn2401">constantly monitors</a> the bladder’s filling status.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/547931/original/file-20230913-19-2kgkhk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/547931/original/file-20230913-19-2kgkhk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/547931/original/file-20230913-19-2kgkhk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=454&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/547931/original/file-20230913-19-2kgkhk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=454&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/547931/original/file-20230913-19-2kgkhk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=454&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/547931/original/file-20230913-19-2kgkhk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=570&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/547931/original/file-20230913-19-2kgkhk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=570&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/547931/original/file-20230913-19-2kgkhk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=570&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The periaqueductal gray is a section of gray matter located in the midbrain section of the brainstem.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainstem#/media/File:1311_Brain_Stem.jpg">Wikimedia/OpenStax</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/">CC BY-SA</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Once the bladder reaches a certain threshold (roughly 250-300ml of urine), another part of the brain called the “pontine micturition centre” is activated and signals that the bladder needs to be emptied. We, in turn, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16254993/">register this</a> as that all-too-familiar feeling of fullness and pressure down below.</p> <p>Beyond this, however, a range of situations can trigger or exacerbate our need to pee, by increasing the production of urine and/or stimulating reflexes in the bladder.</p> <h2>Peeing in the shower</h2> <p>If you’ve ever felt the need to pee while in the shower (no judgement here) it may be due to the sight and sound of running water.</p> <p>In a 2015 study, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0126798">researchers demonstrated</a> that males with urinary difficulties found it easier to initiate peeing when listening to the sound of running water being played on a smartphone.</p> <p>Symptoms of overactive bladder, including urgency (a sudden need to pee), have also been <a href="https://www.alliedacademies.org/articles/environmental-cues-to-urgency-and-incontinence-episodes-in-chinesepatients-with-overactive-urinary-bladder-syndrome.html">linked to</a> a range of environmental cues involving running water, including washing your hands and taking a shower.</p> <p>This is likely due to both physiology and psychology. Firstly, the sound of running water may have a relaxing <em>physiological</em> effect, increasing activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. This would relax the bladder muscles and prepare the bladder for emptying.</p> <p>At the same time, the sound of running water may also have a conditioned <em>psychological</em> effect. Due to the countless times in our lives where this sound has coincided with the actual act of peeing, it may trigger an instinctive reaction in us to urinate.</p> <p>This would happen in the same way <a href="https://www.simplypsychology.org/pavlov.html">Pavlov’s dog learnt</a>, through repeated pairing, to salivate when a bell was rung.</p> <h2>Cheeky wee in the sea</h2> <p>But it’s not just the sight or sound of running water that makes us want to pee. Immersion in cold water has been shown to cause a “cold shock response”, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19945970">which activates</a> the sympathetic nervous system.</p> <p>This so-called “fight or flight” response drives up our blood pressure which, in turn, causes our kidneys to filter out more fluid from the bloodstream to stabilise our blood pressure, in a process called “<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00864230">immersion diuresis</a>”. When this happens, our bladder fills up faster than normal, triggering the urge to pee.</p> <p>Interestingly, immersion in very warm water (such as a relaxing bath) may also increase urine production. In this case, however, it’s due to activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s004210050065">One study</a> demonstrated an increase in water temperature from 40℃ to 50℃ reduced the time it took for participants to start urinating.</p> <p>Similar to the effect of hearing running water, the authors of the study suggest being in warm water is calming for the body and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This activation can result in the relaxation of the bladder and possibly the pelvic floor muscles, bringing on the urge to pee.</p> <h2>The nervous wee</h2> <p>We know stress and anxiety can cause bouts of nausea and butterflies in the tummy, but what about the bladder? Why do we feel a sudden and frequent urge to urinate at times of heightened stress, such as before a date or job interview?</p> <p>When a person becomes stressed or anxious, the body goes into fight-or-flight mode through the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. This triggers a cascade of physiological changes designed to prepare the body to face a perceived threat.</p> <p>As part of this response, the muscles surrounding the bladder may contract, leading to a more urgent and frequent need to pee. Also, as is the case during immersion diuresis, the increase in blood pressure associated with the stress response may <a href="https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI102496">stimulate</a> the kidneys to produce more urine.</p> <h2>Some final thoughts</h2> <p>We all pee (most of us several times a day). Yet <a href="https://doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.1150">research has shown</a> about 75% of adults know little about how this process actually works – and even less about the brain-bladdder axis and its role in urination.</p> <p><a href="https://www.continence.org.au/about-us/our-work/key-statistics-incontinence#:%7E:text=Urinary%20incontinence%20affects%20up%20to,38%25%20of%20Australian%20women1.">Most Australians</a> will experience urinary difficulties at some point in their lives, so if you ever have concerns about your urinary health, it’s extremely important to consult a healthcare professional.</p> <p>And should you ever find yourself unable to pee, perhaps the sight or sound of running water, a relaxing bath or a nice swim will help with getting that stream to flow.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/210808/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/james-overs-1458017"><em>James Overs</em></a><em>, Research Assistant, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-homewood-1458022">David Homewood</a>, Urology Research Registrar, Western Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/melbourne-health-950">Melbourne Health</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/helen-elizabeth-oconnell-ao-1458226">Helen Elizabeth O'Connell AO</a>, Professor, University of Melbourne, Department of Surgery. President Urological Society Australia and New Zealand, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-robert-knowles-706104">Simon Robert Knowles</a>, Associate Professor and Clinical Psychologist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/does-running-water-really-trigger-the-urge-to-pee-experts-explain-the-brain-bladder-connection-210808">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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It’s warming up and mozzies are coming. Here’s how to mosquito-proof your backyard

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cameron-webb-6736">Cameron Webb</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>The weather is warming up and that means more time in the backyard. It also means more mosquitoes.</p> <p>Here are five ways you can mosquito-proof your backyard that <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-battle-against-bugs-its-time-to-end-chemical-warfare-111629">don’t rely on spraying insecticides</a>.</p> <h2>1. Get rid of water</h2> <p>Mosquitoes need water to complete their life cycles. They <a href="https://theconversation.com/feel-like-youre-a-mozzie-magnet-its-true-mosquitoes-prefer-to-bite-some-people-over-others-128788">need blood</a> – but water and warmth are just as important.</p> <p>Getting rid of water around your backyard will go a long way to keeping mosquitoes away. Water trapped in blocked roof gutters, drains and tarpaulin covering boats and trailers can be a great home for mosquitoes.</p> <p>Mosquitoes can exploit the tiniest of water sources too. It may just be the upturned lid of a discarded plastic drink bottle. If it traps water, mosquitoes will find it and lay eggs in it.</p> <p>Flush out your bird bath once a week to disrupt the mosquito’s life cycle.</p> <p>If you have a pond, installing a fountain will discourage mosquitoes. If you can’t keep water clean and circulating, consider filling it with sand and gravel to create an interesting garden bed for succulents or other plants.</p> <p>Mosquitoes will avoid clean and chlorinated swimming pools but will quickly move into “green pools”. If you’re not using your pool, consider <a href="https://www.krg.nsw.gov.au/Environment/Your-local-environment/Wildlife/Living-with-wildlife/Pool-to-pond/How-to-convert-your-pool">converting it to a “pond”</a> so that fish can help keep mosquito numbers down.</p> <h2>2. Screen up – windows, doors and rainwater tanks</h2> <p>If you can’t get rid of permanent water, at least stop mosquitoes getting to it (or you).</p> <p>Ensure <a href="https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/clean-and-green/natural-environment-and-water/water/water-smart-homes/rainwater-tanks/using-your-rainwater-tank">rainwater and septic tanks</a> have screens to stop mosquitoes entering.</p> <p>Screen windows and doors to stop mosquitoes entering the home. There are plenty of flexible screening options for windows, doors and balconies.</p> <p>If you live in a mosquito-prone area, creating a screened outdoor area (such as a pergola, courtyard, or balcony) will give you the opportunity to spend time outdoors without being hassled by mozzies.</p> <h2>3. Choose your garden plants carefully</h2> <p>Some plants <a href="https://bioone.org/journals/Journal-of-the-American-Mosquito-Control-Association/volume-25/issue-3/09-0016.1/Are-Commercially-Available-Essential-Oils-from-Australian-Native-Plants-Repellent/10.2987/09-0016.1.short">contain essential oils and other chemicals</a> that, when extracted and concentrated, provide protection against biting mosquitoes. But there isn’t a lot of evidence that the whole plant will keep mosquitoes away from your garden.</p> <p>Some types of plants are even marketed as “mozzie blockers” or “mosquito repelling”. But there isn’t <a href="https://www.veranda.com/outdoor-garden/a40592197/do-mosquito-repelling-plants-work/">any evidence of effectiveness</a>. In fact, some of these plants, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1440-6055.2009.00736.x">such as melaleucas</a>, also happen to be associated with <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jme/article/36/4/515/903838">hot spots of mosquito breeding</a> in coastal Australia.</p> <p>The plants to <em>avoid</em> around the home are those that help mosquitoes breed, such as <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1440-6055.2008.00641.x">bromeliads</a>, which trap water.</p> <h2>4. Encourage the animals that eat mosquitoes</h2> <p>Mosquitoes are food for a range of animals including birds, bats, fish, frogs, lizards, insects, spiders and <a href="https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1365-2656.13965">dragonflies</a>. But don’t expect them to eat enough to keep all mosquitoes away.</p> <p>Bats are often promoted as a good “biological control” options but studies have shown mosquitoes are <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0077183">more likely to be a snack food</a> for small bats, not an irresistible staple of their diet.</p> <p>For garden ponds, frogs will eat a few adult mosquitoes but tadpoles of Australian frogs generally <a href="https://bioone.org/journals/journal-of-the-american-mosquito-control-association/volume-21/issue-4/8756-971X(2006)21%5b492%3aTOFCAF%5d2.0.CO%3b2/TADPOLES-OF-FOUR-COMMON-AUSTRALIAN-FROGS-ARE-NOT-EFFECTIVE-PREDATORS/10.2987/8756-971X(2006)21%5B492:TOFCAF%5D2.0.CO;2.short">don’t eat many mosquito “wrigglers”</a>.</p> <p>Australian native fish <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15532929/">will readily eat mosquitoes</a> and may be useful for backyard ponds.</p> <p>But not all fish are good. While “mosquitofish” (aka “plague minnow”) is distributed overseas to assist in mosquito control, <a href="https://meridian.allenpress.com/australian-zoologist/article/30/3/316/134508/Does-predation-by-the-fish-Gambusia-holbrooki">it’s a disaster for local wildlife</a> and, <a href="https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/aquatic-biosecurity/pests-diseases/freshwater-pests/finfish-species/gambusia">along with other exotic fish species</a>, should not be released into local waterways.</p> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13157-019-01133-2">Healthier habitats promote fewer mosquitoes</a> so the best thing you can do is create habitats for the animals that eat mosquitoes.</p> <h2>5. Avoid traps and other gadgets</h2> <p>There are lots of devices purported to catch, kill, or repel mosquitoes from your garden. Some may catch a mosquito or two but they’re not very effective in knocking out big numbers.</p> <p>“Bug zappers” with bright lights will collect lots of flying insects. It’s just that mosquitoes make up a very small proportion of collections.</p> <p>Electrocuting devices, again, don’t seem to attract a lot of mosquitoes.</p> <p>Devices that <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-buzz-from-your-smartphone-wont-stop-mosquito-bites-92611">emit high frequency sounds</a> won’t help either.</p> <p>The best devices are typically those that are baited with carbon dioxide. These are a mainstay of state and territory <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/mosquito-borne/Pages/surveillance.aspx">mosquito and arbovirus surveillance programs</a>. For a mosquito, the C0₂ tricks them into thinking the trap is a warm-blooded animal. The only problem is these can be expensive to run and don’t seem quite as effective for mosquito control <a href="https://bioone.org/journals/journal-of-the-american-mosquito-control-association/volume-22/issue-3/8756-971X(2006)22%5b490%3aTATTFA%5d2.0.CO%3b2/Traps-and-Trapping-Techniques-for-Adult-Mosquito-Control/10.2987/8756-971X(2006)22%5B490:TATTFA%5D2.0.CO;2.short">unless used in large numbers</a>.</p> <h2>Yes, you’ll still need repellent</h2> <p>Perhaps the best way to avoid mosquito bites is to pick an insect repellent <a href="https://www.phrp.com.au/issues/december-2016-volume-26-issue-5/a-review-of-recommendations-on-the-safe-and-effective-use-of-topical-mosquito-repellents/">recommended by health authorities</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/mozzies-biting-heres-how-to-choose-a-repellent-and-how-to-use-it-for-the-best-protection-150183">apply it</a> to ensure all exposed areas of skin are covered. These products and safe, affordable and effective.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/212711/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cameron-webb-6736"><em>Cameron Webb</em></a><em>, Clinical Associate Professor and Principal Hospital Scientist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-warming-up-and-mozzies-are-coming-heres-how-to-mosquito-proof-your-backyard-212711">original article</a>.</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Eye-watering price tag for Melissa Caddick's penthouse

<p>A penthouse formerly owned by fraudster Melissa Caddick is on the market for an estimated $5.5 million.</p> <p>The apartment, which was previously occupied by her parents Ted and Barbara Grimley, was listed for auction on October 10 and boasts stunning panoramic views of the city skyline.</p> <p>“Spacious throughout and stylishly presented with understated contemporary finishes, this is the perfect opportunity for downsizers, executives and families who seek undeniable quality and convenience,” read an online listing.</p> <p>Viewings for the apartment located in Eastpoint Tower at Edgecliff are only available through appointments, according to managing agents Richardson and Wrench.</p> <p>Liquidators hope that the sale of the penthouse will help recover some of the money Caddick stole from over 50 investors as part of her ponzi investment scam.</p> <p>The 49-year-old lived a life of luxury after stealing up to $30 million from the investors, many of whom were reportedly her close friends and family.</p> <p>Jones Partners, the accounting firm in charge of liquidating Caddick's former assets, have already recouped $3 million to investors after the sale of her share portfolio and Dover Heights cliff-top mansion.</p> <p>At the time, Jones Partners principal Bruce Gleeson said that it wasn't rare for investors to not get anything back from ponzi schemes.</p> <p>However, he has said that the sale of the Edgecliff apartment in Sydney's eastern suburbs, would allow for further significant distributions to investors.</p> <p>Caddick disappeared in November 2020, just days after her home was raided by ASIC investigators.</p> <p>She is believed to be dead after her badly decomposed right foot was found washed up on a beach in the south coast of NSW on February 2021, but the rest of her body has not been found.</p> <p><em>Images: </em><em>Richardson &amp; Wrench </em></p>

Real Estate

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Princess Diana's dresses fetch an eye-watering sum at auction

<p>Three dresses worn by Princess Diana have sold for $2.5 million (AUD) at an auction in Beverly Hills, California. </p> <p>The gowns were sold in a <em>Legends: Hollywood And Royalty</em> sale, by Julien's Auctions and featured over 1,400 items to celebrate 100 years of Warner Bros. </p> <p>All three dresses sold for six-figures, with one selling for almost triple it's estimated price. </p> <p>Martin Nolan, the executive director, said the record-breaking sale of Diana's dresses "exceeded all expectations".</p> <p>Princess Diana's black and jade gown was the most expensive item, selling for $895,580. </p> <p>The dress was made by Catherine Walker - her personal designer for over 16 years - which she wore to a gala event in Toronto, Canada, in October 1991. </p> <p>The second most expensive dress sold was a red silk dress made by Bruce Oldfield, which she wore to the premiere of<em> Hot Shots</em> at the Odeon Leicester Square the following month. </p> <p>The Oldfield dress fetched a stunning $895,547 - which was almost triple it's estimated  $312,000 price tag.</p> <p>The final dress was a custom-made black velvet and ivory gown Diana wore to a private function, which was also designed by Walker, and fetched $796,070. </p> <p>The original price of the velvet and ivory gown was estimated to be around $93,000 - $125,000. </p> <p>The three dresses have not been seen in public for over 30 years, according to the auction house.</p> <p>They were originally bought by American businesswoman Ellen Petho, who bought five of Princess Diana's dresses for $234,000 at an auction in New York. </p> <p>Petho, who passed away in January aged 82, ended up only keeping three of the dresses, which her husband has now sold to help raise money for a scholarship fund for mature art and design students in memory of his wife.</p> <p>Petho's daughter Karrie, told the <em>Mail</em>:  "Our mother read the inscription inside [the auction catalogue] about Prince William telling his mother that the dresses should not sit in her closet, that they should be out in the world and doing good. I think that's what inspired her."</p> <p><em>Image: Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Albo's eye-watering pay rise revealed

<p>Anthony Albanese has received a massive pay rise, along with several other Federal MPs, in the biggest pay rise for politicians in a decade. </p> <p>The Prime Minister and his deputy Richard Marles have scored a big pay pump which will increase their pay to $586,768 and $432,860 respectively.</p> <p>The pay increase for all politicians is four percent, which is the heftiest single pay rise in almost 10 years, taking the base salary of a backbencher from $217,000 to $225,680.</p> <p>Under the changes, Albo will score a $22,568 a year pay rise, while his deputy Richard Marles will score a $16,000 pay rise from September 1st.</p> <p>The Remuneration Tribunal, the body that determines the pay and entitlements of public office holders, announced the decision on Monday afternoon citing cost of living pressures as one factor for the increase.</p> <p>“The Tribunal has decided to increase remuneration by 4 per cent for public offices in its jurisdiction. This increase applies from 1 July 2023 for all offices except Federal Members of Parliament (MPs), which applies from 1 September 2023," a spokesman said.</p> <p>“The Tribunal completed its last review of remuneration for public offices in its jurisdiction in June 2022 and determined an adjustment of 2.75 per cent would apply from 1 July 2022. The Tribunal made no adjustment in the preceding two years."</p> <p>“The Tribunal is aware that the remuneration increases it has awarded to offices in its jurisdiction over the past decade have been conservative," a spokesman said.</p> <p>Despite the Tribunal's justification for the increase, the news of the pay rise has come at a difficult time for the Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, as revelations emerged that he was booking military planes to pick him up and drop him off at Avalon airport closer to his home in Geelong saving himself a one-hour chauffeur-driven car ride from Melbourne.</p> <p>The flights are contributing to a staggering $3.6 million bill for Mr Marles’ VIP private plane costs since last year alone.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Sam Kerr's eye-watering salary revealed

<p>Sam Kerr's eye-watering salary has been revealed, with the Matildas captain raking in a whopping seven-figure sum thanks to her  football salary and major sports brand endorsements.</p> <p>The Matildas skipper, who holds Australia’s all-time goal-scoring record, earned $3.3 million before heading to the world stage for the FIFA Women's World Cup. </p> <p>According to reports by the <a href="https://www.afr.com/companies/sport/sam-kerr-is-female-soccer-s-3-3m-superstar-no-one-else-comes-close-20230718-p5dpa4#:~:text=A%20world-leading%20female%20footballer%27s,more%20than%20her%20Australian%20teammates." target="_blank" rel="noopener">Australian Financial Review</a>, Kerr was among the highest-paid players in the competition, bringing home a pay packet that is estimated to be more than 10 times higher than her Aussie teammates.</p> <p>The impressive multi-million dollar salary comes from her Chelsea FCW salary and endorsements with Nike and EA Sports, totalling more than double the income of the next best-paid Matildas star, defender Ellie Carpenter, at $1.2 million.</p> <p>Kerr’s partnership with Nike is reportedly worth $1 million and she also has a deal with Mastercard, on top of her Chelsea contract, which is reportedly worth more than $600,000 a season.</p> <p>Emily van Egmond came in third highest paid after earning just shy of $400,000, followed by Lydia Williams and Alanna Kennedy at $354,000 and Katrina Gorry at $330,000, according to the AFR.</p> <p>Seven Matildas players earned between $200,000 and $300,000, with 20-year-old Mary Fowler topping the bracket at $284,738.</p> <p>The remaining teammates’ income ranged from $100,000 to just shy of $185,000.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

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