Bleats

I Took A Brand New Smartwatch To The Top Of A Mountain To Figure Out Why We Even Have Them

There's no better testing environment for a smartwatch than snowboarding down a mountain.

We live in an age where technology is capable of incredible things, like mobile speeds faster than our internet and AI’s ability to make worryingly convincing deepfakes. And yet I remain baffled by one piece of tech that everyone seems to love: the smartwatch.

Sure they look nice but you have to charge it week in week out, you can receive messages but you can’t reply to any of them, and the installed apps are all just fitness stuff. I just don’t get it. Why bother when my phone can do everything a smartwatch can?

So to figure out what the fuss is about, I took the new Huawei Watch GT Active to a snow-covered mountain in New Zealand in an attempt to wrap my head around the idea of a smartwatch.

After a week of testing my new toy from Huawei, I think I finally get it.

The first thing I noticed was how comfortable and light the smartwatch was, which was great as I didn’t have to worry about adjusting it when I was snowboarding down run after run. The watch face also looked great and checking the time while at full speed wasn’t an issue, though the people I nearly hit may beg to differ.

Huawei must’ve made a deal with the devil about the build quality of its new smartwatch because it was fantastic. Not only did it withstand some nasty pounding during the many stacks I had when coming down a run, it was unfazed with all the snow and water that got squished into its nooks and crannies.

It certainly held up far better than I did on the snow.

The smartwatch packs the usual slew of utility apps, like a heart rate monitor, workout tracker, step counter, barometer and compass. These work fine in an everyday setting but they made so much more sense on a mountain.

The barometer helped keep me in the loop about the atmospheric pressure (which is important… somehow); the compass helped me get my bearings; the weather app let me know if snow was coming and whether I should layer up or down; the fitness apps tracked just how hard I was working every time came down a red or black run; and if I ever lost my phone, I could just use the “Find My Phone” app to locate it.

It’s nice to know that I can cover anywhere between 1-2 km while burning a couple hundred calories per run and my heart rate fluctuated anywhere between 60 to 130 bpm the whole time, all while knowing that I was doing it at an altitude of around 1,100 metres above sea level and at a temperature of around -4 degrees Celsius.

Just wear a smartwatch and all your worries will be gone!

After a day of falling over a lot and getting snow into places where snow shouldn’t go, it’s time to rest up for another day and the smartwatch still finds a way to be useful.

The idea of sleeping while wearing a watch is ludicrous to me but to my surprise, I completely forgot I was wearing it as I drifted off. The Watch GT Active has a pretty nifty sleep tracker so I got to wake up to some nice stats about my time in dreamland and tips on improving my sleep. Apparently I wake up too many times every night.

Now using a smartwatch in this fashion does use up a bit more power than expected. Huawei say the Watch GT Active’s battery lasts two weeks but I only got around a week’s worth of use in while snowboarding. Having said that, I was using nearly everything the watch had so the battery life is actually not that big of a deal.

Overall, I think I finally see the value of owning a smartwatch as it’s proved to be very handy in more ways than I initially expected and all it took was a week’s worth of snowboarding (and falling) down from the top of a mountain for me to reach that epiphany.

Your Sunscreen Is Killing The Environment So Hello Skin Cancer

Skin cancer or saving the planet, that's a tough choice.

With the temperatures reaching unlivable levels in certain parts of the Earth, it’s more important than ever to slip, slap, slop on some sunscreen whenever you’re exposed to the sun, lest you want to face the wrath of sunburn and skin cancer.

But we’re at a critical juncture because it turns out all that skin-protecting sunscreen is doing massive harm to our precious environment.

The environment is crying right now at this heinous act.

A new study by the University of Cantabria and the Institute of Marine Sciences Andalusia found that your cancer-preventing sunscreen is releasing worrying amounts of metals and inorganic nutrients into seawater.

This isn’t just a case of sunscreen rubbing off your face while you’re frolicking around in the waves. Researchers found that not only are metals and nutrients getting released by sunscreen, the amount of UV light can either speed up or slow down this polluting process. This can result to algae blooms and considerable damage to marine ecosystems, which in turn will affect tourism since no one will be flocking to holiday at a dead beach.

Throw in other established links between sunscreen chemicals and unsavoury environmental-killing things like coral stress, hormonal changes in dolphins, birth defects in mussels and sea urchins, and changed reproductive patterns in fish, and it seems like sunscreen isn’t quite the safe thing we all assumed it was.

But hey, at least you and your skin will be safe from cancer!

The effects of sunscreen runoff in seawater on the health of swimmers aren’t exactly clear, but we do know that ingesting a lot of metal and inorganic material is bad for the human body so there’s bound to be some sort of negative effect awaiting us in the water at some point.

This leaves us between a rock and a hard place: Do you put on sunscreen and protect yourself from all the cancer-spreading UV light or do you forego the sunscreen and risk getting melanoma in order to save the environment?

Now before you think about throwing out all your sunscreen in order to save the polar bears, doctors and dermatologists still recommend you to slip, slop and slap because well-intended sunscreen boycotts may help the environment but it’s a slippery slope to sunburn and skin cancer.

The onus then is on cosmetic companies to develop an environmentally safe sunscreen that won’t kill off marine life or poison us with its chemicals. Or you could just wear a bunch of clothes, which will provide you UV protection at the expense of being roasted alive.

Hey, no one said that this whole saving the Earth thing was going to be easy.

Women Aren't Actually Better Than Men At Multitasking, They Just Work Harder

Turns out the ol' "I suck at multitasking" excuse is complete rubbish.

Here’s a loaded question for you: who’s better at multitasking, women or men?

It’s a an age-old hypothetical and I’m willing to bet that you answered “women, duh.”

It’s a pretty common answer that adheres to cultural stereotypes. If we look back on how society views multitasking, women are seen to have no trouble juggling children, a job, a household and a various other life tasks whereas men can barely function while doing one thing at a time.

But according to a new study published on PLOS One, it turns out that women are actually no better at multitasking than men are.

Spongebob gets it.

Researchers got 48 men and 48 women and tested their ability to swap between activities quickly, how well they identified letters and numbers, paying attention to two tasks at once and swapping attention between tasks.

After measuring the reaction times and accuracy for the tasks between the men and women, it was found that there was no notable difference between the groups and humans in general suck at the multitasking thing, period.

So you’re not wrong when you say “I suck at multitasking”, it’s just everyone else does as well.

Hooray!

If science dispels the whole mulitasking myth, why does it seem like women have it all sorted while men are next to useless when confronted with more than one task?

Well it’s because women simply work harder than men.

Despite more men spending time doing housework these days, a majority of it is still done by women. Australian bread-winning mothers end up spending four extra hours a week doing this sort of work compared to bread-winning fathers and it’s taking a heavy toll on their mental health.

Debunking this whole multitasking myth is important in ensuring workloads are evenly spread out but there’s more to be done beyond science telling us that we all suck at doing stuff.

Not only do women need affordable, high-quality childcare that’s widely available but men also need access to things like paternal leave and flexible work in order to help share the labour, especially with the steadily increasing number of dudes getting invested in equal sharing and co-parenting.

So to all those dudes who are helpless at juggling multiple tasks and chalking it up to women being better at multitasking, science says that myth is completely wrong and you need to take a leaf out of their book and simply work harder.

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