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December 2013

The Ultimate Good News/Bad News Bulletin

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11 Things You're Doing That Could Shorten Your Life

The Huffington Post | By Todd Van Luling

Are you sitting down while reading this? Well, that could be shortening your lifespan. Let's be honest: From the moment we're born, we're all dying just as we're living. But certain mundane things we do every day may actually be helping us get there faster. None of this means we should even try to eliminate these behaviors from our lives entirely, but it's proof that overdoing anything, even when seemingly innocuous, can have serious impacts on our health. Below we've rounded up 11 everyday things you're probably doing that could potentially shorten your lifespan:

1. You're having a hard time finding love. Having a difficult time finding a mate can shave off months of your life, while being single for prolonged periods of time could cost you a whole decade. A study by Harvard Medical School found that communities with gender ratios skewing significantly more male or female caused the minority sex to have shorter lifespans. Even when exposed to short timeframes of competition, such as attending a high school entirely of one gender, participants were found to have generally shorter lives. Lead researcher Nicholas Christakis stressed this ratio had a sexual mating basis, rather than simple social dominance. On top of all this, another study found that never getting married could increase risk of death over a lifetime by 32 percent, and led to the previously mentioned loss of a decade. That said, changing attitudes toward the social necessity of getting married over the 60-year research period could have potentially affected the results. In 1950, Census data shows that 78 percent of households were occupied by a married couple -- by 2010, that figure had dropped to 48 percent. In other words? Being single or partnered and unmarried is no longer the minority status.

2. You're sitting down for more than a few hours every day. Two whole years of your life could be cut just from sitting more than three hours a day. Australian researchers published in the British Medical Journal found that even regular exercise couldn't deter the potential negative effects of sitting for long stretches of time. Another study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that sitting for more than 11 hours a day increased the risk of death by 40 percent over the next three years, compared to sitting for under four hours a day. Time to get that stand-up desk.

3. You're neglecting your friends. People with weak social connections were found to die at much higher rates than their counterparts, according to research by Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which collected data from 148 different studies. The same researchers found that prolonged loneliness could be as bad for your lifespan as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. On top of all this, elderly people with large circles of friends were found to be 22 percent less likely to die over a tested study period, and those social connections generally promote brain health in aging brains.

4. You're vegging out in front of your TV. Watching just two hours of television a day can lead to an increased risk of premature death, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, according to Harvard researchers. The negative effects of watching television seem to overlap with the potential negative effects of sitting too much, but watching television seems to make the negative effects of sitting even worse. According to the New York Times, "every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes."

5. You're eating too much unhealthy food. Perhaps this sounds obvious, but the truth is that so many of us continue to do it. The existence of the "Stroke Belt" -- which includes many southeastern states and ranges from parts of Texas to Virginia, overlapping with much of the "Diabetes Belt" -- has led to many studies trying to figure out why life expectancy is so low and strokes are so common there. One such study focused on a town in East Texas. The residents of this town died seven years earlier than the healthiest Texans, according to the research done by the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. As the New York Times reported, "The proof of Anderson County’s live-hard, die-young culture is in the bread pudding — and the all-you-can-eat fried catfish, the drive-through tobacco barns and the dozens of doughnut shops that dot this East Texas county of about 57,000." As far as what foods to especially avoid, eating red meat seems to shorten life expectancy by as much as 20 percent when eating extra portions.

6. You're still looking for a job. Being unemployed can increase a person's risk of premature death by 63 percent, according to findings by Canadian researchers after analyzing 40 years of data from 20 million people in 15 countries. Other more specific studies on the changing mortality rates of American white women found that "the two factors most strongly associated with higher death rates were smoking and not having a job." Another found that older people who lost their jobs during the recession could have seen their lifespan decrease by as many as three years.

7. You're dealing with a long commute. Commutes of about an hour have been found to increase stress and have been linked to the same negative effects as sitting. Long commutes also reduce the likelihood that individuals will consistently participate in health related activities. The greatest lifespan risk is with female commuters, who were found to have significantly shorter lifespans after consistently commuting for 31 miles or more, according to researchers at Sweden’s Umeå University. The cause for the dip in female life expectancies has been the topic of much speculation lately, but while the Swedish research was able to link commuting to obesity, insomnia and a higher rate of divorce, it wasn't able to pinpoint why female mortality rates are higher.

8. You're having a dry-spell. A study among men found that failing to orgasm for extended periods of time can potentially cause your mortality rate to be 50 percent higher than for those who have frequent orgasms. This result was found even when controlling for factors such as age, smoking, and social class. On the opposite spectrum, orgasms have been linked to quite a few additional health benefits.

9. You're putting up with annoying co-workers. Missing out on strong connections with your co-workers can also potentially mean missing out on a longer life. According to researchers at Tel Aviv University, "Peer social support, which could represent how well a participant is socially integrated in his or her employment context, is a potent predictor of the risk of all causes of mortality." Although having feelings of encouragement coming from bosses and managers didn't seem to affect the subjects' lifespans, those who reported feelings of low social support at work were 2.4 times more likely to die over the study period.

10. You're not sleeping enough (or maybe too much?) Harvard Medical School points out that research has shown that life expectancies significantly decrease in subjects who average less than five or more than nine hours a night. Most of us suffer from too little rather than too much sleep, but research suggests there truly is a sleep "sweet spot" -- at least if you're primarily concerned about living for as long as possible. Chronic lack of sleep is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers, dementia, cognitive and memory problems, weight gain and early death. And some research shows that too much (dramatically, unusually too much) regular sleep could be problematic as well. Research has also shown that we need an average of eight hours to function optimally, but another, somewhat controversial study found that getting more than seven hours of sleep a night has been linked to shortened lifespans. A 12 percent increase in mortality rate was found in people who slept eight hours versus those who hovered closer to seven, in a 2002 study from Brigham and Women's Hospital. However, other studies have found that needing to sleep for too long may be a sign of other physical ailments, from diabetes to depression.

11. You're fearing death or that you won't live for as long as you'd like. This is a painful paradox. A fear of a shortened lifespans, or Thanatophobia, can potentially end up causing -- a shortened lifespan. A 2012 study on cancer patients published in the US National Library of Medicine ended up finding that, "life expectancy was perceived as shortened in patients with death anxiety." Outside of cancer patients, an intense fear of death can also lead to a three to five times increase in the risk of cardiovascular ailments, according to research on Americans who feared death from another terrorist attack following Sept. 11, 2001. Although a slight fear of death has been shown to have positive benefits, like an increase in exercise and healthy eating, the fear has been shown to significantly affect lifespans, especially in adults nearing the age of being considered elderly. These effects can also be correlated to especially paranoid people having weaker connections with society and increased feelings of alienation -- the negative effects of which were both discussed above.

Surfer Distress: Don't Call 911 Unless It's a Clear Emergency

Beau Belanger from "Creekside Residents" on "I'm a CG helo pilot here at air station San Fran and live in the area. I was actually surfing in Rockaway during the whole mess. I never saw anyone in danger, there was one guy that was struggling on the north side but he made it back to shore. The helo was required to search even though there was no missing persons reported as per our procedures. The final report was concluded that there was no surfer in distress since there were no reported missing persons several days following the event. We get many cases of good SAMs that think a surfer, winder surfer, etc. is in distress, but in reality they may be simply struggling a bit but are still in control of their situation. Tourists or people that don't do water sports don't understand that a surfer getting battered by waves is simply duck diving and trying to paddle out. Please keep this in mind and spread the word to only call 911 if it looks like the surfer is really in distress because it decreases our units available response hours if we are flying on cases with no definitive missing persons (false cases). Thanks!"

Pacifica Tribune Seeks Reporter

The Pacifica Tribune, an award-winning 3,500-circulation weekly newspaper, is seeking a freelance, independent contractor, part-time reporter for weekly assignments. Responsibilities may include everything from general news assignments to government, business, feature, spot news and crime reporting.

Background in journalism and, specifically, in newswriting is preferred. Students and Journalism School graduates are encouraged to apply. We are seeking candidates living in San Mateo County who have quick access to Pacifica. The reporter will work in the field and from home and the job requires occasional night and weekend work.

Experience with photography is a plus. Most story deadlines are Wednesday and Thursday. The Tribune goes to press Tuesday for Wednesday home delivery.

Fee per assignment is unspecified. Send resume, cover letter (optional) and two writing samples to Editor/Publisher Elaine Larsen at Pacifica Tribune, 59 Bill Drake Way, Pacifica CA 94044 or

The Pacifica Tribune is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

SamTrans to Launch Flexible Bus Service in Linda Mar

Service area: The FLX Pacifica bus will travel clockwise from Linda Mar Park & Ride along Highway 1 to Crespi Drive, Fassler Avenue, Terra Nova Boulevard, Oddstad Boulevard, and back to Linda Mar Boulevard.

Service flexibility: The bus will operate on a fixed schedule serving SamTrans bus stops, but customers will be able to arrange for direct service within one-half mile of the route by calling one day in advance. 

Service hours: Buses will operate every 45 minutes weekdays from about 7 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. 

To arrange a ride: Customers will call a designated number up to one day before they want to travel. Rides will be reserved based on availability. The reservation phone number will be available after January 20.

Pacifica 23rd-Safest City in California

Safe Cities

Nestled on the coast of the powerful Pacific Ocean, between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay, you’ll discover the charming town of Pacifica. As a resident of the town, that was founded in 1957, you’ll enjoy a rewarding quality of life that includes an abundance of community related family programs and events. Search the Coastside Farmer’s Market for ingredients to make your family’s favorite meal, or catch dinner fishing from the Pacifica Pier.

Spend date night taking in a live play or art show, or pack a picnic dinner and head to the beach to watch the perfect sunset. Personal enrichment classes and a plethora of volunteer opportunities ensure you’ll never be left wondering what to do. And wait until your kids hear about Pacifica’s world class skatepark, family swims, monthly teen dances and Pacifica’s unparalleled school music program. All this, plus residents enjoy safe streets. According to the FBI Crime Report, authorities were made aware of only seven robberies in 2011.

Alandromes: So Soon South Sudan; DVL BLVD

The growing fear of civil war in South Sudan comes as no surprise to palindrome lovers, who predicted long ago: "Put Sudan in a dust-up!"


With the announcement that Devil's Slide Coastal Trail is expected to open March 22, Pacifica palindrome lovers suggest the newly surfaced roadway be designated Devil Boulevard—aptly abbreviated DVL BLVD.

Alan Wald

The Lady and The Chef

Pacifica sculptress Stella Pilgrim's take on a slice of life: Giacomo Puccini's masterpiece Madama Butterfly featured "lady in waiting" Suzuki (above left). Next to her is Frank Spadarella, owner/operator of Toto's Italian restaurant, originally at 23rd and Mission streets in San Francisco. Frank subsequently opened a second Toto's on Junipero Serra Boulevard in Daly City.

County Controller Releases Popular Annual Financial Report

News Release

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Controller Bob Adler provides details of the financial health of San Mateo County in the Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR), summarizing essential information contained in the county’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, released in October. PAFR examines the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, and provides a look at future challenges and opportunities. PAFR provides the following key information:
 Letter to the Citizens of San Mateo County
 Government-Wide Financial Position
 Capital Assets and Unfunded Liabilities
 Government-Wide Results of Operations
 Tax Revenues
 General Fund: Financial Position, Results of Operations, and Working Capital

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has given, for the 11th consecutive year, an Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting to San Mateo County for its PAFR for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012. This is a prestigious national award recognizing conformance with highest standards for preparation of state and local government financial reports. PAFR can be accessed online at the County Controller’s web page: Click Here

Libraries Offer Free Music Downloads

Along with many public libraries nationwide, San Mateo County Library (including Pacifica's Sharp Park and Sanchez branches) now offers free e-music to its library cardholders. Customers have access to their favorite music on smart phones, tablets, and/or computers.

There are more than 6 million song titles to choose from, including Sony Music’s catalog of legendary artists. The collection includes music from 28,000 labels, originating from more than 85 countries. There is no software to download, and no digital rights management (DRM) restrictions. E-music is available 24/7 to check out via Best of all, there are no due dates.
Visit SMCL with a San Mateo County Library card to start enjoying music today. E-music is easily listened to on most electronic devices. Powered by Freegal, San Mateo County Library’s e-music site has intuitive navigation with the ability to search by album, artist/composer, song, or video.

Once customers log in with their library card, they can download up to three songs a week, or download one video and one song a week to a device—and the songs are theirs to keep until they choose to delete them. Customers can also stream entire albums, up to three hours of commercial free streaming per day.