Thursday, April 2, 2015

Costumed 'goose' thanks Prince Charles in front of White House

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Animal and Pets News Headlines - Yahoo! News

Costumed 'goose' thanks Prince Charles in front of White House

In 2008, Prince Charles said he had ordered his personal chefs to stop buying foie grasAn animal rights activist wearing a goose costume thanked Britain's Prince Charles in front of the White House on Thursday for his opposition to foie gras. "Charlie is my darling for banning foie gras from royal menus," read a placard held up by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activist. "We wanted to thank him for his kindness and for setting a good example," the activist, Ashley Byrne, told AFP. In 2008, Prince Charles said he had ordered his personal chefs to stop buying foie gras.






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The National Park Service Is Almost 100, And Bill Nye Wants You To Find Your Park

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Health and Fitness - The Huffington Post

The National Park Service Is Almost 100, And Bill Nye Wants You To Find Your Park

Bill Nye has a simple explanation when asked why Americans should be grateful for our national parks: "They're precious, they're priceless and they need to be preserved."



He was recently appointed as a centennial ambassador for the National Park Service ahead of the agency's 100th birthday next year in hopes of inspiring the next generation of park-goers to fall in love with the natural world.



The NPS recently launched the Find Your Park campaign to celebrate not only the stunning wonders of Yosemite and Acadia, but also the hundreds of other monuments and protected areas overseen by the authority.



acadia canva



"You think of a national park and you think of vast landscapes, enormous vistas," Nye told The Huffington Post. "But people forget that the Statue of Liberty is a national park. We want people to visit them, to know your park."



Nye, often attached to his "Science Guy" moniker, said an appreciation of nature and preservation goes hand in hand with scientific awareness, including politically charged issues like climate change. Even a cursory visit to a national park can inform visitors that "climate change is manifesting itself everywhere."



"Glacier National Park is becoming 'Mudslide National Park' because of climate change," Nye said.



In an age where the words "climate change" can be banned and presidential candidates call environmentalists "flat-earthers," Nye said he's confident that a visit to a national park will raise the public's urgency to address our changing world.



"We have this technologically advanced society that depends on science for everything," Nye told HuffPost. "And yet we have an ironic and really struggling situation where there's this group of people that doesn't accept science. It's probably the biggest problem that humankind has ever faced."



bill nye canva



Despite the struggle, Nye's encouraged by recent gains in environmental awareness. The U.S. recently committed to slash emissions up to 28 percent over the next decade in advance of the upcoming U.N. climate summit.



"You have to be optimistic. If you're not optimistic, you will not achieve anything," he said.



There are more than 400 sites overseen by the NPS, including 59 designated national parks. You can find one near you here.




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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Heave, ho: Elephants rescue 18-wheeler stranded on Louisiana road

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Animal and Pets News Headlines - Yahoo! News

Heave, ho: Elephants rescue 18-wheeler stranded on Louisiana road

Two elephants support a stranded eighteen-wheel truck in danger of tipping over in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana in this handout photoWhen an 18-wheeler truck became stranded by the side of a Louisiana road, two elephants inside came to the rescue. Sheriff's deputies in Natchitoches Parish on Tuesday morning received a call about a stuck truck. The truck's driver, also an elephant trainer, walked the elephants out of the cargo compartment and directed them to help prop up the vehicle, sheriff's Captain Tony Moran said in an interview. The truck had pulled over on an interstate shoulder near Powhatan, Louisiana, about an hour south of Shreveport.






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Internet searches are convincing us we’re smarter than we really are

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Health & Science: Science News, Health News, Scientific Developments, Healthcare & Nutrition - The Washington Post

Internet searches are convincing us we’re smarter than we really are

Is Google creating the next generation of office blowhards? A clever psychological study by Yale University researchers suggests the answer is yes.It seems that as we look things up on the Web, we become convinced that the information remains in our brains. It doesn't. But we behave as if it does, and we're not shy about claiming that it's there.Read full article >>










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The Gift of #ThrowbackThursday

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Good News - The Huffington Post

The Gift of #ThrowbackThursday

2015-04-01-1427924059-2035830-SASMASnaturalization.jpg



As a genealogist, I'm so focused on the dearly departed that I often neglect the living, but I recently got a serious reminder that those of us above ground matter, too.



Like so many, I occasionally post a photo from the past for #ThrowbackThursday on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. Not long ago, inspired by some videos of naturalization ceremonies shared by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation on Twitter, I blew the dust off a photo of my own naturalization and popped it up for #tbt.



My first surprise came when my sister, Stacy - who was naturalized at the same time and features in the same image - responded to my Facebook post with astonishment. As the family historian, I had known of this black and white picture for years and foolishly assumed that Stacy did, too, but I was wrong. Shame on me for even unintentionally preventing my own sister from seeing our naturalization ceremony. But thanks to #tbt, this faux pas has been remedied.



Better yet, a woman who had known the two of us as babies and toddlers in France posted a few remarks sharing vignettes about our now-deceased mother. The early-20s version of our mom had apparently resolved the mystery of the bidet for the freshly arrived American, but also "helpfully" equipped her with her first French phrase - "Voulez-vous couchez avec moi?" - long before Christina Aguilera or Lady Marmalade were around to enlighten her. Yup, that sounded like Mom.



So one random #tbt post revealed a milestone moment to my sister, triggered a trip down memory lane, and gave us anecdotes we had never heard about our mother. Lesson learned - for me and my fellow genealogists. More photos of the living from now on!




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Animal shelters let kids cozy up to pets at summer camps

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Animal and Pets News Headlines - Yahoo! News

Animal shelters let kids cozy up to pets at summer camps

In this Monday, March 16, 2015 photo, Ashley Carter, 14, looks at a red-tailed boa constrictor during the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA spring kids camp in Phoenix. Thousands of youngsters from 6 to 17 will attend similar summer camps this year at hundreds of animal shelters across the country. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)LOS ANGELES (AP) — Children who love to dance, act or play sports have summer camps specialized just for them. But many parents don't realize that kids who are passionate about pets can have the same immersive experience.






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Internet Agrees On Politics, Religion And The Cutest Dog Breed For 7 Seconds Straight (Satire)

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Weird News - The Huffington Post

Internet Agrees On Politics, Religion And The Cutest Dog Breed For 7 Seconds Straight (Satire)

In what has been hailed as a landmark achievement, members of the Internet agreed for nearly seven straight seconds Wednesday on a wide variety of topics including politics, religion and the cutest dog breed.



The rare moment of comity erupted spontaneously after days of difficult and wide-ranging conversations.



It began when, ostensibly, every single person's "That High School Friend" went on strike from posting statements such as “My religious beliefs are fact and yours are fiction.”



The Internet even stopped questioning Ted Cruz’s "science"-based arguments — as well as his footwear choice. And there was nary a Twitter exchange public hearing about the contents of Hillary Clinton’s 60,000 emails.



Facebook users even temporarily ceased "jumping into the vaccine debate" -- and what happened next might be the most amazing victory: Their friends stopped migrating over to Twitter to complain about them.



And for those keeping track, it was universally agreed that corgis were, in fact, the cutest dogs on the planet.



(Story continues)

ted cruz corgis



All this happened after the Internet had been deadlocked on the topic of Grumpy Cat and whether the celebrity feline is the "grumpiest," or merely just "grumpy."



In a statement to The Huffington Post, Facebook confirmed not one of its users posted a single word of vitriol to the site for seven seconds.



Reached for comment, Jessi Grenard, a teen who spends much of her time on the social networking site, said she had "all the feels." Pressed for details, she demurred: "I just couldn't even."



YouTube responded by disbanding its comment moderation software, which, on account of the newfound unity, was no longer needed.



Company representatives said the computing power freed up by scrapping the program was "significant" and indicated they'd re-tool it to seek a cure for the common cold instead. A legion of anonymous, fedora-wearing men applauded YouTube's decision by tipping their hats in silence.



On Reddit, a comments section previously devoted to arguing whether or not the city of Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania, would be worth twice as much in the bush, was the first to quiet down. All across the website, which bills itself as the "front page of the Internet," members ceased arguing until under every original post there was only mutual agreement and respect. Each comment read only, "This," in agreement with each prior comment.



UN leaders of all nations, caught off-guard with nothing to argue about, took to the floor and silently hugged it out, video of the event showed.





Happy April Fools' Day :)








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My Q and A With Insomnia Expert Gregg Jacobs

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GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post

My Q and A With Insomnia Expert Gregg Jacobs

Gregg Jacobs is an insomnia specialist at the Sleep Disorders Center at the UMass Memorial Medical Center and the author of Say Good Night to Insomnia. In answer to my questions, he shared his insights on how human sleep patterns have changed over time, healthier and more effective alternatives to sleeping pills, and how to reverse our worst sleep habits and behaviors.



Describe your research on insomnia.



I have a longstanding interest in the relationship between the mind and health. My doctoral research, which assessed the ability of the mind to control physiology, showed that it was possible to use deep relaxation techniques to voluntarily produce brain wave patterns that were identical to the initial stages of sleep. My postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School included research on the meditative practices of Tibetan monks. This research, conducted in a Tibetan monastery in Sikkim under the auspices of the Dalai Lama, revealed that advanced Tibetan monks possess remarkable control over their brain waves and physiology. This led to my efforts to develop a safe, drug-free intervention for insomnia, called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), over the past 30 years at the Harvard and University of Massachusetts medical schools. This research culminated in a landmark study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, showing that CBT-I is more effective than Ambien. Because few people have access to CBT-I, my more recent efforts have focused on making CBT-I widely available in an inexpensive, practical format through my website, cbtforinsomnia.com. Numerous studies have recently demonstrated that internet-based CBT-I can be delivered as effectively as face-to-face CBT-I and is more practical and cost-effective.



You've discussed the history of segmented sleep. Do you believe we have evolved past this pattern, or are our bodies struggling against us when we try to sleep in one chunk of time? How does insomnia relate to this?



Research suggests that we may have displayed a polyphasic (i.e., multiple periods) sleep pattern for virtually all of our evolution until the recent advent of nighttime lighting. Prior to that, humans likely went to sleep soon after dusk and awakened at dawn in longer sleep periods that consisted of alternating bouts of sleep and wakefulness. This non-continuous sleep pattern is characteristic of virtually all mammals and is also the pattern we experience early and late in life. It is only in adult life, and the last 350 years of human history, that a more consolidated nocturnal sleep pattern is apparent. However, many adults still experience polyphasic sleep in the form of insomnia, and regular intervals of waking are still experienced in normal sleepers today, as evidenced by six to 12 brief awakenings per night (which most of us don't recall, for they are too short). Evidently, this polyphasic sleep pattern lies dormant in our physiology, met an evolutionary need, and therefore may be adaptive rather than a sleep disorder.



In segmented sleep, how was waking time between the two sleeps spent?



In prehistoric times, it may have been spent tending to the fire, being vigilant for predators, in deep relaxation, for creativity and problem solving, and a channel of communication between dreams and waking life. Historical accounts suggest it was used for sexual activity and socializing, reading and writing, praying, meditating on dreams, or tending to the fire in the cold months.



Tell me about cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. How does this treatment for insomnia compare with other methods like sleeping pills? What successes have you seen among your patients, and how can others incorporate the strategies into their sleep habits?



CBT-I is the most effective psychology-based treatment for a health problem and has consistently been proven to be the most effective first-line treatment for chronic insomnia. It improves sleep in 75 to 80 percent of insomnia patients and reduces or eliminates sleeping pill use in 90 percent of patients. It is so effective that I am surprised if my patients do not report improvement in sleep, or a reduction or elimination of sleeping pills, from CBT-I. And in three studies published in major medical journals that directly compared CBT with sleeping pills, including my study at Harvard Medical School, CBT-I was more effective than sleeping pills. CBT-I also has no side effects and maintains improvements in sleep long-term, and new research shows that CBT-I doubles the improvement rates of depression compared with antidepressant medication alone in depressed patients with insomnia.



In contrast to CBT-I, sleeping pills do not greatly improve sleep. Objectively, newer-generation sleeping pills such as Ambien are no more effective than a placebo. Subjectively, they only increase total sleep time, and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, by about 10 minutes. Furthermore, these small to moderate short-term improvements in sleep are often outweighed by significant side effects and risks, particularly in older adults. These include impairment of alertness, driving, and learning and memory (including sleep-dependent memory consolidation); increased mortality risk, as shown in almost two dozen scientific studies; and dependence, addiction, and activation of the same neurobiological pathways involved in drugs of abuse.



CBT-I is based on the idea that some individuals react to short-term insomnia (usually caused by stress) by worrying about sleep loss. After a few weeks of lying awake at night, frustrated and anxious about insomnia, they start to anticipate not sleeping and become apprehensive about going to bed. They soon learn to associate the bed with sleeplessness and frustration; consequently, the bed quickly becomes a learned cue for wakefulness and insomnia. As a result, they begin to engage in these types of maladaptive sleep habits, thoughts and behaviors that exacerbate insomnia that must be changed with CBT-I (sleeping pills are marginally effective because they do not change these behaviors):



Negative, distorted thoughts and beliefs about insomnia such as "I must get eight hours of sleep" or "I did not sleep a wink last night."



Going to bed too early or sleeping too late and spending excessive time in bed.



Irregular arising times.



Trying to control sleep rather than letting it happen.



Lying awake in bed, frustrated and tense.



Using the bed and bedroom for activities other than sleep.



Use of electronic devices before bedtime.




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World Bank backs contraception, sexual health in Sahel region

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Sexual Health News Headlines - Yahoo! News

World Bank backs contraception, sexual health in Sahel region

Broadening access to contraceptives in Africa's arid Sahel region and improving women's sexual health are key parts of a $200 million World Bank project in the conservative Muslim region, its coordinator said. The project in Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Chad, and Ivory Coast seeks to boost long-term prosperity by relieving population pressures on an environment stricken by drought, Christophe Lemiere, coordinator of the Sahel Women's Empowerment and Demographics Project, told Reuters. "That’s where women's empowerment is kicking in." The Sahel belt running south of the Sahara has seen water levels per capita drop 40 percent over the last 20 years, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The region is struggling to sustain its fast-growing population, which has the world’s highest fertility rate and has seen its infant mortality rate drop by 25 percent over the last decade.




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Pumped-up India braced for Tigers challenge

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Animal and Pets News Headlines - Yahoo! News

Pumped-up India braced for Tigers challenge

India's Suresh Raina dives to make the crease during the Cricket World Cup Pool B match against Zimbabwe at Eden Park on March 14, 2015Defending champions India look to tighten their iron grip both on the World Cup and on Bangladesh when the two neighbours meet in Melbourne for a semi-final spot Thursday. India have reached the quarter-finals with six wins in six pool games, bowling out the opposition every time. They have defeated Bangladesh 24 times since their first meeting in 1998 and have lost just three -- although one of those came in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean which led to India's early exit. Suresh Raina, whose unbeaten 110 helped India chase down Zimbabwe's 288-run target for a hard-fought six-wicket win in their concluding pool game in Auckland last weekend, says the Indians are ready to "express themselves." It's been a marathon buildup for India in defence of their World Cup crown, starting last November for their win-less Test and one-day matches in Australia.






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