Phuket, Thailand (CNN) — When Southeast Asia was rocked by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2004, Susanne Janson was glued to her television in Stockholm, Sweden.
Her two daughters — 14-year-old Eleonor and 12-year-old Josefin — were vacationing in Thailand at the time with her ex-husband and his new family, and she hadn’t heard any news of their whereabouts because phone lines were unreliable.
With such a lack of information, it didn’t take long for Janson and her partner, Hans Forssell, to hop on a plane.
Two whales have been tamed in the Arctic Circle, by a female scientist who stripped off and went underwater naked.
Thirty-six-year-old Natalia Avseenko braved sub-zero temperatures to reach the beluga whales in northern Russia because the species dislike artificial clothing like diving suits.
It’s reported that Natalia used meditation techniques to stay underwater at -1.5°C (29.3°F) for more than ten minutes in the Murmansk Oblast region of the White Sea. Her dive is all the more extraordinary because the average human can only last five minutes in freezing water before dying.
Bees play an important role in agriculture, pollinating crops and providing us with the natural sweetener, honey. Environmental stresses are taking their tolls on the insects, however, and this year’s Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement has gone to researcher May Berenbaum, who is studying solutions to the bee crisis.
May Berenbaum says that for thousands of years, people have had an adversarial relationship with bees, because they sting.
“But on the other hand, people all over the world have developed a dependency on the honeybee because it is really the world’s premier managed pollinator,” noted Berenbaum. “And here in the US, for example, over 90 crops depend on honeybees for pollination services.”
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Nutrition during the first days or weeks of life may have long-term consequences on health, potentially via a phenomenon known as the metabolic programming effect, according to a study to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Denver.
Metabolic programming is the concept that differences in nutritional experiences at critical periods early in life can program a person’s metabolism and health for the future.
In this study, researchers compared growth, body composition and blood pressure in three groups of healthy, full-term newborns in the Neonatal Department of Hospices Civils de Lyon, Claude Bernard University, Lyon, France. One group received only breast milk for the first four months of life.
Rachel de Boer finally told some friends a secret she’d kept for years: She slept with stuffed socks sewn between the cups of an old bra to prevent cleavage wrinkles and smooth out her neckline.
Three years later, a professionally designed and manufactured version of that same contraption is sold in 150 lingerie shops across the Netherlands and Belgium, approved by a research institute and getting interest from retail outlets in Germany, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Britain and France.
“It started out as my secret, I didn’t want to talk about my wrinkles or the first bra I made, which was ugly,” de Boer told Reuters “But I slept like that for seven years and then I turned 40, told my friends and they admitted they also had this problem.”
YouTube singing star Rebecca Black is using her overnight fame for a good cause.
The 13-year-old singer, who touched off a nerve with her budget hit, “Friday,” told Us magazine she will donate the profits of her iTunes song to emergency relief efforts in Japan as well as to her school.
“I am donating money to my school and Japan,” she recently revealed.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has left millions of children without parents.
To help South African children and teens orphaned by the crisis, New Yorker Amy Stokes founded Infinite Family, a nonprofit organization that connects orphans with video mentors in other countries.
Stokes was recently honored as a CNN Hero for her work helping orphans rebuild their lives.
It’s a cold winter day and Ruth Kassinger is eating fresh kumquats that she’s just picked from a tree inside her suburban Washington home. The kumquat is among a variety of tropical plants in the sunroom Kassinger calls her conservatory.
A chance visit to the National Botanic Garden in Washington gave her the idea to build her more modest version. “I walked in and the glass doors opened and I stepped into a beautiful green lush, warm and humid jungle, and I walked around for a while, and was just stunned by how beautiful and full of life this place was.”
US researchers suggest aerobic exercise can improve memory and may prevent cognitive decline in older adults. They found that regular exercise over a year increased the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain that makes memories.
The scientists studied 120 older people without dementia. Half began an exercise regimen of walking for 40 minutes three times a week. Half were limited to stretching exercises. Magnetic resonance images (MRI) and spatial memory tests were performed at the start, after six months and after a year.
Transitioning Away from the Internal Combustion Engine
Mitsubishi, the maker of the lovely electric Jellybean (aka the i-MiEV electric car), has plans to introduce 8 hybrid (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and battery-powered (BEV) models by 2015. They anticipate increased demand for “low-carbon” cars and want to position themselves as a major source of those. (Whether they will succeed is another question entirely, but they should at least get some points for trying to move away from the more polluting internal combustion engine.)
In one of the most complex transplant surgeries ever performed, an international team of surgeons has restored the voice of a US woman who had been unable to speak for more than a decade.
The surgical team, including Professor Martin Birchall from University College London, replaced the larynx (voicebox), thyroid gland and trachea (windpipe) in a 52-year-old woman who had lost her ability to speak and breathe on her own.
In May 2007, Cynthia Stafford won $112 million playing Lotto, but what is most amazing is that she’d been planning the big win for a while and even had a written strategy. Once Stafford won her big prize, she started figuring out how she could give a lot of it away.
“We were raised with the sense of philanthropy. Growing up, I was the person who saw the UNICEF commercials and would send my allowance. Being generous is just who I am.”