Newsy - Sci/Health The Latest Videos From <![CDATA['Skunk' Pot May Hinder Brain's Ability To Send And Receive Messages]]> Sat, 28 Nov 2015 08:41:00 -0600
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Smoking especially strong pot — or skunk — may damage nerve fibers responsible for sending and receiving messages in the brain.

A study published Friday from researchers in Italy and the U.K. found a bigger affect on the corpus callosum in people who smoked high-potency cannabis than people who smoked marijuana with lower levels of THC or those who didn't smoke at all.

The corpus callosum is that thick band of nerves in the center that connects the left half of the brain with the right.

These are the same researchers that earlier this year said the easy access to skunk in London could be behind a rise in psychosis reports linked to cannabis. They say this study shows there's possibly less transfer of information between the two halves of the brain.

The study concludes, "Since high-potency preparations are now replacing traditional herbal drugs in many European countries, raising awareness about the risks of high-potency cannabis is crucial." (Video via CNN)

The researchers don't outright call skunk dangerous. It's more of a warning that monitoring THC levels — just how strong pot is — is important.

One researcher told The Guardian, "When it comes to alcohol, we are used to thinking about how much people drink, and whether they are drinking wine, beer, or whisky. We should think of cannabis in a similar way."

This video includes images from Getty Images and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.

<![CDATA[What It Would Take To Slow Down Time]]> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 16:28:00 -0600
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Time dilation is a storytelling staple: If you get going really fast, everything else around you seems really slow. (Video via Walt Disney Studios / "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Paramount Pictures / "Over the Hedge")

While these examples are fictional, time dilation is a real thing, backed up with hard science. It's just not as exaggerated as you see here. (Video via 20th Century Fox / X-Men: "Days of Future Past")

Take astronauts, for example: over the course of their missions, crew on the International Space Station age fractions of a second less than people here on Earth. (Video via NASA)

It works in part because their spacecraft is moving really fast: 17,500 miles per hour. (Video via NASA)

Special relativity holds that the faster you go, the slower time relative to your position appears to progress. If you could get a spaceship moving close to the speed of light, the effect would be even more noticeable.

"The simple version is if you have twins, and you put one in a spaceship and it travels really fast, and then comes back to Earth, it will not have aged as much as its twin," said Missouri astrophysics professor Dr. Angela Speck.

"It's even featured in the 1960s 'Planet of the Apes,' where they're traveling so fast in space, they don't go through time but thousands of years have passed. That's why they don't realize they've landed back on Earth when they land on the planet," Speck said. (Video via 20th Century Fox / "Planet of the Apes")

But getting the required speed is still beyond science's capabilities. Mass increases with speed. Accelerating to relativistic speeds would require exponential amounts of energy.

The other way to dilate time requires gravity, and lots of it. The stronger your gravitational source is — the closer you can get to it, or the bigger it is —  the slower "external" time progresses. (Video via NASA)

We can see evidence of this with the clocks on GPS satellites. They're farther from Earth's mass than ground-based clocks, so they need adjustment.

"It means that the timing is not quite what it would be if you just didn't account for general relativity. So we have to correct for that. And it's only of the order of tens of microseconds. That can put you off in position by quite a bit," Speck said.

To make this phenomenon really apparent, your best bet is a black hole. (Video via NASA)

"In 'Interstellar,' they get into the idea that you have a black hole. The black hole is so massive that it's affecting space and bending it so much that it's bending time too," Speck said.

Near the black hole, Joe Cooper and company perceive their progression through time at a normal rate. But back on Earth, away from the black hole's gravity, decades have passed. (Video via Paramount Pictures / "Interstellar")

But once again, this idea is theoretical. For one, there are no black holes in range of our spaceships for us to test. One of the nearest we know about is more than 7,000 light-years away.

And two: As far as we know, the closer matter gets to a black hole's event horizon, the faster it moves and the hotter it gets. It would be hard to appreciate time dilation while your spaceship is getting reduced to its component atoms. (Video via NASAParamount Pictures / "Interstellar")

Maybe this is one idea we're better off testing at a small scale. Go climb a mountain. You'll age just a tiny bit faster at the top.

This video includes images from NASA, Simon Mettler / CC BY 3.0 and Egorova Valentina / CC BY 3.0. Music by Frenic / CC BY 3.0.

<![CDATA[This 77-Year-Old CrossFitter Is Tougher Than You'll Ever Be]]> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:31:00 -0600
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CrossFit can seem pretty intimidating with its rigorous workouts and strength training. 

But not for this 77-year old woman. Constance Tillet used CrossFit to get her health back on track after double hip and knee replacements, a rotator cuff procedure and a multitude of other health problems.

These days Constance sounds like a trainer herself — and a tough one at that. She gave some advice in an appearance on "CBS This Morning."

"Get up and do it. Stop with the whining," Constance Tillet said. "Stop with, 'Oh, you have to take care of me.' Take care of yourself."

CBS paints a picture of what Constance's life was like before she started exercising a year ago and lost 50 pounds.

"She took insulin over four times a day for diabetes and 60 pills to treat high blood pressure, congenital heart failure and arthritis," co-host Norah O'Donnell said. 

Consider this your motivation to get a workout in this weekend. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Prince Harry Reunites With Friend While Opening Children's Center]]> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:12:00 -0600
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Prince Harry visited Lesotho in southern Africa on Thursday to open The Mamohato Children's Centre. And in the process, Harry became a part of a heartwarming, real-life #tbt. 

Photographers captured images of Harry embracing a 15-year-old boy with whom he developed a relationship 11 years ago. 

Ahead of the reunion, Kensington Palace posted photos on Instagram showing the two walking hand-in-hand during previous meetings. And there's this: a letter the boy wrote to Harry last year, which says, in part, "I am writing this letter because I think of the time [we] were together." 

During the dedication of the children's center, Harry said that he and the boy share a special relationship that comes from tragic losses. 

Harry said the death of his mother helped him empathize with others who had experienced the loss of loved ones. The 15-year-old boy was orphaned when his parents died of AIDS, which is a major problem in Lesotho. 

The children's center was built specifically for the 15-year-old boy and others like him who were orphaned due to AIDS. The center cost £2 million to build and will help care for children living with and affected by HIV. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[The UK Thinks It Found The Rocket NASA Was Looking For]]> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 09:33:00 -0600
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U.K. officials found what appears to be a piece of an American space rocket that exploded just after taking off.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said in a blog post this large piece of metal with an American flag printed on it was recovered in the ocean near the island of Tresco in the Isles of Scilly.

Coastal Area Commander Martin Leslie said in the post, "We're grateful for all those who helped in its recovery – it was a great example of the community working together."

The coast guard believes the debris is from the unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9, which exploded shortly after takeoff in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket was on its way to the the International Space Station to deliver supplies. (Video via NASA)

If it is the rocket in question, the find should come as pretty great news for NASA. The agency actually activated a space debris recovery hotline in June for the public to use if anyone happened to stumble upon the rocket's remains. (Video via NASA)

The piece of metal is currently anchored on the beach in Tresco. And it's also home to lots and lots of barnacles.

This video includes images from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

<![CDATA[When It Comes To Environmental Damage, Thanksgiving Leftovers Add Up]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 16:20:00 -0600
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For many, the turkey is one of the highlights of Thanksgiving. So why do we waste so much of it? 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the country wastes 35 percent of all turkey meat over the course of the year. And it's not hard to guess the day it's cooked the most. 

A lot of that waste ends up in landfills –– a situation made worse by the greenhouse gases the food then releases into the atmosphere. 

Supermarkets could be partly to blame. They've historically made turkey cheaper as Thanksgiving nears to get shoppers to buy the rest of the meal's ingredients and other impulse purchases from their stores as well. 

Turkeys aren't only cheaper; they're bigger. Artificial insemination practices since the 1940s have now made the birds more than twice as big before slaughter than they were in the 1920s. 

But a final reason for all the Thanksgiving overabundance, and waste in general, may be due to the best of intentions. 

A senior advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council's Food and Agriculture Program told The Huffington Post a lot of overabundance comes from trying to accommodate guests' individual tastes and dietary restrictions. 

This video includes images from icoNYCa / CC BY 2.0 and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

<![CDATA[PETA Protests Turkey-Eating By (What Else?) Going Naked]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 13:55:00 -0600
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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urged consumers to "put yourself in their place," referring to the turkeys on many families' tables at Thanksgiving. 

And they didn't just ask; they demonstrated. In Baltimore and Pittsburgh, seemingly naked protesters posed like frozen turkeys on large cutting boards next to fake raw turkeys. 

Along with the protests, a message that "billions of animals have their bodies chopped up, labeled, and wrapped in cellophane for the supermarket meat case."

PETA has used naked or barely clothed protesters in the past to speak out against the treatment of animals that are slaughtered for food or fashion. 

But do these protests actually work? After all, it's not like the Thanksgiving turkey is going away.

While there's not a lot to say if the protests are or aren't effective, some criticize the group for using "sex sells" tactics to get awareness, and others question whether the attention PETA gets is less about the message and more about the naked people.

This video includes an image from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Having A Pet Dog Might Help Prevent Anxiety Disorders In Children]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 12:58:00 -0600
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Parents, take note: A new study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease says kids with pet dogs could be less likely to experience childhood anxiety.  

Scientists already knew owning a dog could give a boost to mental health conditions in adults. But little research has been done with regard to children.

The researchers at New York's Bassett Medical Center studied 643 kids — 370 of them had pet dogs, and 273 didn't.

They found only 12 percent of the children with dogs at home showed signs of childhood anxiety. For those without dogs, it was 21 percent. 

Study author Anne M. Gadomski suggested that interactions with dogs could cause the release of a hormone called oxytocin. Among other things, oxytocin can help lower physical responses to stress

The scientists noted that their findings don't establish a causal relationship

Anxiety disorders affect 1 in 8 children. So the researchers hope this study can be a jumping off point for future studies into helpful childhood therapies. (Video via Seattle Children's Hospital)

This video includes images from Getty Images, Rob Bixby / CC BY 2.0 and Terrah / CC BY ND 2.0.

<![CDATA[Martin Shkreli Is At It Again, Refuses To Lower Price Of $750 Drug]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 12:10:00 -0600
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Remember Martin Shkreli, arguably the most hated man in pharmaceuticals for raising the cost of a drug HIV patients regularly take by 5,000 percent? Well, he's getting some very unwanted attention again.

Shkreli is the Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO who inflated the cost of the parasite-fighting and lifesaving drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750. 

Patients, the medical community and the media blasted Shkreli for the move, and eventually he did say he'd reverse the price increase.

But on Wednesday his company said in a press release that it would drop prices by 50 percent for hospitals, create smaller bottles with 30 pills and provide free starter packs in 2016. The company also said, "We pledge that no patient needing Daraprim will ever be denied access." 

Sounds nice, right? Well, these changes might only affect bulk buys, since it seems as if the $750 price per pill is unchanged. 

Shkreli previously said the company needed to increase the pill's price so it could do studies to improve the drug. But critics have questioned his company's ability to do sound scientific research.

Some presidential hopefuls have even used Shkreli and Turing as a part of their platforms for health care or a conversation about how they could regulate the pharmaceutical industry to avoid price hikes like these in the future.

This video includes an image from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

<![CDATA[How Gut Bacteria Let Us Know When To Stop Eating]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 10:30:00 -0600
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Why do we stop eating, and how do we know we're full? These are burning questions scientists are still trying to answer, but it could have something to do with the bacteria floating around in our gut.

There's a lot of research about how hormones affect appetite, but a study published this week in the journal Cell Metabolism incorporated how bacteria stimulate those hormones.

This new study focused on E. coli, which represents just a small percentage of the bacteria found in your gut.

Researchers' findings suggest E. coli proteins stimulate hormones released in the brain after eating, which help your body know it's full.

Bacteria eat, just like other living things. Researchers found these proteins significantly increased, then stabilized around 20 minutes after the bacteria eats –– the same amount of time studies have shown humans start to feel full. 

And when E. coli protein was administered to mice and rats, their food intake decreased after a couple hours.

One co-author of the study told Live Science researchers plan to look further into bacteria's effect on appetite, "particularly in people who are obese or who suffer from binge-eating disorders."

This video includes images from Michael Pollak / CC BY 2.0Hey Paul Studios / CC BY 2.0 and shira gal / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[ISS Astronauts Get Out-Of-This-World Turkey For Thanksgiving]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 08:34:00 -0600
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Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving, even if you're in space.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren get the day off aboard the International Space Station to celebrate the holiday.

And Wednesday, they sent a video greeting back to Earth previewing their Thanksgiving meal, which consists of smoked turkey, candied yams, rehydratable corn and potatoes au gratin. (Video via NASA)

"We're thankful for the thousands, if not tens of thousands of people at NASA and its contractor companies, and all the international partner space agencies around the world that work so hard to keep us safe," Lindgren said.

The whole crew traditionally gets to share in the Thanksgiving feast, even though the Russian crew members don't get the day off. (Video via NASA)

But before dinner, the NASA astronauts will indulge in yet another Thanksgiving tradition — watching football. No word yet on who they'll be cheering for. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Costco Chicken Salad Linked To E. Coli Outbreak In 7 States]]> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 06:40:00 -0600
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Costco's rotisserie chicken salad is the likely cause of an E. coli outbreak in seven states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC isn't sure what specific ingredient is causing the infections, but so far, 19 people have been diagnosed with the strain. 

No deaths have been reported, but several people have been hospitalized. 

Typically, E. coli doesn't cause death but shows symptoms a few days to a week after it enters the body and takes about a week to leave it.

And if this wasn't already obvious, throw away any chicken salad you have from Costco if it was packaged Nov. 20 or before. Costco says it has stopped making and selling the product.

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[There's A New Front-Runner In The Reusable Rockets Race]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:12:00 -0600
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Well, that came out of nowhere. Blue Origin, the private spaceflight company founded by Jeff Bezos of Amazon, says it's successfully sent a rocket into space and then landed it right where it took off. 

The company says its New Shepard rocket — named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space — carried an unmanned crew capsule just over 62 miles up before landing mere feet from the center of its launch pad in western Texas.

You'd be forgiven for not knowing Blue Origin was working on a reusable rocket. You might not have even heard of the company because Elon Musk's SpaceX claims way more headlines.

SpaceX has also publicized its quest for reusable rockets for more than four years. It's had multiple attempts at preserving a rocket, never quite sticking the landing.

SpaceX's first attempt to land a Falcon 9 rocket back on the launchpad instead of a floating barge was scheduled for this summer or fall, but those plans were put on hold when a June cargo mission to the International Space Station disintegrated mid-flight. (Video via NASA)

That gave Blue Origin's New Shepard, which only had its first test flight in April, the chance for an upset.

To be fair, SpaceX landing attempts happened on actual cargo missions to the ISS. And Blue Origin's 62-mile mission barely counts as "space." (Video via NASA)

Still, a win is a win. Bezos congratulated his company's team in a blog post — as did Elon Musk on Twitter. 

This video includes images from Blue Origin.

<![CDATA[How Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Could Help Stop Malaria]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 13:50:00 -0600
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Malaria killed more than half a million people last year. Now, scientists are targeting the mosquitoes that spread it. (Video via Intellectual Ventures)

Scientists studying Anopheles mosquitoes, a common malaria carrier, altered the insect's DNA to reject the parasites that carry the disease. That means whole populations of mosquitoes could potentially become immune to the disease, stopping the spread to humans. (Video via YouTube / Aidan O'Donnell)

The scientists also reported the modified mosquitoes successfully passed the resistance on to their offspring. (Video via Regents of the University of California Television)

But there's a long way to go before field testing, and the scientists say other measures, like mosquito netting and antimalarial drugs, would still be needed to fight the disease. (Video via UNICEFCenters for Disease Control and Prevention)

Still, it's an alternative to other genetic mosquito control efforts, like the one Florida is pursuing. (Video via Sun-Sentinel

"It is downright disrespectful and offensive. ... We are humans and we don't like being treated like guinea pigs," residents said during a panel by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District.

That method has met resistance from locals who opposed field tests. It's aimed at eliminating the mosquito population, which is invasive. (Video via CBS)

That's something communities in Africa facing malaria can't do because of the potential ecological impacts. And that makes this new method of scrubbing malaria out genetically all the more attractive. (Video via International Committee of the Red Cross)

This video includes images from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

<![CDATA[Google Doodle Celebrates Lucy The Australopithecus]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:36:00 -0600
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Google celebrated the 41st anniversary of the discovery of Lucy with a play on the "Ascent of Man" picture.

Lucy is the nickname given to the first skeleton of an Australopithecus afarensis ever discovered. The find helped scientists connect the dots between apes that walked on all fours and humans who walked upright.

Forty percent of the skeleton was intact when it was discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, which isn't bad considering it's about 3.2 million years old. 

Scientists determined that Lucy walked upright by examining her knee structure and the curvature of her spine. (Video via California Academy of Sciences)

That's why Google's doodle shows Lucy, named after a Beatles song, walking upright between an ape and a human.

Lucy is currently in a safe at the National Museum of Ethiopia near where she was first unearthed. But the public can view only plaster replicas of the skeleton.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Studies Say Breastfeeding Benefits Moms, Too]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:04:00 -0600
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The benefits babies receive from breastfeeding have long been touted. And now two recent studies show breastfeeding has positive effects for mothers, too.

Researchers found that mothers who breastfeed reduce their risk of a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer by 20 percent. 

The cancer — hormone receptor negative tumors — is most common in African-Americans and young women. 

Dr. Marisa Weiss, the senior author of the study, put it in layman's terms: "The breast gland is immature and unable to do its job — which is to make milk — until it goes through ... a full-term pregnancy."  Breastfeeding causes changes in milk duct cells to occur, making the breast more resistant to cancer. 

In addition to helping prevent cancer, another study says breastfeeding helps kick women's metabolism back into high gear and may help prevent diabetes long-term for women who had gestational diabetes. (Video via Aleph Pictures / "Breastmilk")

Dr. Eleanor Bimla Schwarz told the New York Times breastfeeding is a win-win for mothers and babies. And it's something women can be proactive about when it comes to eradicating breast cancer. Schwarz said "near-universal" breastfeeding could help eliminate almost 5,000 breast cancer diagnoses a year.

This video includes images from USAG- Humphreys / CC BY 2.0 and Daniel Lobo / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Is Yoga A Peaceful Practice Or Product Of Cultural Genocide?]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 21:15:00 -0600
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We thought it was supposed to be all about deep breathing, good balance and form-fitting pants. But we might be wrong. The peaceful practice of yoga is causing a bit of an uproar at one Canadian college.

A yoga class at the University of Ottawa was canceled after concerns that the practice traces back to "cultures that have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy."

Let us break it down for you. That culture mentioned a second ago is talking about Indian culture. And India used to be a British colony, hence the "experienced oppression" piece of that statement.

The class, formatted to include disabled students, was shut down after a student representative from the University of Ottawa emailed the instructor. According to The Washington Post, that instructor questioned the email and got this response, it reads in part: "Yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practiced and what practices from what cultures (which are often sacred spiritual practices) they are being taken from." (Video via University of Ottawa)

Yoga is an ancient Hindu practice. And some Indians are fighting against its "Westernization."

An Indian man studying to be a yoga instructor told The Washington Post, "The West has manipulated yoga for their own benefits. It's more like exercise. But traditional yoga is much more than that; it's ultimately about achieving enlightenment for the soul."

Last year, India appointed a minister of yoga to bring the practice back to its roots. In addition, the Hindu American Foundation launched a campaign called Take Back Yoga. (Video via NDTV)

But it's worth pointing out, in the past India has also championed for the spread of yoga. A writer for Slate says, "Indian nationalists believed, rightly, that if they could popularize their spiritual practices in the West, they would win support for independence."

And there's also the fact that India's prime minister pushed for an International Yoga Day. Which he got. 

So as some groups fight to reclaim yoga, it's estimated more than 20 million Americans are taking part in the practice. We're thinking that class of 60 people in Canada isn't looking too offensive after all. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[You Really Can Get Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 11:44:00 -0600
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Have you ever been told you woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Well, there may be some scientific truth to that.

Sealy UK surveyed 1,000 people and found those who sleep on the right side of the bed are 7 percent more likely to wake up grumpy in the morning than those who sleep on the left side. They're also 3 percent more likely to not like their job.

But the people who slept on the left side were 9.5 percent more likely to have a good outlook on life and 8 percent more likely to enjoy their job and have good friends.

A sleep expert at Sealy UK said, "While the margins are small, the research certainly highlights an interesting trend."

In 2011, a different survey of 3,000 adults had similar findings.

So if you're the kind of person who wakes up grumpier than the Grinch, maybe you should switch sides of the bed.

Although, that may be easier said than done. In February, yet another survey concluded 40 percent of Americans have always slept on their chosen side of the bed.

<![CDATA[Northern White Rhino Dies Leaving Only 3 of Her Kind]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2015 22:50:00 -0600
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Nola, a 41-year-old northern white rhino, died at the San Diego Zoo Sunday morning. She leaves behind a dying breed -- there are only three more northern white rhinos left in the world.

The three others live together at a sanctuary in Kenya under the careful watch of guards. It's believed that poachers eager to get their hands on the animal's horns have contributed to the collapse of this breed.

Nola had lived at the San Diego Zoo since she left the Czech Republic in 1989. The zoo tweeted the sad news early Sunday morning and shared that Nola's care team decided to euthanize her after her health deteriorated. The normal life expectancy for this type of rhino is 40 years.

Last December, a male northern white rhino died of cancer at the age of 44 at the San Diego zoo.

The zoo is working with the sanctuary in Kenya to try to save the species.

<![CDATA[Pfizer And Allergan Set To Merge For Record $150B]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2015 16:45:00 -0600
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Drug companies Pfizer and Allergan are expected to close on a merger deal, which would create the world's largest drugmaker by sales. The expected value of the merger is about $150 billion.

Executives from both companies are expected to vote on the merger Sunday. According to The New York Times, under the deal, "Pfizer would pay 11.3 of its shares for each share of Allergan." (Video via Pfizer)

Allergan, which is headquartered in Dublin and known for producing Botox, will likely be the legal buyer in this case so it can help New York-based Pfizer lower its American tax rate. 

Pfizer's top dog, Ian Read, will keep his reign over the new combined company. The Wall Street Journal reports Allergan's CEO will serve right under him.

2015 has seen a number of massive mergers and acquisitions. Anheuser-Busch InBev bought SAB Miller for $108 billion earlier this month.

The merger between Kraft Foods and Heinz is valued at more than $60 billion, and AT&T and DirecTV merged in July after settling on a deal worth almost $49 billion.

But if this deal between Pfizer and Allergan is approved, it will be the largest merger of the year and one of the largest mergers in history.

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[What Did Einstein Mean By 'Curved' Spacetime?]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2015 14:34:00 -0600
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Einstein's theory of general relativity: 100 years of bent spacetime.

One of Albert Einstein's most important insights is that empty space can be curved and what we call gravity is really just a consequence of those curves. 

That's not an easy concept to grasp, so scientists use all kinds of analogies to help explain it. (Video via PBSYouTube / MegaGreenLucas)

The most common is probably the grid dipping under a planet, star or galaxy. We asked two physicists to walk us through the concept.

Angela Speck, head of astronomy at the University of Missouri, says: "It's really about how light in space behaves. ... Up until Einstein came along, we had a way of thinking about what space was, what mass was. That was very different. ... Usually we think of space as just being this empty thing. We think of it as, if you've got light traveling, it travels like a laser. It travels in a completely straight line." (Video via NASA)

It's only when using very precise equipment, like the Hubble telescope, that it becomes obvious that isn't true. We can see that if light had to pass close to something massive on its way to Earth, it arrives at a weird angle. (Video via NASA)

University of Missouri physicist Sergei Kopeikin says, "So light rays are not propagating already along straight lines; they are propagating along curved lines."

This is one of the major predictions of relativity: that matter curves spacetime and that we can see that curvature simply by observing how light gets to Earth. (Video via European Southern Observatory)

"It follows what space does, so if space curves, then light is going to curve," Speck said.

"When you take a particle which has mass and put it to spacetime, then the particle actually distorts the geometry of spacetime which becomes not flat ... but curved. ... And this is the curvature of spacetime," Kopeikin said. 

That's what the bent grid, or so-called "trampoline," is meant to illustrate, helping us get our heads around how space curves in the presence of matter.

"The trampoline seems to be very successful in helping people to kind of get this idea," Speck said.

"If you take a big sheet of rubber and put on that rubber some heavy body, it will make that rubber kind of curved," Kopeikin said.

"And now you start rolling marbles across it. You can get them to go all the way across, but they'll bend as they get close to … that dip in the trampoline," Speck said.

"This is what happens in the real world. ... So this is how we can trace the presence of curvature in the experiments via the light rays," Kopeikin said. 

Unfortunately, the trampoline analogy only goes so far because the universe isn't two-dimensional. But it's a good starting point.

"But then you have to translate it into 3-D space. … When you try to conceive of that in three dimensions, it just messes with your head completely," Speck said.

This video includes images from the Library of Congress and NASA.

<![CDATA[If Your Diet Isn't Working, New Research Has A Theory Why]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2015 10:59:00 -0600
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This discovery may prove why some people can follow a diet to the letter and still gain weight.

A new study published in the journal Cell found the problem could be in how diets approach blood sugar levels.

Spikes in blood sugar are linked to heart problems, obesity and diabetes.

Which is why diet plans like Atkins and South Beach aim to balance it using a measure known as the glycemic index.

It's largely believed that every person's blood sugar will respond the same way to the same foods. Yet the study, which used roughly 800 participants, found that their blood sugar reacted differently to the same diets.

Researchers used the findings to develop an algorithm that predicts how blood sugar levels would react to different foods.

From there, a group of participants were given a personalized "good diet" and a "bad diet" to follow for a week each. And what was on those individualized diets might surprise you.

One of the researchers told the Atlantic the good diets weren't "just salad every day. Some people got alcohol, chocolate, and ice-cream, in moderation." Foods that a dietician probably wouldn't recommend.

The good diets led to significantly lower blood sugar levels and decreased other factors linked to Type 2 diabetes.

Some critics argue the algorithm was never directly compared against other measures though, like the glycemic index, so more research may be needed.

Still, some say the study could change what we know about so-called healthy foods. The researchers say they hope to do another test of the algorithm, this time over the course of a year.

This video includes images from Getty Images, m01229 / CC BY 2.0Tips Times Admin / CC BY SA 2.0theimpulsivebuy / CC BY SA 2.0 and David Holt / CC BY SA 2.0, and audio from Bensound / CC BY ND 3.0.

<![CDATA[Surprise! Men Eat More Food To Impress Women]]> Sat, 21 Nov 2015 19:45:00 -0600
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Men do a lot of things to impress the opposite sex.

"The only way to bag a classy lady, is to give her two tickets to the gun show," Will Ferrell says in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

And now, you can include overeating as part of that list. A recently released study by Cornell University found men eat more food when they are around women. 

The research took place at an Italian restaurant during a two-week period. According to the findings, when men were eating with a woman, they ate 93% more pizza. And the overeating isn't limited to just cheesy, saucy goodness: men also scarfed down 86% more salad when hanging out with a lady-friend. 


The theory is, this overeating is all about competition; by eating more, men prove "they possess extraordinary skills" when compared to other men. So it's basically like saying "I am man. Watch me eat all the pizza in sight. Now pick me." 

It may seem like a lighthearted study, but eating to impress actually may just be coded into that pesky Y chromosome. Through "evolutionary analyses," other research has found men take more hazardous risks than women. And the authors of the Cornell study say this is just further proof of that. 

Researchers said, "conspicuous consumption of food is a much less dramatic 'risk' than, say, going off to the frontlines of war, but research on the effects of obesity nonetheless show overeating to constitute risky behavior."

And at a time when more than a quarter of Americans are obese, the behavior could lead to serious consequences if it's not nipped in the bud. 

Women, on the other hand, ate the same whether they were with a man or a woman. However, they did say they felt like they overate after dining with a man, even though researchers found no actual evidence they did. 

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[SpaceX Gets Its First Official Contract For Manned Launches]]> Sat, 21 Nov 2015 14:56:00 -0600
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History — is scheduled for a couple years from now. SpaceX has its first crew launch contract.

NASA officially handed out its second-ever commercial crew contract to SpaceX, after giving the first to Boeing in May. (Video via NASA)

And that's despite SpaceX's highest-profile setback to date, when it lost CRS-7 during launch in June. (Video via SpaceX)

Since then, SpaceX hasn't left the pad. Its rockets are still grounded while it investigates what went wrong and how to keep it from happening again. (Video via SpaceX)

NASA doesn't mind the delay. In fact, that's part of why it issues these contracts so far in advance: so its subcontractors have time to complete certification and ensure their rockets don't disassemble themselves while there are astronauts aboard. (Videos via NASASpaceX)

In the meantime, NASA has yet to decide which of the two companies — SpaceX or Boeing — will get the honor of the first commercial launch of a human crew. (Videos via SpaceXBoeing)

This video includes images from SpaceX.

<![CDATA[More Than Half Of Amazonian Tree Species Face Extinction]]> Sat, 21 Nov 2015 12:16:00 -0600
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A new study has found more than half of all tree species in the Amazon could be facing extinction if deforestation trends continue.

Researchers looked at 15,000 tree species, including trees important to local economies like the cacao, acai palm and many other rare trees that made up about two-thirds of the species studied.

They found that 36 to 57 percent of the Amazon's tree species could already be considered threatened

This would probably qualify most of those species to be listed as "globally threatened" under the International Union of Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. 

The Amazon has already lost about 12 percent of its original size thanks to deforestation. By 2050, the study says it's projected to lose another 9 to 28 percent. (Video via The Guardian)

Timothy J. Killeen, a botanist at Agteca-Amazonica in Bolivia, did tell reporters trends have gotten better in the last decade, "Deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon ... have decreased by about 75 percent since 2005." 

But, the researchers noted, government policies often change quickly. They stressed the importance of continuing to establish and enforce protected areas. 

This video includes images from Getty Images, Dennis Tang / CC BY SA 2.0 and Constantino Lagoa / CC BY SA 2.0. 

<![CDATA[No One's Sure What UnitedHealth Reversal Means For Obamacare]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 16:00:00 -0600
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"It's time to shop for a health insurance plan," United HealthCare's announcer says in an online commercial. "Oh, boy. We get it. Choosing one can be really confusing."

Turns out the country's largest health insurer, which in October planned on expanding to sell Obamacare health plans in 11 new states, is having second thoughts.

Like huge second thoughts. Like exactly the opposite of what UnitedHealth Group said only a month ago.

The company revised its earnings downward Thursday during an investor call, saying losses were largely from participating in the Affordable Care Act. It's taking actions to scale back Obamacare plans in 2016 and isn't sure if it'll stick around for 2017. (Video via United HealthCare)

"We cannot sustain these losses," UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley said in the call. "We can't really subsidize a marketplace that doesn't appear at the moment to be sustaining itself."

Here's the problem: Insurance companies rely on premiums from healthy customers to pay the medical bills of customers who get sick. They can lose money if not enough healthy people sign up or — as UnitedHealth and other insurers have said with Obamacare — customers sign up, get treatment and then drop the policy.

And while UnitedHealth isn't the largest provider in Obamacare, it is the country's largest insurer. So if the biggest company can't make money on the president's signature health policy, the narrative followed, can anyone?

"This is a huge, huge, huge deal," Bloomberg's Drew Armstrong said. "I really can't overemphasize that enough."

Others disagree, though, saying United isn't a bellwether for the larger industry.

An executive with the Kaiser Family Foundation told The New York Times: "United doesn't matter that much to this market right now. They came late to the party, and their enrollment is still relatively modest."

So far, there's zero indication two of the biggest Obamacare participants — Anthem and Aetna — are going anywhere, and each seems to think it'll make money long-term.

Something to keep in mind, though — the government released a statement the same day as United's announcement admitting it hasn't paid nearly as much money as promised to help insurers recoup the losses everyone was expecting for Obamacare's early years.

While stressing full payments will be made in time, the statement said it's paid out $362 million out of $2.87 billion requested — one-eighth of what the government owes. That's not going to make insurers happy.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Winnie The Pooh's Skull Will Soon Be On Display]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 14:38:00 -0600
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A few weeks ago, we were all shocked by the news that the real Winnie the Pooh was a girl. (Video via Disney / "Winnie the Pooh")

Now, we have some, well, kind of disturbing news.

You know Winnipeg, the bear that inspired the stories we all know and love? Well, her skull will soon be on display for all to see.

"Oh, bother!" said Pooh. (Video via Disney / "Winnie the Pooh")

Yes, Winnipeg's skull will be at the Royal College of Surgeons' Hunterian Museum in London. The display is intended for those who want to learn more about the bear and the author A.A. Milne's collection of stories. 

The curators had the skull in their collections but found it in a recent review. 

Director of museums and archives Sam Alberti said, "Her story and presence in our collection are a reminder of how learning about animal health can enhance our understanding and care for species around the world."

Although Milne took some creative license in making Pooh a boy, the bear's obsession with honey was real.

The skull shows tooth decay that confirms Winnipeg did indeed love scarfing down the sticky, sweet stuff. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[New Technique Finds Aspirin Can Prevent Cancer]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 11:20:00 -0600
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The aspirin you likely already have in your medicine cabinet could prevent certain types of cancer, a new study says. 

There's been a lot of speculation and research about the benefits of aspirin in preventing various types of cancer.  

But this study is different because the scientists found a biochemical pathway regulated by aspirin with a new technique called "metabolite profiling."

Both volunteers taking aspirin and colorectal cancer cells in lab tests saw decreased levels of a chemical in the blood called 2-hydroxyglutarate. The chemical is thought to promote cancer growth and may be the cause of tumors.

But, of course, taking daily aspirin has side effects. And they can be severe, like internal bleeding and an increased chance of stroke. 

The dosage of aspirin depends on the intended use, but if you're pregnant or consuming alcohol, you're discouraged from popping this pill. 

This video includes images from Getty Images, Tim Samoff / CC BY ND 2.0, Rajaraman R, Guernsey D, Rajaraman M, Rajaraman S / CC by 2.0 and National Cancer Institute / Cecil Fox.

<![CDATA[New Balance Unveils First Ever 3-D Printed Running Shoe]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 17:41:00 -0600
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Running shoe manufacturer New Balance is set to be the first to cross the finish line with 3-D printed shoes designed for mass production.

New Balance revealed it uses lasers to convert elastomeric powder into the first ever 3-D printed midsole in a running shoe.

New Balance says it hopes to offer customizable 3-D printed shoes at select locations by 2017. CEO Robert DeMartini said in a press release, "With 3D printing we are able to pursue performance customization at a whole new level."

New Balance has already tested out its 3-D printing technology in some of the biggest competitions in the world. Kim Conley won the USA Track & Field women's 10,000 meter championship in 2014 while wearing the company's 3-D printed spikes, and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey won the FA cup in May with printed plates on his boots.

Being first to market with this technology is a big win for New Balance. Competitors Nike and Adidas have also been working on their own versions of 3-D printed shoes.

But the design isn't quite perfect yet. The printed midsole is more than an ounce heavier than the midsole in New Balance's Fresh Foam Zante model, which is what the printed shoe is based on. But the company says it'll continue tweaking the design before the shoe is officially unveiled. (Video via New Balance)

New Balance's press release says it'll debut a prototype of the running shoe at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2016, followed by a limited release in New Balance's hometown of Boston in April.

This video contains images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[US Government Promises To Retire All Research Chimpanzees]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 17:16:00 -0600
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The National Institutes of Health says it is sending all of its chimpanzees designated for government research to sanctuaries, effectively ending federal biomedical research on the species. 

The federal government's experimentation on primates has been surrounded by controversy for years. 

After the release of a study in 2011 that looked into the effectiveness of biomedical research on chimps, the agency promised to retire all but 50 of its chimps — those not involved in research needed for future projects. 

Yet for over two and half years, the NIH didn't submit any proposals, and a CNN investigation earlier this year found the agency had sent only six of the 310 chimps that had been promised retirement.

Then the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed captive chimpanzees as endangered this summer, requiring researchers to apply for permits to continue to experiment on the species. 

But here's the problem: There isn't anywhere for the retired chimps to go. Currently there is only one federally owned chimpanzee sanctuary, so the transition of the animals could take years, depending on space available. 

The president of Chimp Haven said in an email to The New York Times that it had immediate space open for only 25 chimps, though it plans to make more space available by the end of this year. 

The decision to retire all the chimps shows the federal government's declining animal testing. There was a 6.4 percent drop in testing of laboratory animals from 2013 to 2014

This video uses images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[The 'Last Resort' Antibiotic Just Lost Its Fail-Safe Status]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 14:17:00 -0600
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Scientists in China have found a resistance gene for what's commonly known as the "last resort" antibiotic. 

It's a pretty worrying discovery. Tens of thousands of people in the U.S. and Europe have already died from infections that resisted treatment. 

The silver lining had been colistin. The antibiotic was the only effective drug for some bacteria that had become resistant to everything else. 

But researchers at the South China Agricultural University found a gene called MCR-1 that makes bacteria resistant to colistin. And worse, the gene is passed fairly easily between bacteria. 

Blood samples have already shown 16 people with infections carrying the gene. 

Chinese farmers have reportedly been giving large amounts of colistin to livestock, despite warnings that doing so could lead to bacteria evolving a defense against the drug. 

Consequently, this new resistant gene was found in 15 percent of raw meat samples and 21 percent of the animals the researchers examined. 

An independent panel set up by the British government had predicted global deaths from resistant bacteria could jump to 10 million annually by 2050 –– and that was before MCR-1 was discovered.  

With the new research showing MCR-1 can easily spread into bacteria like E. coli, that number could climb much higher. 

This video includes images from littlepomegranate / CC BY ND 2.0 and Stuart Webster / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Some Say The First GMO Animal You Can Eat Is Fishy]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 12:51:00 -0600
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It's finally happened. Salmon will be the first genetically engineered animal you can eat.

The Food and Drug Administration put its stamp of approval on the genetically modified organisms saying there's "reasonable certainty of no harm."

It took about 20 years for the developing company AquaBounty Technologies to get FDA approval, which was around the start of America's relationship with GMOs.

Plants, like corn and soybeans, are genetically changed so they'll resist herbicides and grow faster.

As for these special salmon, they will contain two different fish genes to speed up growth.

Critics say the nutritional value of GMOs isn't as high and say there's a lack of transparency with the labeling, but the FDA apparently disagrees.

The fish will be grown in Canada and Panama.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Unlike Smell, Taste Is Hardwired In Your Brain]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 10:20:00 -0600
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If variety is the spice of life, no one told your brain. Research shows it already knows what tastes it likes from birth. 

In a new study from the Columbia University Medical Center, researchers were able to turn off the perception of flavors, as well as make perceived flavors spontaneously appear. 

Published in the journal Nature, the study built on previous work showing specific tastes are perceived in specific parts of the brain. 

By injecting a substance into mice, the researchers were able to turn off their ability to sense bitter or sweet. 

The researchers were also able to stimulate those brain regions to make the mice perceive bitter or sweet –– when in reality they were only drinking water. 

And mice who had never tasted sweet or bitter foods before ate more of the former and avoided the latter when the appropriate neurons were triggered. 

The study isn't just evidence that taste is perceived in the mind; it shows taste is hardwired. 

Compare this with your sense of smell. One of the researchers said in a press release, "Odors don't carry innate meaning until you associate them with experiences. One smell could be great for you and horrible to me."

Evolutionarily, it makes sense for taste to be independent of experience. 

Take wild berries: Sweet flavors are linked to them being nutritious, while bitter is linked to them being poisonous. 

Of course, people can acquire tastes to enjoy bitter and avoid sweet. Maybe the next step is discovering how those brain connections are rewired. 

This video includes images from André Luís / CC BY 2.0 and Dennis Wong / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[MIT Ignores Note, Cracks Open Time Capsule 942 Years Early]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 20:50:00 -0600
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Some people at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology need to learn the value of patience. The school opened up a time capsule 942 years before its intended opening date. 

The capsule was found during construction of a new MIT building. Clearly visible, right there, was a note that says do not open until 2957 but the MIT researchers "weren't sure if they were serious or not and went ahead and broke into it."

And this was not your typical time capsule. Buried in 1957, the contents were stored in a glass cylinder filled with argon gas to protect it. (Video via MIT)

Inside were documents about science and technology at the time. There were also relics like coins from the First National Bank of Boston and a keepsake mug from the Class of 1957.

MIT isn't alone in prematurely opening time capsules. In 2013, a Philadelphia elementary school unearthed one 55 years early. It had been buried in 1968.

But there's a perk to jumping the gun. Time capsule contents can be ruined because of flooding. Take the John F. Kennedy Peace Capsule, which was opened in September of this year.

It is possible to hold out, though. Earlier this year a more than 200-year-old time capsule buried by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams was opened.  (Video via CNN)

The contents were in surprisingly good condition — but then again, 200 years isn't much compared to a millennium. (Video via USA Today)

Who knows what would have happened if MIT had waited to open the capsule. And it's not like the school is facing a shortage — Deborah Douglas, director of collections for the MIT Museum, said eight known time capsules are buried on campus.

<![CDATA[Astronomers Had Never Witnessed A Planet's Birth ... Until Now]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 19:49:00 -0600
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For the first time in the history of the universe, astronomers have seen a planet being born, according to a study in Nature.

Researchers from the University of Arizona have tracked down an estimated three planets near a star called LkCa 15 about 450 light-years away from Earth. All three are thought to be gas giants similar to Jupiter.

Astronomers have found about 1,900 planets beyond our solar system, but this is the first time anyone's actually seen one in the middle of formation.

Scientists have theorized disks of dust and gas circle stars while they're forming. The star stuff begins spinning faster and faster while gathering mass and clumping together before eventually becoming a planet.

But planets are relatively tiny and poorly lit, making it tough to track one down next to large, bright stars. So scientists have had a difficult time determining exactly how small clumps of dust coalesce and wind up as fully formed planets. That's where the study comes in.

Planets that are forming heat up hydrogen to temperatures of up to 17,500 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, hydrogen emits a specific wavelength of light called H-alpha. Researchers were able to isolate those photons and locate the infant planets.

And this discovery could benefit future astronomers. The study's author, Stephanie Sallum, told, "It gives us a system to follow up in the future, in depth, to really understand the details of how planets form."

<![CDATA['Kissing Bug' Infections Are Growing In Texas, Health Officials Say]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 07:23:00 -0600
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Texas health officials say "kissing bugs" have infected at least 12 people with a parasite that has the potential to kill. 

"I've never left the United States. I've never even been on a cruise," a woman told KXAS.

"So it had to be here," a reporter for KXAS said. 

"I was infected right here in Texas." 

That comment should draw attention. Kissing bugs and the parasite they carry are usually only found in the tropics.

Kissing bugs got their interesting nickname because they favor biting human faces and lips at night. And the parasite they leave behind causes Chagas disease.  

The disease has an acute phase much like the flu to start, before it transitions into a chronic phase, during which up to 30 percent of people develop heart problems and 10 percent develop gastrointestinal issues. 

And in rare cases, Chagas disease can end in death. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 8 million people in Mexico and Central and South America are infected with Chagas disease, yet most don't even know it. 

There's no approved treatment for the disease. The CDC only has experimental drugs, which reportedly can be up to 85 percent effective, but they have to be taken soon after a person is infected. 

Most counties in Texas have reported kissing bug sightings. (Video via KXAS)

KXAS reports the rise in infections is more likely due to the growth of suburbs on land where the bugs are, instead of a greater number of bugs coming into the state. 

This video includes images from Glenn Seplak / CC BY 2.0 and Simon Fraser University - University Communications / CC BY 2.0. 

<![CDATA[American Medical Association Calls For Ban On Prescription Drug Ads]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 22:22:00 -0600
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If the American Medical Association has its way, you can say goodbye to ads like this: 

"She's still the one for you and Cialis for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment is right," says the announcer in a Cialis ad

Tuesday, the AMA said it wants the federal government to ban prescription drug ads. Doctors say the ads drive demand for expensive treatments and cause prices to rise

In a statement, the group said, "Patient care can be compromised and delayed when prescription drugs are unaffordable and subject to coverage limitations by the patient’s health plan." 

The AMA cites a study that says prices for both generic and brand name drugs rose 4.7 percent just this year. And in the last two years, drug companies spent 30 percent more on ads, hitting $4.5 billion in 2014. 

Unsurprisingly, at least one group that is not happy with the announcement –– the pharmaceutical industry. A statement from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said direct-to-consumer ads provide "scientifically accurate information to patients so that they are better informed about their health care and treatment options."

But the public is probably going to side with the AMA on this one. In a recent poll by Kaiser Family Foundation, 72 percent said prescription drug prices are too high. 

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Is Taking 'Smart Drugs' Cheating?]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 14:52:00 -0600
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If you could take a pill that would help you study and get better grades, would you?

Off-label use of "smart drugs" — pharmaceuticals meant to treat disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcolepsy and Alzheimer's disease — are becoming increasingly popular among college students hoping to get ahead. The drugs are often used because they improve focus and alertness for longer periods of time. But is this cheating? Should their use as cognitive enhancers be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the medical community and society? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

The panel:

Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, professor at University of Pennsylvania and chair of neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital

Nita Farahany, professor at Duke University and director of Duke Science & Society

Eric Racine, director of the Neuroethics Research Unit at IRCM

Nicole Vincent, associate professor of philosophy, law and neuroscience at Georgia State University

Watch the full debate at Intelligence Squared U.S.

<![CDATA[Science Gives Us Another Excuse To Drink More Coffee]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 14:25:00 -0600
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This may make you reach for a cup of coffee even after you're wide awake.

A new study published in the journal "Circulation" found people who drink between one and five cups of coffee daily have a roughly 15 percent lower risk of mortality in general.

Researchers examined more than 200,000 people over a 30-year span and found frequent coffee drinkers had a lower risk of dying from heart disease, diabetes, brain complications and suicide.

Regular coffee drinkers were also more likely to smoke, so the 15 percent lower risk of death was found after the researchers removed smokers from the calculations.

As with all correlational studies, coffee can only be linked to reduced risks, not causing them.

There could be a third variable causing both: for example, higher income, which would help people afford more coffee and get better nutrition and health care.

However, the researchers noted previous studies where coffee had direct health benefits, like helping lower insulin resistance, which could also be a reason for the lower risk of death.

<![CDATA[Charlie Sheen And The Facts Of Living With HIV]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 12:59:00 -0600
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After Charlie Sheen revealed Tuesday on the "Today" show that he is HIV-positive, he told Matt Lauer why he's coming forward now.

"I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks and subtruths," Sheen told Lauer.

Sheen joins other celebrities, like Magic Johnson and Greg Louganis, who've publicly announced they have HIV. Most recently, "Who's the Boss?" star Danny Pintauro shared his story with Oprah Winfrey.

"I was completely clueless to the idea that I was HIV-positive," Pintauro revealed.

"We don't feel it was the death sentence that it was in the '80s, '90s, or before there were ARVs," Winfrey responded.

ARVs — short for antiretroviral drugs — are medicines that can't cure HIV, but they can help people with the virus live longer, healthier lives or even make HIV undetectable in the blood.

In fact, when people who are HIV-positive take ARVs, their chances of spreading the virus are 96 percent lower. It's important to note, though, even if HIV isn't found in an infected person's blood, it's still possible to be present in sexual fluids.

That's when drugs like PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, can provide a high level of protection against HIV for those who have a high risk of exposure. The drug reduces the risk of infection by 92 percent when taken correctly, but doctors still recommend using a condom to be safe. PrEP does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections.

HIV can break down your immune system enough that it can lead to AIDS, which claimed 1.2 million lives in 2014 across the globe. While that's still too many people, it's a 42 percent decrease since 2004. Medical professionals cite access to ARVs as a reason for the decline.

Failure to disclose an HIV-positive status to a sexual partner is a felony in some states.  Sheen claims he was forthright with sexual partners about his diagnosis and said it's "impossible" he spread the virus to anyone.

So, as news outlets dig into Sheen's personal life to perpetuate the stigma that only the wild and reckless can contract HIV, we should remember that all it takes is one chance exposure. Protecting yourself is key, and judging others only makes you the sicker person.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Women Want Smart, Shy Sperm Donors, New Study Says]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 07:49:00 -0600
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Call it a win for all the shy guys out there. According to a new study, women prefer shy men over extroverts when it comes to choosing a sperm donor. 

The study was published in the journal Applied Economic Letters and says women like sperm donors who are "intellectual, methodical, calm and shy."

The Queensland University of Technology researchers looked at data collected from surveys of online sperm donation forums and websites. In an online setting, there is a bit more interaction between donor and recipient than there would be in a clinic setting. (Video via ARC Fertility

Researcher Stephen Whyte said, "You would expect in an online setting, men would have to sell or promote themselves to women, and extroverted men should be better at doing that. But what we find is actually the opposite."

Online sperm donation has been a growing industry, giving women a chance to view donors' profiles the same way they could view someone on social media or a dating website.

"Take a moment to think about the people in your life you're closest to and why you like them. Is it their height and eye color that pops into your head? Or is it their personality? Sense of humor? Or huge heart that really makes them unique?" a woman from California Cryobank asked

Now, this doesn't mean it's a free-for-all for all of the not-so-outgoing guys. Researchers say there's a fine line between shy and socially inept. Women were far less likely to pick a sperm donor who was "fretful or socially awkward," researchers say. (Video via Oxford Fertility Clinic

So if you're a guy thinking about getting into the sperm donor business, don't be shy ... or do. 

This  video includes images from Ⅿeagan / CC BY 2.0Frank de Kleine / CC BY 2.0 and Stéphane Moussie / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Annual Leonids Meteor Shower's Timing Is Good This Year]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 21:36:00 -0600
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Tuesday night, you may want to put away Netflix and see a show outside instead.

NASA says the Leonids meteor shower is expected to peak around midnight Tuesday and last until dawn Wednesday. (Video via NASA)

If the sky is clear and you're away from light pollution during the peak time, NASA predicts you'll see about 15 meteors an hour.

This meteor shower gets its name from the Leo constellation because the "meteors radiate outward from the vicinity of stars representing the Lion’s mane," according to EarthSky.

The meteors are really bits of leftover debris from the Comet Tempel-Tuttle, which comes through our solar system every 33 years.

The Leonids typically fill the sky every November, sometimes bringing a meteor shower. Though we're not expecting to see a full-blown shower this year, the moon is in a perfect position to allow clear viewing of the shower.

If you miss it Tuesday, there's no need to worry. The shower will continue until the end of month — it just might take a bit more squinting to see it.

This video includes images from Getty Images and Perry McKenna / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Women Are Being Recruited For Temporary Uterus Transplants]]> Sat, 14 Nov 2015 17:00:00 -0600
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clinical trial in Cleveland is recruiting women to undergo a temporary uterus transplant.

According to the trial description, women with primary uterine infertility will have uteri from deceased donors replace their own for one to two pregnancies.

There's actually precedent for this. The Cleveland Clinic says researchers in Sweden have done nine transplants, which have led to five pregnancies and four births. (Video via University of Gothenberg)

"When the baby came out by cesarean section, it screamed almost immediately, and that is a good sign that the baby is doing fine. ... It was a little unreal sensation also because we really couldn't believe we had reached this moment," professor Mats Brännström said.

Along with the transplant surgery, women will also undergo in vitro fertilization, a C-section — if the pregnancy is successful — and then a hysterectomy, so they can stop taking the medication that prevents the body from rejecting the uterus.

Despite the involved process, researchers still say the transplant could be worth it for women born without uteri or women with uteri that no longer function for child birth. (Videos via Cleveland ClinicUniversity of Chicago)

A researcher for the project told The New York Times he hopes the operation will eventually become widely available. But for now, the trial is set to include just 10 women.

<![CDATA[Space Junk Helped NASA Practice For Asteroids]]> Sat, 14 Nov 2015 09:34:00 -0600
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That piece of space trash that was headed to Earth safely re-entered the atmosphere Friday.

In October, NASA detected and named the space junk WT1190F. Yep, NASA has a sense of humor, folks. It's "most likely man-made space debris" from a previous mission.

Turns out orbital debris is actually a thing. As NASA points out, humans have been sending stuff to space for over 50 years, and most of that stuff falls back to Earth.

The objects either land or burn up, and some of them are just hanging out in the atmosphere. Most of the objects that do land end up in an ocean, since oceans make up most of the Earth's surface. This piece of junk entered the atmosphere above the Indian Ocean.

This particular object burned up. And it wasn't a threat to any of us earthlings. (Video via IAC/UAE/NASA/ESA)

What made WT1190F special, though, was the route it took to get here. It was entering the atmosphere at an angle similar to that of an asteroid. NASA said it was good practice for researchers on what to do if an asteroid was actually headed to Earth.

<![CDATA[Arctic Melt Could Open Access To ... What Caused Arctic Melt]]> Sat, 14 Nov 2015 08:53:00 -0600
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The Arctic melting might not be all bad, depending on your perspective, of course.

Iceland's President Olafur Grimsson recently spoke at an Arctic Circle Forum and said that with the melting ice comes access to rich resources, including fossil fuels.

Ironic, isn't it? And of course, there's no shortage of investors wanting to cash in on the possibility of oil, rare metals and new transportation routes. 

The Arctic, including Alaska, is estimated to have a quarter of the world's oil and gas, and has yet to be touched. 

Despite all the opportunities for various industries, Grimsson doesn't want Iceland to be tapped into carelessly and the environment endangered.

Keep in mind, Iceland's energy authority says the vast majority of the country's energy comes from renewable sources. (Video via U.S. Department of Energy)

Environmentalists are wary, too. An oil spill could be detrimental to the shores and wildlife it touches. And little infrastructure could make the cleanup process challenging.

Sen. Al Franken noted what environmentalists would surely consider a cruel spin on climate change, "The burning of fossil fuels is creating the opportunity to create more fossil fuels to burn."

This video includes an image from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Mizzou's Gary Pinkel Stepping Down After Lymphoma Diagnosis]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 16:20:00 -0600
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Gary Pinkel is stepping down as the head football coach at the University of Missouri at the end of the 2015 season for health reasons.

Pinkel — Mizzou's winningest head coach in school history — made the surprise announcement Friday afternoon saying he was diagnosed with lymphoma in May. (Video via Mizzou Network)

In a statement from the university's athletics department, Pinkel says he received cancer treatment over the summer.

Pinkel said, "I made the decision in May, after visiting with my family, that I wanted to keep coaching as long as I felt good and had the energy I needed."

Pinkel made national headlines this past week for supporting his players' decisions to boycott football activities.

"They were discussing with me what they planned on doing this weekend," Pinkel told reporters on Monday.

The players had joined in the protest of University of Missouri leadership following several race-related incidents and what protesters considered ineffective leadership.

But at least initially, Pinkel's decision appears to be unrelated to the tensions on campus.

Pinkel turned the Missouri Tigers from a perennial afterthought on the national scale into a respectable — and at times championship contending — team. In 15 seasons, he won a school record 117 games. (Video via YouTube / Gary Pinkel)

This video includes images from Getty Images. Newsy is affiliated with the University of Missouri.

<![CDATA[Will The Next Big Climate Deal Be Legally Binding?]]> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 16:42:00 -0600
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Secretary of State John Kerry is causing some confusion over upcoming climate talks in Paris. (Video via U.S. Department of State)

Kerry told The Financial Times a deal in Paris wouldn't be legally binding, saying it "definitely is not going to be a treaty" and there are "not going to be legally binding reduction targets."

In other words, the U.S. wouldn't face consequences, like sanctions, for violating an agreement. (Video via The White House)

That's at odds with the European Union, which says the Paris agreement has to be legally binding. But Kerry's stance makes sense from the administration's point of view. (Video via European ParliamentU.S. Department of State)

The more legally binding any deal is, the better the case Congress can make that it should have a say. And with Republicans controlling both houses, that's something the administration likely wants to avoid. (Video via C-SPAN)

It's important to note this isn't a new strategy. 

In the wake of the unproductive Copenhagen talks in 2009, The New York Times reported policy leaders were already moving away from fights over legal language to focus on broader goals instead. (Video via EurActiv)

But it's more relevant now because both the Iran nuclear deal and the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal have left some in Congress wary of the White House handling international agreements on its own.

"They claim the science of global warming is settled, but I suggest questions remain," Sen. Jeff Sessions said on the Senate floor

And that's without mentioning the partisan divide. Republicans, who control Congress, generally oppose action to cut carbon emissions, and the same goes for almost all of the GOP candidates. (Video via CNBC)

On the other hand, that kind of opposition makes a legally binding agreement all the more appealing to leaders outside the U.S. who want to make sure the next president can't just walk away from a deal.

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Apparently, Gelatin Can Cure A Hangover]]> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 12:31:00 -0600
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Remember this bright, colorful, jiggly stuff you probably used to eat all the time as a kid? Well, now we know it can help you solve an adult problem. 

"You did it, buddy," a character in "The Hangover Part II" said.

"Cheers!" they all said. 

Yeah, gelatin cures hangovers, apparently. And helps prevent colds. What? 

"Gelatin boosts your immune system because it's packed with amino acids, calcium and magnesium," a Fox News anchor said

Here's where it kinda gets gross. Gelatin is generally made from boiling bones or animal hides. That, in turn, breaks down collagen — which is a protein. Then, that collagen cools and re-forms into — ta-da! — gelatin. 

Daily Mail pointed to a nutritionist who said, "This confirms what all our grandmothers knew instinctively."

People have been on this gelatin-is-good-for-you train for years

And to quell that age-old rumor, it's not made from boiling hooves. Although, bones may not really be much better. But there you have it. 


<![CDATA[World Maternal Mortality Rate Is Improving; The US's Isn't]]> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 08:11:00 -0600
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It looks like the the United Nations' goal to reduce deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth is on the right track. A new U.N. study found maternal mortality has dropped 44 percent since 1990. (Video via United Nations)

There were over a half-million maternal deaths in 1990, compared to an estimated 300,000 this year. 

The findings are part of the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals. And while it's a step in the right direction, the 44 percent drop is still 31 points short of the goal set by the U.N. in 1990. (Video via United Nations)

Only nine countries met the U.N.'s goal of reducing maternal mortality by 75 percent, and some, including the United States, had higher mortality rates in 2015 than they did in 1990.

That's turned some heads. The U.S.'s maternal death rate now sits at 14 deaths per 100,000 live births, a rate that's twice as high as Canada's

The report did note only 1 percent of maternal deaths occurred in developed countries in 2015, with a total of roughly 3,000 deaths. 

<![CDATA[Kidney Cancer Might Be Linked To How You Cook Your Meat]]> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 10:05:00 -0600
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Some potentially good news for all you carnivores out there: A new study shows meat itself might not cause cancer. It could be how you cook it. 

Researchers from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston compared healthy people to individuals who had the most common type of kidney cancer.

Since the kidney's job is to filter toxins, it makes sense to search for links specifically between diet and kidney cancer.

The researchers confirmed those with kidney cancer ate more red and white meat on average than those without.

But they also found a relationship involving harmful compounds created when meat is cooked a certain way.

Cooking over an open flame or at high temperatures — barbecuing or pan-frying, for instance — has been shown to create the harmful compounds.

And the researchers showed a higher risk for kidney cancer due to cooking method was independent of the risk simply from eating meat.

More work still has to be done, but the researchers suggest people can still consume meat, just in moderation, and when cooking it, to avoid charring.

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Chipotle Reopens 43 Restaurants After E. Coli Scare]]> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 08:46:00 -0600
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Chipotle is reopening 43 stores after an E. coli scare.

Last month, the chain voluntarily closed restaurants in Oregon and Washington state after health officials reported a possible link between Chipotle restaurants and over 20 E. coli cases. (Video via Chipotle Mexican Grill)

The chain says the cases were linked to 11 restaurants, and they are handling the issue with an "abundance of caution."

Chipotle is deep-cleaning restaurants nationwide and replacing all ingredients in the closed restaurants, even though officials found no link between an ingredient and the cases in recent tests. (Video via Chipotle Mexican Grill)

The Washington Department of Health says negative tests sometimes happen because all the contaminated food has already been consumed before samples are collected.

State officials are still working with the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the cause of the outbreak.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Surfing Offers Alternative Therapy For Wounded Veterans]]> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 08:21:00 -0600
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When troops come back from combat, they are often left to deal with physical, emotional and mental tolls on their bodies. 

The recovery process can be drawn out, but alternative therapies can offer confidence and a new zest for life.

One way is through sand, sun and catching a waveOperation Surf is designed to offer stress relief and therapy through surfing to those who've served. 

"My right side can still not feel temperature or pain and my left side has mobility issues," Cameron Crosby told CNN. "You know, It's just a privilege to be out here."

But surfing isn't the only alternative therapy for veterans. 

The Foundation for Art and Healing connects those dealing with PTSD to art therapies such as performing

And programs across the nation like A Helping Hoof offer equestrian therapy to a variety of people, including veterans. 

The video contains an image from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Crayola's Adult Coloring Books Could Be Your New Therapy]]> Tue, 10 Nov 2015 13:16:00 -0600
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No judgment: We know you sometimes steal your kid's coloring books come nap time. (Video via Crayola)

Crayola knows, too. That's why the company's released a line of books specifically for adults called "Color Escapes." (Video via Crayola)

You can choose from four different themes: geometric, kaleidoscope, nature and garden. (Video via Crayola)

Crayola is marketing the books as "a soothing, creative experience that's easy to do and easy on your mind."

writer for the Atlantic is all for the idea of adult coloring books, writing, "Coloring offers that relief and mindfulness without the paralysis that a blank page can cause."

Crayola could be onto something as mindfulness becomes more of a buzzword. Somewhat generally, mindfulness is complete awareness of the present –– not worrying about the past or future.

Not everyone's convinced that coloring books bring on a heightened mediative state. One art therapist told the Guardian, "I find that many of the loudest proponents are actually those that create the coloring books."

Though, many therapists told the Guardian they believed coloring books are a capable part of a broader treatment plan for stress and anxiety.

And even if you're not too stressed, you might just choose the adult books for fun ... and so you don't anger your kids. (Video via Crayola)

This video includes images from Getty Images and Niklas Hellerstedt / CC BY 2.0 and Steve Corey / CC BY ND 2.0.

<![CDATA[A Potbelly Could Be Deadlier Than Obesity, Study Says]]> Tue, 10 Nov 2015 09:16:00 -0600
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We all know obesity is a serious health risk. But if you think that beer belly is no big deal, think again. Researchers found that stomach fat alone could be more deadly than obesity. 

The 14-year study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at more than 15,000 adults. 

Researchers found men who clocked in at a normal weight but had a big belly were more than twice as likely to die compared to obese men. And women with a normal weight and a potbelly were 32 percent more likely to die than obese women. 

Obesity was determined by the person's BMI, or body mass index, which is often used as an indicator of health.

But according to the study, BMI may not tell the whole story because the location of fat determines how dangerous it is.

Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic and lead author of the study, told USA Today, "Not all fat is equal." Just as there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, there is good fat and bad fat.

He told the outlet, "The fat around the belly might look the same under the microscope as fat from the arms or legs, but it's much more active."

Belly fat is especially bad for you because it is often deposited in the liver and causes inflammation that could lead to diabetes and heart disease.

But the same isn't necessarily true for the fat found below your waistline. Researchers say this fat may even offer some protection to your heart, although researchers don't really know why.

The bottom line here — people should be aware of their waist-to-hip ratios and should aim for building muscle, not necessarily just shedding pounds.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[China's Pollution Problem Is Only Getting Worse]]> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 18:54:00 -0600
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Less than a month before almost 200 world powers are scheduled to discuss how to reduce world carbon emissions, China may have broken its own record for the most polluted atmosphere the country has ever seen.

State-run news agency Xinhua reported dangerous levels of particles smaller than 2.5 microns, known as PM2.5 pollution. 

It’s one of the more dangerous forms of contamination because the particles are small enough to go deep into your lungs and find their way into the bloodstream, which can cause heart disease, emphysema and even cancer.

The World Health Organization recommends maximum PM2.5 levels of 35 micrograms per cubic meter, but readings spiked as high as 1,400 micrograms in the northeastern part of the country.

The jump in smog could be due to cold weather. Most of the country still burns coal to power heating systems, and that throws a lot of pollution into the air.

But heating their homes could come at a steep price for the Chinese people. Several hospitals' respiratory wards became packed with patients, and government officials warned citizens to stay inside. 

This news comes on the heels of a U.S. Energy Information Administration report that said China had underreported its coal usage by 14 percent since 2000.

But even with the increased scrutiny on China’s emissions, the country still may not be inclined to decrease production any time soon. Chinese officials promised to peak the country's emissions by 2030, which is basically another way of saying they don’t plan on slowing down for the next 15 years.

This video uses images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Millions Of Us Could Be Underwater If Sea Levels Keep Rising]]> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 18:48:00 -0600
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The upcoming climate talks in Paris have generated a lot of buzz lately. This is largely because different organizations love to publish reports to update us on where we stand on saving the Earth. Hint: It's not looking good. (Video via NASA)

And a new report by Climate Central is sharing its global warming message in the form of edited images. 

Take a look at these photos of London. This first image is edited to show what the city would look like after the Earth warms 2 degrees Celsius, or about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The second image ... you're looking at the sea level rise after the Earth is warmed 4 degrees Celsius, or 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here are the same projections for New York City ... after the Earth warms 2 degrees Celsius, we can still see that bull on Wall Street. Not the case after warming 4 degrees Celsius.

This is what Hong Kong would look like if global warming reaches 2 degrees Celsius. Lots of streets are underwater.

According to Climate Central, those images could soon be the reality. A different report released Monday by the U.K. Met Office agrees. It says 2015 is on track to be 1 degree Celsius hotter than ever before.

And warmer temperatures mean higher sea levels. Climate Central says global warming has caused global sea levels to rise 8 inches since 1880, and the rate is accelerating.

The study projects that a 2-degree Celsius increase in temperatures would put about 280 million people underwater. Yikes.

So what do we do to keep all of us on dry land? Yeah, that's what world leaders will be discussing in Paris next month.

This video includes images from Climate Central

<![CDATA[There Might Be A Health Benefit To Popping Champagne Bottles]]> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 17:37:00 -0600
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A 2013 study is making some waves on social media for touting the medical benefits of — wait for it — champagne. (Video via Paramount Pictures / "The Wolf of Wall Street")

Pop those bottles, y'all. And maybe share with some friends. A University of Reading study found that drinking one to three glasses of the bubbly drink a week could help delay the onset of dementia, as well as counteract memory loss. (Video via Moet & Chandon)

That's because the alcoholic drink contains a higher-than-normal level of phenolic compounds that help change proteins to better store memories in the brain. Phenolics are found in two red grapes — Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier — both of which are used in the production of champagne.

We'll cheers to that. And speaking of the Pinot Noir variety, those are the same types of compounds that have been found in red wine. (Video via Universal Pictures / "Bridesmaids")

And if dementia and memory loss prevention isn't a convincing enough reason to indulge with some bubbly, the same researchers at the University of Reading found champagne also affects blood vessel walls.

Champagne fans, brace yourself: That study suggests having two glasses a day helps increase nitric oxide levels in blood, which lowers blood pressure. This, in turn, can help prevent heart disease and stroke.

It doesn't have to break the bank, either. A lower-priced bottle will give you the same health benefits as a bottle of, say, Dom Perignon.

And here's the catch. The study was conducted on rats, so the next step is to test it on humans. And for memory loss prevention, the researchers believe they will see outcomes similar to the effects of eating blueberries and cocoa.

So the next time you decide to channel your inner @champagnepapi, remember the key word from this study: moderate. Researchers say "a very low intake of one to two glasses a week can be effective." (Video via Universal Motown Records / Kid CudiDreamWorks / "Old School")

This video includes an image from Colm Britton / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[New Study Says You Should Drop Your Blood Pressure Even More]]> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 15:41:00 -0600
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For years, the American Heart Association has recommended a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or less, but a new study says it needs to be even lower.

That top number measures what’s known as systolic blood pressure, which is the amount of force exerted on blood vessels when the heart contracts. If that force is too great, it’s known as hypertension, which can damage internal organs and lead to stroke or death.

A study, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, says dropping your systolic blood pressure to less than 120 can drastically reduce the risk of heart disease and death.

“Twenty-five percent less deaths and a third — 33 percent — less heart attack, strokes and heart failure. That’s huge,” Dr. Julia Lewis said.

Researchers gave over 9,000 hypertension patients ages 50 and older an average of one additional medication to drop blood pressure and found the reduction in pressure benefits all races, sexes and ages in the study about the same.

The study should affect at least 17 million Americans with hypertension, and since most blood pressure medications are available as generic prescriptions, the study could save millions of lives for relatively cheap.

In fact, the study was supposed to continue until 2017, but researchers were so excited they ended it early to announce their results. But it’s not without its detractors.

Some doctors are concerned dropping blood pressure too low can cause issues with balance and memory, especially in the elderly. And others aren’t sure getting everyone to drop their blood pressure is even realistic. 

The New England Journal of Medicine says, "One-third to one half of people with hypertension in the United States currently have uncontrolled blood pressure, and the figures are much worse in most other countries," so getting down another 20 points could be difficult.

But the study is still a huge step forward in helping treat the No. 1 cause of death in America. The American Heart Association will meet this week to discuss altering its guidelines based on the report.

<![CDATA[Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Reach Record Highs]]> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 08:56:00 -0600
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The United Nations' weather agency announced Monday that 2014 was yet another record high year for greenhouse gas concentrations in Earth's atmosphere.

The newest report says between 1990 and 2014, there was a 36 percent increase in the warming effect on the Earth's climate –– mainly due to long-lasting greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. 

The agency's secretary general said in a statement: "Every year we say that time is running out. We have to act NOW to slash greenhouse gas emissions if we are to have a chance to keep the increase in temperatures to manageable levels."

The meteorologists say the data predicts higher global temperatures, more floods, melting ice and rising sea levels. 

Rising greenhouse gas concentrations have long been theorized as a main cause of global warming, yet skeptics have noted Earth's temperature has risen at a slower pace since 1998  –– arguing global warming has "paused." 

But many scientists are more worried that the rise in greenhouse gases and global temperatures, whatever the pace, has not stopped. 

The newest greenhouse gas report could sway countries to reach new agreements at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, which starts at the end of the month. (Video via French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development)

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Climate Change Could Force 100 Million More Into Poverty]]> Sun, 08 Nov 2015 21:39:00 -0600
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According to the World Bank, there are 702 million people living in poverty today. And because of climate change, that number could jump by 100 million by 2030.

The World Bank released a new report Sunday warning if the world doesn't act on climate change, it will be impossible to eradicate poverty.

The report looked at how climate change could affect people with limited resources by analyzing the impact of climate change on agriculture and ecosystems, natural disasters and global health issues.

According to the report, climate change could "result in global crop yield losses as large as 5 percent in 2030." Less available food means higher prices for what is available. (Video via Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

And higher food prices hit poor people the hardest, because they spend a higher percent of their budget on food. The World Bank says back in 2008, a spike in food prices sent 100 million people below the poverty line. (Video via World Bank)

Climate change can also cause extreme weather, which has a more devastating impact on the poor. The report says there could be heat waves, droughts and floods. 

And climate change will likely greatly impact the spread of diseases. The report's authors fear warmer temperatures could lead to more cases of malaria and diarrhea, for instance. (Video via World Health Organization)

Warnings like this one from the World Bank aren't new. Last year, a U.N. panel warned that the effects of climate change can already be felt on every continent. (Video via Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

That panel's report analyzed how global warming might impact food supplies over time. The report concluded that unless change is made, the poorest nations are in big trouble. (Video via NASA)

World governments will continue the discussion on how to cut back on greenhouse emissions at climate change talks in Paris at the end of the month.

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Weight-Loss Surgery Seems Even More Effective For Teens]]> Sun, 08 Nov 2015 13:56:00 -0600
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A study from the New England Journal of Medicine found bariatric surgery for teens can drastically reduce weight-related health problems.

There were over 200 participants in the observational studybetween 13 and 19 years old with "severe obesity." Most underwent gastric bypass surgery, specifically. (Video via WebMD)

Unlike adults, researchers say adolescents could have a better chance of reversing health issues linked to diabetes with surgery. (Video via Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center)

Researchers put remission of type 2 diabetes for adults at 50 to 70 percent after gastric bypass. In the study, 95 percent of teens saw remission of the disease, and 74 percent of teens saw remission of elevated blood pressure.

While longer studies are needed to see the life-long affects of the surgery for teens, one researcher said: "If sustained, the improvements seen in weight, blood sugar, kidney function, blood pressure, and lipid levels may translate into fewer strokes, heart attacks and other disabilities later in life." (Video via Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center)

This video includes an image from the National Human Genome Research Institute

<![CDATA[12-Foot Alligator Subdued By Much Smaller Alligator Wrangler]]> Sun, 08 Nov 2015 11:25:00 -0600
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Shoppers near Houston received quite the surprise Saturday morning when a 12-foot, 800-pound alligator showed up at a local strip mall. 

Sugar Land, Texas authorities received the gator-related call early Saturday and brought in gator trapper Christy Kroboth for help. (Video via KPRC)

"Look at the size of that thing!" 

"Look at the size of her! Little tiny thing," KPRC anchors comment

"It's mostly guys out there and they're like 'Texas Parks and Wildlife sent you? They sent a girl?' and then I'm like 'Yesssss.' They kind of doubt me at first until I really get them taped and ready to go," Kroboth told KTRK

It took about three hours, but the gator, nicknamed Godzilla, was finally subdued without incident. 

Kroboth said she believes the gator might have been living in nearby Oyster Creek and ventured out to find food before becoming disoriented. (Video via City of Sugar Land)

A forklift was brought in and officials moved Godzilla to El Campo. The 50-year-old gator, who is partially blind, will reportedly remain in animal sanctuary for the rest of its life. 

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Where's All Our Graphene Consumer Tech?]]> Sat, 07 Nov 2015 14:59:00 -0600
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Science has promised us the graphene-coated world. 

The lattice of carbon atoms is sometimes called a "wonder material," and rightly so: single sheets of it are almost transparent. It's the thinnest known thing in the universe, the best known thermal and electrical conductor in the universe and more than 200 times stronger than steel.

There are reams of proof-of-concept studies that show the single layers of carbon atoms could be useful for everything from DNA sequencing to water filtration to high-efficiency energy storage. (Video via Institute of PhysicsCambridge University)

So why is it still wiggling around under lab lights instead of working its way into every consumer product imaginable? (Video via Donghua University)

Two big problems. First: Until recently, it was incredibly pricey.

In 2008, it was one of the most expensive materials on the planet. The synthesis process — a high-tech affair involving pencil graphite and plastic tape — rang in at more than $1,000 for a sample less than the thickness of a human hair. (Video via nanoGUNE)

These days, scientists have methods better suited to cranking it out in greater quantities, and for much cheaper — though still not cheaply enough for wide-scale industrial production. (Video via University of Manchester)

Meanwhile, investment for the whole industry has taken off: $4.2 billion as of June 2015, by one count. The EU has granted a billion euros for research, and England hosts an institute at the University of Manchester for all things graphene. (Video via BAM Construct UK)

That's the second problem: All that money sinking into graphene is outpacing its use cases.

Researchers at Manchester U say they're closing in on "commercially viable" graphene-coated LED lightbulbs, which would reportedly run cooler than their noncoated brethren. (Video via Manchester University)

And some companies are now confident enough in the market to sell you a graphene-imbued tennis racquet or bicycle tire that may or may not give you some sort of competitive edge. (Videos via HEADVittoria)

But researchers worry even if we gave the graphene industry 10 years to mature, it still won't clear $350 million in sales. That's a lot of tennis racquets.

For what it's worth, the U.K. Patent Office shows graphene patents are increasing at an exponential rate.

But for graphene to stick, says one writer at Nature, "It will need to find a role in which it dramatically and reliably outperforms existing technologies at a reasonable cost."

So keep trying stuff, scientists. After all, it's thanks to you and your heat lamp experiments that we know what graphene is capable of. (Video via Donghua University)

This video includes images from NASA.

<![CDATA[Kangaroo Farts Probably Contribute To Climate Change]]> Sat, 07 Nov 2015 13:06:00 -0600
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Scientists are saying kangaroos are a bit more gassy than we previously thought.

Now, you might be wondering what led to this discovery. Researchers reportedly put kangaroos in a room, fed them, let them pass gas, and then measured the methane content of the room. Science!

Why did they do this, though? Because, for a long time kangaroos weren't thought to produce much methane at all. (Video via BBC)

In fact, a few years ago some scientists even proposed replacing some of the cattle in our diet with kangaroo, just to cut down on greenhouse emissions. (Video via National Geographic)

Livestock produce about 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Mostly methane and mostly by belching. And methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases out there. (Video via Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resrouces)

By replacing cattle with kangaroos, scientists hoped they could slow climate change.

Unfortunately, it seems those scientists were measuring from the wrong end.

Adam Munn, one of the authors of the study, told The Christian Science Monitor, "With kangaroos, most of the methane comes out the back end, not the front end like ... in sheep and cattle." (Video via Discovery)

The study did find that the amount of methane produced by kangaroos is related to how long it takes their food to digest. The less time it takes, the less methane produced.

Based on that, the researchers suggest that the key to lowering livestock emissions might just be breeding cows that digest more quickly.

This video includes images from Getty Images, Alexandre Lavrov / CC BY 2.0Dan Armbrust / CC BY 2.0, and / CC BY 3.0

<![CDATA[New Study Says You Can Eat Your Cake And Fast Food, Too]]> Sat, 07 Nov 2015 12:36:00 -0600
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If you like a savory or sweet treat, you might not need to worry as much about it affecting your weight. 

Cornell researchers recently found most Americans consume around the same amount of sweets and fast food, whether they are average weight or overweight. Which means there isn't a specific link between body mass index and consumption of high-sugar and high-fat foods, unless you're morbidly obese or underweight.

But before you start stocking up a sugary stash, the study did note that a high consumption of these foods can still cause weight gain. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest numbers show nearly 35% of Americans are obese. So the main takeaway of this study? When it comes to fighting obesity in America, researchers say public health campaigns and individual doctors shouldn't just focus on specific foods. They should look at a person's lifestyle, like overall diet and exercise.

This video includes images form Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Why Are So Many Space Probes Sent Smashing Into Things?]]> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 13:00:00 -0600
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Why do so many space probes crash-land? 

The European Space Agency recently announced that Rosetta, the orbiter that lowered a probe onto a comet's surface last year, will end its life by intentionally crashing itself into the comet, too. (Video via European Space Agency)

That's not an unusual ending for a spacecraft. Galileo did the same thing, ending its eight-year orbit of Jupiter by spiraling down to be destroyed in the gas giant's atmosphere. (Video via NASA)

"It's actually not a completely silly thing to do," Angela Speck said.

Angela Speck is director of astronomy at the University of Missouri and worked on the Rosetta mission. She says a crash-landing is often the last chance to get data from a probe. (Video via European Space Agency)

"We're at this point where Rosetta's done what it can. If it crashes into the comet, it will cause stuff to come up, and we'll learn more about the comet," Speck said. 

Sending a spacecraft crashing into something is often the whole point. The LCROSS mission carried out back-to-back impacts in 2009 that helped scientists find water ice on the moon. (Video via NASA)

Rosetta wouldn't even be the first time a spacecraft has bombarded a comet.

"With Deep Impact, not only was there a satellite around it that was observing what came up, but we had Hubble looking at it and a whole bunch of other telescopes that allow us to then collect information on that surface material that you can't do while it's in the surface," Speck said. (Video via NASA)

Crashes can also be good housekeeping. If Galileo had been left to drift, it might've ended up on Europa, possibly contaminating one of the most promising places for alien life in our solar system. The Cassini spacecraft, which has been sending back incredible images of Saturn's watery moon Enceladus, will be crashed into Saturn for the same reason. (Video via NASA)

Other times, the crash is just the inevitable end, like when the Messenger probe self-destructed on Mercury after using up its fuel. A ton of lunar probes, like the GRAIL orbiters, have met the same fate. (Video via NASA)

Of course, it's always nice when the inevitable can be put to good use. 

"We can do this one last thing that'll give us a bunch of information. Why not?" Speck said.

This video includes images from NASA and the European Space Agency.

<![CDATA[Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline]]> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 11:47:00 -0600
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After seven years of waiting, the White House has rejected TransCanada’s request to build the Keystone XL pipeline. (Video via the White House

"After extensive public outreach and consultation with other cabinet agencies, the State Department has decided that the Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the interests of the United States. I agree with that decision," President Obama said Friday. 

The controversial project pitted environmentalists concerned about climate change against Republicans and oil companies who said the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline would create jobs. 

This video includes images from Getty Images and music from Chris Zabriskie / CC BY 4.0.

<![CDATA[Exxon Mobil Under Investigation Over Climate Change Claims]]> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 11:38:00 -0600
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Exxon Mobil is under investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for allegedly misleading the public about the risk of climate change. 

The investigation comes after the Union of Concerned Scientists revealed over the summer Exxon Mobil had been researching the risks of climate change as early as 1981.

It also claims Exxon Mobil had been funding campaigns undermining climate science, while it's own scientists warned executives of the dangers of climate change. 

Now, Schneiderman is subpoenaing extensive documentation from Exxon Mobil including "financial records, emails and other documents." 

Exxon Mobil's vice president of public affairs confirmed they had received the subpoena, and were assessing its response, but said they "reject the allegations that Exxon Mobil has suppressed climate change research." (Video via Exxon Mobil)

Some see this as a chance to open up new lines of attack for climate change litigation. More attorneys general could join the investigation. 

And The New York Times reports "people with knowledge of the case" have said the inquiry might expand to other oil companies. At this time, however, none have received subpoenas.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Mars Dried Out Because Its Magnetic Field Is So Weak]]> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 18:10:00 -0600
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How did Mars go from wet to dry?

NASA's MAVEN probe says: blame the sun and a wimpy magnetic field. (Video via NASA)

When solar flares erupt, high-energy particles batter the planets. (Video via NASA)

Earth's powerful magnetic field shields the atmosphere. But with its weak field, Mars takes the full brunt. (Video via NASA)

So the atmosphere blew away and so did most of the water. (Video via NASA)

This video includes images from NASA.

<![CDATA[The Earth Could Be Full Of Tiny, Unreachable Diamonds]]> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 09:19:00 -0600
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You'd think a diamond would be a rare, exotic stone, right? Well, as it turns out, it may be the most common gem of all.

A new study by Johns Hopkins University says diamonds may form during a much simpler process than previously thought, and that could mean there are tiny diamonds deep in the earth.

Diamonds usually form through the oxidation of methane or a reduction in carbon dioxide.

But the research, published in the journal Nature, suggests diamonds also form as water flows from different types of rock while undergoing extreme heat and pressure. 

Researchers say the diamonds form at temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and over 100 miles below the Earth. That's more than 10 times the depth humans have successfully drilled to.

Which isn't exactly accessible. Many of those diamonds also wouldn't work for engagement rings or other jewelry because they're so tiny, you'd need a microscope to see them.

Diamonds used in engagement rings could have once been deep in the Earth, too, but they were brought toward the surface through magmatic eruptions.

While you likely won’t see a drop in diamond prices any time soon, the research is still pretty significant. It could unlock the clues to the inner workings of Earth and the carbon cycle — which is responsible for life on our planet.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Man Dies After Tapeworm Inside Him Gets Cancer]]> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 06:56:00 -0600
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In the first case of its kind, a man has died from cancer not caused by his own cells, but from those of a parasite. 

In 2013, a 41-year-old Colombian man went to a hospital with trouble breathing and a fever. He'd also stopped taking his HIV medication months before, which weakened his immune system. 

Upon examining him, doctors discovered his lungs were filled with tumors. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pathologist told NPR, "It looked like cancer, but the tumors were composed of cells that were not human." 

The mystery cancer cells were 10 times smaller than human cancer cells. 

Researchers found the man had tapeworm DNA in his system, and further tests confirmed the cancer started in the tapeworm. 

Unfortunately, the man died just days after the discovery, before he potentially could have been treated.

The researchers published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday with the hope that it will help treat more cases. 

While the finding is rare, the researchers noted HIV and tapeworm infections are widespread in underdeveloped countries, and more cases may be going undiagnosed. 

This video includes images from NIAID / CC BY 2.0NIH Image Gallery / CC BY 2.0 and NIAID / CC BY 2.0

<![CDATA[So You Want To Be An Astronaut? Listen Up]]> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 20:16:00 -0600
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Time to update your LinkedIn profile because NASA is hiring. It announced Wednesday that it will begin accepting applications on Dec. 14 for the next group of astronauts. (Video via NASA)

The last time NASA went on a hiring spree was in 2013, and only 8 out of more than 6,100 applicants got the gig. So we've taken a look at the astronaut job requirements to determine those of us who "need not apply."

Here's what NASA is looking for: a bachelor's degree. If your diploma says engineering, biological science, physical science, mathematics, or clinical psychology, you're in luck. A master's or doctoral degree will definitely help, but isn't requried. (Video via NASA

You'll also need three years of professional experience or a quick 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft. (Video via NASA

And of course, you'll have to be between 5'2" and 6'3" so you can squeeze into small places. Sorry for all the vertically challenged — or gifted — out there. 

NASA wants healthy and fit astronauts. That means a sitting blood pressure of less than 140/90. Oh, and by the way, you must be a United States citizen. Duh. (Video via NASA

So the requirements don't seem totally out of this world. But other countries' space programs? Yeah, they're a bit more particular.

Take Russia for instance. If you're over the age of 33, forget it. You also need to have five years of work experience, three of which you completed at the same job. 

China draws from an even narrower applicant pool. There are lots of boxes to check before you can apply for their program. Are you age 25 to 35? Do you snore? If you're a woman, are you married? If you're a mom, did you deliver your children naturally?

Yeah, we found that last one a little strange, too. According to a Chinese magazine, scientists fear a scar from a C-section could bleed in space. 

So NASA's astronaut program is looking even better, right? Oh, and we should mention the starting salary for a civilian astronaut is $66,026 a year. 

But if you get a call back on your application, prepare to move to Houston and spend at least two years training before you jet set into space. (Video via NASA

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[China's Emissions Bombshell Could Strain Climate Talks]]> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 18:06:00 -0600
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As the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, China will play a big role in the upcoming Paris climate conference. 

Which is why confusion over just how much it's emitting could be so problematic. (Video via BBC)

The New York Times broke the news that China's government has admitted to consuming 17 percent more coal than estimated: 4.2 billion metric tons in all for 2013.

That should translate to more emissions, but that's where it gets confusing. 

As the Times points out, carbon emissions are measured directly, not calculated from consumption numbers. So it's kind of a mystery where the extra CO2 went. (Video via Vice)

With a major climate conference kicking off in Paris at the end of November, that's one of several questions researchers likely won't have time to answer before negotiations over the next big climate change agreement start. (Video via CCTV)

"We agreed to deepen practical cooperation on clean energy, environmental protection and other areas," Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a press conference

China's emissions agreement with the U.S. was greeted as significant because it was the first such agreement China had made. Chinese officials touted the agreement as an example of cooperation between developing and developed countries, something past climate talks have failed to achieve. (Video via COP20 Lima)

But if its numbers are seen as unreliable, it'll be hard for other countries to be confident China is upholding its commitments to cut emissions. 

And it'll make it that much more difficult to agree on those emissions goals in the first place.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Doctors Pull Live Parasite From California Student's Brain]]> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 16:12:00 -0600
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A California college student underwent emergency brain surgery after doctors discovered a tapeworm in his brain.

Luis Ortiz said he'd had some headaches but ignored them until the pain intensified and he began vomiting.

He was rushed to the hospital where doctors performed emergency surgery and found a larva of the parasite lodged in his brain.

The worm created a cyst which stopped the flow of water to areas of the brain. Doctors said if they had waited another 30 minutes, Ortiz would have been dead. (Video via Methodist Heath System)

"Yeah, the doctor pulled it out and said it was still wiggling, and I'm like, ew, that doesn't sound too good. Like what are the odds, you know, that I would get a parasite in my head?" Ortiz told KPIX.

Doctors said Ortiz might have gotten the tapeworm if he ate uncooked pork, went swimming in a river or recently visited a developing country. (Video via Animal Planet)

After the surgery, Ortiz has slight memory loss, but he's been working on it through therapy and says he's avoiding pork.

<![CDATA[France Plans To Lift Ban On Blood Donations From Gay Men]]> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 11:55:00 -0600
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France is planning on lifting its ban on blood donations from gay men.

The country's minister of health called it "the end of a taboo" in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde on Wednesday.

Many countries put restrictions on blood donations in the '80s during the AIDS epidemic before it was widely acknowledged that HIV can also be transmitted through other behaviors, including heterosexual sex.

The lifetime bans have been criticized for discriminating based on sexual orientation as opposed to focusing on individual risk factors. (Video via National Gay Blood Drive)

In recent years, some of the bans have been loosened. In May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed its policy. Instead of a lifetime ban, men who have had sex with another man but haven't done so in the past year are allowed to donate blood.

But that change has been criticized by LGBT advocacy groups who call it a celibacy clause. (Video via GLAAD)

"That's right; 365 days of celibacy," an actor said in a GLAAD video.

France will also be adopting a similar one-year deferral rule. If studies on new donations don't indicate a risk, the country's minister of health says rules for gay men will eventually be more like those for heterosexual donors.

In May, the U.S. FDA cited a similar policy change in Australia, saying, "There was no change in risk to the blood supply."

This video includes images from Getty Images and Nathan Hughes Hamilton / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Wildlife Federation Says Don't Rake Your Leaves]]> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 10:57:00 -0600
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With those beautiful autumn trees come falling leaves, but instead of grumbling about having to rake them up, how about you just ... don't?

The National Wildlife Federation is actually encouraging raking laziness — saying the leaves can benefit your garden and wildlife. 

The blog post says the leaf layer is like its own ecosystem. One critter that depends on such a leaf layer is the chipmunk. Um, cute much?

And if you're raking up your leaves, you are also raking up butterfly and moth pupae. Don't you want butterflies in your garden?

The post also mentions leaves make a great natural mulch and help suppress weeds. 

But if you do insist on keeping your yard cleaned up, the NWF recommends doing it the old-fashioned way because leaf blowers pollute the air. 

We honestly didn't need these reasons to avoid tidying up the leaves in our yards, but hey, now we can say we're doing it for the environment. 

"Don't. Rake. The leaves!" HLN anchor Robin Meade said dramatically.

"Sounds like a lot of work," someone said off-screen.

This video includes an image from Dean Hochman / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Skip The Gym; Study Says Walking Could Be Better]]> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 09:25:00 -0600
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If you're trying to get in shape, you might want to skip the run and drop those free weights.

Researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science analyzed data of 50,000 people who were at least 13 years old and found those who walked briskly 30 minutes a day were more likely to have smaller waistlines and lower body mass indexes than those who did higher-intensity workouts.

Now, this study is correlational, so we can't say for sure that walking is better for you than running.

In fact, the researchers don't seem to be saying you should stop jogging or lifting.

One told Express: "We think it is because walking is more convenient than the gym and is easier for people to maintain. [Particularly] for older people because they do not have to be at peak physical fitness to walk."

And another sports science lecturer told the Daily Mail power walking can burn the same calories as jogging or running, but "because it is low-impact, it does not have the same potential for injury."

The researchers' last point? Walking is cheaper than a gym. Now that one we can't argue with.

This video includes images from Jeff Blackler / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Robin Williams' Wife Blames Lewy Body Dementia For His Death]]> Tue, 03 Nov 2015 18:30:00 -0600
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Robin Williams' widow, Susan, has finally spoken out after Robin's suicide last August, telling ABC she blames Lewy body dementia for his death.

Lewy body dementia, or LBD, is when clumps of protein collect in the brain and hinder function in the nerves.

It's similar to Parkinson's disease, but the dementia doesn't happen right away. LBD can cause hallucinations, confusion and delusions among other symptoms which makes it different from Alzheimer's.

"In November of 2013, he had a little gut pain. Next month, it was another symptom," Susan Schneider said. "It was like this endless parade of symptoms."

She says Williams didn't show signs of being suicidal but says the "chemical warfare no one knew about" was going on in his mind.

Popular radio host Casey Kasem, who died just months before Williams' passing, was also diagnosed with LBD.

Currently, there's no cure for Parkinson's or LBD. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images and Jensflorian / CC BY SA 3.0

<![CDATA[The US Government Now Has A Plan To Deal With Space Weather]]> Tue, 03 Nov 2015 16:21:00 -0600
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If you're worried about space weather destroying life as we know it here on Earth, you can relax. The U.S. government has a plan. (Video via NASA)

Space weather refers to variations that occur in the area between the sun and the Earth. Think solar flares and solar energetic particles. Or, to put it more simply, think explosions of high-energy radiation from the sun.

A massive electromagnetic pulse from solar flares could destroy power grids and cost billions of dollars. That's why the White House is working on protection efforts.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy recently released an action plan and strategy that outline how the country will prepare for the worst.

Here's the gist. The government will work with various entities to release new space environment data and launch a space weather data initiative. It will also work to train emergency management on space weather events, increase international collaboration and publish more information about space weather in transportation reports.

Sounds expensive, but the office ensures us that this action plan "broadly aligns" with the proposal in the president's budget for 2016.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Why Are So Many More Middle-Aged White People Dying?]]> Tue, 03 Nov 2015 11:07:00 -0600
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We may be closer to understanding a disturbing health trend: the — to this point — unexplained, increasing death rate of white middle-aged Americans.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton and his wife, fellow economist Anne Case, released a study Monday showing from 1999 to 2013, the death rate of middle-aged white people who have a high school education or less increased at an astonishing rate. (Video via Royal Society of Arts)

What's more, the rising rate didn't come from heart disease or other medical issues commonly associated with death rates. While lung cancer rates went down and diabetes remained stable, chronic liver disease, suicides and especially alcohol and drug poisoning spiked.

"Pretty quickly, we started falling off our chairs because of what we found," Deaton told NPR. "They get into middle age having their expectations just not met at all and you introduce into that both legal and illegal drugs and that could be just a very volatile mix."

Deaton says people with lower levels of education were ill-equipped for the Great Recession.

If the white mortality rate had continued its previous downward trend, Deaton and Case wrote "half a million deaths would have been avoided in the period 1999‒2013, comparable to lives lost in the US AIDS epidemic through mid-2015."

It's important to note researchers did not see the same trends in other Western countries, and it isn't clear why the death rates increased only for middle-aged whites and not black or Hispanic people.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Danish Company To Build World's Largest Offshore Wind Farm]]> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 20:49:00 -0600
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A Danish company is building the largest offshore wind farm ever

It'll be built in the Irish Sea. Its name: Walney Extension.

Turbines like these will deliver electricity to 460,000+ U.K. homes.

The company already has farms off the coasts of the U.K., Germany and Denmark. (Video via Dong Energy)

The new farm plus the company's existing farms will generate enough power for more than 12.5 million Europeans.

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Should Grizzlies Stay On The Threatened Species List?]]> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 18:08:00 -0600
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Yellowstone National Park's grizzly population jumped this year, and some think it's time to take the bears off the threatened species list — again. (Video via Animal Planet / "Viking Wilderness")

Grizzlies were granted protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1975 as a "threatened" species in the lower 48 states. But 40 years later, it seems they may not need that level of protection anymore.

Molecular Ecology published a study last week that found the population has been growing since the '80s, suggesting the bears are in a pretty stable position.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is in favor of de-listing the bears, and the National Wildlife Federation agrees. The NWF said, "All of the recovery goals—population, distribution and mortality—needed to qualify bears for release from the Endangered Species Act's emergency room care have been met or exceeded."

But not everyone agrees. Taking the bears off the endangered list means they can be hunted, which is concerning to some animal rights activists.

Daniel Thompson, a specialist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, told the Missoulian: "This should be a very positive story, but there's a lot of arguing in the background. And it ignores the sacrifices of the people on the ground who live in grizzly bear country."

In fact, the population is doing so well there's stiff competition for natural food sources among the bears, which means the bears have been hunting outside their normal habitats.

This year, wildlife managers euthanized 24 grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, mostly for killing livestock or for becoming accustomed to human food.

As we mentioned, the push to de-list the grizzlies is nothing new. In 2013 the Yellowstone Ecosystem subcommittee and Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team recommended that their threatened status be revoked. 

Prior to that, grizzlies were briefly removed from the threatened species list in 2007, but they were returned to the list in 2009 when a federal district judge overturned the ruling. 

Even if grizzlies are de-listed again, Yellowstone probably won't turn into a bear-hunting free-for-all zone. The National Wildlife Federation said it will designate a 6 million-acre conservation area for grizzlies to thrive. 

This video includes images from Getty Images, Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith / CC BY 2.0xinem / CC BY 2.0U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceScott Calleja / CC BY 2.0 and Jacob Botter / CC BY 2.0

<![CDATA[Humans Have Been Living In Space For 15 Straight Years]]> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 16:43:00 -0600
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Humans may not have been to the moon for a while, but there have been people living in space for 15 straight years. 

Expedition 1 entered the International Space Station on Nov. 2, 2000. It's had people on board ever since. (Video via European Space Agency)

That's 15 years of research, things being weird zero G, amazing views of Earth and freeze-dried space food. (Videos via NASACanadian Space AgencyRussian Federal Space AgencyJapan Aerospace Exploration Agency)

It's also 15 years of international cooperation in space, and there are plans for at least eight more. (Video via NASA)

This video includes images from NASA.

<![CDATA[Lack Of Sleep Could Increase Cancer Risk, Weight Gain]]> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 11:59:00 -0600
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Many Americans don't get enough sleep, and researchers say that could increase the risk for health problems, including weight gain and cancer. 

"Lack of sleep can hinder the ability to fight cancer by altering the actions of cortisol and melatonin, two hormones which could influence the behavior of cancer cells," Dr. Larry Altshuler explains

On Monday, ABC's "Good Morning America" looked at those claims and more regarding the health effects of sleep deprivation. (Video via Vanderbilt University Medical Center)

"Our brain actually makes more ghrelin. ... This is the 'go' hormone. It drives us to eat. Leptin, which is the satiety hormone that tells us, 'Whoa, I've had enough; I'm not that hungry'  — there's less of it," Dr. Jennifer Ashton said.

In one study ABC looked at, participants restricted their calorie intakes and slept for either five or eight hours.

The group that slept only five hours saw their bodies eat away at muscle mass, while the group that got a full eight hours saw their bodies consume fat instead. 

Lack of sleep is linked to more and more health problems, but year after year, Americans tend to prioritize other things over the recommended eight hours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even called insufficient sleep a "public health problem."

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults 18 to 64 years old should get seven to nine hours of sleep a night.

<![CDATA[Smoking Marijuana Might Have Some Surprising Health Benefits]]> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 10:58:00 -0600
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Right now, medical marijuana is commonly used to treat nausea, chronic pain, glaucoma and a range of other issues.

But that might not be all that the drug can do. Several studies have uncovered some surprising potential for medicinal pot.

Now, these benefits are by no means tried and true — there's still a lot of research to be done on the actual benefits of marijuana — but they are ripe for future study.

First up, cancer. Marijuana is already commonly used to alleviate some of the painful symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy, but there's some research suggesting marijuana can actually delay or reduce tumors. (Video via CNN)

THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, has been shown to reduce tumor growth in lab mice and human tissue; researchers believe the chemical triggers certain receptors that prevent tumors from growing.

Second up, the lungs. Despite all the coughing jokes, marijuana isn't linked to lung damage –– in fact, it may improve how lungs function. (Video via Columbia Pictures / "Pineapple Express")

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found while cigarette smoke damaged lungs, moderate marijuana smokers showed greater lung capacities than non-users.

One of the researchers told Time that inhaling deeply when smoking pot could be a sort of exercise that helps expand lung capacity.

Next, the brain. Marijuana has even been shown in some studies to boost creativity — at least to a degree.  

British researchers found marijuana increased the verbal fluency of participants who ordinarily tested low for creativity. Verbal fluency is a test where you say as many words as you can beginning with a certain letter.

We should note though, marijuana didn't enhance all types of creativity.

For example, it didn't help low-creativity participants in a test asking for as many responses to a named category, like four-legged animals or fruit.

Last but not least: your waistline. In spite of the so-called munchies, evidence shows smoking marijuana is associated with lower rates of obesity and diabetes. (Video via New Line Cinema / "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle")

And a study published in The American Journal of Medicine found that smokers have smaller waists than non-smokers.

Again, these studies aren't conclusive, and we're not saying you should start smoking. There are plenty of studies detailing the negative effects of marijuana as well.

Only now, science is suggesting marijuana isn't all bad as might have been previously believed. (Video via Motion Picture Ventures / "Reefer Madness")

This video includes images from Getty Images and Pink Sherbet Photography / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Antarctica Might Be Melting, But It's Actually Growing]]> Sun, 01 Nov 2015 16:16:00 -0600
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A new study suggests Antarctica isn't shrinking after all — it's getting taller.

The latest data from NASA shows Antarctica is actually gaining ice mass thanks to snow and instead of driving sea level rise, may actually be slowing it down. (Video via NASA)

NASA says this "challenges" the latest published findings from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which show Antarctica is losing ice and driving sea level rise. (Video via Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

The proof, according to NASA, is Antarctica's inland snowfall. Jay Zwally, the agency's lead cryosphere researcher, says, "Our main disagreement is for east Antarctica and the interior of west Antarctica — there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas."

This has been Zwally's — and NASA's — position for years

The problem is sea levels are still rising — though where that water is coming from is still a mystery — and parts of Antarctica are still melting faster than ever. So NASA wants a closer look to better understand exactly how all Antarctica's ice fits into the sea-level picture. (Video via NASA)

The upcoming ICESat 2 mission will be able to track snowpack changes in Antarctica down to the thickness of a pencil. It's scheduled for launch in 2018. (Video via NASA)

This video includes images from USGS / NASA / National Science Foundation.

<![CDATA[Chipotle Temporarily Closes 43 Locations After E. coli Scare]]> Sun, 01 Nov 2015 09:04:00 -0600
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At least 22 E. coli cases appear to be linked to Chipotle restaurants in Oregon and Washington.

Washington State Department of Health officials aren't exactly sure what food or contaminant is causing the outbreak, but 17 of the 19 reported cases in the state came from people who had eaten at Chipotle. (Video via Chipotle Mexican Grill

All restaurants in Washington state — where most of the cases were reported — have voluntarily closed, and some restaurants in Oregon have also voluntarily closed. (Video via Chipotle Mexican Grill)

The Oregon Health Authority pointed out that people with E. coli symptoms might not seek medical treatment, so the number of cases is likely higher.

State health officials are working with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the outbreak.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[How To Use A Mustache For A Good Cause]]> Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:16:00 -0500
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Movember. For most people, the mustache-growing month is an excuse to cultivate things nature never intended to be grown on an upper lip.

But the new mustaches that crop up during November aren’t just for show — they also serve to raise awareness for an important cause.

The Movember Foundation is a 21-country charity that annually raises millions of dollars to fight what it calls a "hidden men’s health crisis."

"Prostate cancer is the male equivalent of breast cancer, in terms of the number of men that die from it and are diagnosed with it. But there was nothing for this cause. So we married growing a mustache with prostate cancer," co-founder Adam Garone said during a TEDx talk.

The foundation started in 2003, and says it's donated over $650 million to charity since then. The organization sponsors fundraising for four main men's health issues: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and physical inactivity.

Participating involves signing up on the website and setting a fundraising goal; then, starting with a clean-shaven lip on Nov. 1 and then cultivate both a mustache and donations to the cause. The foundation recommends using your new whiskers as a conversation starter to educate people about men's health.

If you can't — or won't — grow a mustache, the foundation's also hosting a "MOVE in Movember" challenge, which encourages people to be physically active throughout November.

So in the interest of men's health, put the razor aside this November and let your mustache run wild! Just make sure you're ready to face your new face on Dec. 1.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Paris Climate Pledges Will Fall Short, UN Report Says]]> Sat, 31 Oct 2015 16:25:00 -0500
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You know that climate pledge everyone is expecting in Paris?

Where nations will commit to reducing emissions and aim for that 2 C maximum warming?

We won't hit it.

According to a new U.N. report that accounts for all the pledges so far, the absolute best case we can hope for is 2.7 C.

To get any lower, pledges have to get more significant.

The upside is the commitments have started. (Video via Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

The rate of growth in carbon emissions could be more than 50 percent lower in 2010-2030 than it was in 1990-2010. (Video via Exploratorium)

U.N. reps are hopeful this downward trend will accelerate in the coming years.

Either way, it's clear: Paris is more important than ever.

This video includes images from Getty Images. Music: "does not compute" by Birocratic / CC BY 3.0.

<![CDATA[Cometary Oxygen Is Good News, Bad News For Alien Life]]> Sat, 31 Oct 2015 12:55:00 -0500
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Scientists have discovered the unexpected on comet 67P/C-G: molecular oxygen. 

The presence of this oxygen could increase the odds of finding extraterrestrial life as we might recognize it — but its very existence could also poke holes in those same theories. This is harder than it looks. (Video via European Space Agency)

As recently as last year, finding methane and oxygen together was thought to be a reliable biosignature — a good indicator that biological activity could happen or is happening.

But scientists haven't found any such activity on 67P. "On the comet, we have both methane and O2, but we don’t have life. So it’s probably not a very good biosignature," one scientist told Discovery News. 

And if there are other comets that harbor oxygen the way 67P does, they could be messing with our search for life on other planets.

A writer at Discovery News proposes these cometary emissions might confound the sensitive spectrometry scans we run on exoplanets. (Video via NASA)

If a comet gets close enough to a planet to influence its atmosphere, its gases could send back false positives. (Video via NASA)

We saw how this works firsthand in 2014, when comet Siding Spring passed Mars and scattered enough dust in its ionosphere to change its UV signature. (Video via NASA)

So what is this oxygen good for? It might not point to extraterrestrial life, but it is still a valuable history lesson. 

67P's oxygen had to come from somewhere, and ESA scientists say it could offer new clues to the conditions during the formation of the solar system. (Video via NASA)

This video includes images from The European Space AgencyNASA and ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA IGO 3.0. Music: "noreste" by Birocratic / CC BY ND 3.0.

<![CDATA[More People Support Marijuana Legalization Than Ever Before]]> Fri, 30 Oct 2015 20:06:00 -0500
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Since the infamous “War on Drugs” started, pot’s popularity has actually grown. A lot. (Video via Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum

53% of Americans support legalization compared to 12% in 1969. 

In 1996, California became the first state to allow medicinal marijuana. 

Since then 22 states and D.C. followed. 

Medical marijuana is used for cancer patients, people with PTSD and people with chronic pain. 

On January 1, 2014, Colorado became the first state to sell recreational marijuana use. (Video via KOAA

(Cue the mile HIGH jokes.) 

“Colorado has been allowing the sale of legal recreational marijuana. In a related story, in one week the population of Colorado has jumped to 315 million people,” Conan O’Brien joked in a monologue shortly after the legalization.

That year, the state made $53 million by taxing it.  

Now -- three other states (and D.C.) have also fully legalized pot. 

And it’s not going anywhere. 

In 2016, legalization of medical or recreational pot may crop up in 17 states

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Despite Benefits, Pot Could Still Be Harmful To Your Health]]> Fri, 30 Oct 2015 09:45:00 -0500
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There's been a lot of positive pot press recently. The drug's medical uses have gained widespread acceptance, and there's more and more support for full legalization. (Video via KMGH)

"The time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana," Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders told a crowd.

But for all its beneficial effects, there is a flip side — cannabis can have severe health consequences.

First up, addiction. Yes, you can get addicted to marijuana; about 9 percent of cannabis users develop a dependence on the drug, and the risk is higher for adolescents and heavy users. Though that 9 percent is markedly lower than addiction numbers for other drugs like nicotine.

And addicted or not, it's also possible to build up a tolerance to marijuana. Both dependency and tolerance can lead to a host of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms for people who try to quit.

Acute paranoia and anxiety or panic attacks are well-known possible side effects of cannabis use. Psychotic episodesschizophrenia and increased severity of mental illness symptoms have also been associated with pot use in some studies.

There's some research suggesting regular pot use might affect brain development in teenagers, and the drug has been shown to harm memory centers in lab rats.

Still, marijuana does have several medical benefits; two cannabis-based chemicals have been shown to help treat nausea, chronic pain and potentially a host of other conditions. 

We should also point out there are plenty of drugs used in modern medicine with far more known harmful side effects than pot — morphine, pentobarbital, and amphetamine are a few examples.

There's still a lot that we don't know about marijuana — research on the drug has been severely hampered due to legal and ethical concerns.

Understanding the drug's health effects will be more important as pot use becomes more and more widespread. From 2002 to 2013, marijuana use in America rose from 4.1 percent to 9.5 percent.

<![CDATA[Oregon Teen Diagnosed With Bubonic Plague After Hunting Trip]]> Fri, 30 Oct 2015 06:55:00 -0500
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A 16-year-old girl in Oregon has been diagnosed with bubonic plague. 

According to the Oregon Health Authority, the girl likely caught the plague from a flea bite while on a hunting trip. Officials believe she’s the only one infected. 

The bubonic plague is generally found in the western part of the country in fleas and rodents and is usually contracted from flea bites.

According to an August report from the CDC, 11 human plague cases were reported in the U.S. this year, including an earlier case in Oregon.

Symptoms of bubonic plague include swollen lymph nodes, fever and chills.

Plague is treatable with antibiotics. The girl is currently recovering in intensive care at a hospital in Bend. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Scott Kelly Breaks US Consecutive Space Flight Record]]> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 19:49:00 -0500
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Astronaut Scott Kelly has officially spent more consecutive time in space than any other American.

Thursday he eclipsed Michael Lopez-Alegria's 2007 record of 215 days on a single mission, and the former record-holder tweeted his congratulations.

Kelly’s slated to extend his lead quite a bit. He's scheduled to return to Earth March 2, after 342 days in orbit.

He’s not just staying in space for a long time because he wants to feel like Matt Damon. Kelly’s actually there to see what effects prolonged space travel — like a journey to Mars — could have on a person.

“Some astronauts on long-duration space flights have had a degradation in their vision that is concerning. We’ve done a lot of research up here since I've been here to better understand that,” Kelly told CBS.

When he gets back, doctors will compare his health to his twin brother Mark's to see if the prolonged space flight had any adverse effects.

But if NASA wants to know what outer space can do to a body after a long time, it should just ask the Russians.

Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov spent 437 consecutive days aboard the Russian Space Station Mir starting in 1994, and Gennady Padalka returned to Earth in September after spending 879 days among the stars over the course of five missions.

Scott Kelly already set the mark for most total time in space for an American earlier this month with more than a year off-planet.

This video includes an image from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[We're Slowly Recruiting Viruses To Treat Cancer]]> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 19:19:00 -0500
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When the FDA approved the first cancer-fighting virus for use this week, it began what you might call a new age in cancer treatment. 

The treatment, manufactured by Amgen, is a special herpes virus engineered to attack melanoma cells while leaving healthy cells alone. 

It's the first so-called oncolytic virus to get FDA approval, but it almost certainly won't be the last. There are dozens of clinical trials underway testing other viruses against other cancers. 

Oncolytic viruses have gotten a lot of publicity, and some patients, like Stacy Erholtz, have seen incredible results. 

"Seven weeks after therapy, all the tumors and any signs of cancer were gone," the Mayo Clinic reported.

The hype has sometimes even made the technique sound like a potential cure. 

"Eventually, we may even be able to live life without having to worry about cancer," cancer researcher Patrick Lee said during a TED Talk.

But we're definitely not there yet. Amgen's new FDA-approved treatment didn't do much to improve patients' chances of survival, although there are hopes it can be made more effective. 

One of the problems is the immune system. Oncolytic viruses work, in part, by causing the body's own defenses to attack cancer cells. But the immune system can also wipe out the helpful virus before it has a chance to do its job, unless doctors give just the right dosage and accompanying drugs. (Video via Boisgerault N. et al. / CC BY 3.0Cancer Research Institute)

Nailing those factors down is the next step in the research, which really does sound like it merits the hype sometimes. 

"We have done this for lung cancers, breast cancers, colorectal cancers, prostate cancers, pancreatic cancers ... just about any type of cancer you can imagine," Duke researcher Matthias Gromeier told CBS

This video includes images from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute

<![CDATA[WHO: Most People In The World Have Some Kind Of Herpes]]> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 18:05:00 -0500
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Fresh off the revelation that bacon might give you cancer, the World Health Organization estimates over 4 billion people under 50 have the herpes virus. That's roughly two-thirds of the demographic.

About 90 percent of those cases are the milder variety, herpes simplex virus type one, or HSV-1. It's usually spread by oral contact and generally results in cold sores around the mouth. 

But the group estimates there are more than 140 million cases of HSV-1 that have resulted in genital sores.

Thankfully, the number of people with HSV-2, also known as genital herpes, is much smaller, but it's still significant with an estimated 417 million cases worldwide.

Both varieties of the virus are less common in higher-income countries, likely due to better hygiene.

In 2012, the study estimated that in the Americas, 49 percent of women and 39 percent of men were afflicted with HSV-1, compared to 87 percent for both sexes in Africa.

The director of the organization's Department of Reproductive Health and Research said, "Access to education and information on both types of herpes and sexually transmitted infections is critical to protect young people's health before they become sexually active."

This video includes images from CC by 2.0

<![CDATA[All-Female Space Test Brings Out Russian Media's Sexist Side]]> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 17:09:00 -0500
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A group of six Russian women is spending the next several days locked inside a stationary spaceship. And it's bringing out Russian media's ... let's call them "quirks." 

The experiment, carried out by Moscow's Institute of Biomedical Problems, is meant to gauge how women would do on a proposed mission to the moon in 2029. They'll complete various scientific experiments and measure how well they work together. (Video via Russian Federal Space Agency)

Russia's first female cosmonaut hit the skies back in 1963. Since then only four Russian women have had the chance to explore space. So you could think of the new experiment as a first step toward leveling the playing field. 

But it's not off to a good start. The participants faced some pretty sexist questions, with reporters focusing on how the women would fare without makeup, showers and men. (Video via Channel 5 Russia)

One participant reportedly answered, "We are very beautiful without makeup," while another said they were there to work. (Video via RT)

It's not just reporters. The head of the organization behind the experiment characterized it as a study on whether women can work together in a confined space, comparing them to housewives sharing a kitchen. (Video via Channel One Russia)

Russia has also put men in the same confined space to simulate a mission to Mars, and while the experiment was largely the same, measuring their ability to get along and cope with isolation, that mission was for 500 days. (Video via European Space Agency)

The women will be released from the mock spaceship next Thursday. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[A Tiny Island Nation Just Created A Giant Marine Sanctuary]]> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:36:00 -0500
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A tiny island nation in the Pacific just announced plans for a huge new marine sanctuary. We're talking really huge. (Video via Richard Brooks / The Pew Charitable Trusts)

This is Palau. The small archipelago nation is home to just 18,000 people but nearly 1,300 species of fish and 700 types of coral.

The new marine sanctuary will span 193,000 square miles and will ban fishing and mining. (Video via The Pew Charitable Trusts)

The nation's president said: "Creating this sanctuary is a bold move that the people of Palau recognize as essential to our survival. We want to lead the way in restoring the health of the ocean for future generations."

In 2009, Palau also created the world's first shark sanctuary. In total, more than 80 percent of its waters are legally protected.

But Palau isn't the only one stepping up to protect life under the sea. This year alone three other countries pledged to protect massive ocean areas. 

In March, Britain announced a new protected marine reserve at Pitcairn Island. That one is 332,000 square miles. (Video via The Pew Charitable Trusts)

New Zealand protects its Kermadec ocean sanctuary, which spans 239,000 square miles, and Chile's protected marine park covers 115,000 square miles.

Correction: An earlier version of this video said the reserve is larger than Texas and Alaska combined. That statistic includes all new marine reserves, not just Palau's. The video has been updated.

<![CDATA[TB Now Rivals AIDS As The Leading Cause Of Death, Says WHO]]> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 10:27:00 -0500
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Tuberculosis now "ranks alongside HIV as a leading cause of death," according to a report released Wednesday by the World Health Organization.

The organization's director of the Global TB Programme said in the annual report that "despite all progress, [TB] claims a number of deaths paralleled only by those from HIV/AIDS."

And the two illnesses are connected. In 2015, one in three HIV deaths was caused by TB, according to the organization. (Video via UNICEF)

WHO says 9.6 million people contracted TB in 2014, and 1.5 million died from the disease. Most of those cases were preventable. (Video via World Health Organization)

But the World Health Organization says higher totals for new cases than in previous years is due to better data collection. This year's death rate was actually half of what it was in 1990. (Video via United Nations)

By 2030, the World Health Organization aims to decrease TB deaths by 90 percent, compared to 2015 data. The organization also wants to make sure treatment isn't a financial burden for families. (Video via United Nations)

In a press statement from the World Health Organization, the U.N. Special Envoy on Tuberculosis said the organization aims to tackle the financial barriers to treatment. He said: "We'll ... need progress on universal health coverage and poverty alleviation. We want the most vulnerable communities worldwide to gain first, not last, in our efforts."

This video includes images from Getty Images and United States Mission Geneva / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Study Says Marriage Is Good For Your Heart ... Literally]]> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 09:53:00 -0500
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Talk about marriage being good for the heart ... literally. A new study found marriage can ease your recovery after heart surgery.

The study was published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Surgery. It claims patients who were married did significantly better than those who were divorced, widowed or separated — but not better than those who had never been married.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania used data from a University of Michigan study of more than 1,500 adults over the age of 50 who had undergone heart surgery. 

The researchers said those who were divorced, widowed or separated were 40 percent more likely to die after heart surgery or develop a new disability within two years after the surgery.

The researchers looked at how well the patients could perform everyday activities like dressing, eating and taking showers without help.

Study co-author Mark Neuman said the reason for the link between marriage and better heart surgery recovery remains unknown, but it may help doctors identify who may need more support after surgery. 

We should note, though, that the patients who had never been married had about the same chances of successful recovery than people who were married.

Granted, the unmarried patients only accounted for two percent of the study participants, while the married patients accounted for 65 percent.

Dr. Ashish Shah is the head of heart transplantation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Shah says the recent findings echo other studies that found married patients do better after surgery.

Dr. Shah told ABC News that "there's always been the feeling that people who have [a person] that is supporting them tend to do better."