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Due to an unusually warmer winter, bears are emerging from hibernation earlier this year

The Guardian »

There have been multiple sightings of bears emerging from hibernation in February and early March in Russia, Finland and the US, a situation apparently triggered by the mild winter experienced in many countries.

This winter was the warmest ever recorded in Europe “by far”, according to scientists, with the US just experiencing its hottest December and January on record.

Moscow Zoo has been preparing to deal with the emergence of two Himalayan bears a month early, while a grizzly bear sighting was reported on 3 March in Banff national park in Canada, the earliest such sighting in a decade.

Stuck at home? These world famous museums offer virtual tours

Travel and Leisure »

There is a way to get a little culture and education while you’re confined to your home. According to Fast Company, Google Arts & Culture teamed up with over 500 museums and galleries around the world to bring anyone and everyone virtual tours and online exhibits of some of the most famous museums around the world..

Now, you get “go to the museum” and never have to leave your couch.

» Musée d’Orsay, Paris »

» Pergamon Museum, Berlin »

» Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam »

» Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam »

» Uffizi Gallery, Florence »

» British Museum, London »

» MASP, São Paulo »

» National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City »

» The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles »

» National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul »

» Guggenheim Museum, New York »

» National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. »

Consuming low-calorie sweeteners at the same time as carbohydrates impacts the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar

Nature »

Sugar substitutes make people feel they can indulge in a sweet treat or a soft drink without the calories. But research suggests that consuming low-calorie sweeteners at the same time as carbohydrates prevents the body from using blood sugar effectively, increasing the risk of health problems.

Dana Small at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and her colleagues asked 60 healthy people to consume 7 beverages of a single type over 2 weeks. The beverages contained either sugar, the low-calorie sweetener sucralose, a non-sweetening carbohydrate or both sucralose and the carbohydrate.

Patagonia partners with iFixit to offer step-by-step instructions for fixing damaged gear

In partnership with iFixit, Patagonia customers can learn product care and basic sewing techniques like sewing a button or how to thread a sewing machine, while product guides across a variety of categories like outerwear and luggage help with even more advanced repairs like replacing zippers on jackets or handles on bags and leather goods.

By enabling customers to make repairs to their goods as well as keep what they already own, Patagonia adds value to its brand by making customers feel like their clothing is something to keep for a lifetime, further strengthening the connection they feel with the brand.

Patagonia has also published a lengthy Product Care Guide on iFixit that includes detailed instructions for laundering rain jackets and reapplying DWR, removing stains, and caring for the wide range of fabrics and materials that the company uses.

More » Patagonia Worn Wear

Rescue dog Kratu is the winner of the show

The joy of (good) dogs

Most good people love dogs because dogs are naturally happy, they are lovable, and, well, because most good dogs love us.

David E. Cooper, in a book review for the Times Literary Supplement »

The joyousness of dogs, or at any rate their great affability, must have been a significant factor in their induction into human communities. The usual utilitarian view that dogs were first put to practical uses – hunting, guarding, pulling – and only later became inserted into family life as pets is implausible. In several modern-day hunter-gatherer tribes, whose form of life is thought to resemble that of our Palaeolithic ancestors, dogs are companions first and workers second. This shouldn’t be surprising. Dogs could never have been properly trained in the intelligent skills required to, say, assist hunters except by people whose empathy with them was acquired through living with these animals. Konrad Lorenz was right to speculate that the appeal which playful puppies have for children, and indeed their parents, was crucial to their adoption into our ancestors’ communities. Nor should one ignore the emotional service that dogs – their geniality and affection increasingly selected for over the centuries – have rendered to humankind, in addition to their contributions as herders, hunters, guides and much else. As John Bradshaw, a leading authority on the lives of dogs, remarks, companion animals “allow us to have experiences and express behaviours once crucial to our survival”, to obey “Pleistocene instincts embedded in our genes”.

Most dogs are ridden with angst, and their owners are partly to blame

Jim Daley, Scientific American »

For many dog owners, thunderstorms are a source of angst, a walk to the dog park can be a fraught experience, and New Year’s celebrations are particularly stressful. According to a new study of thousands of pet dogs, anxiety and fear-related behavior problems are widespread. Certain breeds are particularly sensitive to loud noises or being left alone. Other breeds may engage in compulsive behaviors such as biting themselves or urinating, suggesting a genetic component to the activity.

James Serpell, an ethologist at the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the study, says that the problem stems from owners failing to properly socialize their dogs. Many canines rescued from shelters may have been inadequately trained when they were young, and the problem is compounded when new owners are overly cautious with them. “It’s a sort of helicopter-parenting concept applied to dogs,” he says. “Animals are not getting enough exposure to normal social interactions, play behavior and roughhousing with other dogs. That’s asking for trouble.

As a fellow dog owner, I strongly suggest you read the rest of this article, if you own a dog yourself.

The Rinse Cycle » More evidence to suggest that getting plenty of deep, restful sleep is essential for our physical and mental health

The rhythmic waves of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that occur when we are sleeping, appear to function much like a washing machine’s rinse cycle, which may help to clear the brain of toxic waste on a regular basis.

Laura Sanders, Science News »

Every 20 seconds, a wave of fresh cerebrospinal fluid rolls into the sleeping brain. These slow, rhythmic blasts, described for the first time in the Nov. 1 Science, may help explain why sleep is so important for brain health.

Studies on animals have shown that the fluid, called CSF, can wash harmful proteins, including those implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, out of the brain. The new results give heft to the idea that a similar power wash happens in sleeping people.

Dr. Francis Collins, NIH Director’s Blog »

The findings, published recently in the journal Science, are the first to suggest that the brain’s well-known ebb and flow of blood and electrical activity during sleep may also trigger cleansing waves of blood and CSF. While the experiments were conducted in healthy adults, further study of this phenomenon may help explain why poor sleep or loss of sleep has previously been associated with the spread of toxic proteins and worsening memory loss in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

From Science News via YouTube »

During non-REM sleep, oxygen-rich blood (colored red) flows out of the brain just before a wave of cerebrospinal fluid (blue) rolls in, entering from a lower part called the fourth ventricle. That cerebrospinal fluid may help clean harmful proteins out of the brain.

 

Replacing red meat with plant protein will help you live longer better

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated there was enough evidence to classify processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans” and red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

CNN »

In the first study, which tracked more than 37,000 Americans with an average age of 50, those who ate the most plant protein were 27% less likely to die of any cause and 29% less likely to die of coronary heart disease when compared to people who ate the least amount of plant protein.

“It isn’t enough just to avoid red meat — it’s also about what you choose to eat in place of red meat,” Dr. Zhilei Shan, lead study author and postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a news release.

Shan pointed out that nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains contain more than just protein. They include healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant “phytochemicals,” which he said “have been associated with lower risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.”

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