Experts say killer whales are teaching each other to attack boats

May 29, 2023

OrcasThey are nothing, if not organized. A sharp uptick in killer whale attacks on boats sailing off Europe’s Iberian Peninsula has led scientists to believe that orcas are actually teaching each other how to sink sailing vessels, Live Science reports.

Per Live Science, reports of increasingly aggressive encounters with orcas started back in 2020. But it wasn’t until this month that any of these increasingly hostile orcas had actually sunken any ocean-faring vessels.

And, while researchers can’t say for certain why the killer whales are suddenly sinking sailboats, according to a report by Futurism, they do have a compelling leading theory: revenge.

In short, as Alfredo López Fernandez, a biologist at the University of Aveiro in Portugal and representative of the Grupo de Trabajo Orca Atlántica (Atlantic Orca Working Group), recently told Live Science, the prevailing theory is that one female orca nicknamed White Gladis—was traumatized by a sailboat. This “critical moment of agony,” as researchers are calling it, caused a behavioral change in White Gladis, who began to attack similar vessels.

“That traumatized orca,” López Fernandez says, “is the one that started this behavior of physical contact with the boat.”

As the theory goes, other adult orcas picked up on this behavior—becoming more aggressive with boats themselves. And now, the kids of those adults have seemingly picked up the behavior, too. At this point, according to López Fernandez, sinking sailboats is really just good ol’ family fun.

“We do not interpret that the orcas are teaching the young,” the researcher says, “although the behavior has spread to the young vertically, simply by imitation, and later horizontally among them, because they consider it something important in their lives.”

Testimony from sailors certainly seem to support this theory.

“There were two smaller and one larger orca,” skipper Werner Schaufelberger, whose boat was sunk by orcas on May 4 in the Strait of Gibraltar, told the German outlet, Yacht. “The little ones shook the rudder at the back while the big one repeatedly backed up and rammed the ship with full force from the side.”

“The two little orcas observed the bigger one’s technique,” Schaufelberger added, “with a slight run-up, they too slammed into the boat.”

The orcas reportedly are attacking a relatively small number of vessels passing through the area. But, if the situation escalates, it could be dangerous for sailors and orcas. Here’s hoping that chaotic legend White Gladis chooses peace soon.

Research contact: @futurism

The outlook is good: By 2033, age 90 will be the new 40

May 26, 2023

The creators of a new program that aims to “reboot” your biological age say that, within a decade, people who live into their 90s could feel as if they are in their 40s, thanks to rapid advances in the longevity field, reports Newsweek.

The program and accompanying app, which launched last September, were developed by Great Age Reboot, led by Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic, and by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Corey Bridges.

The aim of the program and app is to encourage users to develop healthy habits that will help reduce their physiological age—enabling them to feel younger than their calendar age.

“The goal of the program is to enable you to stay younger and stay on top of discoveries in the longevity field while not being misled,” Roizen, who is a best-selling author, told Newsweek. “The aim is to help you avoid doing things that aren’t healthy and to help you consistently do things that are healthy.

“Sometime in the next ten years, we think you’re going to be able to—because of the exponential advances in 14 areas of aging mechanism research—reboot yourself; so that if 60 is now the new 40, 90 will be the new 40,” he said.

Among the 14 areas of research that Roizen is particularly excited about is a technique called therapeutic plasma exchange, which involves removing blood plasma and exchanging it with donated blood products. In one notable study, this technique was shown to slow down several aspects of cognitive decline in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. In animal studies, it has been shown to reverse skin, pancreas, muscle, and cardiovascular aging.

In developing the app, the Great Age Reboot team analyzed thousands of scientific papers to help create the content, which includes short videos and articles, brain games, and other activities. Each user’s experience is customized to that person, and the app even includes a feature that enables physicians to monitor the progress of their patients.

“What we’re doing is building on Mike’s life mission,” Bridges told Newsweek. “It’s not about extending your life, so you have 30 more years in the nursing home. It’s about giving you 30 more years in your prime so you can do whatever it is that you love, whatever it is that fuels you.”

He continued: “The app is interactive in the sense that it learns about your progress, learns what your starting point is, listens to you about what you want to focus on in a prioritized way to turn back the clock. It seeks to inform and inspire you.”

The app focuses on improving habits in several major areas of life that research has shown are key to longevity, such as stress management, diet, physical activity, sleep and brain health.

When it comes to stress management, the most important thing, according to Roizen, is having “posse and purpose”—i.e., cultivating friends and having a purpose.

In terms of nutrition, Roizen said, “food is a relationship, so you should only eat food you love but that also loves you back.”

He continued: “And with that, eating in the right time, the right amount and doing five days every quarter of decreased food intake. So, five days of 750-calorie-intake resets your aging markers to a younger self—every one of them that we know of.”

other major component of the app’s focus is physical activity, which has been shown to make a difference in how long and well you live. Key activities include cardiovascular workouts, resistance training, and jumping, as well as walking, according to Roizen.

“There is validation in the 10,000 steps a day [goal],” he said. “It’s the inflection point on chronic disease development. Although it was developed by a Japanese pedometer maker, it actually has valid data.”

When it comes to brain wellness, Roizen said, there are more than 30 things you can do to slow your rate of brain aging, such as playing speed of processing games or consuming a tablespoon and a half of olive oil every day.

“And with that goes the component of sleep—getting rid of brain waste as you sleep longer and better,” Roizen said.

The longevity expert also pointed to several supplements that have been shown in randomized, controlled trials to have a benefit on physiological aging. One example of this is phosphocreatine.

“Phosphocreatine is used by young people to build muscle,” Roizen said. “It’s very rarely used by the elderly. But it’s been shown in randomized, controlled trials to not only build muscle in the elderly and help prevent the decrease in muscle mass as you get older but also to improve brain functioning.”

Subscriptions for the Reboot Your Age app cost $34.95 per month or $299.95 annually. You can try before you buy with a free ten-day trial.

Research contact: @Newsweek

‘Good Vibrations’ by The Beach Boys makes people happier than any other song

May 25, 2023

“Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys tops the charts as the song that makes people happiest, according to a university professor’s scientific formula. The 1966 hit single checks all the boxes for Michael Bonshor, Ph.D., who specializes in Music Psychology at the University of Sheffield in Britain, reports Study Finds.

To create a happy song, Dr. Bonshor believes in the combination of a major key, 7th chords, 137 BPM, a strong beat, four beats in every bar, and a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure. The ditty also should have a short intro, repeated riffs, high volume, bright tone, and a mix of predictability and surprise.

The top ten list of happy songs, according to Bonshor’s formula includes the following:

  1. “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys
  2. “I Got You” (I Feel Good) by James Brown
  3. “House of Fun” by Madness
  4. “Get the Party Started” by P!nk
  5. “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel
  6. “Sun Is Shining” by Bob Marley
  7. “I Get Around” by The Beach Boys
  8. “YMCA” by Village People
  9. “Waterloo” by ABBA
  10. “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire

“Previous studies have found that songs are perceived to be happy if they are in a major key, with a sweet spot of approximately 137 beats per minute,” Dr. Bonshor says in a statement. “We like ‘7th chords’ as they add interest; regular chords use three notes, whereas ‘7th chords’ add an extra note which provides a sense of musical ‘tension’ and ‘relief.’”

“Alongside this, cheery songs usually have a strong 1-2-1-2 beat to them, so that you can dance along—and a short introduction means the song kicks off with a bang straight away, and there’s not a long build up,” Dr. Bonshor notes.

“We like high volume when it comes to how our happy songs are made, with notes played in a bright and bouncy way by instruments such as trumpets or electric guitars instead of mellower instruments. Finally, a repetitive rhythm or guitar riff that people can latch onto and becomes memorable is the cherry on the cake.”

But it’s not just Dr. Bonshor who believes in the ability of some music to lift our spirits. In a recent poll conducted by OnePoll, 46% of adults said singing along to their favorite tracks is a great way to boost their mood. Of those who have specific tunes they turn to in order to cheer up, on average, they have eight numbers on rotation which do the trick.

Nearly six in ten (58%) say these songs have an upbeat feel to them, and the same percentage say they remind them of good memories which put a smile on their face. Meanwhile, 38% say most of their happy tracks were released throughout their teenage years.

The poll also finds that it takes an average of just 14 seconds for these songs to start working their magic. Pop, rock, and dance rank as the three happiest genres of music, while 71% feel music is one of the most powerful influences for changing or reinforcing their mood. Half believe the power of music is actually underestimated, and 38% recognize it can deliver amazing highs and lows.

When reflecting on why music is important to them, 48% put it down to the powerful memories it can evoke and 29% like the fact that they can share it with others. Another 36% have even put on uplifting music around loved ones when they are feeling down to try and lift their spirits.

While half of those who tune in regularly do so within the comforts of their home, 25% consume the most while they are driving.

Research contact: @StudyFinds

Can you smell when rain is coming? Science says some people can—and some cannnot

May 24, 2023

Are you one of those people who can leave the house on a summer day and swear that you smell rain in the air? The world is firmly divided into two camps—those who can detect when rain is on the way and those who think that capability is utter nonsense.

While not everyone can smell the rain before it begins, there is actually scientific evidence that some people do possess this capability, reports My Modern Met.

Those with good olfactory senses are often able to pick up a scent that has, according to Scientific American, a “sweet, pungent zing” that’s been likened to chlorine bleach. This is owed to ozone, which can be emitted from things like fertilizer and paint, as well as natural sources.

Ozone can be created by an electrical charge that signals an oncoming storm. Downdrafts from a thunderstorm can carry the ozone created at high altitudes down to ground level and into our noses. While humans’ ability to smell ozone differs, there are people who can pick up on even slight traces and know that it’s probably time to grab an umbrella.

Another term associated with the smell of rain is petrichor. This word refers to the potpourri of scents that arrives once rain has arrived. All that falling water kicks up lots of molecules that produce scents.  First coined in 1964 by mineralogists Isabel Joy Bear and Richard Thomas, petrichor happens when airborne molecules from decaying plants or animals settle onto the surface of rocks. When the rain comes and hits the surface, the water droplets burst and release these scents into the air.

Most people also are familiar with the smell of damp earth that occurs once a rainstorm has moved out. That distinct smell is due to a chemical compound called geosmin. Even though it has an earthy smell, geosmin isn’t caused by dirt. It’s actually a byproduct of bacteria from the genus Streptomyces.

Studies have found that these bacteria have spores that contain geosmin, and that it’s used to attract insects and other animals so that these spores will be spread over more soil. So why is the scent so prevalent after the rain? A 2015 study found that water droplets falling onto soil trap air inside. When the air causes the droplet to burst, it creates aerosols that spray out whatever scent was on the ground. These aerosols can travel quite far, so depending on the amount of rainfall, it’s possible to smell quite a lot of geosmin.

So the next time someone tells you that it smells like rain, you’ll now know that they’re probably getting a whiff of ozone. And if someone mentions the way it smells after a rainstorm, you can impress them with your knowledge of what it is they’re actually smelling.

Research contact: @mymodernmet

Owner shocked by spoiled dog’s antics while he’s staying with ‘grandparents’

May 23, 2023

It’s often difficult for dog owners to leave their pets at home while they go on vacation, but rescue pup Myko was in very good hands when his ‘hoo-man’ left him with her parents for a couple of days, reports Newsweek.

Myko’s owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, knew that her rescue dog was having a blast with his grandparents as they sent regular updates of their antics. She told Newsweek that “Myko is obsessed with his ‘grandparents,’” and he will go to their house as often as four times a week to see them. “It’s like his second home, but we call it his vacation home,” she explained.

With that familiarity, there’s no doubt that Myko is happy to make himself comfortable. But when Myko’s mom arrived at the house to collect him, she couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw Myko standing on top of the table for attention.

She posted a video on his TikTok account (@mykomushroom) on May 12, joking that he can “do whatever he wants” at their house. The video of the dog being spoiled has received over 450,000 views and more than 44,000 likes since it was posted.

“They had just cleared the table because they had finished breakfast. There’s a bench nearby, so apparently he just used it to climb up on there. He was busy kissing and nuzzling them when I walked in, and they were loving every moment.

“Myko has such a big personality, he’s very human-like. It was just a really cute and funny moment. He does all kinds of funny things, so while it was definitely surprising, it was not off-brand for him. I wasn’t mad at all, it was adorable.”

Myko’s owner said a lot of social media users have related to the video, as
grandparents have “a bond unlike any other” with their human and canine grandchildren.

“It’s a bond that’s free any of the totally normal and understandable challenges that come with being a parent,” she continued. “They just get to have fun, be a safe place, and an escape—it’s pure love.”

The video has received many comments from understanding pet owners who have had their own similar experiences.

One person commented: “What happens at the grandparents’ house stays at the grandparents’ house. My mom has my babies spoiled rotten.”

Another person jokingly wrote: “They clearly have a favorite child.”

Research contact: @Newsweek

Trends: It’s going to be a ‘barefoot-boy’ summer

May 22, 2023

In recent weeks, a certain type of stylish urbanite has been spotted traipsing around town footloose and fancy free: actor Jacob Elordi shoelessly braving the L.A. streets on a coffee run, say, or the musician Mike Sabath (of Mike Sabath and the Moongirls). For spring 2023, the Italian brand Etro sent male models down its runway wearing short-shorts, caftans, and breezy blousons paired with feet as naked as the day they were born, reports The Cut.

So, The Cut is calling it now: 2023 will be Barefoot-Boy Summer™. And to be perfectly frank, all the signs are there. It aligns with the ongoing bohemian-hippie vibe coursing through the culture—Grateful Dead, the Elder Statesman, tie-dye, and all that.

A are foot is gorpcore taken to its purest, most natural conclusion. And the burgeoning movement is the only logical response to two footwear trends: (1) years of increasingly chunky, cumbersome, look-at-me designs (thanks Balenciaga!) and (2) the ridiculous hype cycle to which the men’s shoe market has been held hostage (the one in which, every week, some “new take” on an old favorite sneaker is released and yet also, inevitably, unavailable to the masses).

Finding shoes—finding the right shoes—has become a nightmare. So why not just … forgo them altogether?

“I generally don’t wear shirts or shoes, honestly,” says Sabath. “I just feel more free.” But truth be told, Sabath says that he almost never walks around barefoot in urban areas (such as Los Angeles, where he was recently photographed shoeless on a smoothy run). Still, he does admit that he’s a fan of barefoot hiking. (His No. 1 tip: Watch out for snakes.)

Recently, a photo popped up of Nick Hudson, a photographer who splits his time between Brooklyn and the Catskills, barefoot on the sidewalk in front of his Bed-Stuy (Brooklyn) townhouse. When asked about his sole survival, he replied “Barefoot is my preferred way to be.”

Hudson says that the barefoot-on-the-streets-of-Brooklyn moment was atypical, that he ran out for a photo and couldn’t be bothered with putting on shoes; he figured, hey, the sidewalk in front of his house is almost like an extension of the inside. However, when he’s upstate, you can usually find him without shoes—around the house, driving, heading to a local creek. “It’s not a conscious thing,” he says. “But if I can get my shoes off, I will.”

Hudson, who is Australian, admits that it can be a controversial subject (just look at the spirited comments on his wife’s TikTok post of the barefoot-in-Brooklyn image)—but notes that it’s culturally more acceptable back home. He recalls friends playing rugby without shoes; and his cousin going barefoot on public transportation to the beach when they were younger, explaining to Hudson that he was “getting his summer feet on.”

“You know,” he says, “getting your feet acclimated to being barefoot.”

There are certainly movements to go barefoot, the idea of “grounding” or “earthing” (putting your bare feet on the earth), which scientific studies say can have salubrious effects or engender feelings of emotional peace or well-being. Other studies say that walking around and/or exercising barefoot (or as close to barefoot as possible) is actually good for the body.

The New York Times recently profiled a man who has basically gone without shoes for the better part of two decades.

Recently, the disgraced rapper and “designer” Kanye West has been spotted wearing a socklike shoe—just a sole with a nylon topper, which he has reportedly trademarked under his Yeezy brand. Say what you will about him, but West has certainly been influential in terms of his style over the years.

And on a recent episode of HBO’s plutocrats-behaving-badly nighttime soap, Succession, as the eccentric Swedish tech billionaire Lukas Matsson makes his way from his idling private jet to the one belonging to his maybe-enemy, Shiv Roy, it becomes clear the gorpcore enthusiast is not wearing shoes.

“[Matsson] is an anti-business, anti-corporate industrial mogul,” says Michelle Matland, the show’s costume designer. “He wants to be seen as a casual hipster who’s freethinking and not tied to the business world at all. It may be an affectation, but to him it’s real. Not wearing shoes, wearing T-shirts and sweatpants, or anything that does not indulge in Madison Avenue or Wall Street, Bezos, Elon—all those new-style entrepreneurs.”

Alexander Skarsgård, who plays the tech entrepreneur, said the moment was unplanned, and Matland adds that the actor, like his character, “is a free spirit and a creative, and once he’s in the groove, that’s the kind of magic that happens.” She also notes that one could see in the bare feet a subtle cue from the character to entice the buttoned-up Shiv to loosen up.

The Society for Barefoot Living (yes, a real thing) says that it has noticed no discernible uptick in barefoot popularity of late but that it would “welcome and celebrate” any increase in awareness and practice

“I think, in general, it’s good when something makes you think, What the fuck is happening?” Sabath says. “It kind of loosens up your perspective a bit. But it’s really healthy to notice that some other option exists. And oftentimes when people yell about something, it’s probably because they do it already or want to do it.”

He adds, “My thing is, if someone feels good about something, then they should do it.”

Research contact: @TheCut

Fluffy dog storms professional soccer field—and tries to ‘fetch’ the ball

May 19, 2023

No regrets. When this ball-loving dog saw his moment, he took it—no matter the fact that the “opportunity” was quite inopportune to nearly everyone else. As it turns out, however, it was a much-loved ten seconds of fame, regardless, reports The Dodo.

Two professional teams, Curicó Unido and Palestino, faced off in a heated soccer match recently at a stadium in Chile. Although Palestine would ultimately close out the game with a 1–0 victory, the real winner of the night had on no uniform at all.

That title went to a fluffy dog, who, without warning, decided to storm the field and steal the ball.

The game was momentarily halted due to the adorable interruption—yet, sure enough, the crowd still went wild.

The object of the dog’s desire—which was only in his grasp for a few seconds—sadly fell to the grass as player Maximiliano Salas hefted him in his arms and gently escorted him away.

As the dog was hauled off the field, he showed zero regrets about his bold attempt.

Where the dog had come from exactly is anyone’s guess—but with that simple act, he secured himself a place as a sports legend.

Ball is life, after all.

Research contact: @dodo

Study links walking a leashed dog to risk of traumatic brain injury

May 16, 2023

Walking your dog on a leash could lead to more than accidental falls and bruises. Indeed, a study recently conducted at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore has found that one of the risks of dog walking by adult owners—especially, by elderly women—is traumatic brain injury, reports Sky News.

Researchers found that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) were the second most common injury among adults. The other most common injuries were finger fractures and shoulder sprains or strains.

The study revealed that those aged 65 and older were more likely to sustain serious injuries than others from different age groups— more than three times more likely to fall and more than twice as likely to have a fracture.

Researchers also found that women with injuries related to dog walking were 50% more likely to sustain a fracture than men.

Injuries that happened the most were caused when the adult holding the leash fell after being pulled, tangled in, or tripped by the leash connected to a dog they were walking.

The 20-year study noted that injuries increased by a huge amount over the time period and researchers think this may be due to the rise of dog owners.

The team hopes its findings will promote awareness among dog owners and encourage doctors to discuss the possible injuries linked to dog walking.

Senior author Edward McFarland said: “Clinicians should be aware of these risks and convey them to patients, especially women and older adults.

“We encourage clinicians to screen for pet ownership, assess fracture and fall risk, and discuss safe dog walking practices at regular health maintenance visits for these vulnerable groups.

“Despite our findings, we also strongly encourage people to leash their dogs wherever it is legally required.”

Ridge Maxson, the study’s first author, added: “Dog ownership also increased significantly in recent years during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Although dog walking is a common daily activity for many adults, few studies have characterized its injury burden. We saw a need for more comprehensive information about these kinds of incidents.”

This study has been published in the National Library of Medicine.

Research contact: @SkyNews

No needles! Can Frotox replace Botox?

May 15, 2023

Botox is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the United States, based on its proven ability to erase fine lines and wrinkles. But new technology is offering the opportunity for similar results, sans needles, the Robb Report divulges.

Dubbed “Frotox,” (and also known as a Cryo Facial) the targeted treatment is similar to an ice bath. Liquid nitrogen brings your facial tissue to a temperature below freezing in minutes. Your blood flow increases, toxins are flushed out, and facial tissue is rejuvenated, according to the American Regenerative Clinic in Bingham Farms, Michigan.

At the now-shuttered luxury cryotherapy studio QuickCryo in New York City’s TriBeCa neighborhood, guests could book a Cryo Facial session using the Cryo T-Shock machine—a device that applies minus-160-degree cryogenically cooled air to your face, increasing blood flow by up to four times the normal average; which in turn is purported to reduce signs of aging, evens out complexion, and improve skin tone both long- term and immediately by promoting collagen growth. The machine is unique in that it alternates both cryogenic and thermal performances to create thermal shocks from cold and warm, provoking therapeutic benefits that the application of only cold cannot incite.

“It’s a shock to the skin, which, in turn, increases collagen and elastin at the same time—which is the body’s ability to heal itself,” says John Hoekman, who founded QuickCryo. “That’s what gets rid of your fine lines and aging due to inflammation. It’s an immediate effect.”

According to the Robb Report, the experience itself is also a hell of a lot more enjoyable than having needles injected in your forehead and subsequently having to hold tiny ice packs to your face to try to stop the formation of bruising, which of course inevitably ends up happening.

With Frotox, first a gel is applied to your face, next a specialist revs up the machine, moving back and forth, up and down your forehead and onto your cheeks with a device about the size of an apple. It starts as a warm, delightful temperature, then after four to five minutes starts to cool down until it feels almost identical to the feeling of gliding an ice cube over your face. After about 40 minutes—poof, you’re done, and any fine lines have seemingly disappeared.

For best results, Hoekman recommends doing a series of three treatments, followed by maintenance treatments every few months. Frotox has an immediate tightening effect, but it’s also at work long after you leave the chair. The procedure is said to stimulate collagen and elastin production for a healthier glow and a more youthful appearance in the weeks and months to come.

Research contact: @RobbReport