Dog sneaks into couple’s home during storm and snuggles her way into their bed

May 19, 2022

It could have been that a door was left ajar, or maybe a window. Julie Johnson from Tennessee isn’t sure; all she knows is that somehow, someway—a stranger was able to freely enter her house one night.

 This stranger however wasn’t trying to steal, but only to snuggle. A brown bull terrier with a golden heart and silent feet crept into the Johnsons’ house, jumped right into bed next to Julie and her husband Jimmy—and went to sleep, head on the pillows, reports Good News Network.

 “You could see light coming into our curtains in our bedroom and I feel my husband not just roll over—but kind of startled, like almost a jump roll over, and it woke me up,” Julie told NPR this week. “And in a quiet but stern voice, he said, ‘Julie, whose dog is this?’”

Despite the startle, in such a situation; it didn’t take long for Jimmy and Julie to realize the intruder meant them no harm, and was just “100% content being there.”

 How Nala the dog managed to enter their house without disturbing or garnering the attention of Jupiter, Hollis, and Zeppelin, the three dogs who normally sleep alongside the couple, the Johnsons will never know, and it must have made for an interesting chit-chat over morning coffee.

 Julie took to Facebook to see if she could locate the dog’s owners, posting a variety of selfies she took with the pup. Not long after, Nala’s owners contacted them to explain she had slipped out of her collar on a walk the day before just ahead of a serious thunderstorm.

She had escaped into the woods, and between the four dog parents, the working theory arose that Nala had entered the Johnsons’ house out of fear of the thunder and lighting.

“Our overly friendly pup, Nala, has hit an all-time record for ignoring personal space and added yet another trick to her long list of Houdini acts,” Cris Hawkins, one of Nala’s owners, wrote on Facebook.

“Shame [on] Nala for somehow breaking into a stranger’s house and invading their personal space. Thankfully, the couple thought it was hilarious and they aren’t even mad about it.”

Since the incident, the four pooches have had playdate in the park, celebrating their new, and entirely accidental friendship.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

From the toxic culture that gave us mansplaining, here comes …‘hepeating’

May 18, 2022

Have you ever noticed how some men make a habit of repeating what women say—and taking all the credit for it? There’s a word for that: “hepeating,” reports The Guardian.

The hepeat is just the latest in the expanding list of terms for sexist male behavior, a glossary that began with mansplaining. It’s the term used when a woman suggests an idea—often in a meeting—and it’s ignored, but then a guy says the same exact thing and everyone loves it.

How is the new term used in a typical conversation? “Ugh! I got hepeated in that meeting again,” or “He totally hepeated me!”

And it’s caught on.  The concept was immediately recognized. U.S. physics professor and astronomer Nicole Gugliucciv’s original tweet proposing the term, posted back in September 2017, got 185k likes and 58.8k retweets. And they weren’t all “shetweets.” Men liked it, too.

The Oxford English Dictionary hasn’t included it. Yet. But the term has just been introduced into an internal handbook for the staff of the U.K.-based exam regulator Ofqual, where hepeating is described as “a situation where a man repeats a woman’s comments or ideas and then is praised for them as if they were his own”.

It has been rejected in some quarters, though: The (male) historian Jeremy Black is not a massive fan of the term. It’s an “ugly new made-up word that’s foolish and devoid of meaning”, he told the Mail on Sunday. He went on to say that it “should play no role in educational advice”.

So who does think it’s an actual term, then?  Any woman who has been in a meeting, or at work—or indeed anywhere with men.

Research contact: @guardian

Prince Charles to come face to face with ‘woolly doppelganger’ on royal tour

May 17, 2022

The Prince of Wales is set to be greeted by a sheepish figure when he arrives in Canada today, on May 17: his own “woolly doppelgänger,” reports CTV News.

Prince Charles will be introduced to a life-size, hand-needle-felted bust of his own visage as he meets with Canadian wool enthusiasts in St. John’s, Newfoundland, at one of the first stops on his three-day cross-country tour alongside his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

But the CEO of the Campaign for Wool in Canada says that’s not even the “pièce de résistance” of the prince’s woolly welcome.

Matthew Rowe says the non-profit industry association will also present its royal patron with a wool sculpture of his mother, the Queen.

Manitoban artist Rosemarie Péloquin says she spent hundreds of hours on each of the busts, using a barbed needle to sculpt the fine details of the royals’ faces.

Péloquin says she feels like she got to know the prince over the course of his wool double’s creation, and she’s excited to see his real-life counterpart’s face when the two meet.

Research contact: @CTVNews

Study: People raised in suburban or rural areas have a better sense of direction than city-dwellers

May 16, 2022

People who grew up in the countryside have a better sense of direction than city dwellers, according to a new study. European researchers have found that, on average, people raised in rural areas have stronger navigational skills than those who grew up in large towns or cities, reports Brain Tomorrow.

 

The pioneering international study used a video game called Sea Hero Quest developed to study Alzheimer’s disease. The game features a wayfinding task, requiring users to navigate a boat through a virtual environment to find checkpoints shown on a map.

 

Nearly 400,000 participants in 38 countries took part in the experiment. The research team—from University College London (UCL); the University of East Anglia (UEA), also in England; and the University of Lyon in France—says that people are better at navigating great distances if they come from rural areas.

 

  They also have found that people whose home city had a grid layout, such as New York or Chicago, are slightly better at navigating similarly organized street patterns, despite having poorer performance overallv. Authors say that early childhood environments influence not only navigation ability, but navigation styles as well.

 

“We found that growing up outside of cities appears to be good for the development of navigational abilities, and this seems to be influenced by the lack of complexity of many street networks in cities,” says lead researcher Hugo Spiers, a professor in Psychology & Language Sciences at UCL, in a statement.

 

“In our recent research, we have found that people’s spatial navigation skills decline with age, starting in early adulthood,” he continues. “Here, we found that people who grew up in areas with gridded streets can have comparable navigation skills to people five years their senior from rural areas—and in some areas the difference was even greater.”

 

Results show that where people grew up influenced their performance in Sea Hero Quest. That’s even after controlling for confounding effects of age, gender, and education levels. Their current place of residence did not affect their scores either.

 

The team compared the home cities of the study participants by analyzing the entropy—or disorder—of the street networks, to gauge the complexity and randomness of the layouts. To test if people from cities could more effectively navigate

environments comparable to where they grew up, the researchers developed a city-themed version of Sea Hero Quest. Called “City Hero Quest,” it requires participants to drive around city streets in a virtual environment that varied from simple grids to more winding street layouts.

 

People who grew up in cities with grid layouts were slightly better at navigating similar environments, although the difference was not as great as their inferior performance in Sea Hero Quest.

 

“Growing up somewhere with a more complex layout of roads or paths might help with navigational skills as it requires keeping track of direction when you’re more likely to be making multiple turns at different angles, while you might also need to remember more streets and landmarks for each journey,” says co-lead author Dr. Antoine Coutrot, of the University of Lyon.

 

The Sea Hero Quest project was designed to aid Alzheimer’s research, by shedding light on differences in spatial navigational abilities. More than 4 million people have played the game, contributing to numerous studies across the project as a whole.

 

“Spatial navigation deficits are a key Alzheimer’s symptom in the early stages of the disease,” explains joint senior author Michael Hornberger, a dementia researcher at UEA. “We are seeking to use the knowledge we have gained from Sea Hero Quest to develop better disease monitoring tools, such as for diagnostics or to track drug trial outcomes. Establishing how good you would expect someone’s navigational to be based on characteristics such as age, education, and where they grew up, is essential to test for signs of decline.”

 

The scientists are continuing their research into predictors of navigational ability, including how sleep impacts navigational skills in different countries.

 

The study has been published in the journal, Nature.

 

Research contact: @braintomorrow

Follow the yellow brick road: Have scientists found an undersea path to the lost city of Atlantis?

May 12, 2022

Not every road leads to Rome. Some paths appear to be headed to the very heart of the ocean—like the one recently spotted by scientists in the Pacific, which they dubbed the “road to Atlantis,” reports the New York Post.

Late last month, oceanographers aboard the E/V Nautilus vessel were out exploring the floor of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument—a submarine range of volcanic mountains off the coast of Hawaii—when they came across what looked like a well-preserved brick road on the ocean floor.

On April 29, the researchers were amazed to see such a structure 3,376 feet underwater, near the top of Nootka Seamount. The discovery, as part of the Luʻuaeaahikiikekumu expedition, was captured on video during the group’s 24/7 livestream on YouTube.

“It’s the road to Atlantis,” one scientist is heard saying in the background of the footage.

“That’s a really unique structure,” another added.

“This is the yellow brick road,” a third researcher chimed.

“Are you kidding me? This is crazy,” an additional voice exclaimed.

Only about 3% of the 583,000 square miles within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument area has been recorded, although its peaks are known to rise over 16,000 feet from the seabed and summit just 200 feet below the surface of the water.

If the lost city of Atlantis were real, it would have fallen near the Strait of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean, according to Plato’s writings. Indeed, the legend of Atlantis dates back to Plato’s “Dialogues,  written about 360 B.C.—the first of all records of the lost city in history.

In the philosopher’s tale, the city was a metaphor for the corruption of power, wealth, and industry. In other words, it was created strictly as a plot device—and not the stuff of prehistoric folklore. Moreover, there isn’t a trace of archaeologic or geologic evidence that a sunken city ever existed.

However, the scientists now believe, “What may look like a ‘yellow brick road’ to the mythical city of Atlantis is really an example of ancient active volcanic geology.”

What the team actually had seen was later identified as hyaloclastite, “a volcanic rock formed in high-energy eruptions where many rock fragments settle to the seabed,” they explained, while the “unique 90-degree fractures” that made it look like stone laid for a road are likely a result of “heating and cooling stress from multiple eruptions.”

The current mission, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, set out to obtain a deeper understanding of how the northwestern Hawaiian Islands were formed.

Research contact: @nypost

Creepy dolls wash ashore on Texas coast

May 11, 2022

Creepy, nightmarish-looking dolls—sometimes covered in barnacles that grow out of their eyes—are washing up along Texas shorelines, according to researchers who survey the area for sea life, reports Fox News.

Where the dolls came from is a mystery, but the Mission-Aransas Reserve has been collecting the scary figures as they find them along a 40-mile stretch of coastline, Jace Tunnell, director of the reserve at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Often, Fox says, researchers are surveying the coast for sea turtles and other marine mammals when they encounter the dolls on the beach.

“We’re actually doing scientific work, but the dolls are a perk,” Tunnell told McClatchy News last week.

Researchers comb the coastline—from North Padre Island up to Matagorda—twice per week, collecting debris of all kinds, including junk, in the process. “You never know what you’re going to find washing in. About twice a month we find these crazy-looking dolls that are washing in,” Tunnell said.

So far, the Reserve has collected about 30 dolls, Tunnell said in a Facebook video in October. Some are missing arms or legs—and others have algae growing inside the eyes and mouth as well as barnacles. Some have clearly been chewed on.

An image of each one gets posted on the group’s Facebook page, which has generated a substantial following since.

The first figure discovered by researchers was a sex doll. When Tunnell posted the image online, someone bought its head for $35, he said. The funds were donated to a sea turtle program.

Tunnel sells the dolls at a yearly fundraising auction. He’s not sure what the people who purchase the dolls do with them, he said.

“There’s a lot of nightmares out there,” he told the newspaper, referring to the debris.

Research contact: @FoxNews

This is the best snuggle buddy, according to new research

May 10, 2022

Six in ten people would rather snuggle up to their pet than to a partner, new research suggests. In fact, a recent survey of 2,000 pet owners found that 61% would prefer to share their couch or bed with their pet than with their significant other, reports, SWNS.

The reason? Two-thirds said their pet is usually a cleaner and quieter companion.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of  Lovesac  ahead of National Comfy Day last February 20, the survey also found that four in ten  reported a higher quality of sleep when sharing their sofa or bed with their pet, likely because their fur pal doesn’t wake up to use the bathroom (59%) or disturb their slumber by snoring (53%).

The poll also hinted at a nation divided—with half saying they’d never allow their pet on their couch. However, 77% of people would reconsider with older couches, and 65% would do so if their couch had washable covers.

It’s important to consider the needs of everyone in the household, including your pets, but this can be challenging when it comes to furniture,” said Shawn Nelson, Lovesac’s CEO and founder. “Choosing a durable couch with machine-washable covers and replaceable cushions will save you a lot of time worrying about potential repairs or tough stains.”

Respondents also noted that their pets seem to get better sleep than they do, especially dogs (75% vs. 65% of cats). Half (51%) of pets forgo their regular bed in favor of a carpet or rug, while 37% nap on a table. Twenty-nine percent of fur pals have also gotten cozy on the laundry.

And people sometimes do the same. In fact, about as many people (30%) have used laundry as a bed. While 51% have slept or napped on their couch, others admitted to catching some Zs in more unconventional places, including a carpet or rug (44%), and a table or desk (36%).

Overall, the average respondent spends 41 minutes a week sleeping or napping somewhere other than their bed, most commonly their couch, with more than half saying that’s their preferred napping spot.

More than half (52%) of respondents say their pet has damaged their couch and 69% of those were forced to throw it away due to the damage.

What makes a couch more comfortable than other pieces of furniture? Having an ideal level of softness (34%) and an optimal height (23%), according to most respondents.

The most popular things to do on a couch include watching TVs and movies (98%) followed closely by napping or relaxing (96%).

“A good couch should be washable, changeable and rearrangeable so that you can relax, nap or catch up on our favorite series without worry.” Nelson added. “That’s what comfort is all about.”
Research contact: @SWNS

Meet Isa, the new Gerber Baby Contest winner

May 9, 2022

It’s official! There’s a new Gerber baby in town. On Wednesday, May4, the baby food brand announced the winner of its 12th annual Gerber Baby Photo Search Contest: 7-month-old Isa Slish from Edmond, Oklahoma, reports HuffPost.

A panel of judges selected Isa from a pool of more than 225,000 entrants to serve as the 2022 Gerber “spokesbaby” and honorary “chief growing officer.” She will hold the title of “chief taste tester” and “review” the brand’s new baby food products, the company says.

Isa also will appear on Gerber’s social media channels and marketing campaigns for the year. Her family will receive a $25,000 cash prize, free Gerber products for up to a year, $1,000 in Gerber baby clothes and a $1,000 gift card from the ezpz brand of developmental feeding tools.

Isa’s win is not just an exciting moment for her family but also marks a victory for disability inclusion. The 7-month-old was born with congenital femoral deficiency and fibular hemimelia, which in her case means she was born without a femur or fibula in her right leg.

“Ever since we knew Isa was going to be born with a limb difference, we’ve wanted to raise awareness and advocate as much as possible,” Isa’s mother Meredith Slish told HuffPost. “After I saw the call for entries, we thought this could be a great opportunity to show off our beautiful baby girl and raise awareness around limb difference.”

Meredith and her husband, John, feel it’s fitting that they were able to enter Isa into the Gerber contest during the month of April, which is Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month. As for her win, they are excited the judges recognized how “amazing” and “special” their joy-filled daughter is.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Gerber for choosing a baby who represents diversity,” Meredith said. “And we hope going forward she will not only be the wonderful, fun-loving, giggly, smiling, beautiful girl she is, but also help us raise awareness—communicating to families that there is hope, and if babies are supported and loved by the family, friends and community around them, that they can really grow and be whatever they want to be.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Restored footage takes us to San Francisco just before the 1906 earthquake

May 6, 2022

At 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, just as San Francisco, California, was beginning to wake, an earthquake lasting less than a minute shook the city to its core. The tremors ignited fire after fire around the city, which burned for three days. The disaster killed an estimated 3,000 people and left half of the city’s 400,000 residents homeless as buildings toppled and burned.

However—just four days earlier, on April 14, 1906—moving picture photographers the Miles Brothers shot footage of the city as it would never be seen again, capturing the transportation, fashions, and bustling atmosphere of San Francisco, reports My Modern Met.

Titled A Trip Down Market Street, the film is a point-of-view-style video shot from the front of a cable car. The 116-year-old footage takes viewers eastward down Market Street, beginning at 8th Street and heading towards the cable car turnaround at the Ferry Building.

Recently, video restorer NASS remastered the footage, and the result feels like a trip back in a time (which we now can see on YouTube).

Watching the enhanced footage feels like riding at the bow of the cable car, giving a front row seat to the rather chaotic traffic criss-crossing the street, hearing the clip-clop of horses’ hooves, and waving to enthusiastic children at the turnaround.

The restoration process included boosting the original 15 FPS to 60, upgrading the image resolution to HD, and improving the sharpness and brightness of the picture. While the AI-generated colorization and added sound design are for ambiance and are not necessarily historically accurate, they still give viewers a sense of what it would have been like to ride a cable car down Market Street in 1906.

The original footage is stored at the Prelinger Archives in San Francisco. What you see online is a scan of 35mm material, shot by Harry J. Miles hand-cranking the Bell & Howell camera placed on the front of the streetcar.

The negative was taken by train to the Miles’ New York office on April 17, 1907, while the brothers were en route to New York. When they heard the news of the earthquake, they sent the negative on ahead and returned to San Francisco, where they discovered their studios had been destroyed in the fires.

Research contact: @mymodernmet

What lies beneath: Long nails may not be as hygienic as you hope

May 4, 2022

Long nails are a major trend these days—seen on the hands of superstars like Cardi B and Billie Eilish. But a biologist warns this new trend may come with health hazards, considering what may be growing underneath.

Jeffrey Kaplan, a biology professor at American University, recently told USA Today that the area under the fingernail in the crevice is where most of the bacteria live.

“The longer the nail, the more surface area there is for microorganisms to adhere,” he said. “Studies have found 32 different bacteria and 28 different fungi underneath fingernails.”

Kaplan said it doesn’t matter if you have long artificial nails, long natural nails, gel nails, acrylic nails, or nail polish, because there is an increased probability of carrying microorganisms which makes it more difficult to decontaminate with handwashing or scrubbing.

One study found MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that causes serious infections in hospitalized patients, underneath half of the fingernail samples collected, according to Kaplan.

Also, some of the bacteria under nails can be found on the skin, like staphylococcus, which can lead to an infection.

“You can transmit fingernail bacteria to your system by scratching, nail-biting, nose-picking, and finger-sucking,” Kaplan said. 

He said the worst thing that could happen from the bacteria and fungi is a nail infection, which would not be life-threatening, but could leave your fingernails disfigured.

That is why most, if not all healthcare workers, are required to wear short nails due to being at risk for transmitting disease, according to Kaplan.

Two nurses at an Oklahoma City hospital may have contributed to the deaths of 16 babies in 1997 and 1998 because of bacteria found underneath their long nails, The New York Times reported.

Epidemiologists found a link between the deaths of the infants in the neonatal unit and the bacteria under the nails but did not prove it was the definite cause.

“When surgeons scrub for surgery and then they test their hands, there’s always bacteria under the fingernail and you can’t get rid of it,” Kaplan said. 

Kayla Newman, a nail tech based in North Carolina, told USA Today that none of her clientele has had infections or “nasty nails” in her eight years of service. “Generally people who have long nails know how to maneuver with them and keep them clean,” she said. “If you’re spending upwards of $60 to get your nails done and you don’t keep them clean, that doesn’t make sense.”

Newman has seen the trend for long nails grow over the last couple of years and social media platforms, like Instagram and TikTok, showcase artistic designs on nails that can be over two inches long.

Research contact: @USATODAY