Posts tagged with "Instagram"

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

What is aphasia? Rare brain condition ends Bruce Willis’ acting career

April 1, 2022

The cognitive disorder that Bruce Willis’ family says has effectively ended his acting career is likely a a neurodegenerative condition that affects about one million people in the United States, reports The Daily Beast.

The 67-year-old Die Hardactor’s family wrote on Instagram on March 30 that Willis has been diagnosed with aphasia, a language disorder caused by brain damage, and he would be “stepping away” from acting.

“To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities,” his family wrote. “As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”

“This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion, and support,” the statement said. “We are moving through this as a strong family unit and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him.”

“It impacts all language modalities—listening, reading, speaking, and writing,” Kathryn Borio, a speech-language pathologist at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago who specializes in aphasia, told The Daily Beast. “A hallmark symptom is this sort of ‘tip of the tongue’ phenomenon where I know the word but can’t find it.”

Aphasia is mostly caused by a stroke affecting areas in the brain that control speech and language. This sort of damage to the brain impacts an individual’s ability to retrieve words or organize their words into sentences. In rarer instances, brain damage can be caused by a neurodegenerative condition that progressively worsens over time.

Willis’ condition may have been apparent as far back as 2020, according to a film source, who told Page Six that the actor was having trouble remembering lines on the sets of some of his recent flicks, which have largely been B action movies. In some cases, he had to be fed lines through an earpiece and have body doubles replace him.

“His family… stepped in, they moved in to take care of him,” the source said.

No exact details of Willis’ aphasia have been made public, so it’s hard to say definitively what caused his condition. However, Borio speculated the actor likely has the rarer neurodegenerative type called primary progressive aphasia (PPA), a type of aphasia that often gradually begins before age 65 and results from degeneration of the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“The family’s statement indicating he was having trouble with his cognition does point to an idea that perhaps it’s primary progressive aphasia, which is less common, affecting [fewer] than 200,000 people in the United States.,” Borio said.

While some people with mild aphasia may bounce back without treatment, it’s not the case for many. “We really do believe that with therapy—with the help of a speech therapist, occupational therapist—patients can improve,” Borio said. “I’m not treating Bruce, but if I was, I would be working with him and his family to train him how to communicate, giving him some tools to access words a bit easier.” She said the tools don’t need to be anything fancy—they can be as simple as an iPhone or even using social media.

It’s important to realize, just because someone with aphasia has trouble communicating doesn’t mean they’re not intelligent, Borio emphasized. “It’s not a loss of intelligence. Someone with aphasia is still an intelligent person that thinks the same way, their thoughts are the same, but their ability to communicate their thoughts becomes more difficult.”

“I feel that the Willis family made a really brave choice by using the word aphasia by name,” she said. “As a clinician, it means a lot when a family member who is in the public realm uses their platform to help us advocate for patients. We can hopefully advance science and advance the care of people living with aphasia.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

It’s a small world after all: Tiny figurines occupy miniature worlds built with everyday objects

March 29, 2022

Seemingly ordinary household objects have become props for miniature worlds in the art of Tatsuya Tanaka. In fact, since 2011, the Japanese artist has been crafting immersive small-scale scenes—one for each day on the calendar, reports My Modern Met.

The ongoing project—aptly called Miniature Calendar—features playful, stage-like scenes made up of food, office supplies, and other items. They are inhabited by diminutive, hand-painted figurines.

An ordinary dish sponge, for instance, becomes a frothy bubble bath; while a bookcase transforms into a busy escalator and carefully stacked cookies look like a TV and couch.

And even though these objects do not completely morph into what they’re supposed to be, that is part of the project’s charm. The fact that we know these tiny figurines are using hairpins as skateboards and scooters is why it’s so amusing to look at.

While most of Tatsuya’s art focuses on one or two figures, sometimes he challenges himself to create full-fledged environments with many characters interacting with their surroundings. An old-fashioned computer keyboard is repurposed as a park with blossoming cherry trees in the background. Similarly, a bunch of grapes carefully arranged becomes a tree-lined street fit for a carriage ride. Of course, none of these clever scenes would come alive without the addition of Tatsuya’s tiny figures, which add instant whimsy to every story.

Follow Tatsuya’s on Instagram to see a new miniature landscape each day.

Research contact: @mymodernmet

LEGO Volodymyr Zelensky raised funds to support Ukraine

March 22, 2022

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, organizations around the world have been stepping up to raise funds to help the embattled country. Chicago-based Citizen Brick, which makes custom LEGO minifigs, is doing its part in a unique and creative way: On Instagram in early March, the company announced a special President Volodymyr Zelensky minifig and, separately, little Molotov cocktails, with all proceeds going to support Ukraine, reports My Modern Met.

While the original minifigs posted no longer are available and were apparently pulled from Instagram because of the Molotov cocktails, the custom LEGO pieces were a hit and sold out.

“As you may have noticed, the minifigs sold out almost immediately,” wrote Citizen Brick. “We made as many as possible in a frantic 24 hrs [sic], with the CB crew coming in on their day off to print.”

The retailer raised $16,540 that was donated to Direct Relief. This organization is working to send much-needed medical supplies to Ukraine. The fundraising effort was such a success that Citizen Brick decided to print another round of minifigs heralding President Zelenskyy. Their goal was to raise $100,000 and in less than 24 hours, it appears that they’ve met their goal, as the custom LEGO is once again sold out.

If you were hoping to get your hands on one, stay tuned to the Citizen Brick Instagram to see if they’ll be issuing a new run or making other minifigs in support of Ukraine. For their part, the official LEGO company is also standing with Ukraine. They have announced a donation of $16.5 million to emergency relief efforts geared toward children and families. In addition, they have stopped shipments of LEGO products to Russia.

Research contact: @mymodernmet

‘Fuzz cut’: Toddler is diagnosed with rare uncombable hair syndrome

February 28, 2022

A couple from Roswell, Georgia, recently told People magazine about their “brush with fate.”

When Katelyn and Caleb Samples celebrated the birth of their second child just 16 months ago, baby Locklan arrived with jet-black hair similar to his mom’s color. But by the time he was six months old, that dark hair was being replaced by what his parents affectionally called “peach fuzz.”

“We were like, huh, what is this?” she tells People of Locklan’s (nicknamed Lock) newly-blond, soft hair. “We knew it was different, but didn’t know exactly how. And then it kept growing and growing.”

By nine months, Lock’s hair was white-blonde, super soft and sticking straight up out of his head. It matched his 3-year-old brother Shep’s hair in color, but could not be more different in texture.

“People we’re definitely noticing it,” Katelyn, 33, says with a laugh. That’s also when she got a message on Instagram from a stranger who asked if Lock had been diagnosed with “uncombable hair syndrome.”

“I was like, oh my god, what is this? Is something wrong with my baby?” she says. “I went into tailspins on Google.”

Katelyn called their pediatrician, who said they had never heard of the syndrome and directed her to a specialist at nearby Emory University Hospital.

“We went to see her and she said she’d only seen this once in 19 years,” Katelyn recalls. “She didn’t think it was uncombable hair syndrome, because of how rare it is, but they took samples and a pathologist looked at it under a special microscope.”

And after looking at the structure of Lock’s hair, they were able to confirm that, indeed, it was uncombable hair syndrome—an extremely rare condition that causes the hair to grow with a very soft and easily breakable texture. Lock is one of just 100 known cases of the condition.

Hearing that Lock had this syndrome was a shock at first. “You’re just going about your day thinking everything’s fine and that your kid might have curly hair, which does run in the family. And then to hear that there’s a rare syndrome associated with your kid — it was crazy,” Katelyn says.

Thankfully, the syndrome only seems to affect Lock’s hair. “They said because he was developing normally in every other area of his life, that we didn’t need to be worried about anything else being a concern,” she says.

Katelyn tried to learn more about the syndrome, but with so few cases, there’s very little information online or among specialists. She did, though, find a Facebook group of parents of kids with the syndrome or people who have it themselves.

“That’s been a great source of comfort, and we share pictures and talk about different things,” she says. “It’s cool to see how the older kids’ hair has changed over the years: For some people it does not go away, and for others it becomes a little bit more manageable.”

Research contact: @people

Want to vacay in the Great Outdoors? Rockies, Blue Ridge Mountains make global top ten list of ranges

February 11, 2022

Pandemic-era mask and social distancing mandates may be ending all across the nation, but many Americans may not yet be ready to get up close and personal with strangers while on vacation, reports CNBC.

If that sounds like you, you might consider a vacation in the Rockies or the Blue Ridge Mountains—two of the top ten ranges worldwide for mountain holidays recently ranked by U.K. outdoor clothing and gear outfitter Blacks.

Visits to open-air  destinations like national and state parks soared amid COVID— and those still looking for safe  outdoor getaways can head for the literal hills.

The Rocky Mountains, running from northernmost western Canada south to New Mexico, have ranked at number six six worldwide—landing a score of 7.2 out of a possible 10. The Blue Ridge Mountains, meanwhile, which span southern Pennsylvania to northern Georgia, have scored number eight worldwide—garnering a score of 6.6, tying with the Caucasus Mountains on the Europe-Asia border.

Blacks ranked each mountain range based on a  number of factors–among them, number of peaks, average temperatures and precipitation, annual search volume and Instagram posts, and average nightly hotel rates.

Both North American ranges were the priciest in the rankings, with a hotel night in the Rockies costing around an average $143.60 and one in the Blue Ridges priced at about $132.76. The average rate in the Pyrenees, in France and Spain, by comparison, is just around $67.75.

Feeling like something more exotic or far-flung than the Rockies? The Pyrenees, in fact, topped the list overall, with the Atlas Mountains in North Africa and South America’s Andes rounding out the top three ranges. The latter, in fact, is the cheapest range to visit, with an average hotel cost of just under $49 a night in the Andean metropolis of Bogota, Colombia, according to Blacks.

Number-one contender the Pyrenees is packed with ski resorts, national parks and hiking trails, and scored big when it came to popularity on the web, with more than 1.5 million Google searches a year and 2 million Instagram posts. The Atlas Mountains, meanwhile, are the warmest and least wet.

Whichever range you’re headed to, preparation is key, according to a statement from Kiera Baxter, marketing executive at Blacks. “A great mountain holiday is all in the planning,” she said. “It’s vital to take your time planning everything from your routes to your accommodation, to ensure you’ve considered all eventualities and don’t get caught out.

“Back up your routes with safer alternatives and have a plan in mind for the unexpected,” Baxter added.

Research contact: @CNBC

Anti-vaccine protesters storm AMC theater in Times Square, stage a ‘sit-in’

February 9, 2022

Several anti-vaccine protesters were arrested after conducting a “sit-in” demonstration at a movie theater in New York City on Monday night, February 7, reports Newsweek.

About ten people were taken into custody over a protest against the city’s coronavirus vaccine mandate, according to the New York Post. The situation began as a protest—but later escalated, after members of the group bought tickets and went into the AMC Empire 25 theater located in Times Square.

The group objected to a New York City rule in which children between the ages of 5 and 11 are required to present proof of having had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to attend indoor public events, per the New York Health website. Similarly, those ages 12 and older must show proof that they have had two doses of the vaccine to attend such events.

After purchasing tickets, the protesters then allegedly objected to showing proof of vaccination. They also allegedly refused to leave the theater, and members of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) were called to the scene, per WNYW.

Police said that, even after being asked to leave the theater by the manager, the protesters refused to comply with the request.

A video posted to Instagram shows the protesters sitting in their seats talking to officers about the vaccine mandate. One person can be heard saying: “This is going to the Supreme Court; this is going to get shut down.”

Police were seen in a video via social media placing those arrested in a van with their arms tied behind their back. In that same footage, the crowd outside the theater can be heard chanting: “My body, my choice. The vaccine, you won’t force.”

According to the AMC Empire 25 theater’s web page, showing proof of vaccination is required for most guests entering the venue: “Area mandates require proof of vaccination for all guests ages 5 and older. Please be prepared to show your proof of vaccination documentation and photo ID when you present your ticket to the ticket taker.”

In that same theater, masks are recommended for everyone. However, people who are fully vaccinated may remove their masks while those who are not entirely vaccinated against COVID-19 should continue wearing their face coverings, according to the theater.

In a comment to Newsweek, the NYPD said: “On February 7, 2022, at approximately 1833 hrs, inside of 234 West 42nd Street (10) “c” summonses for Trespassing were issued to individuals who were congregating inside of the closed theatre and when they were asked (by the manager) to leave, the individuals refused.”

Newsweek reached out to AMC Theatres for comment but did not hear back before publication.

Research contact: @Newsweek

Joe Rogan responds to backlash from Spotify artists

Febraury 1, 2022

Joe Rogan has responded to the backlash he’s received from Spotify artists surrounding COVID-19 misinformation on his popular podcast, reports CNN.

“I’m not trying to promote misinformation, I’m not trying to be controversial. I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than just talk to people and have interesting conversations,” Rogan said in a nine-minute video posted to Instagram on Sunday, January 30.

On Sunday, Spotify promised to add a content advisory to any podcast episode about COVID-19 — and Rogan said he agrees with that move. The advisory will direct listeners to a COVID-19 information hub that will include links to trusted sources, the company said.

“I want to thank Spotify for being so supportive during this time. And I’m very sorry that this is happening to them, and that they’re taking so much heat from it,” Rogan said.

Spotify will also for the first time publicly post its long-standing Platform Rules. A growing list of musicians and personalities are pressuring Spotify to take action on misinformation after Neil Young and then Joni Mitchell requested that their music be removed from the platform.

In his video, Rogan said he would try to balance controversial guests by having the mainstream perspective on right after them. He also said he will research contentious topics and “have all the pertinent facts at hand.”

“I want to show all kinds of opinions so that we can all figure out what’s going on and not just about COVID, about everything about health, about fitness, wellness, the state of the world,” Rogan said.

Rogan portrayed himself as a figure who is just having interesting conversations, but at the same time he disputed the basic concept of misinformation. He claimed that changes in scientific opinion—for example about the effectiveness of cloth masks or the origins of the virus—have previously been viewed as misinformation and could have been banned on social media.

“Many of the things that we thought of as misinformation just a short while ago are now accepted as fact,” Rogan claimed.

“The Joe Rogan Experience” is currently the top podcast in the United States and the United Kingdom on Spotify, according to the platform.

Rogan defended two of his most controversial guests — cardiologist Dr. Peter McCullough, who claimed COVID vaccines are “experimental;” and virologist Dr. Robert Malone, who has been banned from Twitter for COVID-19 misinformation.

“Both these people are very highly credentialed, very intelligent, very accomplished people. And they have an opinion that’s different from the mainstream narrative,” Rogan said, adding that he has also hosted CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. “I wanted to hear what their opinion is.”

Rogan also said he is “not mad” at Neil Young and that he is a “huge” fan of the musician.

Research contact: @CNN

Marriott is looking for three travelers to serve as TikTok correspondents

January 24, 2022

For TikTok enthusiasts and influencers—or anyone seeking a significant change amid the “Great Resignation”—Marriott has a unique new job opportunity.

The global hotelier is launching a contest to recruit three individuals who will essentially serve as TikTok correspondents—chronicling their experiences at Marriott properties around the world over the course of nearly a year on the popular video social media app, reports Fortune.

Dubbed 30 Stays in 300 Days, the program is an extension of Marriott Bonvoy’s Power of Travel campaign, launched last year to promote the healing nature of travel after pandemic lockdowns in 2020.

“As the world inches back to a place of normalcy, travel is one of those primal needs that we feel needs to be met,” Brian Povinelli, SVP of Brand, Loyalty, and Portfolio marketing at Marriott International, tells Fortune. “This initiative will amplify wanderlust and spark the motivation to travel by facilitating a true trip around the world that allows viewers and potential adventurers to experience each destination to the fullest.”

Marriott has a strong social media presence already—across Instagram especially, with frequently updated and numerous accounts for the parent company and subsidiaries, as well as individual locations. Marriott Bonvoy joined TikTok last year. But why TikTok (over say, Instagram or Snapchat) for this particular program?

Povinelli answers simply: TikTok is where people are at. “It’s what they’re paying attention to, and it reaches the audience that we are keen on engaging. TikTok, by necessity—due to the parameters of the platform—encourages would-be travelers to be creative, succinct, and brief in their appeal to be a Marriott Bonvoy TikTok Correspondent,” Povinelli continues. “It forces people to use a finite amount of time to make a big impact. And because TikTok is so pervasive, we feel it creates an inviting environment for anyone who feels moved by this initiative to be able to participate.”

Winners will get to stay at properties across the entire Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, including The Ritz-Carlton and Westin Hotels and Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott, and Autograph Collection Hotels. It also includes at least one stay in one of the over 50,000 luxury home rentals listed on Homes & Villas by Marriott International.

The stays are only the beginning of what the correspondents will be receiving. Other perks include airfare between destinations; Uber vouchers; a $10,000 Marriott Bonvoy Gift Card to cover items such as on-property meals, spa services, and activities; a “Take Me Away” kit featuring items from branded online retail stores on Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques; progression toward Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status, giving participants the opportunity to unlock exclusive benefits like late check-out, room upgrades, and more, even once their 300-day travel experiences are over; and a $15,000 check to use as desired.

Prospective applicants must be at least 21 years of age and be permanent residents of the United States. And for anyone who wants to (and can) continue their existing day jobs while working remotely, Marriott says the trips are flexible, and will allow for both work and travel for those with a position that allows.

“This opportunity is not for the faint of heart, but it is also open to all travelers, whether seasoned or just starting out on their journey,” Povinelli says. “We recommend that applicants think realistically about their ability and desire to travel around the world for up to 300 days (divided amongst several trips) ….While arguably an experience of a lifetime, the right person should be well equipped for the adventure.”

While Povinelli notes that Marriott doesn’t want to see the correspondents glued to their phones for the entire experience, the goal is to see each person post at least once per day while on a trip—whether that be about the current hotel stay, the food, locals, cultural experiences, or whatever else may be important or interesting to that correspondent that day. There is no prescribed length for the videos—some may be a minute or longer if a winner has an interesting story to tell our members, while others may be a few seconds of a funny or inspiring moment from the road, or just chiming in on a TikTok trend, Povinelli explains.

“We want to see energy, paired with genuine excitement and an attitude that embraces change and new experiences with optimism and wonder,” Povinelli says.

‘They should also have a vigor for life and a desire to challenge the status quo,’ Povinelli says. ‘They should be curious, empathetic, inquisitive and able to adjust and be nimble when things don’t go as planned. People that are interested in growth and pursue it with tenacity and enthusiasm.’

To apply, submit a TikTok video using the hashtags #30stays300days and #contest from January 18 through March 18, answering the question, “How has travel shaped you?”

After the deadline passes, three individuals will be selected and begin their journeys in spring 2022; dates subject to change in accordance with CDC and international travel guidelines. While the winners are not guaranteed any full-time or permanent positions once the 300 days are up, Povinelli says the possibility is there for a continued partnership.

“Ultimately, we’re looking for that intangible star quality,” Povinelli says. “Travel has the unique ability to change perspectives, open people’s eyes to new ways of doing things while bringing people together. The ideal person would recognize the power of travel and embrace it throughout the trip by truly embodying what it means to be a travel correspondent with an attitude that is both curious and eager to welcome every experience.”

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Bidens welcome new puppy to the White House

December 22, 2021

The White House has a new, four-legged resident. President Joe Biden introduced the newest member of his family, a German Shepherd puppy named Commander, on Instagram (#firstdogs) on Monday, December 20, reports HuffPost.

“Welcome to the White House, Commander,” the post read.

The three-month-old pup was a birthday gift to the president from his brother James Biden and sister-in-law Sara Biden, the first lady’s Press Secretary Michael LaRosa told CNN. Biden turned 79 on November 20.

Commander was born on September 1 and arrived at his new home Monday afternoon, CNN noted.

The Bidens originally moved into the White House with two German Shepherds. One of them, Champ, died in June at the age of 13. The other, a three-year-old rescue named Major, was sent home to Delaware for training after two biting incidents following his arrival earlier this year.

“After consulting with dog trainers, animal behaviorists, and veterinarians, the First Family has decided to follow the experts’ collective recommendation that it would be safest for Major to live in a quieter environment with family friends,” LaRosa said in a statement to media. “This is not in reaction to any new or specific incident, but rather a decision reached after several months of deliberation as a family and discussions with experts.”

A cat also will join the family in January, he said.

Research contact: @HuffPost