Why do we yawn?Before we can answer why it is that we yawn, let's talk about what a yawn is in the first place. Yawning is an involuntary action that causes our mouth to open wide and breathe in deeply. That air fills your lungs, causing your abdominal muscles to flex and the diaphragm to be pushed down. The yawn ends when you expel some of that air back out through your mouth. Research has shown that even fetuses yawn, proving that a yawn really is involuntary. So why do we yawn in the first place?
Why we yawn has been debated for centuries and some interesting theories have surfaced, attributing yawning to a lack of oxygen or of course, boredom and sleepiness.
The most recent research about yawning suggests that we yawn as a way to cool down our brain. A 2007 study done at the University of New York in Albany concluded that people yawned more in situations where their brain was more likely to be warmer. They performed their research by taking advantage of another curious phenomenon - contagious
Blog Posts by Mother Nature Network (mnn.com)
Why do we yawn?Before we can answer why it is that we yawn, let's talk about what a yawn is in the first place. Yawning is an involuntary action that causes our mouth to open wide and breathe in deeply. That air fills your lungs, causing your abdominal muscles to flex and the diaphragm to be pushed down. The yawn ends when you expel some of that air back out through your mouth. Research has shown that even fetuses yawn, proving that a yawn really is involuntary. So why do we yawn in the first place?Read More »from The Surprising Reason Why We Yawn
- Mother Nature Network (mnn.com) | Pets – Mon, Sep 16, 2013 12:24 PM EDT
Itty-bitty CharlyItty-bitty Charly, a two-foot tall horse being billed as the world's smallest pony, has been snatched from his itty-bitty pony stall at an equestrian event in the Umbrian town of Città di Castello.Read More »from World's Smallest Pony Kidnapped, Possible Mob Involvement
Italian police believe the Mafia may be holding him for ransom.
The pint-sized show pony was in the central Italian town for the 47th National Horse Fair. He was scheduled to perform at the show with his trainer, 'equestrian artist' Bartolo Messina, who alerted police when he found Charly's stall empty.
"I never imagined having to write this but unfortunately it has happened and I feel empty, violated and destroyed!" lamented Messina in a post on his Facebook page.
Also see: 15 pets with Guinness World Records
Police said that the thieves broke in through a wire fence surrounding the fairgrounds, swiped the pony and made a hasty escape through a nearby tobacco field where a getaway car was waiting.
"The problem is that this pony is so easy to transport because he is so small - like a
by Jenni Grover Are you thinking while you eat?MS RD LDN, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from Mindful Eating: 5 Easy Tips to Get Started
From what not to eat when you are pregnant, to the endless lists of the latest must-have superfoods, discussion about healthy eating tends to focus on what we eat.
Much less attention is paid to the question of how we eat it.
Yet a growing body of research suggests that changing our attitudes and practices around meals and mealtime rituals may be every bit as important as obsessing over what it is we actually put in our mouths. Mindful eating (also known as intuitive eating), a concept with its roots in Buddhist teachings, aims to reconnect us more deeply with the experience of eating - and enjoying - our food. Sometimes referred to as "the opposite of diets," mindful eating is based on the idea that there is no right or wrong way to eat, but rather varying degrees of consciousness about what we are eating and why. The goal of mindful eating, then, is to base our meals on physical cues, such as our bodies' hunger signals, not
Your fingernails can be a window into your healthYou've heard the expression, "The eyes are the window to the soul," right? Well as it turns out, your fingernails can often be the window to your health. How so?Read More »from What Your Fingernails Say About Your Health
Certain changes to your nails can be a sign of an underlying disease or disorder. Just to name a few:
Yellow nail syndrome happens when nails thicken and nail growth slows. Of course, as per its name, your nails will often turn yellow. Yellow nail syndrome is often a sign of respiratory disease. If you notice that your nails are yellow but are growing normally, it could be a sign of diabetes. That's because diabetes can cause glucose to attach to collagen proteins in the nails, making them appear yellow. If your nails are yellow and you notice other symptoms of diabetes, such as increased thirst or urination, see your doc right away.
Another symptom of a bigger problem? Spoon nails, in which nails are concave and appear scooped away from the finger. You can usually even put a drop of liquid in the "spoon." This can be
- Mother Nature Network (mnn.com) | Healthy Living – Fri, Sep 13, 2013 8:45 AM EDT
60 seconds of working out can make a lot of differenceThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate to higher-intensity physical activity each week, and it should be in bursts of at least 10 minutes each for substantial health benefits.Read More »from Every Single Minute of Physical Activity Helps Health, New Study Shows
Which has led many to wonder about the inefficacy of brief activities. Why take two minutes going up the stairs if more than 10 minutes is required to make it worthwhile for health?
But now a new study suggests something else: go ahead, take the stairs! Every minute counts toward reaching the 150-minute goal, whether it's part of a 10-minute bout or not.
The purpose of the study conducted at the University of Utah was to see if moderate to vigorous physical activity in less than 10-minute episodes related to weight outcomes.
The study, published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, found that each minute spent engaging in some kind of moderate to vigorous physical activity - be it walking the dog, vacuuming, or taking the stairs -
This cat could use your helpWhere do cats go to buy used yarn or to find those missed connections from the vet's office? The feline version of Craigslist, of course.Read More »from Whiskerslist is like Craigslist, but for Cats
The humorous website Whiskerslist combines two of the Internet's favorite things - cats and Craigslist - and is the invention of cat blogger Angie Bailey.
Whiskerslist provides cat lovers with a window into what Web-savvy cats might do if they got their paws on the computer mouse.
Also see: 10 cats made famous by YouTube
The site has numerous classifieds on such subjects as "housing: boxes and bags" and "personals: neutered seeking spayed."
The full collection of 160 kitty classifieds is available in Bailey's new book, "Whiskerslist, the Kitty Classifieds."
Classifieds include tales of felines like Hector, a lovelorn tabby looking for love, as well as discussions on rodent regifting and an online support group for recovering show cats. Check out some of our favorite Whiskerslist posts.
GuacamoleThere may be no more perfect food than the avocado, at once utterly decadent but decidedly healthy; an opinion backed by the fact that 1.6 billion avocados were consumed in the United States in 2012.Read More »from Who Invented Guacamole?
During the Super Bowl alone, 12 million pounds of avocados were transformed into guacamole; Cinco de Mayo and Independence Day see even more of the chunky green dip being devoured. We have become a nation of guacamole lovers.
Most of us first experienced guacamole in the context of Mexican food; but where did it actually originate?
Appropriately enough, Mexico. We can thank the Aztecs, the native American people who dominated central Mexico from the 14th to 16th centuries. Although dog, grasshopper, and worms were food staples in Aztec culture, they also indulged in things more culturally palatable to us, namely chocolate and guacamole.
Also see: How to make a guacamole grilled cheese sandwich
The avocado (Persea americana) - savory like a vegetable, but botanically a fruit - dates to
- Mother Nature Network (mnn.com) | Get Happy Now – Wed, Sep 11, 2013 10:21 AM EDT
A cupcake drawing can male you feel betterStudies have shown that comfort foods fight off the blues and have a significant positive effect on people's moods. But unfortunately, the comfort they provide usually comes courtesy of fat and/or sugar, which most people would benefit by reducing in their diets.Read More »from Scientists: Drawing Comfort Food Will Make You Happy
But scientists may have found a workaround in getting the positive effects of comfort food without the calories.
During a period of three months late last year, researchers recruited 61 students from St. Bonaventure University in New York state. Most were slightly overweight according to measurements of body-mass index (BMI).
The subjects were divided into four groups; each group was asked to draw a different item: high-fat, high-sugar cupcakes; high-fat, low-sugar pizza; low-fat, high-sugar strawberries; and low-fat, low-sugar peppers. All were given the same colors to use.
The researchers then analyzed the participants' hunger, mood and level of interest and excitement before and after the brief drawing exercise.
Dogs have even donated blood to save the lives of catsDog blood banks are much like people blood banks. Donors are screened, the blood is typed, and sometimes there's a shortage.Read More »from Dogs Donate Blood to Save Other Dogs' Lives
The U.S. is facing a dog blood shortage right now, which veterinarian Jean Dodds, who runs the Hemopet canine blood bank in Garden Grove, Calif., says is normal for this time of year.
"It happens nearly every holiday season and in summertime when epidemics of parvovirus occur," she told NPR.
The highly contagious parvovirus attacks a dog's cells, and blood transfusions are often necessary. Most of the time, dogs require donated blood for the same reasons people do: car accidents, anemia or because they're undergoing surgery.
While there's no centralized canine blood bank for dogs, there are several independent blood banks located throughout the country, and veterinary schools often do their own blood banking.
Dodds helped start some of the first canine blood banks. She worked with animals with diseases like hemophilia, and during the early 1980s she ran New
- Mother Nature Network (mnn.com) | At Home – Tue, Sep 10, 2013 10:44 AM EDT
The underground pink kitchen
by Matt Hickman, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from Paranoid in Pink: 1970s Bunker-Dwelling in Las Vegas for Sale
Are you bemoaning that summer and all the backyard-centric activities associated with it -- barbecuing, swimming, unwinding in a hot tub, romping around on the grass, throwing a rowdy al fresco dance parties under a starlit sky -- is soon coming to an end? Well, start saving -- and stockpiling dry goods -- as a Las Vegas property where you can partake in all of your favorite backyard leisure activities year-round, rain or shine, has reappeared on the market with a just-reduced price tag of $1.6 million.
Oh, and also, the two-bedroom ranch-style property, complete with detached one-bedroom guest quarters and a heated in-ground pool, is located 26 feet underground within a 15,200-square-foot basement that was built in the late 1970s as a Cold War-era bunker.
So there's that.
Because really, if you're going to be holed up in a concrete-reinforced subterranean lair during a nuclear fallout - or zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, viral