Blog Posts by Sarah B. Weir, Shine Senior Writer

  • Twin Brothers Put Diet Crazes to Ultimate Test

    If you follow diet trends closely, you could get whiplash. One year fat is seen as the enemy; the next, sugar is poison. Recently, twin brothers Chris and Alexander "Xand" van Tulleken set out on a month-long radical experiment to try to put the debate to rest over which is worse.

    Chris adopted a super-low-fat diet, allocating only 2 percent of his total daily intake of fat, the minimum required to maintain his health. Xand opted for a high-protein diet that ditched all forms of carbohydrates, from table sugar to flour to fruit. The brothers, who both work as physicians, shared similar daily routines and stuck to the exact same fitness regimen. Furthermore, because they claim to share identical DNA, they surmised that any changes they experienced would be attributable to diet, not genetics. A film crew followed their nutritional journey, and it's airing as a documentary on BBC2 on Wednesday.

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    Xand was motivated because

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  • Man Proposes Marriage During Scary Traffic Bust and It's Weirdly Sweet

    When it comes to marriage proposals, most men opt for the romantic route: the beach at sunset, a quiet walk in the woods, or a candlelit dinner. Matt Van Vliet, however, who lives in California with bride-to-be Samantha Labo, went for something a little more, shall we say, arresting—and the whole incident was caught on the dashcam of a police cruiser. It's only fitting, though, since the couple met in jail five years ago.

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    But first, the proposal: The video, which Labo obtained from the police and posted on YouTube on Jan. 19, shows Van Vliet's car being pulled over in New Hampshire by two of New London's finest. The couple was in town for a Colby-Sawyer College reunion and on the way to a farewell dinner. Police Chief Edward G. Andersen brusquely asks Van Vliet for his license and registration, and after a quick check, announces that there is a warrant out for his arrest. Meanwhile, when Labo questions the officer

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  • Internet Reunites Girl With Teddy Bear, World Officially OK Place

    Teddy with incoming passenger card (courtesy: ACBPS)It was just a scruffy toy bear, with fur a bit worn and stuffing getting lumpy, but 12-year-old Jessica Malcolm hadn't spent one night of her life without it. "Jessica's grandmother had a teddy bear shop and gave her Teddy when she was born," Jessica's mother, Libby Malcolm, told the Daily Telegraph, "and she has slept with her every single day since." That is, until Tuesday. Returning home to Sydney, Australia from a vacation in London, Jessica lost her treasured stuffed animal somewhere in the airport. "She absolutely bawled her eyes out," said her mom. "If you know Jess, you know that Teddy is a part of her life.

    Related: Police Officer Stops Traffic for Teddy Bear

    The following day, a family friend tweeted the hashtag #findteddy and struck Internet gold when actor and prolific tweeter Russell Crowe retweeted it, setting in motion a chain of events that would hopefully bring Teddy home. 

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  • The All-Time Easiest Way to Lose Weight

    The surprising benefit of being freezing (photo by Corbis)Here's a pleasant fact to remember the next time you're huddled at the bus stop, bracing against the latest round of arctic weather: That bone-chilling cold may actually be giving your bikini body a boost. Dutch researchers are proposing an innovative way to drop some extra pounds: Turn down the thermostat. In a paper published in the current issue of Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, they point to public health efforts aimed at discouraging excessive calorie consumption, which have, for the most part, yielded unsatisfactory results. At the same time, most of us now spend 90 percent of our day indoors, cozy, warm, burning fewer calories to regulate our body heat. According to the study, exposure to colder temperatures could, over time, result in meaningful weight loss.

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    Ready to get your chill on? While the idea might give you the shivers, especially during this exceptionally frigid winter, their research shows

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  • The Best Nanny on the Planet Is a Dog

    Blakely and Santos (photo by Cassandre Crawford)How would you like to cuddle an orphaned wallaby or teach a hungry ocelot kitten to drink milk? It's all in a day's work for Blakely, the resident baby animal whisperer at the Cincinnati Zoo's nursery. Oh yeah, and Blakely is a dog.

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    Two years ago, the keepers at the nursery decided to look for a dog who could help them raise the baby animals in their care. The zoo has been successfully pairing adolescent cheetahs with dogs as playmates for 30 years as part of its Cat Ambassador program, which introduces trained big cats to the public to educate people and raise awareness about endangered species. The nursery only takes in new babies who need extra attention. "We don't pull animals from their moms unless there is a problem," explains keeper Michelle Smith. "If they are doing good, we leave them be."

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    Often, the problem is that the newborns aren't getting enough to eat. While

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  • Toddlers: Why the Bad Seed Theory Is Kind of True

    Is your toddler a terror? (photo: Corbis)Every parent of a toddler hopes his or her kid will "play nice," and it's always a shocker when your angel suddenly turns into a biting, hitting, kicking little beast. While good parenting may indeed help thwart unwanted behavior, kids are actually preprogrammed for aggression, according to new research.

    A study that gathered data from more than 1,200 children ages 1 to 4 found that, to a large extent, a toddler's tendency toward physical aggression stems from a genetic predisposition and is not caused by environmental factors such as watching violent cartoons or witnessing domestic strife. If you happen to have one of the more aggressive kids on the block, the odds are it's going to pass and you needn't become overly alarmed and blame yourself. "Parents often feel guilty," lead author Eric Lacourse, a professor at the University of Montreal, tells Yahoo Shine. "They should look at physical aggression as a normal phase of development." While tantrums and other forms of acting out may

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  • 41 and Pregnant: So What?

    Are older moms selfish? On Friday, British columnist Ashley Pearson, who had her first child at 41, described her discomfort about being part of a recent BBC radio program debating whether older mothers are selfish. "Despite my near-visceral reaction that the question is just plain silly, apparently many people still think so," Pearson wrote. "A recent study showed that a staggering 70 percent of women over the age of 55 are opposed to and uncomfortable with women having babies in their 40s." While the panel consisted of three women and one man, she says the last word was given to the male, a member of British Parliament who had his proverbial knickers in a twist about fertility rates. "[He said] that while some women can have babies later in life, most can't," recounted Pearson in the article. "And that you better get on with it then, hadn't you? On that depressing note, we closed the show."

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    It's true that in the United States, as well as in the

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  • '90s Flashback: Actress Posts Real Diary Online and It's, Like, Hilarious

    Dawn Luebbe now and in 1990 (photos courtesy of Dawn Luebbe)
    While some of us would like to burn our 'tween diaries and cast the ashes into a bottomless pit out of embarrassment, actress and comedian Dawn Luebbe did just the opposite with hers. On Jan. 1, the 33-year-old started posting actual pages from journal entries she wrote from 1990 to 1992 on Tumblr for anyone with a love (or loathing) of scrunchies, New Kids on the Block, and "Melrose Place" to peruse (or squirm over). And thousands have—My1992diary has become an Internet hit over the past few days. "I'm incredibly surprised by the response this has received," she tells Yahoo Shine. "I honestly thought it would be my mom and three or four friends reading it."

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    Luebbe's blog embraces a #throwbackthursday type of nostalgia that's all about not being the hippest kid in school. She writes in the intro, "If you are thinking this will be the diary of a popular girl who talks about all her cool friends, hot dates, and

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  • Stop What You're Doing and Swoon Over These Dreamy Pics of Kids and Pets

    Russian photographer Elena Shumilova's shots of her two sons, Yaroslav and Vanya, with animals on their farm evoke a fairytale world where little boys become King of the Beasts. The images are sweet, of course, but she doesn't dwell on the subjects' cuteness, instead she quietly captures the secret bonds that even very young children can have with their pets as well as the natural and open way they interact with the world around them. Each image tells a dreamlike story set apart from the mundane concerns of grownups. Although she studied art in Moscow, Shumilova only began took up photography 2012. In an interview with the photo blog Bored Panda, she described how she prefers to use natural light which she feels gives "emotional depth to the image." She added that she takes an intuitive approach to her work, "I get inspired mainly by desire to express something I feel, though I usually cannot tell exactly what it is." -Sarah B. Weir

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  • Get Over It and Adopt an Ugly Pet

    Love me. (Getty Images)Humans are attracted to beauty. We buy things because gorgeous models sell them, we fall in love based on looks, and, yes, we often choose pets based on appearance.

    "What we have found is that people are really picky," Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of shelter research and development for the ASPCA, told Yahoo Shine. They often arrive at an animal shelter with a preconceived idea of what they want in their pet, and looks usually top the list of important factors.

    It's not the best strategy for finding the ideal animal companion. "Beauty is fur deep," animal behavior expert Nicolas Dodman, PhD, author of "The Dog Who Loved Too Much" and "The Cat Who Cried for Help" told Yahoo Shine. "Pretty pets get adopted more often." He emphasized that it's crucial to prioritize temperament above appearance picking a pet. More than four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States, a number that he feels could be reduced dramatically if prospective pet owners put more emphasis

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