Blog Posts by Mother Nature Network (mnn.com)

  • 6-year-old Finishes Half Marathon, Sets World Record

    Keelan Glass is a rock starKeelan Glass is a rock starWhile many first-graders are perfecting their skipping or training for improved hopscotch performance, 6-year-old Keelan Glass has bigger goals in mind.

    Glass entered the Showdown Half Marathon in Fairview, Texas, last Saturday; she ended up not only finishing the 13.1-mile race, but setting a national age-group record with a time of 2:46:31.

    According to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians, she also became the youngest person to complete a half marathon.

    Although Glass' parents, both triathletes, consulted with an orthopedist before allowing her to compete, her accomplishment has become a hot topic in the running community. While some are lauding her endeavor, others are expressing concern over the long-term effects of someone competing at such a young age.

    Dallas-area pediatrician William Moore told the The Dallas Morning News, "I think they're asking for trouble. There's a lot of potential for bad things and not a lot of potential for exceptionally good things

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  • How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

    How much water should you drink?How much water should you drink?by Chanie Kirschner, Mother Nature Network

    Everyone's heard the old refrain - drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Turns out that's not entirely accurate. The Mayo Clinic recommends about 13 cups a day for an average male and about nine cups a day for the average female. But the actual amount of water a person should drink in a day can vary based on where you live, how much you weigh, and what kind of lifestyle you lead.

    Water makes up 60 percent of our body's weight and is absolutely imperative for our organs to function. Since we are constantly losing water through sweat, urine, and even our breath, drinking enough water is crucial. If you become dehydrated, you will lose energy and become nauseated, headache-y, and tired. Severe dehydration can even send you to the hospital so drinking an adequate amount of water is crucial to maintaining your health on a daily basis.

    If you exercise, you are losing more water than the average person. Therefore, it's important to

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  • Survey Finds that Americans Would Live with a Ghost If it Meant They Could Save Money

    Would you live in a haunted house?Would you live in a haunted house?As is tradition, around this time of year I detour away from sustainable real estate trends for a closer look at stigmatized properties, paranormal-influenced cases of buyer's remorse, and DIY methods of spiritual house cleaning.

    Because really, when you get to the heart of the matter, a severe case of "things going bump in the night" may not have anything to do with the brutal ax murder that occurred in your basement in the early 1920s. Rather, unexplained phenomena experienced by homeowners could very well be the result of a clunky old boiler, drafty windows, and/or shoddy insulation that needs replacing - stuff that a professional energy audit, not a smudging, could easily remedy. However, if your toaster oven starts levitating or your wife starts insisting that you address her only as "Zuul Gatekeeper of Gozer" then you've got a whole other issue on your hands.

    Today, here's a look at a recent online survey conducted by Realtor.com that yields some insight into exactly how

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  • 7 of the World's Most Terrifying Jobs

    Sandra Bullock stars as a stranded astronaut in the hit movie 'Gravity'Sandra Bullock stars as a stranded astronaut in the hit movie 'Gravity'"Gravity," Alfonso Cuarón's stressful yet stunning survival drama set in outer space, has scored box office gold by depicting what a really bad day at work looks like for an astronaut.

    Not surprisingly, the Sandra Bullock-George Clooney film has also managed to scare some folks away from the idea of finding gainful employment in space. Writer Susan Orlean summed up this sentiment best when she tweeted: "Just saw Gravity. Have decided not to enroll in astronaut school after all."

    If a high chance of physical harm isn't what you are looking for in a job, add these seven potentially hazardous means of employment (that don't involve donning a spacesuit) to your list. Some might surprise you. And if there's one simple takeaway, it's this: If you want to stay safe, don't get a job in construction or transportation - or on an Alaskan crabbing boat.

    Coal miners
    Long considered the uber-treacherous grand dame of dangerous jobs, a career in coal mining isn't nearly as dangerous as it once was

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  • Zen at Work: 5 Ways to Calm Your Office Space

    Make your office a zen oasisMake your office a zen oasisby Starre Vartan, Mother Nature Network

    The American office is an iconic place; for many, more waking time is spent there than at home - and yet few of us take the time to make the space we work in work for us. And while lots of workers are working virtually these days, there are still millions of people who come to an office every working day. And even though work can be stressful, your office needn't be. Creating a calm oasis in your immediate workspace will make your whole life healthier: here's how.

    1. Declutter your immediate work area: Some people actually do find things better in a mess, but if you are constantly pushing things aside so you can find your mouse, or balancing your keyboard on your lap because there's no room on your desk, take 15 minutes to clear that stuff out. The area in front of and 6 inches to each side of your computer should be clear so that, simply, you can move comfortably. The small aggravation of not being able to move freely can really add to

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  • 10 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Koalas

    There's more to koalas than you thinkThere's more to koalas than you thinkLong before we started going loopy for lemurs, slow loris and sloths, we had koalas - the original poster child for cute and cuddly animals that make us go "Aww!"

    Although most people know that koalas live in Australia and eat eucalyptus leaves, there is so much more to know. Here's the lowdown on the marsupials from Down Under.

    1. Although they are commonly called koala "bears," koalas are marsupials and have nothing at all to do with bears, except that they are cute like a teddy bear.

    2. The word "koala" is thought to have come from the Aboriginal word meaning "no drink." Although koalas do drink water on occasion, most of their hydration requirements are fulfilled by the moisture they get from eating eucalyptus leaves.

    3. They eat about two and a half pounds of eucalyptus leaves a day; so many, in fact, that they take on the fragrance of the oil ... and end up smelling like cough drops.

    4. A newborn koala is the size of a jellybean. Called a joey, it is a while before it reaches

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  • The Surprising Science Behind Your Favorite Candy

    Atomic fireballsAtomic fireballsWith Halloween just around the corner, store shelves are full of a variety of candies to satsify every sweet tooth. If you've ever wondered how your certain candies make your tongue burn or lips pucker, read on for the science behind some of your favorite sweets.

    What makes Atomic Fireballs so hot?
    This classic candy, which was released in 1954 and aptly named during the Cold War, packs a double whammy when it comes to spice.

    First, it contains cinnamaldehyde, the oil that gives cinnamon its taste. Cinnamaldehyde affects a protein in your mouth called TRPA1 that senses irritants.

    But Atomic Fireballs also contain capsaicin, the compound that makes hot peppers spicy. The burning sensation you feel when eating the candy is caused by capsaicin binding with a protein called TRPV1.

    TRPV1's primary purpose is to detect body temperature, and when it's activated, it sends a signal to your brain that your mouth is too hot.

    Although your tongue might feel like it's melting, eating hot candy

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  • Can 'the Corset Diet' Really Squeeze the Fat Away?

    Does the corset diet actually work?Does the corset diet actually work?In a Chicago Tribune article published on Sept 5, 1891, the author wrote of corsetry, "It is difficult to imagine a slavery more senseless, cruel or far-reaching in its injurious consequences than that imposed by fashion on civilized womanhood during the last generation….the tight lacing required by the wasp waist [corseted silhouette] has produced generations of invalids and bequeathed to posterity suffering that will not vanish for many decades."

    For centuries, women wore corsets that were so tight they caused some women's internal organs to be rearranged. Yet in 2013, women are willingly taking to the corset with one aim in mind: easy weight loss. Well, easy if you consider being bound in a nearly suffocating undergarment easy; but hey, at least there's no counting calories or exercise involved!

    Celebrities like Jessica Alba are singing the praises of lacing up to shrink the waste, and a number of doctors are even recommending it. Beverly Hills-based Dr Alexander Sinclair told ABC

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  • Internet Study Shows We Watch Way Too Many Cat Videos

    Maru the cat has become famous on YouTubeMaru the cat has become famous on YouTubeThe research is in, and it says that people love funny cat videos.

    The not-so-surprising finding is part of new report about online video from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

    Thanks to all the video camera-equipped devices we carry today and the popularity of social networking and video-sharing sites like Facebook, YouTube and Vine, it's become increasingly easy for users to share videos.

    Today, the percent of American adult Internet users who post videos online has more than doubled to 31 percent from 14 percent in 2009.

    The percent who watch or download videos also has increased to 78 percent today from 69 percent in 2009.

    Also see: 10 cats made famous by YouTube

    Humorous videos, especially those involving cats and babies, are the most-viewed type, with 58 percent of adult Web users saying it's the genre they favor.

    "How-to" videos are the second most popular, followed by educational videos and music videos.

    Typically, the videos adult Internet

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  • Pit Bull Saves Cat from Hungry Coyotes

    This pit bull rescued a cat, but why is a duck also in the picture?This pit bull rescued a cat, but why is a duck also in the picture?Pit bulls often get a bad rap for being known as an aggressive breed, but for the pet owners that love them, they are better known for their sweet, playful demeanor and unconditional loyalty. Few stories illustrate the soft side of pit bulls better than this one about Jack the dog and his unlikely companion, Kitty, reports Fox 13 News in Tampa.

    The story is particularly unusual in that Kitty, as her name hints, is actually cat. It's a fact which Jack, a rescued pit bull, compassionately overlooks. To him, she's just a friend.

    The connection between the two might be rooted in their shared past. Both are rescued animals.

    "He probably feels like he's the caretaker. He checks on her every day and sniffs her, seeing what kind of shape she is in," said Sherree Lewis, Florida resident and owner of the two pets.

    Jack's role as caretaker was recently put to the ultimate test, after an experience that might be every pet owners worst nightmare. On her way out the door one day, Lewis caught a

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