all quick reads

Quote of the Day

It’s OK to fall sometimes and I’m just going to get back up and push even harder."

Sky Brown

Quote of the Day

Sky Brown, who will be 13 years old next week, is making her Olympic debut in Tokyo as Great Britain's youngest Olympian. She will be competing in skateboarding, which is 1 of 4 new sports making their Olympic debut this year. As a younger child, Brown watched YouTube videos to learn new tricks. She is currently ranked #3 in the world in women's park skateboarding & is the world's youngest professional skateboarder. Great Britain's female skateboarding team will also include 14-year-old Bombette Martin.

Jul 9, 2021

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what to know

STAYING WATER WISE THIS SUMMER

A recent rescue serves as a reminder of what to watch for while on the water - and why you should be extra careful in the water at this time of year.

what to know

"What they did was very brave, and they are very heroic, but there is definitely a side of caution.”

Columbia, MO Fire Dept. Asst. Fire Chief Jerry Jenkins on the water rescue by Boy Scouts Joseph Diener (16) and Dominic Viet (15), who were riding their bikes to survey damages caused by a recent storm when they heard a woman screaming. They found her holding on to a basketball hoop in nearby floodwaters, so they jumped into the water and doggy-paddled her to safety. Jenkins praised the boys for being brave, but said that floodwater rescues are dangerous - even for first responders.

what to know

WHAT TO KNOW: Drownings

  • July is the deadliest month for drowning.
  • Drowning is the #1 cause of death in children ages 1 to 4 (other than birth defects) and a leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14.
  • For all ages, drownings are the #5 cause of preventable injury-related deaths.
  • 80% of drowning deaths are males.
  • Alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of drowning deaths.
  • Each year, there are approx. 4,000 fatal drownings and 8,000+ nonfatal drownings.

what to know

WHAT TO KNOW:
Water-Associated Disease Outbreaks

  • CDC study: From 2000 to 2014, there were 140 reported water-associated outbreaks linked to fresh / marine waters (lakes, rivers, oceans).
  • The majority of the outbreaks started during the summer months, with nearly 60% starting in July.
  • Outbreaks caused nearly 5,000 illnesses and two fatalities.

what to know

SOME WATER SAFETY TIPS

  • Limit alcohol intake or avoid it all together.
  • Take CPR lessons and enroll children in swim lessons.
  • Make sure weak swimmers, children, and boaters wear life jackets.
  • Closely supervise children when they are in or near water, and stay within an arm's length of children who are weak swimmers.
  • Minimize your risk of exposure to diseases by paying attention to advisory warnings and staying away from smelly or scummy waters.

what to know

Although young children are especially at risk when it comes to drowning, the rescue by local Boy Scouts is just one example of water rescues by youngsters that made recent headlines. Last week in Houston, Texas, a 10-year-old boy named Rickie August Jr. swam to the bottom of a pool to save a 5-year-old girl. He said he felt like "a real hero" and wants “to be a leader for other kids." His proud aunt said that his actions show "it doesn’t matter your size or your age … you can make a difference. You can save a life."



Jul 7, 2021

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On This Day

Still Turning Heads

The bikini turns 75 today.

Named for a nuclear test site, it ended up making a bang of its own.

On This Day

Risqué History

  • The bikini was invented by a French mechanical engineer named Louis Réard.
  • Named after a U.S. nuclear test site off the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
  • No Parisian model would wear his revealing design, so Réard got a 19-year-old nude dancer to model his creation for its July 5, 1946 debut in Paris.
  • The bikini was NOT the first two-piece swimsuit, but it was the first to show the navel.

On This Day

Less is Much, Much More

  • There were actually TWO French designers competing to make the tiniest swimsuit in 1946.
  • Réard’s winning design, two inverted triangles connected by string, used just 30 inches of fabric.
  • Réard shocked people by saying that a two-piece wasn’t a bikini “unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring.”
  • Fun fact: If the other design had won out, we’d refer to this type of swimsuit as an “atome” (French for atom).

On This Day

The bikini was not an immediate success. The Vatican called it sinful. At first, it was banned in numerous European countries and even some U.S. states. During the 1950s, acceptance in America was helped by actresses Marilyn Monroe and Bridgette Bardot, who were among the first to model in bikinis. In the 1960s, the bikini began to catch on - perhaps with help from the 1960 hit song "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini." By the 1970s, it had gone from scandalous to ubiquitous.

Jul 5, 2021

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Quote of the Day

"Live your life."

Nick Cordero

Quote of the Day

On July 5, 2020, Tony-nominated Broadway actor and singer Nick Cordero died at age 41 after a months-long battle with COVID-19 - leaving behind his wife, Amanda Kloots, and their now two-year-old son, Elvis. Kloots is a dancer, fitness instructor, co-host of CBS's "The Talk," and now a New York Times best-selling author. Her new book, Live Your Life, named after Cordero's song with the same title - details his life, their love story, and her journey over the past year.

Jul 5, 2021

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On This Day

July 2, 1776

"The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America."
Why one Founding Father believed this at the time... and why we celebrate on the 4th instead.

On This Day

"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."

On July 3rd, 1776, Founding Father John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail about the previous day.

On This Day

FALSE START

  • On July 2nd, the colonies voted to approve the Lee Resolution - an 80-word document declaring the right of the 13 colonies to be independent from the British Crown.
  • However, the document explaining the WHY - the Declaration of Independence - was delayed as the draft written by Thomas Jefferson was still being debated & edited.
  • One delay? A clause criticized George III for his role in slavery. Some felt the excerpt could serve as a rallying cry for the abolition of slavery, which not every state wanted.

On This Day

After days of editing, the Continental Congress (early governing body of the U.S.) completed the final draft of the Declaration of Independence - WITHOUT that controversial passage - voting to adopt it on July 4th, 1776. Exactly one year later, the first 4th of July celebration was held in Philadelphia with fireworks, "bells," and "bonfires," similar to John Adams' foreshadowing description. Celebrations grew following the War of 1812 - and on June 28, 1870, the 4th of July became a federal holiday.

Jul 2, 2021

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On This Day

July 1, 1873

Henry Flipper begins his journey at West Point. He is the first African American to graduate from the military academy four years later, despite being born into slavery.

On This Day

Flipper serves on the frontier as the nation's first African American commissioned officer. He leads cavalry troops and designs a drainage system to prevent the spread of malaria. The drainage system, "Flipper's Ditch," is a Black Military Heritage Site. His military career ends abruptly because of controversy. Read more on our source page.

Jul 1, 2021

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what to know

Protest At The Podium

An Olympian turns away from the U.S. flag during the national anthem, igniting debate not only about what's appropriate but what's *allowed* during competition.
Here's the backstory and what to know.

what to know

BACKSTORY

  • Olympic hammer thrower and activist Gwen Berry made headlines at last weekend's U.S. Olympic Trials.
  • Berry took to the podium after receiving her bronze medal. When the national anthem played, she turned away from the U.S. flag and faced the stands, placing her hand on her hip. She then held up a t-shirt reading "Activist Athlete" and draped it over her head.
  • At the 2019 Pan-Am Games, Berry raised her fist on the podium as the anthem played. She was sanctioned and lost sponsorships.

what to know

"The anthem doesn't speak for me."

Berry said the timing of the anthem was a "set-up" because she was told it would play either before or after the athletes took the podium. USA Track and Field said it was scheduled to play at 5:20 p.m., based on a preset schedule, and that they didn't wait for the athletes to take to the podium to play it. The anthem started at 5:25 p.m. In response to the backlash, Berry said the anthem (specifically the third paragraph) doesn't speak for black Americans, and that she's going to the Olympics to represent those who "died due to systemic racism" because her purpose and mission is "bigger than sports."

what to know

WHAT THE LAW SAYS

  • The "Flag Code" states that the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem, & contains guidance about what to do when the flag is displayed when the anthem is played.
  • It says that people in uniform, members of the military, & veterans "should" give the military salute.
  • It says civilians "should" face the flag & stand at attention with their right hand over their heart.
  • FYI: The Code contains no penalties; you can't be punished for not standing/facing the flag.

what to know

WHAT THE U.S. & INTL. OLYMPIC CMTES SAY

  • After Berry was sanctioned in 2019, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Cmte. said it would no longer punish athletes who engage in peaceful protest (ex: kneeling, raising a fist).
  • HOWEVER, that stance is contrary to the one take by the International Olympic Cmte. (IOC) - the body that runs the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
  • IOC Rule 50 says: "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues ....”

what to know

IOC RULE 50

  • Rule 50 has been in place for many years. In the 1968 Summer Olympics, U.S. sprinters (John Carlos & Tommie Smith) were sent home for violating it by raising their fists at the podium during the national anthem.
  • The IOC rules - not the U.S. Olympic Cmte. rules - apply at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, but IOC guidelines say athletes who violate Rule 50 will be evaluated by their country's cmte. rules, in conjunction with the Intl. Federation and IOC, noting "disciplinary action will be taken on a case-by-case basis as necessary."

what to know

In recent years, the IOC has come under increased pressure to modify Rule 50, which it says is aimed at avoiding "divisive disruption" and keeping the focus on the athletes in order to unify the world. The IOC says international unity and facilitating the understanding of different views can only be accomplished if "everybody respects this diversity." The IOC also notes that athletes are free to express their views outside Olympic sites, such as in official press conferences and via social media.

Jul 1, 2021

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On This Day

June 30, 1864

During the height of the Civil War, Pres. Abraham Lincoln turns his gaze west, granting Yosemite Valley to California - with specific orders to preserve it for future generations of Americans.

On This Day

“I have seen persons of emotional temperament stand with tearful eyes, spellbound and dumb with awe, as they got their first view of the Valley from Inspiration Point, overwhelmed in the sudden presence of the unspeakable, stupendous grandeur.”

The first guardian of the Yosemite Grant, Galen Clark, helped oversee the land known later as Yosemite National Park. Yosemite was the name of the local Native American tribe in the area.

On This Day

The Early Years

  • The Gold Rush led to conflict between settlers and Native American tribes.
  • A “Yosemite Board of Commissioners” was named to both preserve the land and make it accessible for recreation.
  • 1865: The man responsible for designing NYC’s Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, filed a report on Yosemite Valley & the nearby “Big Tree Grove” of ancient sequoia trees, raising concerns about how visitors impact the area.

On This Day

“Nearly all the park is a profound solitude. Yet it is full of charming company, full of God’s thoughts, a place of peace and safety amid the most exalted grandeur and eager enthusiastic action, a new song, a place of beginnings abounding in first lessons on life, mountain-building, eternal, invincible, unbreakable order; with sermons in stones, storms, trees, flowers, and animals brimful of humanity.”

Naturalist John Muir

On This Day

By the 1870s, there were already concerns about too many visitors impacting Yosemite. Muir was one of the many voices who argued (successfully) for Yosemite to become a national park in 1890 - the third in the nation after Yellowstone and Sequoia.

Jun 29, 2021

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Health

Going Gray

Does our hair hold the key to aging?
A cutting-edge study looks at why we go gray. What researchers found - and why they say our gray may not always be here to stay.

Health

"Just as the rings in a tree trunk hold information about past decades in the life of a tree, our hair contains information about our biological history."

Dr. Martin Picard, a mitochondrial psychobiologist at Columbia University, was curious why certain cells show signs of aging earlier than others. Hair appears to reflect this concept as changes seem staggered - some strands hold their color, while others turn gray: “Hair grows out of the body, and then it crystallizes into this hard, stable [structure] that holds the memory of your past.”

Health

The Study:

  • 14 volunteers, ages 9 - 39 years old.
  • Using a first-of-its-kind high-resolution scanner, researchers observed hair color changes not visible to the naked eye, sometimes observing gray in the middle of strands.
  • Researchers compared changes in hair to life events recorded by participants.
  • Takeaway: An association surfaced between times of stress and gray hair.
  • Reversal: Researchers observed that gray hair can regain its color as stress subsides.

Health

"...there is a window of opportunity during which graying is probably much more reversible than had been thought for a long time."

Professor Ralf Paus, Ph.D., University of Miami, co-author of the study that led to more questions about WHY our hair goes gray. One possible explanation: a cell's mitochondria (powerhouse) can respond like "antennas" to stress by altering proteins. Once a certain number of proteins are altered, we tip over a threshold which causes our hair to turn gray more easily. When younger people come "down" from that threshold, color may reverse.

Health

Researchers don't believe stress reduction in a fully gray-haired 75-year-old will return that person to his or her original hair color. HOWEVER, 5 strands from one participant (35) reversed to color from gray during the 1-month period after his 2-week vacation. So maybe there's more to hair than split ends: "Our data add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that human aging is not a linear, fixed biological process but may, at least in part, be halted or even temporarily reversed."

Jun 29, 2021

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Current Events

Why Delta?

The virus variant behind COVID-19 shutdowns in Australia, Africa and India has its own name and potentially some unique symptoms.
What To Know & Why It Matters

Current Events

“It is frightening to see what is going on across the continent. This is the first time that we are beginning to see countries report that their health system…the hospitals are completely overwhelmed.”

Dir. of Africa CDC John Nkengasong on rising COVID-19 cases and deaths across the continent. Some of the most prominent countries, like South Africa, report the Delta variant as the leading virus strain. Concerns about the variant led to shutdowns in Australia, including in Sydney, one of the countries largest cities.

Current Events

What To Know: Delta

  • A mutation of the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • First identified in India; rose to prominence during an outbreak in April/May.
  • Early data = more transmissible.
  • "Variant of Concern" due to worry it can cause more severe illness (CDC/WHO).
  • *Note*: Severity of disease can be tougher to determine *now* as many of the most vulnerable have been vaccinated, and the vaccines appear to decrease severity and rate of infection.

Current Events

Different Symptoms?

“COVID is also acting differently now."

Prof. Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, who leads a COVID symptom study. While recently referencing the Delta variant, he said the number one COVID-19 symptom *now* is headache "followed by sore throat, runny nose and fever." Prof. Spector noted COVID, especially in younger adults, is "not the old classic symptoms" - with rare occurrence of cough and loss of smell.

Current Events

Something To Consider:

  • Delta variant is 1 of 6 "variants of concern."
  • Vaccinated individuals seem to have some protection against severe illness, specifically those with 2-dose Moderna and Pfizer.
  • Questions remain about how this variant may impact those with some immunity from a past infection from a different variant.
  • "Delta-Plus" = a mutation on the Delta variant that appears to show more resistance to some experimental antibody treatments, but TBD its significance.

Current Events

Why is the Delta variant more contagious? There's not one definitive answer yet, but it's capturing the attention vs. other variants because of the speed of spread. The Delta variant currently makes up 1 in every 5 cases in the United States compared to over 90% of the cases in Britain and India (New York Times).

Jun 28, 2021

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what to know

UNIDENTIFIED

The U.S. government releases the first report of its kind on what we can't explain in the skies.

what to know

Term To Know:

UAP = "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena"
  • The government uses UAP how most of us would use "UFO" – unidentified flying object.
  • This intentionally broad umbrella term references "multiple types of UAP requiring different explanations": airborne clutter (birds, balloons), natural atmospheric phenomena (ice crystals), classified programs by U.S. entities, foreign adversary systems or a "non-governmental entity."

what to know

BACKSTORY:

  • There's been no good reporting system for UAPs across the U.S. government.
  • This assessment by the Office of the Director of Nat'l Intelligence looked at 144 reports from U.S. gov't sources (ex: U.S. Navy) since 2004.
  • Most reports related to "objects that interrupted pre-planned training or other military activity."
  • 80 reports included observation from multiple sources (like sight, radar), 11 "near-misses" by pilots, and 18 reports of strange flight patterns.

what to know

"UAP clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to U.S. national security."

The U.S. government admits some of the unexplained could rise to the level of a "national security challenge" if it involves "breakthrough or disruptive technology" by a foreign or potential adversary. The report also underscores that sometimes a mystery has a simple explanation - one unusual sighting was identified as a deflated balloon.

what to know

The government is working towards gathering better information by developing a more "formalized" process for reporting across agencies (most reports now come from the U.S. Navy, but later reports will include the Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)) and more specificity in the reports themselves.

Jun 28, 2021

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Quote of the Day

“You've gotta have hope and you've gotta have faith."

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Deputy Incident Commander Andy Alvarez

Quote of the Day

Alvarez on Monday said rescuers have found some "voids" or pockets in the wreckage of a Florida condo collapse, prompting some optimism of finding survivors. More than 150 people remain missing after the collapse early Thursday morning. Alvarez says more than 80 workers at a time are working through the rubble, trying to remove debris; rescuers are using every available resource - from dogs to a NASA microwave radar device - to try to locate signs of life. The cause of collapse remains a mystery, although more evidence is surfacing about prior warnings of structural issues.

Jun 28, 2021

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