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Haunting video of starving polar bear goes viral, breaks hearts

heartbreaking video of a skeletal polar bear scavenging for food in a desolate landscape is going viral online. The clip of the bear, which was released by the National Geographic channel, is gut-wrenching.

>> See the clip here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised.)

Photographer Paul Nicklen, who has been with National Geographic for 17 years, says recording the video was even more heartbreaking. He’s spent his life filming bears and estimates that he’s come across about 3,000 of them, but the animal in his latest video was unlike the rest. In an article about the clip, Nicklen recalled, “We stood there crying — filming with tears rolling down our cheeks.”

>> Read more trending news

Nicklen says he’s often asked why he didn’t do something, but he explains, “Of course, that crossed my mind. But it’s not like I walk around with a tranquilizer gun or 400 pounds of seal meat.” He added, “When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like. Bears are going to starve to death. This is what a starving bear looks like.”

The internet has definitely felt the gut-punch of the video, which sparked an outcry. Actor Kumail Nanjiani offered one off-hand solution to the problem:

Unfortunately, animals seem to have a very bleak future in front of them. The No. 1 threat to the world’s 22,000 polar bears is climate change, according to a World Wildlife Foundation report. The bears spend the winter months on the ice, where they do a lot of laying around and a whole lot of eating seals; they fast during the summer. But as the winter months have become warmer, it takes longer for the ice to reappear each season, meaning that the animals have less time to eat, and they have to fast for a longer stretch of time. In short, no ice means no seals, which could soon mean no polar bears.

Buzzfeed News also uploaded a video of the tear-jerking scene that has made the rounds online.

Government agencies monitoring about climate change are also warning that we could possibly lose polar bears as early as 2050, per a Washington Post report.

Read more here.

Canola oil linked to dementia, study says

Memory loss and confusion are common symptoms of dementia. Now scientists are linking canola oil to the disease in a new report

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Researchers from Temple University recently conducted an experiment, published in Scientific Reports, to determine how the common cooking oil may have an effect on the brain.

To do so, they examined mice that were six months old, dividing them into two groups. One was fed a normal diet, while the other had “a diet supplemented with the equivalent of about two tablespoons of canola oil,” the authors explained. 

After observing the animals for 12 months, they weighed them. They found that the mice on the canola oil diet weighed significantly more than those on a regular diet. 

They then assessed their working memory, short-term memory and learning ability by administering maze tests. They discovered the mice that had consumed canola oil suffered damage to their working memory. The canola oil-treated mice had reduced levels of amyloid beta 1-40, a protein that serves a beneficial role in the brain. 

“As a result of decreased amyloid beta 1-40, animals on the canola oil diet further showed increased formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, with neurons engulfed in amyloid beta 1-42,” the authors said. “The damage was accompanied by a significant decrease in the number of contacts between neurons, indicative of extensive synapse injury. Synapses, the areas where neurons come into contact with one another, play a central role in memory formation and retrieval.”

Their findings suggest canola oil is not beneficial to the brain, especially when it is consumed over long periods of time. Researchers now hope to further their studies to find out exactly how much canola oil can produce changes in the brain and if it can be linked to Alzheimer’s disease. 

“Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy,” lead researcher Domenico Pratico said. “Based on the evidence from this study, canola oil should not be thought of as being equivalent to oils with proven health benefits.”

 

Watch: NJ policeman captures meteor on dashcam

A New Jersey policeman on patrol in the middle of the night was treated to a spectacular celestial treat as a meteor streaked across the sky, NPR reported.

>> Read more trending news

On Dec. 2 at 3:09 a.m., Sgt. Michael Virga was on patrol for the Township of Hamilton when his vehicle dashcam caught the path of a fireball that lit up the sky. The event was confirmed by the American Meteor Society, which received several reports along the East Coast of the United States, NPR reported.

“It was a pinpoint in the sky, then a bright lime green streak and then it disintegrated," Virga told NPR.

He thought at first the flashing light came from fireworks, but was startled enough to pull over and rewind his video. Virga saw that he had recorded a clear view of the event, a case of “being in the right place at the right time.” 

Eating healthy diet also good for environment, study finds

Eating healthy is not only beneficial to your body -- it benefits the environment, too, according to a recent report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from universities in the Netherlands recently conducted an experiment, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to determine how dietary choices impact the environment.

To do so, they used Exiobase, an input-output database that represents the world’s economy. The platform allows users to track the environmental costs of growing a variety of foods and the machinery needed to produce and distribute it to supermarkets. The site is also able to adjusts its figures based on a different countries’ production efficiency.

Scientists gathered information on the average diets of citizens living in 39 countries as well as its nationally recommended diets. They then entered the data into Exiobase to examine how it would affect greenhouse gas emissions, land use and eutrofication, which is the addition of nutrients to water sources that can lead to toxicities and lack of oxygen in water.

After analyzing the results, they found that if people in 28 high-income nations, including the United States, Germany and Japan, followed the dietary recommendations set by its respective governments, greenhouse gases related to the production of the food would drop by 13 to 25 percent. 

Additionally, the amount of land needed to grow the food would decrease by 17 percent.

“The study shows that choosing to follow an NRD over the average national diet would have the biggest environmental savings in the United States, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Most of these savings are due to the reduction of meat in the diet. There are reductions also in most EU nations, with Greece, Ireland, and the Netherlands saving the most,” the authors wrote in a statement

As for lower-income nations, researchers discovered following a NRD over the average national diet would result in higher environmental impacts, because these areas rely on higher consumption of animal product to combat low levels of protein. 

But they say the overall benefits would still be positive. 

“Although I think we could do even better, the message is a positive one, overall, especially if middle- and high-income countries modify their diets to align with nationally recommended diets,” they wrote. “This will generally mean eating more plant products such as legumes and vegetables, and fewer animal products. If you know your diet isn't healthy, you have one more reason to change, for our environment too. It might just be possible to have your cake and eat it!”

Supermoon 2017: 12 must-see photos that lit up social media

Did you miss the supermoon that delighted skygazers Sunday night? Here’s the good news: Photographers around the world shared must-see snapshots of the phenomenon on social media.

>> Click here or scroll down to see the photos

>> MORE PHOTOS: Supermoon 2017 around the world

>> Sunday supermoon kicks off trilogy of spectacular lunar viewing

>> Supermoon 2017: How to see, photograph the majestic ‘Full Cold Moon’ this weekend

>> Read more trending news

You’ll also get a chance to see other supermoons on Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2018.

Photos: Supermoon delights skygazers around the world

A trilogy of supermoons began Dec. 3, 2017, with a full cold moon that could be viewed in person or online. The other supermoons will occur Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2018.

Sunday supermoon kicks off trilogy of spectacular lunar viewing

A trilogy of supermoons begins Sunday night with a full cold moon that can be viewed in person or online, Space.com reported.

>> Read more trending news

The other supermoons will occur on Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2018. In addition, there will be a lunar eclipse on Jan. 31 that will cause a “blue moon.”

Sunday’s spectacular lunar view can be seen online beginning at 9 p.m. ET by visiting the Space.com website or by going to Slooh, an online astronomy service.

A supermoon occurs when the full moon is at its perigee, which is the closest point of its orbit to the Earth, Space.com reported. The moon appears to be larger and brighter than a regular full moon and up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than when it is at its apogee, which is its furthest point from Earth, Space.com reported.

Australia powers up the world’s biggest battery

The world’s largest lithium battery was activated in Australia on Friday, fulfilling the pledge by Tesla CEO Elon Musk to build it in 100 days or provide it for free, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

The electric car company’s Powerpack battery system stores energy generated by a nearby wind farm in South Australia, and it is capable of providing electricity for as many as 30,000 homes, CNN reported.

“South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy,” the state's premier, Jay Weatherill, said in a statement Friday. “This is history in the making."

Tesla said it hopes the project “provides a model for future deployments around the world.”

Musk made his “100 days or it's free” vow on Twitter during an exchange with Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, CNN reported. The promise began with the official contract was signed in September.

With the battery going online this week, Musk met his deadline. The battery was officially launched Friday, but Australian media reported that it started supplying power to the electricity grid Thursday during peak demand hours.

Scientists say glitter is potential environmental hazard

Glitter's sparkly days may be over, if scientists get their way.

Because glitter is a microplastic, it poses a potential ecological hazard, scientists told The Independent. The threat is particularly serious to marine animals, who have suffered fatal consequences from consuming plastic that makes its way into the ocean.

>> Read more trending news

Glitter is not just found on cards and decorative items, but also in makeup.

Scientists don't necessarily want a complete ban on glitter, but are encouraging the creation of nontoxic, eco-friendly alternatives.

Leonid meteor shower 2017: Here's how to see this weekend's celestial spectacle

If you're looking for a shooting star so you can make your wish come true, this weekend may just be your lucky opportunity.

The Leonid meteor shower will peak this weekend, providing ideal viewing conditions for millions across the United States. With clear skies predicted by meteorologists in many parts of the country, even amateur stargazers should be able to catch a glimpse of the cosmic spectacle.

>> Read more trending news

Experts say 10 to 25 shooting stars will be visible per hour in areas with clear skies this Friday evening and Saturday morning, according to the Smithsonian. Even for the unlucky, such a high number gives anyone decent odds of sighting one of the meteors.

For those hoping to view the shower this weekend, here's everything you need to know:

What is the Leonid meteor shower?

The Leonid meteors are connected to the comet Tempel-Tuttle, according to David Samuhel, senior meteorologist and astronomy blogger at AccuWeather.

"It makes fairly frequent passes through the inner solar system," he said. "This lays out fresh debris in the path of the Earth's orbit every 33 years."

The Earth actually passes through the debris of the comet, making the falling particles visible as they burn up in the atmosphere. Thanks to clear skies and the absence of moonlight, this year's display should give stargazers a decent show.

Where will the meteor shower be most visible?

First of all, stargazers should get as far away from city lights as possible to avoid light pollution. There's no specific spot in the sky to look. But the shooting stars get their name from the Leo constellation, as their paths in the sky can be traced back to those stars.

Peak time for viewing is from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. ET Saturday.

People living throughout the Southeast, the Northern Plains and California are in luck, as meteorologists are predicting clear skies, ideal for viewing the shower.

Those who reside in the Northeast, the Great Lakes region, the central Plains or the Pacific Northwest, however, may have to travel to other areas if they want to spot a falling star.

"A large storm system will be moving from the Plains into the Great Lakes, and cloudy skies are forecast to dominate much of the eastern half of the nation," meteorologist Kyle Elliot said, according to Accuweather. "Rain and thunderstorms will put an even bigger damper on viewing conditions in many of these areas."

The shower will actually be most visible, with the highest rates of visible meteors, in East Asia.

How intense can a Leonid shower get?

While this weekend's display is sure to impress, it's actually considered a light meteor shower, as opposed to a meteor storm. The last Leonid meteor storm took place in 2002. During storms, thousands of meteors can be spotted in an hour.

In 1833, stargazers reported as many as 72,000 shooting stars per hour, according to National Geographic. In 1966, a group of hunters reported seeing 40 to 50 streaks per second over the duration of 15 minutes.

Scientists currently predict the next major outburst won't take place until 2099. But calculations suggest the comet will be returning closer to Earth in 2031 and 2064, meaning more intense storms may be seen sooner. Smaller showers, such as the one occurring this weekend, happen on a regular basis.

So, while you may get another shot at seeing Leonid's shooting stars, this weekend promises to be a great chance for many.

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