Hey ladies - want feel strong and empowered? Then hit the gym! Researchers at the University of British Columbia report in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise that in the 20 minutes following a 30-minute workout, the women they studied viewed themselves as not only stronger and having less body fat, but feeling more empowered, too. The study was small and very specific: Researchers asked 60 college-aged women who exercise regularly and have a history of body image issues to work out for a half-hour or sit quietly and read during that time. So not only does the study need to be replicated among a larger cohort, but it doesn't necessarily speak to women who are of different ages, or who don't exercise regularly or have body image issues in the first place. Still, the researchers say it's not a stretch to suggest that exercise can help certain women replace negative body thoughts with positive ones. The study's lead author writes: "We think that the feelings of strength and empowerment women achieve post exercise stimulate an improved internal dialogue." (Psychology of Sport and Exercise)
One in a Billion Odds!
Here's an interesting little statistic you probably didn't know. In all of recorded history, there have been just nine recorded sightings of conjoined aquatic mammals. That is until now - in what some are calling "a one-in-a-billion discovery." Dutch fishermen discovered a two-headed harbor porpoise among their catch. However, believing it would be illegal to keep the deceased specimen, and much to the horror of scientists everywhere, they took four pictures of the creature then threw it back into the ocean. When Dutch researchers got hold of the images, they were amazed to see the first known conjoined twin harbor porpoises, with two fully-formed heads and a single well-developed body, estimated to be about 27.5 inches long and weighing at least 13 pounds. It isn't clear why the twins formed as they did, but researcher Erwin Kompanje notes even "normal twins are extremely rare in cetaceans" because "there is simply not enough room in the body of the female" for two. (Washington Post)
Don't Mess With Rachel Borch
If you ever find yourself in Hope, Maine, and you run into Rachel Borch - take our advice and don't mess with her. Rachel was out for a jog in the woods near her home when a "ferocious-looking" raccoon made a beeline for her. The 21-year-old young woman knew immediately that something was wrong with the raccoon that was charging toward her. She says, "imagine the Tasmanian devil," and that it was "terrifying." Yanking out her headphones, she began "dancing" around the animal on the narrow path, but knew that, one way or another, she was going to get bit. She figured her hands would be the best spot, so she offered them up. The raccoon chomped down on her thumb and stayed there, scratching at her legs and arms as she screamed. Now on her knees, Rachel noticed her phone lying submerged in a mud puddle, and got an idea. With her thumb still in the animal's mouth, she pushed his head down into the muck and drowned the thing with her bare hands! When the raccoon finally stopped moving, she yanked out her finger and raced the three-quarters of a mile home. Two days later, the state confirmed the animal was infected with rabies. Borch got rabies shots, but there's more bad news. Animal control officer Heidi Blood said the infected raccoon may not be alone noting, "when there's one, there's typically another." (Camden Herald)
No Stinky Driveways
Some idiot in the town of Tiverton, Rhode Island used unwashed clam shells to pave an access road on his property. Unfortunately the shells still had bits of clam meat stuck to them which of course began to stink like all get out and attract both buzzing flies and maggots. Neighbors complained to the city about the unholy stench and circulated a petition as the problem got worse with the record-breaking heat of recent days. The city finally issued a cease-and-desist order against David Rose and crews showed up to start removing the stinky shells. Authorities determined that since so much rotting meat was still on the shells, they technically qualified as waste. One neighbor calls it "pretty amazing news for us." (WJAR)
No Stinky Beaches
Those who planned to spend this past weekend in the waters off Florida's Sunny Isles Beach (near Miami) got a huge surprise. The Florida Department of Health shut down a two-block stretch between 172nd Street and 174th streets until further notice for safety reasons. Nope - no shark sightings or unusually rough waters. It's far worse. Water samples showed that bacteria levels were too high...because there's too much poop in the water. Yep - the beach did not meet the recreational water quality standard for enterococci, a bacteria in animals' intestines, meaning there was too much human or pet poop for it to be safe to swim. (Miami Herald)
Ted Nugent Regrows a Few Brain Cells
You know things have really gotten way out of hand when Ted Nugent says it's time to tone it down. The ultra-conservative rocker - who once described former President Obama as a "subhuman mongrel" who should "suck on his machine gun" - now says he has decided to give up using "hateful rhetoric" after the Alexandria shooting. Ted says, "At the tender age of 69, my wife has convinced me that I just can't use those harsh terms. I will avoid anything that can be interpreted as condoning or referencing violence." Nugent was questioned (and most likely warned) by the Secret Service in 2012 after saying he would be "dead or in jail" if Obama was re-elected. Ted went on to say, "I encourage even my friends-slash-enemies on the left in the Democrat and liberal world that we have got to be civil to each other." Nugent, whose long history of inflammatory remarks includes a call for Hillary Clinton to be hanged for treason, later backpedaled those comments saying the were just part of the "over-the-top animal spirit and attitude" that he lives on stage. Ah, I miss the good old days when Brother Ted limited his controversial statements to simpler things like "Wang dang, what a sweet poontang!" (Entertainment Weekly)
What the What?
And what do you say we start the week by blowing your mind? You think Americans suffer from lack of education? You have no idea. A new national survey in Food & Wine found that 48 percent of American adults are not sure where chocolate milk comes from! Meanwhile, a full 7 percent - or 16.4 million of us - think chocolate milk comes from brown cows! Not kidding. The alarming figures come from an Innovation Center for US Dairy survey of more than 1,000 people. While nearly half of Americans not being clear where chocolate milk comes from may seem shocking, agriculture and nutrition experts likely aren't surprised. They've been complaining for decades that Americans are woefully ignorant about what they eat. The co-founder of nonprofit FoodCorps says, "We still get kids who are surprised that a french fry comes from a potato." For the record, chocolate milk is defined by the Center for US Dairy as "cow's milk with added flavoring and sweeteners." (Food & Wine)