‘Are You Happy?’ This Visual Survey Will Make You Tear Up (VIDEO)

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
‘Are You Happy?’ This Visual Survey Will Make You Tear Up (VIDEO)
Bangladesh is one of the happiest countries in the world, according to The Happy Planet Index. Photographer and filmmaker Farhan Hussain embarked on a journey through the streets of its capital city, Dhaka, to find out if that was true.

He and a few friends went to various locations in the city to ask random pedestrians the question, “Are you happy?”

Hussain told The Huffington Post in an email that even though Bangladesh has plenty of strikes, poverty and pollution, he wanted to make a film that depicted a human connection that all residents of Dhaka could relate to. He wrote:

We are all tired of political videos and all the things that are wrong with our country. The story of a country and of individuals can be vastly different, and I always found stories of individuals really interesting. I wanted people to tell their own life stories, and the subject of happiness seemed the most fitting. After all that’s our ultimate goal in life, to be happy.

What makes you happy? Let us know in the comments below.

Bubonic Plague Still Kills Thousands
By Tia Ghose, Staff Writer

Published: 09/27/2013 12:07 PM EDT on LiveScience

Bubonic plague, the deadly scourge that wiped out half of Europe during the Middle Ages, still lurks in pockets of the globe, new research suggests.

Although plague is now rare in Europe, it recently sickened more than 10,000 people in Congo over a decade, and cases still occasionally emerge in the Western United States, according to a study published Sept. 16 in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The plague bacteria, Yersinia pestis, had lain dormant in China’s Gobi Desert for centuries. But in the 1300s, it emerged with a vengeance, fanning out via trade routes from Asia to Europe and killing millions of people along the way. The plague was transmitted by fleas harbored by rats, which flourished in the overcrowded, filthy cities of the Middle Ages. By the end of the 1500s, between a third and half of Europe’s population had died from the Black Death. [Pictures of a Killer: Plague Gallery]

Even during the 1900s, the plague still killed millions of people, but since then, the advent of better hygiene in cities and swift treatment with antibiotics has reduced this erstwhile killer into a rare disease.

Still present

Still, plague outbreaks still flare up around the world.

According to the new study, which tallied the reported cases of plague around the world between 2000 and 2009, more than 20,000 people became infected during that time. People contracted the disease via rodents, bad camel meat and sick herding dogs, the report said. Cases in Libya and Algeria re-emerged after decades of absence.

The biggest burden was in Africa: in Congo 10,581 people contracted plague, followed by Madagascar with 7,182 cases and Zambia with 1,309 cases.

“These events, although showing progress, suggest that plague will persist in rodent reservoirs mostly in African countries burdened by poverty and civil unrest, causing death when patients fail to receive prompt antimicrobial treatment,” the authors wrote in their paper.

In the United States during that time period, 56 people contracted the plague and seven died. The cases occurred mainly because plague has become endemic in squirrels and wild rodents in the American West. Two of the fatalities were scientists: one who had conducted an autopsy on a wild mountain lion, and another who worked with plague bacteria in the lab.

Despite being a hotbed of plague in times past, Europe logged very few cases of the disease in the past decade. That may be because European cities keep their rodent populations in check, so the potential hosts for plague aren’t as prevalent, the researchers said.

Follow Tia Ghose on Twitter and Google+. Follow LiveScience @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

7 Devastating Infectious Diseases 10 Deadly Diseases That Hopped Across Species Top 10 Mysterious Diseases Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ]]>

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Awaken your Inner Light
Randy Pausch, the professor from Carnegie Mellon, who gave the Last Lecture, inspired millions like me around the world. As I woke up this morning, I remembered his words, “If you have lived your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, and your dreams will come to you.”

Hence, it is important to remember this vital piece of information as we go through the motions of life, explore unfamiliar territories, and uncertain futures. Listed below are a few quick fixes to bring back positive vibrations:

• Don’t judge another person. You never know what battles they are fighting. If you can’t say kind words, be silent. Try to give people enough time, and they will mostly show you their good side.

• Show gratitude.

• Fix your breathing. Take time to meditate. Do “pranayama”. These tried and tested methods help us to clear and center our minds.

• Turn feelings of greed into generosity, and let anger bloom in compassion. Forfeit ignorance for wisdom.

• Live in the moment. As clichéd as it sounds, but it works. Pay attention to the moment you are in and, the people who you are with. Enjoy these moments to the fullest. There may be dissatisfaction, but our own mind causes this suffering due to the burning desires within us. Therefore, be smart of your desires. Feel the feelings but do not get stuck in emotions. Let your mind run free like a noble well-bred horse.

• Don’t feel too bogged down with failure. It is natural, and it is constant. There is always a potential for something good or worse (suffering or enlightenment).

• Finally, let everyone be happy. Smile at the idea of the unknown. Life is glorious as it is, and it is filled with miracles. Hence, there is no need to ask for anything else. Learn that “this is the way it is.”

Remember to recognize that no one goes beyond in life. Let this wisdom sync deep into your veins, so that you can relax and enjoy this ride called LIFE.

Often, people wonder about the Meaning of Life. The answer is to just find your special talent or gift. So work hard, and be good at something, it makes you valuable. Then when you find your gift, just give it away, and that is your purpose for this life.

Time to Change When the Time Is Right
There are certain moments in everyone’s life that I like to call “check marks.” These are those milestone moments and accomplishments, big achievements or birthdays that have a generous impact on our lives and how we learn and go forward. Thinking back on my different check marks in life, from my first day of kindergarten to my last class in college, I have tracked one big change in my life — and that is change. I am proud to be a constantly evolving product, still not ready to be sold but in the development stage. It’s sometimes hard to be 22 years old and remind yourself that you have so much more life ahead of you. I can’t wait for what’s ahead, especially to think about the amazing things I have already accomplished. It all goes to show that change is always a good thing when the timing is just right.

I was born in January 1991, right on the cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius (and I honestly don’t really know what that means). I like to consider myself a pop-culture baby because of the many coincidences that correspond with people of my age in different pop culture mediums. For example — I am the same age as Tommy Pickles and the rest of the Rugrats, High School Musical came out my freshman year of high school and yes, the last film, High School Musical 3: Senior Year was released in the fall of my senior year in New York City. Oh, and that Taylor Swift song “22,” about you know, being 22, came out the same year I turned 22. Because of these and many other little things, I’ve always been a strong believer in fate. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown further away from religion so its nice to have some little thing to still believe in. Keeping faith in fate has taught me a lot about time and knowing when it is the right time to do certain things, especially the big things in life that you sometimes want to avoid. I’ve had three of these struggles in my recent past and I’m happy to say that I finally figured out when the time was right for each to change.

The first problem was my weight. As a sophomore in college, I was 260 pounds and pretending to be happy. I was a somewhat successful theatre major at Northwestern University in suburban Chicago, an environment that felt familiar to my home in suburban New York. I was in a fraternity, started drinking alcohol and smoking weed for the first time ever and my natural habitats and genes got the best of me. When I came home for my spring break before I went on a service trip to Argentina, I looked in the mirror of the airplane bathroom and just felt sad for the person I saw. I knew I had to do something to change that feeling. I was lucky enough to have the resources and young enough to make a commitment to improve my health and appearance, without a job to worry about and parents to support my goal. I started with a nutritionist to get an overall basic knowledge of good and bad. I went to the gym almost every day for at least an hour and after a couple of weeks, the numbers began to drop. When I saw that the commitment to an overall lifestyle change and not just a temporary diet was working, I knew I had to completely change for good. I am happy to say that I now weigh 185 pounds, losing every inch in an organized and healthy way. I’ve done Pilates and personal training and just began training for my first half marathon! Every day is a struggle to maintain, but the improvements I made in my appearance and health helped me with the next most important change I needed to make in my life.

I’ve always known I was gay every since I knew what that word meant. Why I didn’t come out for 20-plus years? I’ll never really know. Coming out is a really confusing thing. It’s the one thing I think straight people just can’t really understand because they never have to do anything like that in their lives. Hopefully one day I won’t either. My best friend, Jon, said he told my other good friend Devon at the beginning of our junior year of college that after my drastic weight loss and new look, I would have the confidence to come out by the end of the year. Well, he was right. The first people I came out to were actually my parents (rare for this type of thing) in an email (maybe even more rare). I never thought they would disapprove of me in any way, but it’s a reaction you can truly never be prepared for. Not surprisingly, my entire family and friends have been nothing but supportive and kind to me about my sexuality, something I know not everyone gets in the world, or even this country. I’m lucky to be from and live in two states that recognize same-sex marriage, but 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, we are still fighting a civil rights issue in our country today. As a history minor in college, my focus was on 1960s America. I studied the civil rights era from all angles and I still can’t believe that things that like are still happening today and it’s happening to me. It’s simply stupid and dumb, but I believe that there are smart people in power like President Obama and the Pope who will make the necessary changes needed now for equality, because the time is right.

The most recent change is my life is probably the most exciting and scary at the same time. After a childhood in New York and college in Chicago, I moved out west to California, living my Hollywood dreams, West Hollywood to be exact. What’s next is still up in the air, but I knew the time was right for a big change in my life. Every next check mark I pass from now own will take me one step closer to my final goal. I have no idea how many long that will take but I think I’m putting myself on the right track. And I’m confident I’ll be able to figure out the appropriate time to make any more changes and check back again in a couple of years and well, take it from there.

For more by Jake Perlman, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.

Good News – The Huffington Post
11 Touching Moments Of Love With Therapy Animals (PHOTOS)
Animals have us beat when it comes to endless love and compassion. That’s why they make the best therapy companions. From dogs to bunnies to horses, animals have a deeper well of love to draw from, making them perfect for the job.

New Jersey Gay Marriage: Judge Says Same-Sex Marriages Can Start October 21
Same-sex couples in New Jersey may soon be able to marry.

Judge Mary Jacobson of the Mercer County Superior Court ruled Friday that gay couples can marry in the Garden State starting October 21.

Jacobson said she made her decision in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on United States v. Windsor, but the ruling is likely to be appealed.

“This unequal treatment requires that New Jersey extend civil marriage to same-sex couples to satisfy equal protection guarantees of the New Jersy Constitution as interpreted by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis,” wrote the judge. “Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution.”

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This post has been updated.

Tobias Bass, Oklahoma Boy, Asks TV Station For Help So He Can Run 5K With His Big Brother
More often than not, brotherly love is of the rough and tumble variety. For 10-year-old Tobias Bass, the relationship he has with his big brother, Titus, couldn’t be more different.

Titus has cerebral palsy, a condition that’s left him unable to hear, eat or walk. And while Tobias can’t do much to remedy two of those ailments, he’s determined to do whatever it takes get his older brother outside running, even though he says his mom “can’t afford one of those fancy … joggers.”

To that end, the young boy wrote a heartbreaking letter to Oklahoma’s News9 asking for help.

“No one has died, and I don’t want any money, but I need help,” begins Tobias, who says he plans to be a pastor someday. “My pastor said we have to be God’s hands and feet, but I’m going to be his legs, too.”

Tobias explains he’s running a 5K on Sept. 27 and needs a jogger so he can run with his brother. “Can you go on the news and not ask Oklahomans to give me anything, but can someone loan me a jogger … so I can push Titus in the 5k?”

“If someone can loan me a pusher I will volunteer myself out to any other parents who want me to run their disabled children in a 5k. I can be the legs for more than one kid,” he adds.

After learning of the situation, News9 reports they were able to procure a jogging stroller for Tobias from Oklahoma’s Assistive Technology Act Program, ABLE Tech. And Tobias gets to keep it.

The letter, seen below, “should break your heart into about a hundred pieces,” Uproxx notes. The folks at USA Today apparently felt the same way: “This is going to make you cry happy tears.”

Reproduced with permission from News9:

news 9

news 9

news 9

Green – The Huffington Post
GoPro Video: Alex Gray Rides In A Golden Barrel
Think surfing’s not for you because of the intimidating big waves, action-packed adrenaline, and terrifying wipe-outs? This video will change your mind.

For almost a full minute, pro surfer Alex Gray — a “ladies man, nudist, lobster diver [and] yoga god” — rides towards a golden, setting sun, as the barrel of a beautifully arcing wave drapes around him. His GoPro captures the whole setting and, paired with the whimsical music of Thee Oh Sees, the overall effect is graceful, wondrous, and even soothing.

Great Lakes Chemicals Discovered By Researchers Shows PPCP Contamination Of Lake Michigan
Researchers testing water samples in the Great Lakes found alarming traces of prescription drugs, caffeine and other chemicals in Lake Michigan.

Scientists from the School of Freshwater Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were examining water samples for PPCPs, chemicals that have been derived from pharmaceuticals and personal care products. The effects of these pollutants have been studied in rivers, harbors and other watersheds. But no previous studies ever assessed PPCPs offshore in Lake Michigan — the world’s sixth-largest lake by volume. It was thought human, industrial and agricultural wastewater contaminants would be diluted by the sheer amount of water that Lake Michigan holds.

“There’s a belief with very large bodies of water that the solution to pollution is dilution,” Rebecca Klaper, one of the co-authors of the study at the School of Freshwater Sciences, told The Huffington Post.

Instead, a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs, caffeine and other toxins were found farther out from shore and at higher levels than the researchers expected.

“There’s basically a soup of all these chemicals at very low levels,” she said.

The researchers found 32 PPCPs, some located two miles offshore from two Milwaukee wastewater treatment plants, the Detroit Free Press reported. PPCPs are often present in wastewater, as the human body usually can’t entirely absorb pharmaceutical chemicals, according to the EPA.

“It was surprising that [Metformin] was so prevalent and it wasn’t broken down in the sewage treatment plant — and we could find it three kilometers out in the lake,” Klaper said.

The most frequently found PPCPs were Metformin, the diabetes medication found in every single water sample; caffeine, likely from energy drinks and soda; suflamethoxazole, an antibiotic used to treat urinary tract infections; and Triclosan, an antibacterial agent that’s commonly used in soaps and toothpaste. These four pharmaceuticals and chemicals were all found in more than 50 percent of the offshore samples the team collected over the past two years.

All in all, 14 of the PPCPs present a “medium” or “high” ecological risk, the researchers say.

And given their prevalence so far out from shore, the researchers say the initial findings from the study have implications for other large bodies of water — “the potential ecological risk for large lake systems in much higher than previously understood,” the study concludes.

The researchers note that fish and animals who call Lake Michigan home could be in danger from exposure to these chemicals, but the EPA says that scientists haven’t found any adverse human health affects of PPCPs.

A better understanding of the occurrence of PPCPs in large water systems, particularly in areas with substantial urban development, needs further investigation, the report said. Right now, Klaper and her team are looking for more funding. They’d like to go out to the middle of Lake Michigan to keep testing water samples, but they’d also like to pinpoint which of these chemicals should be targeted for removal or replacement.

She says there still isn’t enough information about what happens when these chemical compounds combine and react, and what that does to the environment.

“The study doesn’t suggest that people should stop taking these medications, or that all chemicals are bad,” she said. “It’s that we need some more information on the environmental effects, and to consider that when we put it out on the marketplace and target that for removal with our treatment technologies.”

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo

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