It’s not really the most wonderful time of the year unless there is snow involved. Fact.
This is your reaction when it snows (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Not only can snow be the greatest part of the British weather experience, but it also guarantees more happiness than a decent summer season.
Ah snow. Word on the street (the street being the Met Office) is that we are due a sprinkling of snow, with many places across the UK being treated to a flurry last night.
And snow lovers couldn’t be happier about this.
1. So PRETTY
Of course autumn is really beautiful, what with the leaves all turning to a cosy shade of orange. However, not even the prettiest autumn scene, trees lining a path through an empty park, could ever trump a field full of freshly fallen, untouched snow.
2. Makes Christmas better
There are only two things that could make Christmas Day even better; meeting Santa Clause, or a white Christmas.
Nothing could match the warm fuzzy feeling of waking up early in the morning on Christmas Day and seeing your street transformed as if it’s been draped in a layer of clean cotton wool.
Bing Crosby felt exactly the same way.
You love nothing more than grabbing a few sticks, buttons, pebbles and the obligatory carrot stick and assembling a small team to make an epic snowman.
Of course you take this very seriously, and every time you pride yourself on having the best snowman on the street.
In fact you have a strict method involving rolling a huge ball of snow down a slope in order to get your snowman as big as possible. You have also been known to shed a tear once he melts away. *Sob*
4. Snow days = best days
There are waves of excitement that still feel the exact same way when you’re an adult as they did when you were a child.
Stuff like watching Home Alone, birthday cake… and snow days.
A snow day feels just as amazing now, when you can’t get into the office, as it did when school was closed.
Especially when you get to the station only to be greeted with signs telling you that all trains are cancelled.
You take this opportunity to power walk home as quickly as possible, alerting everyone you meet on your way that it’s now an official snow day, whilst being busy with thoughts of how to make the most of it.
Of course throwing a few snowballs around is mandatory.
5. The memories
It doesn’t matter if your school days weren’t your best days, because the memories of snowy times during school definitely makes up for this.
The only thing to trump the mayhem of times when a dog managed to get into the playground was sitting in Maths and seeing thick heavy flakes falling and engulfing everything.
Most of the time your teachers would give up trying to capture your attention and let you out early which was always welcomed.
6. Perfect for long walks
There is something special about being able to stomp over fresh untouched snow whilst wrapped up head to toe in at least six layers of clothing.
Is there anything better than popping on some wellies and going for a long walk in the crisp cold air whilst feeling the soft snow underneath your feet?
7. Everything stops
Of course some people don’t like the snow because it causes disruption, but this can actually be a good thing.
It’s nice to have a bit of disruption which causes things to come to a bit of a stop, proving that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t manage to answer all your emails before 6pm.
8. Snow watching is intense
The only thing that could ever trump a snow filled walk, is sitting inside near the radiator with a hot drink and watching the snow fall and seeing the world turn into a winter wonderland.
Preferably whilst wearing thick woolly socks.
During this ritual you embark upon an emotional roller-coaster as you are glued to the window desperately wishing for the snow to become thicker, and heavier. Any sign of easing off leads to severe disappointment, which can only be ended by another flurry.
9. It’s very exciting
Waiting for the snow to arrive is a bit like waiting for a baby.
You know that it will come at some point, and despite having a rough time frame you still exhaust yourself with excitement waiting for it to arrive.
Once it finally arrives there is something magical about waking up and being able to tell from the silence outside, and the light reflecting off the snow into your bedroom that your wait is now over.
10. How to deal with haters
Being a lover of snow means you’ve developed a very thick skin to not only deal with the temperature drop, but also all of the people who don’t like the snow.
You’ve figured that if you can convert one snow hater to a snow fan then you’ve pretty much served your purpose on Earth.
11. SLEDGE TIME
You’ve probably got a customised beauty hidden in your garage, or garden shed that you always bring out as soon as the snow lands.
You also know the best parks within a 10 mile radius to go get revel in all the fun that sledging offers. And you head out with a sense of urgency, in order to get the best of the snow before pesky teenagers ruin it all.
12. It’s never enough
Chances are that most years you will end up slightly disappointed, as the UK tends to only get a small sprinkling.
But this just means that when we receive a heavy snow storm, you take full advantage of this rare event by spending as much time as possible outside.
You will even risk mild frostbite and soggy gloves in order to squeeze in as much time as possible in the snow. And it’s well worth it.
13. And it always goes too soon
The fact that snow melts away is one of the biggest tragedies in your life, and each time the sun comes out you are filled with dread.
Especially when it goes from being fresh white pure snow and disintegrates into a brown muddy slushy mess.
The only way to get through this is by remembering all of the good times you’ve had with it, and pinning your hopes on it returning next year. Courtesy of: The Metro UK.
Duru flew up to 5 metres above a lake for a total distance of 275.9 metres while aboard his homemade, propeller-powered hoverboard in a trip that lasted more than 1½ minutes.
Now, Duru is working on a secret, next-generation version of the device. Watch as he takes CBC’s Reg Sherren into his workshop, where he is building it, and then to a Quebec lake where he puts the new prototype to the test for the first time. Canadian inventor tests new prototype of record-setting hoverboard.
Happy International Sloth Day!!!! A wonderful day to celebrate my favorite animal!!!! So proud of all the hard work Becky Naomi Cliffe @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica has done to research how to reintroduce orphaned, hand raised sloths.
See More: http://beckycliffe.com/sloth-science-2015/
In my second year at the University of Manchester I studied parasitology, and the terrifying images of dramatic lesions and extreme elephantiasis are burnt vividly into my memory. Of course, I never considered that one day I would become one of those horror stories. In July I was diagnosed with a tropical flesh-eating parasite called Leishmaniasis, and for the past 10 weeks I have been battling to regain my health. We never fully appreciate how lucky we are to be healthy, and unfortunately I learnt this lesson the hard way.
What is Leishmaniasis?
Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania. There are actually 21 different species of leishmania, and they are found throughout Asia, Africa, South/Central America and Southern Europe. The parasite can be found in many different mammals, but the only way for it to be transmitted to a human is through the bite of an infected sandfly. When an infected sandfly bites a human, the parasite is transmitted into the body and replicates within the human macrophage cells. I was diagnosed with a type of infection called cutaneous leishmaniasis, which basically means that the disease appears as a lesion on the skin at the site of the original sandfly bite. This wound then continues to grow, and can spread to other areas of the body. Often, it will infect the mucosal lining of the mouth, nose and ears causing serious disfigurement. In minor cases, the infection heals itself within a year, however in most cases (including mine) treatment is needed.
Leishmaniasis and sloths
Unfortunately, sloths are often thought of as being dirty, lazy animals that transmit diseases and parasites. One of the many diseases that people blame sloths for is leishmaniasis. Many local people are terrified of sloths for this reason, and sadly they pass this fear down through generations. I have lost count of the number of people that have asked me if a sloth can give them leishmaniasis. The simple answer is no. This misconception stems from a few scientific studies that have found sloths to test positive for the leishmania parasite. They are, in scientific terms, a ‘reservoir’ for leishmania, but so are many mammals – including dogs! There is no way a sloth can transmit leishmaniasis to a human – this only happens through the bite of an infected sandfly. It is just one of the many negative myths that the sloths are burdened with!
I remember the sandfly that bit me. I was walking my new puppy on the beach at dusk and was annoyed by the itchy bump that later appeared on my arm. I forgot about it and only really noticed something unusual when the bite was still there two weeks later. Nobody seemed particularly concerned by the little scab on my arm, and I probably left it far longer than I should before seeking a diagnosis. We watched the little hole in my arm slowly grow for 4 weeks before deciding to have it tested. Within 24 hours, the doctor had called and told me that I had tested positive for leishmaniasis and should begin treatment immediately. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.
As it turned out, there are no nice treatment options. The Costa Rican method involves up to 60 injections of glucantime – a toxic chemical that kills the parasite but also comes with a high risk of liver and heart damage. That didn’t sound like much fun, so I decided to seek treatment in the UK since I had been due to return during August anyway. When I finally arrived at my doctors office and presented him with a flesh-eating parasite, he looked at me like I had two heads. I was advised to go to the emergency room at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to find more specialised help. I don’t think that many people turn up at the hospital claiming to have leishmaniasis, since doctors of all shapes and sizes turned up to see the girl with the flesh-eating parasite. It’s safe to say that many people looked at me like I had two heads that day.
I was finally introduced to the wonderful Dr Tim O’Dempsey. He took a biopsy of my arm (much to my horror) and told me the bad news: the UK treatment options aren’t much better than the toxic Costa Rican injections. Furthermore, I had to wait 5 days for the biopsy results before I could do anything at all – we had to just sit and watch the hole continue to grow in my arm. It was an overwhelmingly creepy feeling knowing that something was munching through the flesh on my arm and I couldn’t do anything to stop it! Depending on the species of leishmania I was infected with, I now had two treatment choices:
1) I could be admitted to hospital for three weeks of intravenous medication (chemotherapy), which basically involves the same toxic chemicals as the Costa Rican injections (think heart problems and liver failure). Famously, TV presenter Ben Fogle endured this treatment after contracting leishmaniasis in Peru, and he ended up bed-bound with pneumonia – no thank you!
2) OR I could trial a new oral medication from Germany called Miltefosine. This horrifically expensive drug comes with a bunch of awful side effects, including sickness so severe that many people simply can not finish the treatment. This option wasn’t guaranteed to work either, and had never before been used to treat leishmaniasis from Costa Rica. Furthermore, this medication is only effective against one subspecies of the parasite – the most dangerous subspecies.
As it turned out, fate made the decision for me. I was diagnosed as having the dangerous subspecies (one that is prone to infecting the mouth and nose causing disfigurement) and so I was prescribed 4 weeks worth of Miltefosine pills. I began treatment immediately and initially, things looked promising. The hole in my arm stopped growing, and the pills weren’t making me too nauseous. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise it at the time but this medication takes a huge toll on the immune system. My arm was healing but I was becoming weaker every day. Within three weeks, strange painless lumps had started to appear all over my arm and my lymph nodes were inflamed. By this point I had returned to Costa Rica and was looking forward to getting back to normal – but normal was a long way off.
The lumps grew, and one in particular became very sore. It turns out that these were abscesses growing under my skin as a result of a staphylococcus infection. Within a few days I was feverish, my heart rate was up and my blood pressure dropped – all very bad signs of a systemic infection. I was rushed to a local doctor who prescribed antibiotic injections and bed rest. The rest was a roller-coaster. The injections (that were unfortunately in my bum cheek) left me with a second infection, which quickly developed into a large abscess leaving me unable to walk or sit down. I was forced to waddle everywhere. After one of the most uncomfortable weeks of my life, the doctor surgically drained 10 ml of pus from the abscess, and prescribed stronger antibiotics. I then developed further infections in my eye and mouth, all requiring treatment. And then to top everything off, a final infection in my left arm that also had to be surgically drained and my arm stitched up.
So today I am writing this, finally feeling like my roller-coaster ride is coming to an end. The leishmaniasis on my arm is healing, and the infections are finally going away. I still have stitches in my left arm and I have a few days of antibiotics left – but I have gone almost a week now without any new symptoms developing, and I am finally beginning to regain my energy (and most importantly, I don’t need to waddle anymore)! It has been a horrific journey, but I will never again be taking my good health for granted.
Now, I am finally ready to put my snake boots on and get back out in the jungle! It’s been a while since I have been able to follow up on the Sloth Backpack Project, so it’s time for me to get productive. http://www.slothsanctuary.com/blog/
How Can I Tell If An Animal Sanctuary Is Genuine, Or If They Are Taking Advantage Of Animals?!
There a many people across the world that put the safety and care of endangered animals above themselves. A great animal sanctuary’s first concern is always to the animal, making sure they are happy, healthy, and that they feel safe. The animals there are abused, abandoned, or simply displaced by circumstance. These animals are released into the wild when possible, but a great many don’t have that option. A good sanctuary will bring you to the brink of tears with their dedication and success. However, not every “sanctuary” is what it advertises. Some are glorified breeding houses that exploit the animals and don’t take their health into consideration. It’s tough to tell them apart, but it’s important that you go through a rigorous vetting before contributing or taking part in any sanctuary.
Image courtesy of: shutterstock
When I was 16 I found out about an exotic sanctuary near me in Wisconsin. It took in abused and abandoned big cats, as well as a few bears, horses, foxes, and various farm animals. Each animal came from a horrific environment. One Sumatran tiger, a breed quickly becoming extinct, had been defanged and declawed by the circus he lived in. Tiger teeth are actually part of the jawbone, meaning his jaw couldn’t close correctly, and he couldn’t eat anything but boneless meat. One of the Jaguars (who lived below the room I stayed in) had been beaten numerous times with a metal pipe by her drug dealer owner, causing brain lesions, and a massive mistrust for males. Far too many of the animals came from other “sanctuaries” that were shut down for animal abuse, as well as some that escaped euthanasia at zoos for being “too old.” Every animal had a similar story, but almost every one turned into a happy, friendly, and affectionate animal. They had large indoor and outdoor enclosures, fresh meat every day, and at no point where they exploited or used as an attraction. A great sanctuary will have happy, playful animals because they provide a safe environment for the animals.
There are a number of red flags to look for that can easily identify those animal farms that you should stay far away from. Of course, these are not the only signs to look for. If you feel uncomfortable with the sanctuary, walk the other way.
where did all these animals come from?
Sanctuary animals can be broken into two categories, rescue animals and commercial animals. Seems obvious right? It’s sadly more complex than that.
Rescue animals are going to come from circuses, zoos, those saved from hunters or disease, or private homes. None of them are capable of surviving in the wild, so they need a home to live out the rest of their days. Each animal will have a story, most likely not a good one. Pay attention to why the animal is there, and you’ll get a quick understanding of what the sanctuary is trying to accomplish.
“Commercial” is a broad term, but in essence it’s the best one. These animals are captured specifically for housing in the facility, or they are bred in captivity for the purpose of selling or displaying. Some hide behind the veil of “protecting the species,” but animals born in captivity can’t be released into the wild, so they are simply an attraction, which is exactly what real sanctuaries are trying to protect their wards from.
Are the animals available for photo ops with you? Can you ride around on them? This is a huge distinction, and an immediate way to know if you should run the other way. Being able to SEE the animals is great. Most sanctuaries give tours (the one I worked with limited tours to 5 people maximum), but they are small, and keep the psychological needs of the animals in mind. No animals wants to be smothered by people. Most come from backgrounds that bred mistrust of people, and even a “gentle” animal can turn deadly when scared. There should always be a significant barrier between the animals and the guests, and the animals should always have somewhere they can go to be alone if they become stressed. If you can pay for a photo with them, or you can interact directly with the animal right away, then the facility is certainly not a sanctuary.
Training should never be tolerated.
Rescue animals often come from abusive situations. Circuses and private owners often use cruel and violent training methods, leading to long-term physical and psychological harm, often times to the point the animal can never recover. When an animal is rescued, it should have a safe home. It isn’t there to do tricks or to be a showpiece. There is no need to train them! Yet, many commercial facilities have trainers on staff in order to keep their photo op animals in line. Things like bull hooks, electric fences or prods, and chains are all signs of an abusive facility. At no point should the animal be chained or tied up. All of these actions lead to abuse, and are the antithesis of what a sanctuary is trying to accomplish.
Everyone needs to play
Pay attention to how the animals are housed. No sanctuary will have the endless space that the animals would have in the wild, they should have ample space to run and play. They should have toys, enclosures to sleep and hide, and a way to separate them from the enclosure when it’s time to clean. At no time should an animal be tied up, and their enclosure should be on grass or natural ground, not cement! If the animal can only pace and turn around, then their welfare is being ignored, brazenly so. Imagine what you would need to be happy in that situation, and if you don’t see it, then you know the “sanctuary” is a sham.
Home sweet home?
We can’t read an animals mind, but there are a number of behaviors that are obvious signs of distress in the animals. Zoochosis is the unnatural behavior animals exhibit in captivity, and a common occurrence in the commercial shelter community. Acts like pacing constantly back and forth is the most noticeable sign. Their posture tends to be hunched and more predatory when pacing, showing how anxious and bored they really are. Other signs are sitting and rocking, self-mutilation, and chewing or licking the bars of their cage constantly. Each of these is a sure sign the animals is in a terrible situation.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Keurig is recalling some 7 million of single-serve coffee brewing machines because of reported burns.
Keurig says its Mini Plus Brewing Systems, with model number K10, can overheat and spray water during brewing. Keurig says it had received about 200 reports of hot liquid escaping from the brewer, including 90 reports of burn-related injuries.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission released details on the recall Tuesday. The recalled brewers have an identification number starting with “31” printed on the bottom. They were sold online and in stores in the U.S. and Canada between 2009 and 2014.
Consumers are being urged to call Keurig Green Mountain Inc. of Waterbury, Vermont, at 1-844-255-7886 to arrange for free repair.
We may shake our heads at the TSA’s antics from time to time, but the men and women holding you up at airport security are actually dealing with some pretty scary prospects. Like loaded firearms. And grenades. And daggers. And for whatever reason, a hell of a lot of sword canes. Here are some of the craziest things people have tried to sneak past airport security in 2014.
Because the TSA details some of the more absurd confiscated contraband on its blog on a weekly basis, we get a first hand look into the boldest (and often dumbest) attempts at sneaking strictly forbidden items into airports. And after a whole year of swiping banned goods, it was quite a haul.
We may shake our heads at the TSA’s antics from time to time , but the men and women holding you up at airport security are actually dealing with some pretty scary prospects. Like loaded firearms. And grenades. And daggers. And for whatever reason, a hell of a lot of sword canes. Here are some of
December 23, 2014 at 11:05PM http://nblo.gs/12eoqm
By Deepak verma