by Caitlin O'Connell
A new study published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment shows that sea otters are doing great things for the planet. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz found that by scaring away sea urchins, otters protect the kelp forests essential to absorbing excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
A favorite food of sea urchins, kelp is particularly effective at breaking down carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. The researchers analyzed 40 years of data on otters and kelp blooms from British Columbia to the western edge of Alaska's Aleutian Islands and found kelp forests can absorb 12 times more carbon dioxide with otters around to munch on hungry…
While expanding sea otter populations is not enough on its own to prevent CO2 levels from continuing to rise, learning more about how animals can naturally and positively effect our endangered environment seems like a good idea.
Photo credit: Mike Baird/Wikimedia CommonsRead More >>
by Andy Simmons
I have a guinea pig, and it’s arguably the most serious beast I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s more likely to keel over of a heart attack than show any affection should you try to pet it.
On the other hand, every dog I have ever known is an attention hound, which is why you’ll never see one that’s camera-shy. They’re poseurs, if you will. “Taking picture of moi? Allow me to strike a pose.”
Funny Or Die has compiled photos of dogs striking ridiculous poses. Whether or not they meant to look ludicrous we’ll leave up to you. Funny or Die posits that these clowns of the animal kingdom simply do not know how to pose. I have the opposite takeaway. I think they know exactly what they’re doing: worming their way into our hearts.Read More >>
by Beth Dreher
by Damon Beres
Though I'm a big music fan, I've never really gotten into classical. Maybe it's because my parents preferred the soundtrack to Murphy Brown when I was growing up, or maybe it's because the genre has an intimidating centuries-long history.
Enter Classify, an app created by the X5 Music Group for Spotifythat puts 52 legendary composers at your fingertips. I've used it consistently since its release and can't recommend it enough. It allows you to sort through a massive collection of music by mood ("Dark," "Relaxing," etc), theme ("Gregorian Chant"), composer, era, and instrument. Best of all, it includes…
Thanks perhaps to a few months spent in the Czech Republic, I'm partial to Antonín Dvořák, a late romantic composer. (Listen with Spotify by clicking below.) But of course, there's much more to explore. Any recommendations?Read More >>
by Alison Caporimo
by Perri O. Blumberg
by Amy Reilly
As a senior editor for Reader’s Digest Select Editions, I read a lot of books. I also read a lot of emails and letters from our readers about those books.
A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail in response to One Summer by David Baldacci, a poignant family drama from an author who’s known primarily for his pulse-pounding thrillers. In One Summer, Jack, a father of three, is dying of an unnamed disease. Double tragedy strikes when Jack’s wife is killed in a car accident. Distraught, Jack waits to die...but doesn’t. He feels…
While cynics among us might find this melodrama over-the-top, the reader who reached out saw it differently. “My English is not very good so I need a dictionary or thesaurus to find vocabularies," he wrote. "It takes long time to understand one paragraph. So practically, I give up reading books after only two chapters. But when I start reading Mr…
I don’t know if David Baldacci would agree, but to me, this feedback was more meaningful than a rave review in a national newspaper. Thank you, reader friend, for reminding me about the importance of books in everyone's lives.Read More >>
by Jim Menick
Yes, it's a cliche, but in my case it is absolutely true. One day, after I moved out of the house to live on my own, my mother threw away all my old comic books. I was mildly upset at the time—how hard would it have been for her to store a three-foot pile of paper?—but now I am outraged. If I still had those old comics, I could be a multimillionaire!
Well, maybe not. I don't think any of my old Archies are up there with Action Comics #1, which recently pulled down $2,161,000, or the first Batman, bringing in $1,075,500.
Wired.com reports on the latest evaluation of the hottest comics in the article, The World’s Most Expensive Comic Book Art (And Why Prices Keep Climbing). In addition to Superman's and Batman's first appearances, the introduction of folks like Spiderman and Captain America also bring in big dollars, as do certain pieces of original art. Why? Funny enough, one reason is that a lot of mothers did indeed toss out their kids…
The moral of this story? There's a three-foot pile of comics in my daughter's closet, despite the fact that she moved out of the house years ago. Am I being noble and holding them for her future interest? No way. I'm piling them into the back of the car this weekend and heading down to the comic shop and seeing if I can make a few bucks.
Don't tell my daughter.Read More >>
by Adrienne Farr
by Rachel Mount Hofstetter