Family memories captured with YesVideo

Family memories captured with YesVideo Emily Dickey posted this in FamilyLife is all about memories, right? We take photos and videos, we write journals and make scrapbooks, and we sit and reminisce and tell stories. I’ve talked a lot about YesVideo here on my blog because I love their memory-making services. They take photographs and video (tapes, files, etc.) and convert them to digital files and DVD, allowing you to watch and share anywhere!My family has used their services many times with old VHS tapes. We don’t even own a VHS player anymore and some tapes were unplayable anyway. Tons of old home movies and loved memories that we thought were lost and gone… until we sent them off to YesVideo. I know it…

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DNA from fossils reveal origin of Norwegian lemmings

A new ancient DNA study shows that the Norwegian lemming has a unique history. In contrast to other mammals in Fennoscandia, the Norwegian lemming may have survived the last Ice Age in the far north, sealed off from the rest of the world by gigantic ice sheets. This conclusion is drawn by an international team of researchers in an article published this week in the journal Molecular Ecology.The Norwegian lemming is an iconic small mammal that is unique to the Fennoscandian mountain tundra. Known for its dramatic fluctuations in population size, it is a keystone species in the mountain tundra ecosystem. But its origin has until now remained somewhat of a mystery.Twenty thousand years ago, Fennoscandia was covered by a thick ice sheet. Animals and plants in the region are therefore thought to originate from populations that lived to the south or east of the ice sheet, and colonised Fennoscandia as the ice melted. With this in mind, and international team of scientists, led by researchers at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, set out to investigate from where the Norwegian lemming originated at the end of the last Ice Age. To do this, the researchers retrieved and analysed ancient DNA from lemming populations that surrounded the ice sheet during the last Ice Age.- “We found that even though the populations surrounding the ice sheet were closely related to modern day lemmings, none of them were similar enough to be the direct ancestor of the Norwegian lemming,” says Love Daln, Associate Professor at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.After eliminating these populations as potential sources, the researchers concluded that the only remaining explanation was that the Norwegian lemming originates from a population that survived the last glaciation somewhere locally in Fennoscandia. The exact location where the Norwegian lemming could have survived the last glaciation is not clear, but likely places include coastal areas or mountain plateaus sticking out from the ice sheet.”The Norwegian lemming is the only endemic mammal in Fennoscandia, and its unusual origin is probably the reason why,” says Vendela Lagerholm, lead author on the study.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Expertsvar. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Animals losing migratory routes? Devasting consequences of scarcity of ‘knowledgeable elders’

Small changes in a population may lead to dramatic consequences, like the disappearance of the migratory route of a species. A study carried out in collaboration with the SISSA has created a model of the behaviour of a group of individuals on the move (like a school of fish, a herd of sheep or a flock of birds, etc.) which, by changing a few simple parameters, reproduces the collective behaviour patterns observed in the wild. The model shows that small quantitative changes in the number of knowledgeable individuals and availability of food can lead to radical qualitative changes in the group’s behaviour.Until the ’50s, bluefin tuna fishing was a thriving industry in Norway, second only to sardine fishing. Every year, bluefin tuna used to migrate from the eastern Mediterranean up to the Norwegian coasts. Suddenly, however, over no more than 4-5 years, the tuna never went back to Norway. In an attempt to solve this problem, Giancarlo De Luca from SISSA (the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste) together with an international team of researchers (from the Centre for Theoretical Physics — ICTP — of Trieste and the Technical University of Denmark) started to devise a model based on an “adaptive stochastic network.” The physicists wanted to simulate, simplifying it, the collective behaviour of animal groups. Their findings, published in the journal Interface, show that the number of “informed individuals” in a group, sociality and the strength of the decision of the informed individuals are “critical” variables, such that even minimal fluctuations in these variables can result in catastrophic changes to the system.”We started out by taking inspiration from the phenomenon that affected the bluefin tuna, but in actual fact we then developed a general model that can be applied to many situations of groups “on the move,” explains De Luca.The collective behaviour of a group can be treated as an “emerging property,” that is, the result of the self-organization of each individual’s behaviour. “The majority of individuals in a group may not possess adequate knowledge, for example, about where to find rich feeding grounds” explains De Luca. “However, for the group to function, it is enough that only a minority of individuals possess that information. The others, the ones who don’t, will obey simple social rules, for example by following their neighbours.”The tendency to comply with the norm, the number of knowledgeable individuals and the determination with which they follow their preferred route (which the researchers interpreted as being directly related to the appeal, or abundance, of the resource) are critical variables. …

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Healthy eating may reduce the risk of preterm delivery

In the study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the participants completed a scientifically evaluated questionnaire about what they had been eating and drinking since becoming pregnant.The researchers also had access to information about the women’s general lifestyle e.g. level of education, living conditions, income, weight, physical activity, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, number of children and medical factors such as history of preterm delivery.15% lower riskThe results show that the group of women with the ‘healthiest’ pregnancy diet had a roughly 15% lower risk of preterm delivery compared with those with the most unhealthy diet. The correlation remained after controlling for ten other known risk factors for preterm delivery.’Pregnant women have many reasons to choose a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grain products and some types of fish, but this is the first time we can statistically link healthy eating habits to reduced risk of preterm delivery,’ says Linda Englund-gge, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.Associated with complicationsPreterm delivery, defined as spontaneous or induced delivery before the end of gestational week 37, can be associated with acute and long-term complications and is a major problem in modern maternity care. Measures to prevent preterm delivery are therefore of high priority.Should this lead to revised dietary recommendations for pregnant women?’No, and it is not harmful to occasionally eat something unhealthy. But our study shows that the dietary recommendations given to pregnant women are important,’ says Englund-gge:’Dietary studies can be very complex. Any given food item may contain a wide range of substances and is usually consumed together with other foods. This makes it difficult to find out its exact effects of one single food. We show that there is a statistically established link between a healthy diet and reduced risk of preterm delivery, but our study wasn’t designed to identify any underlying mechanisms.Encourage healthy eating habitsEnglund-gge says that studies of the overall dietary pattern and the total quality of the foods consumed are important complements to coming studies of how single food items affect the risk of preterm delivery. The researchers are hoping that the study will inspire doctors, midwives and others who work with pregnant women to encourage healthy eating habits.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. The original article was written by Krister Svahn. …

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Meeting the eye-witnesses of ocean change

Members of the German research network BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification) are developing a model that links ecosystem changes triggered by ocean acidification and climate change with their economic and societal consequences. Workshops and interviews with stakeholders from the Norwegian fishing industry and tourism sector, the government and environmental organisations help them to identify key aspects for their assessment.During the past ten years, scientists have learned a lot about the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems. It has become obvious that with rising carbon dioxide emissions from human activities, oceans absorb larger amounts of this greenhouse gas and become more acidic. The increase of acidity, rising water temperatures and other stressors may alter marine ecosystems dramatically — with consequences for economy and society.Do stakeholders of the economic sectors which depend on the sea already observe signs of ocean change? Which are their most urgent questions towards science? Within the framework of the German research network BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification), scientists from the University of Bremen investigated stakeholders’ state of knowledge and identified focal points for further research. Between March and November 2013, they held workshops and interviewed more than 30 Norwegian fishers, representatives from fishing associations, aquaculture, tourism, environmental organisations and governmental agencies. They aim to develop a model that yields insights into the overall impacts of ocean change for ecosystems and the services they provide to human societies.”Taking a systems view can help to analyse socio-economic impacts of ocean acidification and find ways to mitigate them and adapt to them,” Dr. Stefan Gling-Reisemann, researcher at the Sustainability Research Center (artec) at the University of Bremen explains. “This is why we connect stakeholders and scientists and adapt further research to the demands of society.” Norway was chosen because the fishing industry, a branch that is likely to be hit first by effects of climate change, plays a very important economic role there. …

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(Chocolate Glazed) Coffee Body Scrub: Dunkin’ Donuts Mug Up!

I hope you’ve been having fun with the new theme each month for the Dunkin’ Donuts Mug Up contest! I’ve had fun sharing them with you and creating my own photos Don’t forget that there are awesome prizes up for grabs and you can enter every single day!It’s a new month (already?!) and time for a new theme! This February we want to see your Mug Love! In honor of Valentine’s Day, show us the love! We already know you love coffee… do you have a mug you love to use? Or does it have something you love on it? II grabbed one of my favorite mugs, “Love me, I’m Norwegian,” and snapped a photo in front of my favorite canvas of our kids… …

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One mummy – many coffins: Intended to transform deceased from human to deity

Aug. 23, 2013 — The Egyptian elite was buried in a coffin placed inside another coffin — in ensembles of up to eight coffins. This was intended to ensure the transformation of the deceased from human to deity, according to Anders Bettum, Egyptologist.”Boxes and other forms of containers are technologies that arise at given points of time in various cultures. Everybody knows the ancient Egyptian practice of mummifying their dead. What is perhaps less known is that they placed the mummies inside layer upon layer of coffins,” says Anders Bettum, Egyptologist at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo.A similar idea can be found with Russian dolls, Chinese boxes and even Norwegian poetry traditions.”The Egyptian coffin sets are based on the same principle that we can observe with Chinese boxes and Russian nested matryoshka dolls, where objects are nested inside each other to constitute a complete ensemble,” he says.Ancient Egyptian history encompasses a period of nearly three thousand years, up to the Roman conquest in the year 30 BCE. Today, museums all over the world possess mummies or coffins that have contained mummies of more or less prominent men and women.The child king Tutankhamun (1334-24 BCE) was buried in as many as eight coffins, according to Bettum.”For men and women who were members of the ancient Egyptian elite at that time, three or four coffins were not unusual,” he adds.Linking the dead to the godsAccording to the researcher’s recent PhD thesis, “Faces within Faces — The Symbolic Function of Nested Yellow Coffins in Ancient Egypt,” nested coffins were not only a status symbol for the Egyptian elite.”They also played a key role in the process that would link the deceased to their ancestors: to Osiris, the god of the afterlife, and to Amun-Ra, the sun- and creator god,” Bettum says.Funeral rituals — a unification of two mythsThe rituals and the myths that were reiterated during the seventy days that a funeral lasted are symbolically rendered on the coffins. The components of each nest, including the mummy-cover, the inner and outer coffins — reflect the Egyptians’ view of the world.”The decorations, the forms and the choice of materials signify a unification of the two myths about Osiris and Amun-Ra respectively. On the outer coffin, the deceased is portrayed as Osiris, with a mummified body, a blue-striped wig and a pale, solemn face. The coffin is painted yellow and varnished, and must have shone like gold. The very richest Egyptians did in fact use gold leaf on their coffins.””The choice of colour is not coincidental: it represents the light and its origin in the sun. …

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Deciphering the air-sea communication: Ocean significantly affects long-term climate fluctuations

July 25, 2013 — Why does hurricane activity vary from decade to decade? Or rainfall in the Sahel region? And why are the trans-Atlantic changes frequently in sync? A German-Russian research team has investigated the role of heat exchange between ocean and atmosphere in long-term climate variability in the Atlantic. The scientists analyzed meteorological measurements and sea surface temperatures over the past 130 years. It was found that the ocean significantly affects long term climate fluctuations, while the seemingly chaotic atmosphere is mainly responsible for the shorter-term, year-to-year changes.The study appears in the current issue of the journal Nature, and provides important information on the predictability of long-term climate fluctuations.How do the ocean and atmosphere communicate? What information do they exchange, and what are the results? These are questions that climate scientists must ask, especially if they want to understand the cause of natural climate fluctuations of varying duration. These fluctuations superimpose the general global warming trend since the beginning of industrialization and thus complicate the accurate determination of human influence on the climate. The causes and mechanisms of natural climate variability, however, are poorly understood. …

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Gene mutations caused by a father’s lifestyle can be inherited by multiple generations

July 1, 2013 — Gene mutations caused by a father’s lifestyle can be inherited by his children, even if those mutations occurred before conception. What’s more, these findings show that mutations in the germ-line are present in all cells of the children, including their own germ cells. This means that a father’s lifestyle has the potential to affect the DNA of multiple generations and not just his immediate offspring. These findings were published in the July 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal.Share This:”Our study should be regarded as a pilot study,” said Roger Godschalk, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Toxicology and the School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. “We hope that our findings support the initiation of new, more elaborate studies that investigate the role of daily life exposures on germ-line mutations transmitted to offspring.”To make this discovery, Godschalk and colleagues looked at two groups of families (father, mother and child) from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. The first group had a low yearly income, whereas the second group had a relatively high yearly income. The investigators chose income as a criterion because it generally correlates to lifestyle choices of the parents. For instance, fathers in the low income group were more often cigarette smokers than fathers in the high income group. Researchers looked for DNA mutations in the children and found that they were more frequent in the group with low income fathers than in the group of high income fathers. These results suggest that the parents living conditions before conception may directly impact the health of their children.”We’ve known for a very long time that preventive care among expectant mothers is critical to the health and well-being of their children,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. …

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