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Eating healthy diet also good for environment, study finds

Eating healthy is not only beneficial to your body -- it benefits the environment, too, according to a recent report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from universities in the Netherlands recently conducted an experiment, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to determine how dietary choices impact the environment.

To do so, they used Exiobase, an input-output database that represents the world’s economy. The platform allows users to track the environmental costs of growing a variety of foods and the machinery needed to produce and distribute it to supermarkets. The site is also able to adjusts its figures based on a different countries’ production efficiency.

Scientists gathered information on the average diets of citizens living in 39 countries as well as its nationally recommended diets. They then entered the data into Exiobase to examine how it would affect greenhouse gas emissions, land use and eutrofication, which is the addition of nutrients to water sources that can lead to toxicities and lack of oxygen in water.

After analyzing the results, they found that if people in 28 high-income nations, including the United States, Germany and Japan, followed the dietary recommendations set by its respective governments, greenhouse gases related to the production of the food would drop by 13 to 25 percent. 

Additionally, the amount of land needed to grow the food would decrease by 17 percent.

“The study shows that choosing to follow an NRD over the average national diet would have the biggest environmental savings in the United States, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Most of these savings are due to the reduction of meat in the diet. There are reductions also in most EU nations, with Greece, Ireland, and the Netherlands saving the most,” the authors wrote in a statement

As for lower-income nations, researchers discovered following a NRD over the average national diet would result in higher environmental impacts, because these areas rely on higher consumption of animal product to combat low levels of protein. 

But they say the overall benefits would still be positive. 

“Although I think we could do even better, the message is a positive one, overall, especially if middle- and high-income countries modify their diets to align with nationally recommended diets,” they wrote. “This will generally mean eating more plant products such as legumes and vegetables, and fewer animal products. If you know your diet isn't healthy, you have one more reason to change, for our environment too. It might just be possible to have your cake and eat it!”

U.S. Navy sailor sketched Pearl Harbor attack before he was killed in action

Leonard Franklin Tomlinson lived and served in an age before social media, and the image he left behind is less ephemeral and certainly more meaningful than the slew of selfies we all serve up today.

>> PHOTOS: 'December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy'

>> Click here or scroll down to read more

Melania Trump, Karen Pence stop at Whataburger, treat press to french fries

First lady Melania Trump, along with second lady Karen Pence, traveled to Texas on Wednesday to visit with first responders and check on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. And if there’s anything politicians (or in this case, politicians’ spouses) love to do when they’re on a visit, it’s make a stop at a purveyor of local cuisine. Trump and Pence flew through Corpus Christi, which means Whataburger.

>> Read more trending news

According to social media reports (including tweets from reporters along for the trip, as well as a White House official), the first and second lady stopped by the venerable Texas burger chain and walked out with at least some of those famous fries. The rest of their order is unknown (so far), but the tweets about the pit stop are quite a journey.

Reporters in the press pool said the first and second lady treated them to fries.

Officials in Texas approved. The orange and the white, as ever, proved to be a unifying force.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Trump and Pence stopped at the Whataburger at 602 Padre Island Drive. 

Expecting mom says pregnancy photos show late husband's spirit

An expecting mom is honoring her late husband in a touching photo shoot.

Kelly Luethe’s husband, Jarrett, was killed in a car crash in August by a man who police say admitted to driving after drinking, the Star Tribune reports.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Military mom spreads smiles with creative holiday card

The couple from New Prague, Minnesota, had two children and another on the way in January.

Kelly recently had a maternity photo shoot ahead of the baby’s arrival. Photographer Jessica Brandau shared the stunning images to her Facebook page last week.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Many of the photos captured rainbows and lens flares, which Brandau calls “orbs.”

“As we were doing the shoot, I noticed that a rainbow had popped up in a few of the photos,” Brandau wrote on Facebook. “Kelly and I talked about how neat/cool/weird it was, and I literally had goosebumps/was on the verge of tears for most of her session.”

>> See one of the photos here

According to the Epoch Times, orbs are usually caused by light reflecting off dust in photographs, but some believe they represent the supernatural – like spirits or ghosts.

“Imagine how insane it was when I opened up the files on my computer and realized that the rainbows and orbs (yes I totally believe in orbs. Read up on them if you haven’t heard of them!) show up in almost all of the photos that we took that day,” Brandau wrote. 

>> Read more trending news 

Kelly shared her story with news personality Frank Sommerville on Facebook. Kelly said she believed her husband was watching over her that day.

She wrote: "There is a rainbow on my belly in almost every picture and we had a miscarriage earlier this year and so our little man (who will be named after his Daddy) is our rainbow baby. And the orbs that are shown are of my favorite color green and from doing some research on what the color of an orb means, green is from a happy spirit visiting, sending healing energy. I truly believe my husband was there and is watching over the kids and I."

>> See more photos here

Real vs. artificial Christmas trees: Which should you get?

When it comes to holiday decorating, one big question that arises each year is whether real or artificial Christmas trees are the better choice.There are pros and cons to both kinds of Christmas trees, and which is best for you is a personal decision. Here are some factors to consider when deciding between a real or artificial Christmas tree.For better health, real tree: Birgitta Gatersleben, an environmental psychologist at the University of Surrey, told The Telegraph that households benefit from exposure to natural environments and there was “plenty of evidence” that real Christmas trees helped people recover more quickly from stress and mental fatigue.“Evergreen plants seem alive when everything else appears dead," she noted. "It is the depth of color of real trees and the smell that really appeals to people, as well as the notion that something alive is coming indoors.”For minimal mess, artificial tree: “No matter what you do, there’s going to be needles falling off a real tree,” Chal Landgren, a professor in the department of horticulture at Oregon State University, told Consumer Reports. Overwatering can also damage floors or carpets, or at least require frequent mopping or steam cleaning.Of course, artificial trees also eventually require cleaning, according to SFGate, including some sponging down and vigorous shaking at the beginning of the season. The only time it might be more difficult to clean up after an artificial tree than a natural version: when the fake tree comes pre-wired with lights that are almost impossible to clean around, since you shouldn't get them wet.For decreased risk of home fire, artificial tree: The National Fire Protection Association determined that the risk of a fire is three times greater with natural trees than artificial ones, reported CR, adding that total number of Christmas-tree-related fires is small and burning candles are the far more common culprit.If you want to buy American, real tree: Using 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture stats, CR reported that U.S. farmers harvested 17.3 million Christmas trees for $305 million in sales, while U.S. Census Bureau stats indicated 97 percent of artificial trees that same year were imported from China.For improved outdoor air quality, real tree: All trees, even those planted solely to cut for Christmas a few years later, are beneficial to the environment, according to Clean Air Gardening. "Trees are like the lungs of the planet," it said. "They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Additionally, they provide habitat for birds and other wildlife."Trees also help to reduce ozone levels in urban areas, cut runoff and erosion by storing water and breaking the force of rain as it falls, and absorb sound and reduce noise pollution.For decorations lasting more than a few weeks, artificial tree: According to Today's Home Owner, a cut tree will last just a month before you need to take it down. Even a month may be a stretch--that figure only applies to a freshly cut tree, kept well supplied with water. "If you’re buying a pre-cut tree, be sure to ask when it was harvested," noted THO. All natural Christmas trees start losing needles as they dry, though fir, spruce, and cypress generally typically keep their needles longer than pines.For those who aren't so great with upkeep, artificial tree: A real tree can drink a gallon or more of water per day to start, according to THO, so to maintain one you'll need to be prepared to check the reservoir several times over the first few days and at least once a day after that, never letting the reservoir dry out.If you value reusing, recycling or repurposing, real tree: If you're responsible and maybe a little creative, a live tree will never need to take up space in a landfill, according to Lowe's, which recommended looking for local recycling centers that will chip and shred trees for use as mulch or part of erosion barriers for lake and river shoreline management.Note, though, if you're not going to recycle your tree, the fact that it could be recycled doesn't count as a plus. Instead, it will just go to the landfill once a year, versus the artificial tree, which should last many years before you have to toss and replace it.Lowe's also suggested repurposing live trees after you take them down, using thin slices of the trunk as canvases for next year's ornaments or coasters, for example, or sinking the whole tree into a backyard pond as a refuge and feeding area for fish. You can also stand the tree or a few of its larger branches in the yard as an organic feeder and sanctuary for birds.For allergy relief, it's a draw. If you have sneezing fits around Christmas trees, the cause is less likely to be the tree and more likely to be mold spores on the tree, according to CR. A fake Christmas tree that's been stored in the attic or basement can collect dust or mold, too.After reviewing all the evidence, if you're still undecided or drawn to the same decision you've made in years past, don't fret, advised CR. "It really comes down to your holiday traditions and what works best for your family," it said. "And no one said you couldn’t purchase more than one!”

Christmas 2017: When are holiday shipping deadlines?

To make sure packages arrive in time for the holidays, you’ll need to know the shipping deadlines for the major carriers. There's not a single date to note: "Last day to ship" guidelines depend on the carrier and a variety of other factors.This year’s shipping deadlines might be especially tricky, according to Consumer Reports, which has this advice for Christmas gift-givers: "Don't be fooled into thinking that Dec. 25 means you have a cushion of 12 more days. Most major retailers — and package shippers — anticipate online shopping will be off the charts this year and place a tremendous strain on package delivery systems this holiday season."Whether you're getting a last-minute Sunday delivery from Amazon, are mailing care packages abroad for loved ones in the military or have other pressing shipping needs this holiday season, make sure your gifts get there on time with these holiday shipping deadlines: Free shipping day

If you take the "If it's free, it's for me," approach, you'll want to check out Free Shipping Day Dec. 15. More than 600 online merchants will participate, offering hundreds of items that will arrive by Christmas Eve when shipped for free on Dec. 15.FedExFor guaranteed Christmas delivery shipping within the U.S.:Dec. 11: Last day to ship via FedEx SmartPostDec. 15: Last day to ship via FedEx GroundDec. 18: Last day to ship via FedEx Home DeliveryDec. 19: Last day to ship via FedEx Express SaverDec. 20: Last day to ship via FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M.Dec. 21: Last day to ship via FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx First OvernightDec. 25: Last day to ship via FedEx SameDay City (Priority), FedEx SameDay City (standard), and FedEx SameDay

Shipping deadlines vary for packages headed to Puerto Rico and international destinations including Canada and Mexico.If you're interested in Saturday delivery on Dec. 23, the following FedEx Express® services will deliver that day if you select that option: FedEx First Overnight®, FedEx Priority Overnight®, and FedEx 2Day®. FedEx Ground does not deliver on Saturday, Dec. 23, but FedEx Home Delivery will deliver that day with no additional charge.The FedEx SameDay service (and some other FedEx expedited services) allows you to ship on Christmas Day or any other day of the year.Find the delivery time and FedEx delivery choices for your U.S. and international shipments by using the Get Rates & Transit Times application at fedex.com.Download an easy-to-print deadline calendar for the office or to keep posted at home on the FedEx website. UPS To make sure your package arrives in time for Christmas via UPS, get a quote that compares shipping charges and delivery times for UPS domestic and international services. If you're shipping within the U.S.:Dec. 18: Last day to ship UPS 3 Day Select, with delivery on Friday, Dec. 22Dec. 20: Last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air, with delivery on Friday, Dec. 22Dec. 21: Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air, with delivery by Friday, Dec. 22.Dec. 21 is also the last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air with Saturday Delivery option. (Saturday Delivery is not available to all ZIP codes.)Dec. 22: Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air with Saturday Delivery option. (Saturday Delivery is not available to all ZIP codes.)Note the UPS Saturday delivery carefully, and note that certain other packages and services may require an additional day of transit time per UPS warnings. For international shipping deadlines and other holiday-related information, such as pickup and delivery schedules, see the Holiday Shipping with UPS website. And to make sure your package is in good shape to get there in time for Christmas, UPS has packaging tips and guidelines on its website. U.S. Postal ServiceThe most important thing to note about holiday shipping deadlines for the USPS is that these are only recommended send-by dates for "expected" delivery by Dec. 25. The postal service notes on its website that "actual delivery date may vary and is based on origin, destination, post office acceptance time and other conditions."For mail and package shipping within the continental U.S.:Dec. 14: Last day to send packages via Retail GroundDec. 19: Last day to send packages via First Class MailDec. 20: Last day to send packages via Priority MailDec. 22: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail Express As for the express mail options, note that the USPS will honor its money-back guarantee for Priority Mail Express shipments mailed Dec. 22 through Dec. 25th only if the shipment is not delivered or delivery is not attempted within two business days. For mail and package shipping to Alaska:Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail and Priority Mail servicesDec. 21: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail ExpressFor mail and package shipping to Hawaii:Dec. 15: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail and Priority Mail servicesDec. 20: Last day to send packages via Priority Mail ExpressThe deadline for shipping packages internationally, including to overseas military bases, varies based on the destination and type of delivery service. For more informationFedEx last days to ship for holidayswww.fedex.com/us/holiday/last-days-to-ship.htmlUPS holiday shipping guidewww.ups.com/us/en/help-center/shipping-support/days-of-operation-us/holiday-shipping.pageHoliday shipping deadlines, USPSwww.usps.com/holiday/holiday-shipping-dates.htm

Kroger recalls bottled water for babies after mold complaints

The Kroger Co. is recalling bottled water for infants after customers complained they found mold in the product.

According to a news release on the Food and Drug Administration website, the recall is for 1-gallon bottles of Comforts FOR BABY Purified Water With Fluoride Added with sell-by dates from April 26, 2018, to Oct. 10, 2018. The bottles are labeled with UPC code 0 41260 37597 2, plant code 51-4140 and the text "DISTRIBUTED BY THE KROGER CO, CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202."

Kroger said the product tested positive for Talaromyces penicillium, which can spark allergic reactions.

>> Read more trending news 

"Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash," the release said. "Allergic reactions to molds are common and can happen immediately after touching or inhaling mold spores, or later. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are also allergic to mold. Molds can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, even in people who aren’t allergic to them."

Babies with HIV or immune-compromising conditions are particularly at risk, the release said.

The water was distributed to Kroger stores – including Food 4 Less, Jay C, Jay C Food Plus, Kroger, Kroger Marketplace, Owen’s, Payless Super Market and Ruler – in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, the release said. The company has told stores to remove the recalled bottles from their shelves.

If you bought the bottled water, you can return it to the store for a refund, the release said. Do not drink it.

For more information, read the release on the FDA website or call 1-888-SAFEFOOD from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.

Facebook unveils parent-controlled messenger app just for kids

Facebook on Monday announced it would be rolling out a preview of Messenger Kids in the United States, a new parent-controlled app to make it easier for kids to video chat and message with loved ones.

>> On AJC.com: How to keep your kids safe on social media

In a company blog post, Antigone Davis – public policy director and global head of safety at Facebook – wrote that the media site has been working on the product for the past 18 months, working closely with leading child development experts, parents and educators.

Davis named some reasons Facebook decided to create Messenger Kids and why they decided to create it right now.

>> Facebook wants users' nude photos to fight 'revenge porn'

She cited research that shows some 93 percent of U.S. kids ages six to 12 have access to tablets or smartphones — and 66 percent have their own device, often using apps meant for teens and adults.

In a collaboration with the National Parent Teacher Association on a study with more than 1,200 American parents of children under the age of 13, Facebook found three out of every five parents surveyed said their kids under 13 use messaging apps, social media or both, while 81 percent reported their children started using social media between the ages of 8 and 13.

>> On AJC.com: Did you fall for these fake ads? How Russian trolls got into your Facebook feeds

Kids said they want to use the platforms to have fun and connect with family. But safety is a growing concern among parents.

“My concern is safety, getting friend requests from people you don’t know, chatting with people you don’t know, giving out information to strangers,” one parent participant in the National PTA roundtable said.

>> On AJC.com: Georgia high school student in trouble after ‘threatening’ social media image

With the guidance of experts at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Center on Media and Child Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics among others, Facebook developed a set of principles for Messenger Kids:

  1. Putting kids first
  2. Providing a safe space that fosters joy, humor, play and adventure
  3. Enabling kids to mine their own potential by building for empowerment, creativity and expression
  4. Helping kids build a sense of self and community
  5. Recognizing the relationship between parent and child, and that we take our responsibility and their trust in us seriously.

>> On AJC.com: Google celebrates 50 years of kids coding languages – 5 ways to get your kid engaged

“We created Messenger Kids with the belief that parents are ultimately the best judges of their kids’ technology use, and the parents we’ve spoken to have asked for a better way to control the way their children message,” Davis wrote.

Because research on the long-term effects of screen time and technology on children is still limited, Facebook also announced a $1 million research fund to work with experts to explore the growing concerns.

>> On AJC.com: Study finds best way to control kids’ time online

About the new Messenger Kids app

The Messenger Kids app, aimed at kids ages 6-12, rolled out Monday on iOS in the U.S. An Android version is coming soon.

It’s important to note that kids under 13 are still not allowed to sign up for a Facebook account. Instead, parents can download the app on their child’s iPhone or iPad, create their profile and approve friends and family for their kids to chat with directly from the main Messenger app.

Kids will not show up in Facebook search results, so if a kid wants to chat with a friend, the parent will have to work with the friend’s parent to get them both approved. “This is by far the most clumsy part of Messenger Kids,” TechCrunch reported.

>> Read more trending news

Facebook added special proactive detection safety filters to prevent children from sharing sexual content, nudity or violence. A dedicated support team will work 24/7 to address any flagged issues. Parents won’t be able to spy on their kids’ chats.

To ensure an enjoyable experience, the company created a kid-friendly version of the Giphy GIF sharing engine. Kids can also play around with augmented reality masks and stickers, including fidget spinners and dinosaur AR masks.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook will not be directly monetizing the kids app, but hopes they will become dedicated Facebook users in the future.

More at newsroom.fb.com.

Skeptical 6-year-old destroys Santa in Christmas letter

A 6-year-old’s acerbic letter to Santa is going viral after his mother posted the missive on Twitter.

NPR reporter Sarah McCammon on Sunday shared her son’s letter, which was a class assignment, with her more than 38,000 followers. 

“My 6yo Santa skeptic was told to write a letter to Santa at school,” McCammon wrote. “So he did….”

By Monday morning, McCammon’s tweet had been liked about 13,000 times and retweeted close to 5,000 times. 

The letter read: 

“Dear Santa,

“Santa Im only doing this for the class. I know your notty list is emty. And your good list is emty. and your life is emty. You dont know the trouble Ive had in my life. Good bye.

“Love,

“Im not tell you my name.”

McCammon, who took note of her son’s artwork on the letter -- Christmas wreaths along one margin and skulls along the other -- was careful to double back and clarify one thing.

“PS, the ‘troubles’ in his life? His brother,” she wrote. “Don’t call child services.”

Her followers found the boy’s letter hilarious. Some parents took the opportunity to share their own children’s atypical letters to St. Nick. 

Others speculated on his future career, with guesses ranging from his becoming a journalist, like his mother, to a country songwriter. 

Still, other commenters just sat back and took a moment to appreciate the level of disquiet in a person so young.

“That much existential angst in a 6-year-old is amazing,” one follower wrote. “As a parent of older kids, I feel free to warn you, the teen years may be a challenge.”

Some who responded seemed to feel a kinship with the boy. 

“This child is my spirit animal,” one woman wrote. 

Driver arrested while rushing beloved dog to animal hospital

Some people say they would do anything to protect their pets, but a Holliston, Massachusetts, man kept his promise to his dog – even if it meant getting arrested.

>> Watch the news report here

Peter Rogaishio's Thursday started like any other, until his family's beloved Doberman, Thor, was run over by two vehicles.

"I heard a big bang and then a few seconds later I heard a howl that just made the hair on the back of my neck stand up," said Rogaishio. "He was lying on the street, so I dragged him off to the side of the street and called 911."

Holliston police tried to find a way to get Thor to an animal hospital, but the dog was still bleeding on the side of the road half an hour later. 

In a desperate attempt to save his pup's life, Rogaishio put Thor in the back seat of his car and rushed to the vet, even if that meant illegally passing other vehicles and speeding.

"I wasn't even thinking, I was just trying to get through the traffic safely," Rogaishio said.

>> Read more trending news 

However, it didn't take long before a Natick police officer spotted Rogaishio's aggressive driving on West Central Street and chased him for more than a mile. 

Natick police then set up a roadblock on Hartford Street, making it clear they were on to Rogaishio.

With their guns drawn, police handcuffed Rogaishio and were ready to send him to jail when they saw Thor in the car.

"They finally looked in the truck and saw the dog. They jumped in and took the dog and then took me to jail," said Rogaishio.

The good news, however, is that Thor, despite his three broken legs, is expected to survive.

Rogaishio also has been released from jail.

He tells WFXT that, despite the craziness of it all, he did what he had to do.

"He's such a good dog, a loving dog. I would do anything to save him," said Rogaishio. "We got him at two months old and that's all we have. He's just a delight. He's a joy to my heart. He's my everything."

A neighbor and friend of the Rogaishios has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the animal hospital charges which you can help by clicking here.

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