A submarine just took humans deeper into the ocean than ever before. And what did we find there? Trash.

Victor Vescovo isn’t your average businessman. Instead of spending his out-of-office time golfing or playing tennis, the 53-year-old retired naval officer enjoys descending to the lowest points in the ocean in his submarine, DSV Limiting Factor, searching for undiscovered species and collecting samples. I mean, who doesn’t, right?

During his four-hour May 1st expedition (in which he broke “Titanic” director James Cameron’s 2012 record for the deepest solo dive in history) he plunged 6.8 miles down into an oceanic region known as the Mariana Trench.


When he was exploring the terrain, however, he noticed something unusual among the shrimp-like amphopods and sea cucumber-looking “sea pigs” — angular metal and plastic objects. One even had writing on it. The ocean floor was littered with garbage. He even found candy wrappers down there, according to CNN.

“It was very disappointing to see obvious human contamination of the deepest point in the ocean,” Vescovo told Reuters.

Scientists plan to test the specimens collected on the expedition to see if they contain microplastics, which generally come from either large pieces of plastic that biodegrade or from microbeads, super tiny pieces of manufactured polyethylene plastic.

Vescovo hopes his discovery will raise awareness about dumping in the ocean as well as put some pressure on governments to tighten regulations.

“It’s not a big garbage collection pool, even though it’s treated as such,” Vescovo said about the ocean.

Obviously, plastic in the ocean is a huge problem, and the fact that we’re finding pieces of it at the ocean’s deepest points means it’s getting worse. But there are things you can do to help stop it.

According to the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy, there are five easy ways you can help keep our oceans trash free. They include properly recycling plastics, drinking water in a reusable bottle instead of disposable plastic bottles, volunteering for coastal cleanups, engaging in green boating practices and making sure your cigarette butts end up in an ashtray and not on the street.

We all need to be more mindful about our trash — especially we’re near large bodies of water, like oceans. So if you are taking a seaside stroll this summer and notice trash on the shoreline, pick it up and toss in a proper waste receptacle. If you don’t, there’s a chance pieces of it could end up in someone’s seafood dinner, maybe even your own.

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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