An artist saw hundreds of plastic bags stuck on a barbed wire fence. It gave him an idea.

Corban Lundborg has tagged old rail yards in Minneapolis, drawn tattoos in South Korea, and traveled to over 50 countries taking photos for the U.S. military.

In all of Lundborg's adventures, there's been one constant: plastic litter.

The reality hit the artist hard during a stint in Cape Town, South Africa, where he shared a home with his girlfriend, two roommates, and a small mini-fridge. On frequent trips to the supermarket, he noticed clerks would often bag each item individually, resulting in an explosion of plastic.


Much of it wound up on the sidewalks and streets.

"The wind picks it up and blows the plastic all into the barbed wire fences," he recalls. "And then it just blows in the wind and you have these like plastic barbed wire flags just waving everywhere you look around the city."

Back home in Los Angeles, he set about incorporating that stark, disquieting image into his art.

Originally conceived as a physical installation, he ultimately settled on a painting project. With a series of colorful brushstrokes, the pieces depict wild animals, their faces melding into the plastic as it consumes them.

All images by Corban Lundborg.

The images are playful, but the implications are serious.

"Part of me wonders why so many people are so against trying to better our environment," Lundborg says. "This is our home. This is where we live. This is where we raise our children. This is where we work, live. This is the air we breathe. Why would you be against trying to do our best to take care of that?"

He hopes his art helps call attention to the proliferation of plastic waste, much of which, ultimately, winds up in our oceans.

"Single-use" packaging, like shopping bags, is the largest category of such trash found in or around bodies of water, according to an April 27, 2017 Huffington Post report.

Lundborg believes everyone has the capacity to contribute something to the clean-up effort — particularly governments and businesses.

He's been encouraged by the proliferation of plastic bag bans, though he'd like to see more investing in alternatives to plastic.

For individuals, it may be as simple as bringing reusable bags to the supermarket, as he and his girlfriend started doing in Cape Town.  

"If we could just start small, I think we could see progress," he says.

You can check out more of Lundborg's art and photography here.

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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