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Science

Ecologist 'burst into tears' seeing endangered gliders using boxes designed to save them

A third of the greater gliders' remaining habitat was destroyed in the Australian wildfires, and researchers didn't know if their high-tech box idea would work.

greater gliders, endangered species, Australia, wildlife

Greater gliders are endangered in Australia and rely on old-growth tree hollows to make their nests.

When a team of Australian researchers started checking the high-tech boxes they'd installed to help save endangered greater gliders, they weren't sure what they were going to find. The hope was that the tree-dwelling marsupials would use them for nesting—a replacement for the tree hollows they normally nest in—but no one knew whether or not the creatures would take to them.

So when Dr. Kita Ashman, Threatened Species and Climate Adaptation Ecologist at WWF-Australia, found a glider in the second box she checked, she was thrilled.

"I just burst into tears, I was so surprised and so happy," she told ABC News Australia.


Greater gliders are nocturnal marsupials that live in old-growth forests of eastern Australia. They have large ears, fluffy fur, long tails, and they can glide up to 100 meters at a time. The species is only found in Australia.

"I grew up looking at greater gliders all throughout the Dandenong Ranges. So they have a really special place in my heart," said Dr. Ashman told ANU.

The special nesting boxes were designed and created through a partnership between Australian National University (ANU), Greening Australia and the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia after bushfires destroyed a third of the greater gliders' remaining habitat. The tree hollows that greater gliders rely on to nest can take over 100 years to form, according to ANU, so it's not like they can just find some new trees to live in when their homes are destroyed.

Nesting boxes that are commonly used for wildlife aren't a good fit for greater gliders, as the thin walls and lack of thermal protection can result in gliders overheating. (Heat-stressed gliders will slow their eating, which can be life-threatening, according to ANU.) The high-tech boxes in this project are insulated and include a non-toxic, heat-reflective, fire-resistant coating to keep gliders safe.

"I've affectionately been calling this design the Goldilocks box because we hope it will keep greater gliders not too hot and not too cold and will help to increase the species' resilience in a changing climate," Ashman said in July 2022.

"Producing and installing high-quality nest boxes is costly," added ANU research fellow Dr. Kara Youngentob, "so this project is very important because it will help us understand if expensive interventions like nest boxes are the best use of funding in our urgent mission to save greater gliders."

It appears that their efforts are paying off.

"What we didn't know was whether these boxes worked and whether they have an impact on the glider population," Dr. Youngentob told ABC News Australia. "Much to our delight, within a few months of them going up they are already being used by gliders, so we know the individuals themselves like them and use them."

According to Youngentob, greater gliders are the largest gliding marsupial at risk of extinction. More than 200 nesting boxes have been installed in Victoria's East Gippsland and in Tallaganda National Park in New South Wales. Youngentob told ABC News Australia that this project will help researchers learn more about how many of the species are left in the wild.

The quiet, nocturnal marsupial faces threats from climate change and deforestation in addition to the wildfires that ravaged Australia in 2020. Their population has fallen by 80% in the past 20 years and the species reached endangered status in July of 2022.

"They're a treasure for this country." Dr. Youngentob told ANU. "And I think the more people know about them, the more that they will fall in love with them and want to protect them too."

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

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Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

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Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

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The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

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