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Planet

2,000-year-old redwoods survive devastating wildfires in California

2,000-year-old redwoods survive devastating wildfires in California

Last week, as California's oldest state park erupted into flames and the historic Big Basin State Park headquarters buildings burned to the ground, people feared the worst. Would we lose the 2,000-year-old redwood trees that bring visitors from all over the world to the area?

Thankfully, now that the fire at Big Basin is under control and people are able to go in an assess the damage, it looks like most of the ancient redwoods have survived the blaze. According to ABC News, a reporter from the Associated Press hiked the Redwood Trail at Big Basin and found that most of the old-growth giants, among the tallest living things on Earth, are still standing tall. That includes Mother of the Forest, a tree that grew to 329 feet tall before its top broke off in a storm, as well as other elder trees.

Reporter from The Mercury News, Ethan Baron, also took photos of the aftermath and reported on Twitter that the "vast majority of giant redwoods in center of Big Basin Redwoods State park scorched but still standing."


"That is such good news. I can't tell you how much that gives me peace of mind," Laura McLendon, conservation director for the Sempervirens Fund, a group dedicated to the protection of the redwoods and their habitats, told the Associated Press. McLendon said the forest will regrow. "Every old-growth redwood I've ever seen, in Big Basin and other parks, has fire scars on them," she said. "They've been through multiple fires, possibly worse than this."

Fire ecologist director of science at Save the Redwoods League, Kristen Shive, told The Mercury News that redwood bark—which can be up to a foot thick—is fire-resistant. If a fire gets hot enough, it can do serious damage, but even badly burned redwoods can eventually recover.



Managing forests includes managing fire, which can be seen as both a blessing and a curse for forest habitats and humans. Not all forest fires are bad. Some trees need occasional fire to thrive, and controlled burns are sometimes used to prevent out-of-control blazes that destroy homes and animal habitats. When left alone, nature tends to create its own balance, but with climate change causing an increase in the frequency and severity of wildfires, in addition to human activity causing some fires in addition to those caused naturally by lightning, it's difficult to judge when fires are actually beneficial.

California has seen historically destructive fire seasons in recent years, and two of this summer's fires are already among the state's worst. As people are evacuated, homes and buildings are destroyed, and air quality from smoke is disrupting the lives of countless Californians, hearing some good news is a welcome breath of fresh air.

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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Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson in 2006.

A startling number of professional athletes face financial hardships after they retire. The big reason is that even though they make a lot of money, the average sports career is relatively short: 3.3 years in the NFL; 4.6 years in the NBA; and 5.6 years in MLB. During that time, athletes often dole out money to friends and family members who helped them along the way and can fall victim to living lavish, unsustainable lifestyles.

After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

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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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Family

American mom living in Germany lists postpartum support and women are gobsmacked

“Every video you make gets me closer to actually moving to Germany.”

U.S. mom living in Germany shares postpartum support she received.

Having a baby is not an easy feat no matter which way they come out. The pregnant person is either laboring for hours and then pushing for what feels like even more hours, or they're getting cut from hip to hip to bring about their bundle of joy. (Unless you're one of those lucky—or rather not-so-lucky—folks who get to labor for hours only to still end up in surgery.)

Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

A mom who had her first child in the U.S. before meeting her current husband and relocating to Germany is shedding light on postpartum care in her new country. The stark contrast is beyond shocking to women living in the U.S. and she's got a few considering crossing the ocean for a better quality of life.

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Meghan Elinor chimes in on the Starbucks tipping debate.

Tipping culture is rapidly changing in America, so understandably a lot of people aren’t sure what to do when they buy a coffee and the debit card reader asks for a tip. It used to be that people only tipped bartenders, drivers, servers and hairdressers.

Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

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Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

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