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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is one of the scariest things humans have ever created.

MRSA is what's known as a "superbug," which is basically common bacteria that has become resistant to most of our antibiotic drugs.

These bacteria cause run-of-the-mill infections to become really nasty, which can can kill people. And, even worse, they like to hang out in hospitals.


Like a lot of monsters, MRSA was made by accident.

Bacteria with drug-resistant genes survive and reproduce really, really, quickly. And the faster we sling the antibacterial drugs, the faster the bacteria evolve to resist them.

MRSA is estimated to kill 11,285 people in the U.S. each year and cause 80,461 hard-to-treat infections. And it can start with just a little pimple on the skin.

Here's the good news: MRSA may have met its match in the form of a "potion" from the ninth century.

This sounds bananas, but follow me for a sec: Freya Harrison, a microbiologist, got to talking with an Anglo-Saxon scholar, Christina Lee, about ancient remedies. Long story short, Lee ended up translating a recipe for an eye salve from a ninth-century text, Bald's Leechbook.

Harrison mixed it up and ran some tests.

The instructions go something like this:

"Take cropleek and garlic, of both equal quantities, pound them well together… take wine and bullocks gall, mix with the leek… let it stand nine days in the brass vessel…"
— Bald's Leechbook, ninth-century text

Cropleek and garlic ... wine and bollocks gall...? What even is bullocks gall?

Brace yourself.

Bullocks gall is cow bile. (It's a pretty easy ingredient to acquire though because people who've had their gall bladders removed often take cow's bile supplements.)

Some of the other ingredients were more of a challenge, since contemporary varieties of onions and leeks are different — not to mention the wine.

Following the recipe exactly is really important. Another group tried to re-create the remedy in 2005 but created only a "loathsome slime."

But holy cow, combining those ingredients and following the recipe killed 90% of the MRSA bacteria in their study.

This ancient knowledge is great news for modern medicine. We are facing more serious threats from antibiotic-resistant bacteria all the time. (Check out this report from the Obama administration on combatting antibiotic drug resistance.)

In the meantime, here's how you can help avoid creating more superbugs:

  • Only take antibiotics when you absolutely need to (never for colds or flu).
  • Follow doctor's orders (finish the full dose and don't save any for "next time").
  • Buy and eat antibiotic-free meat (like organic) as much as possible.

Stay healthy, y'all!

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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Small actions lead to big movements.

Acts of kindness—we know they’re important not only for others, but for ourselves. They can contribute to a more positive community and help us feel more connected, happier even. But in our incessantly busy and hectic lives, performing good deeds can feel like an unattainable goal. Or perhaps we equate generosity with monetary contribution, which can feel like an impossible task depending on a person’s financial situation.

Perhaps surprisingly, the main reason people don’t offer more acts of kindness is the fear of being misunderstood. That is, at least, according to The Kindness Test—an online questionnaire about being nice to others that more than 60,000 people from 144 countries completed. It does make sense—having your good intentions be viewed as an awkward source of discomfort is not exactly fun for either party.

However, the results of The Kindness Test also indicated those fears were perhaps unfounded. The most common words people used were "happy," "grateful," "loved," "relieved" and "pleased" to describe their feelings after receiving kindness. Less than 1% of people said they felt embarrassed, according to the BBC.


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She's enjoying the big benefits of some simple life hacks.

James Clear’s landmark book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide. The book is incredibly popular because it has a simple message that can help everyone. We can develop habits that increase our productivity and success by making small changes to our daily routines.

"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes. “It is only when looking back 2 or 5 or 10 years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”

His work proves that we don’t need to move mountains to improve ourselves, just get 1% better every day.

Most of us are reluctant to change because breaking old habits and starting new ones can be hard. However, there are a lot of incredibly easy habits we can develop that can add up to monumental changes.

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