The way these hundreds of sea turtles were rescued is nothing short of inspiring.

When I was little, my mom and dad would alway stop the car if they saw a turtle on the highway. If it was safe, one of us would run out, pick the little critter up, and try to help get it to where it needed to go.

This turtle airlift is basically that... times a hundred.

Don't worry, little fella. All photos by Scott Eisen/Getty Images


Every year, a combination of strong currents and winter temperatures trap hundreds of Kemp's ridley sea turtles in Cape Cod Bay, off the coast of Massachusetts.

The turtles are blocked from leaving by the bitterly cold waters of the North Atlantic. But the bay isn't exactly warm either. As temperatures drop, the chill slowly robs the cold-blooded creatures of their strength until they're stranded, half-paralyzed at the surface of the water, and at the mercy of the wind and tides.

A Kemp's ridley sea turtle swimming at a turtle hospital in Quincy, Massachusetts.

In order to help, hundreds of human volunteers braved cold November winds, patrolling the beaches for exhausted turtles who'd made it to shore.

One pair, 12-year-old Charlie Marcus and his father Peter, an intellectual property rights attorney, even flew out from Los Angeles to help. It was important to Marcus, who'd grown up around Massachusetts, that his son get to participate in the experience.

“Understanding the full spectrum of life is something I hope to teach my children in a way they don’t teach in school,” Marcus told the Cape Cod Times.

Once rescued, the turtles went to the New England Aquarium's special turtle hospital in Quincy, Massachusetts.

The hospital says that over the course of the month, they received over 180 turtles from volunteers and rescuers. Once at the hospital, the chilly little reptiles could relax and regain their strength in warmer water and under the watchful eye of veterinarians and researchers.

A worker feeds two turtles recovering at The New England Aquarium's turtle hospital.

These 180 rescues are especially poignant as Kemp's ridley are the most endangered of all the sea turtles. They usually like to live in warmer waters around the Gulf of Mexico, not chilly Massachusetts.

They're also the smallest species of sea turtle — adults only grow to be about two feet long. Compare that to the mighty leatherback, which can top out well over seven feet!

A worker gives a sea turtle a check-up. Some of the turtles are very sick when the come in and may need special care.

Being released back into the wintry waters of Cape Cod Bay could kill them, so instead, some of the turtles are being given a lift south to warmer climes.

Repurposed banana boxes and towels served as ersatz cabins for the little guys.

I've definitely had worse plane trips.

Once safe in their boxes, the turtles were then loaded into a van...

Some sea turtles can weigh more than 1,000 pounds. Luckily, these guys are considerably lighter.

And then driven out to the airport, where volunteer pilots were ready to fly them south.

On Nov. 29, pilot Jamie Gamble and his 20-year-old daughter Shelby used this little prop plane to shepherd turtles down to North Carolina.

One plane was flown by volunteer pilot Jamie Gamble and his daughter Shelby. They took the turtles on a four-hour jaunt down to North Carolina. Another was flown by pilot Steve Bernstein, who transported 30 of the little guys to Baltimore. Bernstein says that sea turtles apparently make for very polite passengers.

“I don’t get to hang out with them too much,” Bernstein told the Boston Herald. “They’re just kind of convalescing in their banana boxes. But they are kind of cute."

Once in the South, the turtles will spend some time in rehabilitation centers before hopefully being released into the wild.

As the weather gets even colder, the turtle hospital warns that even more sea turtles might end up needing rescuing. Luckily, there will be humans there to help get them where they need to go, like the Gambles and Bernstein, the hospital's staff, and Charlie and Peter Marcus.

“He’s got that empathetic gene," Marcus said about his son. Since he was little, Peter said, Charlie's been interested in helping animals. In fact, his bar mitzvah charity project was all about saving sea turtles.

Now he's gotten to help them first hand.

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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