These photos of sea turtles being released back into the sea show what amazing creatures they are.

Can we take a moment to appreciate the majestic sea turtle?

Because on Sept. 16, 2015, marine police in Indonesia rescued 45 turtles from illegal poachers.

Photo by Agung Parameswara/Getty Images.


While the sea turtle population faces threats from climate change and habitat loss, the World Wildlife Fund also says the number of turtles lost to illegal poaching and overharvesting numbers in the "tens of thousands" each year, with almost 5,000 a year being picked up as "bycatch" just by Indonesian longline vessels

Sadness. Photo by Agung Parameswara/Getty Images.

These lucky 45 turtles were spared a grisly fate at the hands of illegal poachers and set free the next day by the marine police, with the help of some tourists.

But ... let's just take a moment to learn about these amazing creatures.

Don't worry, lil' buddy, you'll be home soon. Photo by Agung Parameswara/Getty Images.

Of the seven species of sea turtle in our oceans, the World Wildlife Fund ranks three (leatherback, hawksbill, and Kemp's ridley turtles) as critically endangered, two (loggerhead and green turtles) as endangered, one (olive ridley turtles) as vulnerable, and the last one (flatback turtles) as "insufficient data" (but according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, it used to be listed as vulernable sooooo ... there's that).

The turtles set free in these photos appear to be mostly green sea turtles.

Did you know that a sea turtle born the same day as you is probably still alive — aaaaand might just outlive you, too?

This is the face of an animal that just wants to go home and take the turtle equivalent of a long nap. Photo by Agung Parameswara/Getty Images.

And sea turtles don't have anything on tortoises, which have been documented living long past the century mark. But sea turtles have been known to live anywhere from 50 to 150 years, depending on their environment and species.

"I'm getting too old for this sh*t." Photo by Agung Parameswara/Getty Images.

Or that green sea turtles are basically the lawnmowers of the ocean?

According to this Oceana report (PDF), the green turtle's grazing habits prevent seagrass beds from getting in the way of currents and help keep the oceanic food chain productive and healthy. So if you like eating lobster, you better care about people not eating the green sea turtle.

"Wheee! High-five, bro, I'm goin' home!" — this turtle. Photo by Agung Parameswara/Getty Images.

How about that turtles travel hundreds of thousands of miles across the ocean but come back to the beach to nest?

And not just any old random beach, either. They've been known to come back to the same beach where they were born to make their nests. I can barely even remember where I left my keys, and I always leave my keys in the same place.

Some species, like the Eastern Pacific green turtle, have been known to come up on land just to rest in the sun for a bit.

According to the Handbook for Sea Turtle Volunteers in North Carolina (PDF), gently pouring water over an injured or distressed turtle is a standard first aid procedure to keep the animal comfortable. Because sea turtles in the wild occasionally come up to the beach to rest, however, most sea turtle wildlife viewing guides (PDF) recommend that if you ever encounter a turtle on the beach, you should never try to push them back into the water or pour water on them. Instead, allow them a clear path to find their way back to the water when they're ready. Photo by Agung Parameswara/Getty Images.

Bottom line: Turtles deserve our respect.

These guys are just trying to help, but there's no way to make this rescue look dignified.

So let's just leave the turtles in the ocean where they belong, OK

"C'MON, I thought you were my friends." Photo by Agung Parameswara/Getty Images.

You're free now, turtle friends.

Photo by Agung Parameswara/Getty Images.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

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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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
True

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.

Keep Reading Show less