These puppies are using their robust sense of smell to sniff out cancer.

Alfie and Charlie are only four months old, but they're already training to become cancer detection specialists at the University of California, Davis.

And oh yeah, they're dogs.


A multi-disciplinary team of veterinarians, physicians, and animal experts from UC Davis and the surrounding area are coming together to train Alfie (a labradoodle) and Charlie (a German shepherd) to hone their ability to recognize the scent of cancer in urine, saliva, and even human breath.

That's right, Alfie and Charlie will be able to sniff out cancer.

Thanks to their high-powered super sniffers, dogs are perfect for the job.

A dog has more than 220 million olfactory receptors in its nose, while humans have a measly 5 million. This explains why a dog can detect smells 10,000 to 100,000 times better than their two-legged best friends.

This dog can smell you through the screen. Photo by iStock.

In an interview for the PBS show "NOVA," sensory expert James Walker put it plainly: "If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well."

The pups will spend the next 12 months undergoing rigorous training.

Led by dog expert Dina Zaphiris, who has trained dozens of canines to detect breast and ovarian cancer, Alfie and Charlie will begin scent training. This involves not only recognizing cancer but learning to ignore everything else. Socialization is also an important part of the training, since the pups will work so closely with humans.

It's all in preparation for early 2016, when the dynamic duo will start screening individuals in a UC Davis clinical trial.

Alfie and Charlie show off their staff IDs. Photos by UC Davis Health System, copyright UC Regents.

Cancer-detecting dogs may be a safe, affordable way to save lives.

When it comes to cancer, early detection is the key to survival. When breast cancer is diagnosed and treated at Stage 1, the five-year survival rate is around 98%. But even with medical and technological advances, it's still difficult to reliably detect cancers in the early stages.

Dog detection is an inexpensive, safe, non-invasive way to screen for cancer, especially early on. According to Peter Belafsky, professor and physician at UC Davis, canines like Charlie and Alfie could save countless lives.

"Our new canine colleagues represent a unique weapon in the battle against cancer....the dogs' incredible talent for scent detection could offer us humans a real jump on diagnosing cancer much earlier and thus save many more lives."


Charlie with Dr. Ralph deVere White, director of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Photo by UC Davis Health System, copyright UC Regents.

Charlie and Alfie may also lay the groundwork for future research.

Dogs and their sensitive noses are sniffing out a specific molecular compound when they identify cancer. Researchers don't know exactly what the dogs are smelling, but if they study canines like Charlie and Alfie and pinpoint the organic compound, they may be able to reverse-engineer a test or tool for more reliable early detection.

No bones about it: Charlie, Alfie, and the team at UC Davis are heroes.

Photo by iStock.

Sniffing out cancer and advancing medical research all while maintaining peak adorability. Your move, cats.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Wikiimages by Pixabay, Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich/Twitter

The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.