Why Hiking Beats Surfing on Réunion Island (Hint: Sharks!)

Let’s just say absence makes the hikes grow longer. When I was 22 and in the best shape of my life, I used to hitchhike into the mountains of Réunion Island every weekend to take in the dizzying views and moss-draped forests of the highlands. I spent a year there after college, teaching English in…

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Japan Wants to Dump Nuclear Plant’s Tainted Water. Fishermen Fear the Worst.

IWAKI, Japan — The overpowering earthquake and tsunami that ripped through northern Japan in March 2011 took so much from Tatsuo Niitsuma, a commercial fisherman in this coastal city in Fukushima Prefecture. The tsunami pulverized his fishing boat. It demolished his home. Most devastating of all, it took the life of his daughter. Now, nearly…

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L’Express, the Beloved Montreal Bistro Where So Much Began

MONTREAL — David McMillan, one of Montreal’s most influential chefs, estimates he has eaten at L’Express, the city’s premier French bistro, more than 500 times. His meal is almost always the same: pistachio-studded chicken liver pâté, followed by veal kidneys in mustard sauce. “I still have this feeling of elation, like it’s Christmas, when I…

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An Apocryphal Christmas Miracle

Gather around, children, and let me tell you the — false — legend of the Christmas diphtheria antitoxin miracle. I’ve just finished a book about the end of many kinds of childhood mortality, and got caught up in this tale that is often said to have happened on Christmas 1891, in Berlin. Here’s the story,…

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Tackling Inflammation to Fight Age-Related Ailments

The quest for a fountain of youth is many centuries old and marred by many false starts and unfulfilled promises. But modern medical science is now gradually closing in on what might realistically enable people to live longer, healthier lives — if they are willing to sacrifice some popular hedonistic pleasures. Specialists in the biology…

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Why Is There a Coffee Shop in So Many Stores?

The joke used to be that there’s a Starbucks on every corner in New York City. Now there’s coffee in the corner of almost every store. At Lichen, a boutique in Williamsburg that sells home goods and furniture, you can pick up Danish glass cups for $7, an Italiana Luce lamp for $85 or a…

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Five Tips for Living Longer in 2020

Advice from Well on ways to minimize risks and increase your longevity. By Jane E. Brody Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. Every 19 minutes in this country, an older person dies from a fall. But falling is not an inevitable consequence of aging. Most age-related falls are…

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How to tell if a brain is awake

Remarkably, scientists are still debating just how to reliably determine whether someone is conscious. This question is of great practical importance when making medical decisions about anesthesia or treating patients in vegetative state or coma. Currently, researchers rely on various measurements from an electroencephalogram, or EEG, to assess level of consciousness in the brain. A…

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NIH grant to study biomolecular interactions in hopes of informing drug design

Biomolecules — carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids — form the foundation of life and are responsible for carrying out every process that occurs in our bodies. Miniscule changes in how these biomolecules fold and interact can lead to severe consequences, such as the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. But, how and why…

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