Paul Wildman and Julie Andersen spend their days trying to debunk myths around some of the biggest, most feared swimming creatures around.
We're talking specifically about sharks and crocodiles, which feature prominently as villains in stories across cultures and generations. In order to do that, though, they have to get up close and personal — very personal — with the very creatures so many of us fear. They go swimming with them — no protective nets or cages required.
Among their endeavors have been a series of dives with Great White sharks, the type of shark that featured prominently in the film Jaws and that sent scores of beachgoers in Massachusetts scurrying for cover just days ago. They've even conducted experiments to see what it would take to get the sharks to bite. Vice has the story of these animal advocates, as well as more incredible photos and videos from their deep sea adventures.
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Last month, we told you about Bellingcat, the crowd-source journalism effort that has been instrumental revealing unknown details about the conflicts in the Middle East. Bellingcat has also been actively monitoring the situation in Ukraine, where Russian-backed rebels in the east have been challenging Ukrainian officials for more autonomy. On Monday, they revealed a new bombshell in the ongoing conflict.
In a post on their website, Bellingcat lays out in excruciating detail how it concluded that it was a Russian anti-aircraft battery — very likely operated by Russian troops — that was responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight 17 this summer. Bellingcat follows a specific anti-aircraft vehicle from Russia into Ukraine and back to Russia, even going as far as locating where the unit was from and who specifically was likely operating it. And all of its evidence was publicly available on YouTube, Instagram, Google Maps and other social networks.
A new research study has revealed that the microbes in our guts have incredible power in determining how ours bodies act and behave. And, it turns out, those links may have developed early in childhood, with indications that early stresses have an outsized impact on the development of those bacteria, and consequently how our brains function as adults. If true, it could mean that infants and children who are stressed will be less successful at managing stress as adults.
And that's not all. The researchers are also exploring a possible link between stomach bacteria in children and autism. Some research suggests that there's something distinctly different about the microbes present in the stomachs of children with autism when compared to the microbes present in the stomachs of other children. New research in animals seems to back up that link. PRI's Science Friday has the story.
Twitter has been engaged in a months-long effort to wipe accounts of terrorists off its network. It has had to deal with the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab, as well as, most recently, ISIS. But ISIS in particular has become a challenge. The militant organization provides tips and strategies to the digital jihadis whose accounts are suspended to get them back up and running. So as fast as Twitter suspends the accounts of ISIS mouthpieces, the group is back online spreading its message.
But evidently ISIS has gotten tired of the cat-and-mouse game, so it's called on "lone wolf terrorists" in the US and Europe to physically target Twitter employees, in order to pressure the company to leave its accounts up. Ironically, the terrorist group used a series of tweets to issue its call to followers. Twitter disabled the accounts sending the message a short time later. Vocativ looks at the details behind the struggle to keep ISIS off social media, and the way ISIS has capitalized on social media to get its message out.
Steven Sotloff is the most recent American journalist to be executed — beheaded — by Islamist militants from ISIS in what they say is retaliation for American airstrikes against ISIS rebels in Iraq. But Sotloff's story extends far beyond his execution. The journalist was captured a year ago, which launched a remarkable, year-long effort to try and ensure his captors never learned that Sotloff was Jewish, with dual US and Israeli citizenship.
PRI's The World talked with friends of Sotloff's about their effort. They said it gave them a sense of purpose and a sense of hope to try and do something they thought would help keep their friend alive. And by all accounts, they succeeded, scrubbing thousands of references to Sotloff's Jewish identity off everything from Facebook profiles to New York Times articles online. And while Sotloff was ultimately killed, they think their work was successful in keeping him alive as long as he was.
Heavy rains in the disputed Kashmir region have left scores dead and thousands without power or communication. Part of Kashmir is in Pakistan, while part is in India, and both sides claim the entirety of the region, which has been the cause of two of the three wars the countries have fought since being granted independence from Britain almost 70 years ago. But the current flooding has affected Kashmiris on both sides of the border. And it's also led to expressions of detente between the two sides, with both offering assistance to the other in dealing with the current crisis. Neither side, however, has seemed interested in accepting the other's help. ABC has more.
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