The U.S. Faced A Huge Climate Setback This Week — But This Catch Is Keeping Us Hopeful Hero Image
Photo: Chalit Saphaphak

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, formally announced his plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan on Tuesday. An Obama-era ruling, the plan limits the amount of greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants in the hopes of encouraging clean energy development.

Pruitt is looking to “facilitate the development of U.S. energy resources and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens associated with the development of those resources.” Read: He wants to keep jobs in the coal industry. The announcement doesn’t come as much of a surprise, since Pruitt repeatedly challenged the plan in court during his previous role as the attorney general of Oklahoma. President Trump also claimed to have done away with the Clean Power Plan back in September, Grist reports.

The ramifications of supporting coal power plants are clear: More greenhouse gas emissions (the coal and natural gas industries are responsible for nearly 30 percentof emissions in the United States), which fuel climate change and have public health concerns. If passed, this repeal could have a significant impact on the health of kids in particular. A pre-Trump EPA estimated that the Clean Power Plan would have saved an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion in health care costs by 2030, and avoid 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children.

But there’s a catch.

Like the Paris Climate Agreement, the Clean Power Plan won’t just disappear overnight. By voicing his intention to repeal the plan, Pruitt is taking the first step in a long, arduous process. Under his lead, the EPA now needs to go through a formal public-comment period and field concerns from citizens. Then, it needs to provide justification for disbanding the law and put forward a plan to replace it—which could take months, if not years. Since the Supreme Court has ruled that greenhouse gas emissions do indeed threaten public health, the EPA is legally required to curb them in some way.

In the meantime, many states have voiced plans to continue moving toward a renewable energy future, no matter what the government says.

“Even if they repeal the Clean Power Plan, or replace it with something that doesn’t require us to do very much, you still have to reckon with the fact that ultimately regulations on carbon are coming,” Ted J. Thomas, the chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, told the New York Times. “So we need to develop options to deal with that other than sticking our heads in the sand and hoping we can just file lawsuits forever. You can either be prepared or unprepared, and that’s a pretty simple choice.”




Depending on the country a person lives in, their ideals of what constitutes true beauty can differ markedly from others’. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. But the upside of this is that what many of us consider to be our physical defects might turn out to be charming to someone out there.

Bright Side has put together a selection of the most interesting things that people find attractive and sexy in various countries around the world.

Crooked teeth


In Western countries, a straight line of even teeth is considered the definition of the perfect smile, and many can’t imagine that people might think otherwise. But in Japan, things are the other way around: the peak of attractiveness is the so-called “yaeba,” or crooked teeth. It’s believed that people look cuter if they have this quality. It’s for this reason that dentists in Japan are in high demand — from both young men and women!


Western Africa, New Guinea

The inhabitants of New Guinea and several other countries in Africa still decorate their bodies with patterns and numerous artistic scars. The scars are usually given to men during an initiation ceremony, whereas for women these “tattoos” are considered an indication of great beauty. Of course, in the developed world there is no small number of people who also find this practice attractive — what is often referred to as body modification.

A heart-shaped face

South Korea

In South Korea, plastic surgery is not only widespread, it’s considered completely normal. In major cities, you’ll see advertisements everywhere calling for people to go under the knife to improve their appearance.

Here, possessing a heart-shaped face is seen as one of the key ways to look beautiful. To get it, many Koreans are prepared to undergo complex operations. This often involves breaking the bones in the jaw into three pieces, removing the central part, and fusing the two others together to create a more pointed chin. Then the angles of the new chin are softened. For a long time after having this kind of operation, the individual is unable to eat solid food.

Excess weight


Mauritanians have absolutely no chance of attracting a man’s gaze if they don’t have folds of fat on their stomach.

To make sure girls obtain the desired dimensions, their parents send them to special “farms” where they can eat up to 16,000 calories a day (the norm is 1,500). Unfortunately, because of this tradition, many girls develop stomach illnesses.

Surgical dressings on the face


Iran is the capital of rhinoplasty. Despite the high price of the procedure, men and women here are ready to pay anything for the sake of a straight nose, which is seen here not only as a symbol of beauty but also of a certain status in society.

But this is far from the strangest thing you can see here. Even if someone hasn’t had a nose job, they might decide to walk around in public with a surgical dressing on their face to make people think they have.

Pale skin

China, Thailand

In many parts of Asia, pale skin is considered to be the gold standard of beauty. If you walk into a store looking for some face cream, you’re unlikely to find one that doesn’t have a bleaching ingredient. This includes ones for men for use after shaving. Many Chinese people refuse to visit the beach without a mask, as they want to protect their skin from the effects of the sun. Moreover, Chinese and Thai women think Westerners are crazy for wanting to go to a tanning salon.

A high forehead

The Fula people

The most important attribute for a woman to possess among the Fula tribe of Africa is a high forehead. It’s for this reason that some of the tribe’s women remove parts of their hair from their head in order to create the illusion that they have one.

A similar custom has been observed in medieval Europe when women were known to remove as much as half the hair on the top of their head.

A long neck


One of the regions of eastern Burma has been called “the country of giraffe women.” This name refers to the Kayan people who live there, whose women wear brass rings around their necks. It’s believed that the longer a person’s neck, the more beautiful they look.

According to legend, these rings protect the Kayan women from tigers, although in reality they are simply a way of expressing their tribal identity.

Stretched lips and red skin

The Mursi people

Himba and Suri people

In the Mursi tribe of Ethiopia, girls learn to stretch the skin of their lower lips using special disks. The larger the disk, the higher the girl’s social status, and the larger the dowry that has to be paid before a marriage.

A similar thing can be found with the Suri tribe. They are a small African tribe inhabiting an area in southwestern Ethiopia along the Sudanese border. They are one of several tribes in the fertile Omo Valley, and they number an estimated 20,000 people.

The Himba are nomadic pastoralists who live in the Kaokoland area of northwestern Namibia. They use red ocher and fat to protect themselves from the sun. This gives their bodies a red color.



In some regions of Tajikistan, a monobrow is considered a sign of female beauty. If nature hasn’t granted a girl this desirable feature, she might decide to apply some black makeup in a line between her eyebrows.

Local people are convinced that joined-together eyebrows are an indication that a person will have a fortunate life.

These beauty traditions may seem amusing to some of us, and others may appear primitive. But how often do we take a look at our own standards of beauty and traditions? Punching holes in our ears and placing earrings in them, walking in uncomfortable high-heeled shoes to make our legs longer — perhaps these seem equally strange to others?




Almost all of us remember some basic things about the rules of providing first aid. But is our knowledge correct, or is what we know too fragmented to be useful? Ilya Boyko, a specialist in first aid, explains the most widespread and dangerous mistakes people make when providing medical help to others.

We at Bright Side recommend heeding these simple rules — they might just save someone’s life.

1. Trying to make yourself sweat when you have a temperature is a bad idea.

When you’re ill, feeling hot when you’re shivering at the same time indicates that your body temperature is rising. When we wrap up warmly, our temperature goes up even faster. Although the heat helps us fight against infection, a body temperature that’s higher than 38°С does more harm to the body than good.

If you have a high temperature combined with the shakes, you need to get cooler rather than warmer.

2. Don’t put anything in the mouth of a person who’s experiencing an epileptic fit.

You can break someone’s teeth if you put something in their mouth. During a fit, an epileptic person cannot bite off their tongue, as it’s being strained with great force. They can only bite it slightly, but this won’t cause any major harm. The best thing you can do to help is place something soft under their head, as this will help them avoid receiving any concussion of the brain. When the spasms have passed, turn the individual over onto their side.

3. Don’t apply cream to burns straightaway.

When the skin is burned, it experiences excess heat which goes deeper into body tissue. The best thing to do in this situation is place the affected area in cold water for about 15 minutes. This will help the excess heat to dissipate. Don’t rub anything into the skin straightaway, as this will trap the heat — only do this after 20 minutes or more.

4. Don’t drag someone who may be injured anywhere without medical professionals present.

If an accident occurs on the road, don’t move an injured person, and definitely don’t try to drag them out of the car on your own. You’ll only make things worse. This rule can be infringed only in the most extreme situations — for instance, if the vehicle has caught fire. THIS is what you need to do instead:

  • Call for an ambulance.
  • If you can, turn off the vehicle’s engine, and cut the power to its battery.
  • Stop any bleeding.
  • Help the victim to keep calm.

5. If someone’s choking, don’t pat them on the back.

If you pat the person on the back, you’ll only cause whatever it is they’re choking on to pass further down into their windpipe. What you should do instead is help the person lean over, make sure they’re calm, and tell them to breathe in very slowly two times. This will help ease the choking and bring up the object blocking their airways.

6. Don’t try to draw out the tongue of someone who’s fallen unconscious.

It is dangerous for an unconscious person to lie on their back, as their tongue can fall back and block their airways. To make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s enough to just turn the individual over onto their side or move their head back. You shouldn’t try to pull their tongue out of their mouth.

7. Don’t apply a tourniquet to a wound if there isn’t any arterial bleeding.

Arterial bleeding is easy to spot, and not on account of the color of the blood as you might have been told in school. In the arteries, blood is pumped at high speed under pressure, so it comes out of a wound not as a trickle but like a fountain. In such cases, you need to press down on the artery in the groin or under the armpit IMMEDIATELY, and draw the limbs closer to the torso using a tourniquet or a belt wrapped around the clothes. If there is venous bleeding, a bandage should be applied, but not a tourniquet, as this could drain the limb of blood in a way that can’t be reversed.

8. Don’t rub frostbitten parts of the body.

When we rub frozen extremities we damage our capillaries, which makes the situation worse. Hot water is also too radical a method to help here. If you’ve been frostbitten, you should try to warm the affected body parts slowly — place your hands in cold water, gradually increasing its temperature.

9. Evaluate your strength and think logically before you try to help someone.

In an emergency, you should always consider first what actions might cause you harm, and you should help only when you’re certain that you won’t endanger yourself by doing so. For example, if you touch a person who’s been electrified, then there’s going to be two casualties instead of one. In this case, you need to turn off the current at the source, or use a wooden object to separate the victim from the source of the current.


A large part of taking care of a wound is to correctly diagnose what type of a wound it is. Here is a little reminder for you.

You need to remember that in any emergency, actions that haven’t been thought through could be even worse than no action at all. Only accept advice if you’re certain it will help. And always call the emergency services straightaway.


Studying mammograms to detect breast cancer. A study from the American Cancer Society estimates that a woman living in the United States will have a one in eight chance of getting breast cancer.CreditBen Edwards/The Image Bank, via Getty Images

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women except for skin cancers.`

Researchers at the American Cancer Society estimate that there will be 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women in the United States in 2017. Some 40,610 women will die from the disease.

In addition, there will be 63,410 cases this year of carcinoma in situ, abnormal cells that may be an early form of cancer.

Over a lifetime, a woman living in the United States has a 12.4 percent risk — one in eight — of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks have higher breast cancer incidence and mortality than other racial and ethnic groups. The incidence of cancer in black women was slightly lower than that of whites, but the death rate during 2011 to 2015 was 42 percent higher in black women.

Scientists have now identified at least five subtypes of breast cancer. Lower overall rates among Hispanic women can largely be explained by lower rates of the most common subtype, called luminal A.

A particularly aggressive subtype, triple-negative breast cancer, is twice as common in black women as in whites.

The widest differences in breast cancer mortality between whites and blacks are in Mississippi, Louisiana, Wisconsin and New Mexico. The narrowest gaps are in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, Iowa and Minnesota.

“These racial disparities are not inevitable,” said Carol E. DeSantis, director of breast and gynecological cancer surveillance at the American Cancer Society.

“Access to care, economic status, getting high quality treatment early and beginning and completing chemotherapy are all factors,” Ms. DeSantis said.

In the 1980s and 1990s, breast cancer rates rose. Scientists believe that the increases may be explained by the growing trend toward delayed childbearing and having fewer children, both known risk factors for breast cancer.

At the same time, the wider use of mammography led to earlier diagnosis, which also contributed to the higher incidence numbers.

Rates increased more slowly through the 1990s. There was a decrease in rates in 2002 and 2003, primarily in white women; reduced use of menopausal hormone therapy in those years may be part of the explanation.

Death rates from breast cancer have declined 39 percent from 1989 through 2015. About 322,600 breast cancer deaths have been averted, largely the result of earlier diagnosis and new treatments.

Through January 2016, more than 3.5 million women were living with breast cancer in the United States.


Hormones in dairy foods may be involved, scientists speculate

Vitamin D and calcium from food, but not supplements, were associated with a decreased risk for early menopause, and the hormones in dairy food may partly explain why, scientists said.

Compared with women with the least amount of vitamin D in their diet, those with the most were 17% less likely to undergo menopause before the age of 45 (hazard ratio 0.83; 95% CI 0.72-0.95; P=0.03), reported researchers led by Alexandra Purdue-Smithe, a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

However, compared with women who did not take vitamin D supplements, those who took the recommended daily allowance of 600 IUs or more had no significant change in risk (HR 1.29; 95% CI 0.94-1.77; P=0.10), Purdue-Smithe and colleagues reported online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Compared with women with the least amount of calcium in their diet, those with the most were 13% less likely to undergo early menopause (HR 0.87; 95% CI 0.76-1.00; P=0.03), the study found.

Surprisingly, women who took the recommended daily allowance of calcium (1,000 mg) or more had a significantly increased risk of early menopause compared with those who did not take calcium supplements (odds ratio 1.60; 95% CI 1.19-2.17; P=0.02). The researchers speculated that many of these women may have been taking calcium supplements prescribed by a doctor for conditions that affect sex-steroid hormones, such as autoimmune diseases or a family history of osteoporosis.

“Laboratory evidence relating vitamin D to some of the hormonal mechanisms involved in ovarian aging provided the foundation for our hypothesis. However, to our knowledge, no prior epidemiologic studies have explicitly evaluated how vitamin D and calcium intake may be related to risk of early menopause,” Purdue-Smithe said in a statement.

When the investigators examined the effect of dietary vitamin D and calcium obtained from dairy and non-dairy sources, they found significant risk reductions only for the vitamins that came from dairy. “We think that our findings for dietary vitamin D may be driven, at least in part, by dairy foods themselves,” Purdue-Smithe told MedPage Todayvia email.

“Dairy foods are a rich source of steroid hormones, such as progesterone. Higher intake of progesterone from dairy may influence levels of circulating sex hormones, which in turn may influence ovarian function during the reproductive years.” Ongoing research is exploring this possibility, she said.

Early menopause affects about 10% of women in Western countries and has been associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis, cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, and premature death, she noted.

“In addition to placing women at higher risk of adverse future health outcomes, early menopause is also problematic as women are increasingly delaying childbearing into their later reproductive years. Fertility declines drastically during the 10 years leading up to menopause, so early menopause can have profound psychological and financial implications for couples who are unable to conceive as they wish. As such, it is important to identify modifiable risk factors for early menopause, such as diet.”

The researchers analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study II. This prospective epidemiological study included 116,430 female U.S. registered nurses who were 25 to 42 years old in 1989 when they responded to a detailed baseline questionnaire asking about lifestyle behaviors and medical conditions. Follow-up questionnaires have been mailed biennially. In addition, food-frequency questionnaires were mailed every 4 years since 1989 through 2011. These questionnaires assessed both diet and supplement use.

The investigators identified 2,041 cases of early menopause over 1.13 million person-years of follow-up, using Cox proportional hazards regression to analyze the relationships between vitamin D and calcium intake and incident early menopause, while accounting for potential confounding factors.

However, because higher intake of vitamin D and calcium from foods could simply be a marker for better nutrition and overall health, the researchers took into account other factors including vegetable intake, alcohol use, body-mass index, and smoking. “The large size of this study allowed us to consider a variety of potential correlates of a healthy lifestyle that might explain our findings; however, adjusting for these factors made almost no difference in our estimates,” Purdue-Smithe said.

Apart from the possible effects of hormones in dairy food, vitamin D and calcium themselves may protect against ovarian aging, the investigators suggested. “Several potential mechanisms supporting this hypothesis have been proposed — namely the ability of vitamin D to modify messenger-RNA expression of anti-Müllerian hormone, a glycoprotein secreted by granulosa cells during early follicle development that correlates with the overall age at menopause and may play a role in regulating ovarian aging.”

As for why the study found no risk reduction with supplements, Purdue-Smithe said the answer probably has more to do with the low number of patients in the study taking high doses of supplements, rather than any potential for reduced bioavailability or absorption of vitamins from supplements. “For example, there were only 40 women who consumed vitamin D above 600 IU/d in our population. Therefore, the availability of statistical power for these analyses was considerably lower than for our analyses for vitamin D from dietary sources,” she said.

Other limitations of the study included the reliance on self-reports of diet, and the fact that the Nurses’ Health Study II is a predominantly white cohort, the investigators noted — “Our findings should be replicated in more diverse populations.”

In addition, the researchers noted, the majority of a person’s vitamin D is obtained by cutaneous synthesis during sunlight exposure, and dietary and supplemental intake of vitamin D represent a small overall contribution to circulating plasma 25-(OH)D.

Nevertheless, further studies to assess the relationship between dietary vitamin D and calcium and early menopause are warranted, the team concluded.

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How nice would it be to push a button and instantly feel happy, uplifted, and fun?

Turns out you can. Or at least exert the same amount of effort for the same results.

Recent studies are upending the age-old belief that emotions just happen to us. In fact, its just the opposite. We often choose which emotions we’ll experience. The problem is, we don’t realize exactly how we bring these emotions on ourselves.

If you’d like to choose happy more often, here are five concrete things you can do in less than 20 minutes that have scientifically shown to change your brain chemistry and your perspective.

Move your body

Extensive scientific research shows that our body language shapes what we think and how we feel. In a study performed by Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy, just two minutes of assuming “power poses” is enough to make us feel confident, upbeat, and alert.

What is a “power pose”? It all has to do with open body language. Extend your arms from side to side, open your chest, and raise your chin. You don’t even have to work up a sweat. The simple act of opening physically is enough to change your brain chemistry for the better.

Practice gratitude exercises

What do you focus on when you’re feeling bad? Most likely, the promotion you didn’t get, the amount of work still on your plate, or the person who was rude to you. All the things that aren’t as you’d like them to be.

All the good stuff in your life? You probably take it for granted. It’s a psychological phenomenon known as Hedonic Adaptation, and it happens to all of us.

Want to appreciate your life, ward off Hedonic Adaptation, and be happier?

Simply taking a moment to focus on five things you ARE happy with is enough to feel much happier in minutes.

It’s easy to forget that we live in the most prosperous time in history. Chances are that you eat better than kings and queens did 150 years ago. Take a minute to recognize all that is good in your life from your relationships to your career to your health. Take a minute to appreciate how many people would struggle for the things you take for granted.

Tell someone you love how you feel

We often feel we need people to be nice to us when we’re feeling down. In fact, the answer is quite the opposite. What we need is to be kind to other people.

One psychology professor found after writing out a note to someone they appreciated, every one of his students reported an increase in happiness. That’s without even delivering the note. By sharing those hidden feelings of gratitude you’ll get to experience them. You’ll get to see the other person be touched by your gesture, compounding the effect.

Who in your life hasn’t heard how much they mean to you in a while? Simply writing an email or taking 30 seconds to tell them how you feel in person will brighten both your days.

Take a walk outside

Per day, American white-collar workers will spend eight hours a day sitting in front of their computers and on average, another 3.5 in front of the television. With all that sitting and staring, it’s no wonder that we sometimes feel stifled.

Exercise is shown to decrease feelings of depression, and doing so outside magnifies the effect. Sunlight helps our body synthesize vitamin D, which is linked to increased serotonin. Even a tree-lined walk will do the trick, as feeling closer to nature is also linked with greater happiness levels.

University of Rochester study found that just 20 minutes a day in a natural setting can “significantly boost vitality levels.”


Want to cut back on stress and feel better almost immediately? Smiling is the easiest way.

Repeated studies have shown that even a forced smile will lower your heart rate, decrease stress, and increase feelings of happiness.

For maximum effect, the University of Kansas Department of Psychology has found that a genuine Duchenne smile is best (the smile that activates the muscles around your eyes and forms crows feet).

Combine this with the fact that smiles are literally contagious — people you smile at are much more likely to smile back at you — and you’ve got a positive feedback loop that is guaranteed to lift your spirits.

Know someone who could use an instant pick me up? Share this with them (and maybe also a gratitude note).


5 Things To Ask Yourself Before Taking Antibiotics Hero Image
Photo: Marko Milovanović

It’s fall, and that means sore throats, sniffles, and coughing. No matter how much work we do to supercharge our immune system and wash our hands to prevent germs, sometimes we simply catch the bug that’s going around the office or school. Hopefully, a quick seasonal cold virus is the extent of it, but we all know that sometimes unpleasant symptoms can hang around and we worry it’s a bacterial infection. If that happens, here are five questions you should ask yourself before you fill that antibiotic prescription:

1. Is this antibiotic necessary?

Antibiotics are medicines that are used to treat bacterial infections only. Antibiotics do not fight infections caused by viruses like colds, flu, some sore throats, and sinus or ear infections. These infections can get better without antibiotics, and instead, symptom relief is the best treatment, and the use of antibiotics may cause unnecessary side effects. Many times people are looking for a quick fix to an illness that cannot be fixed by antibiotics. You should not demand antibiotics when your health care provider says that they are not indicated, and never take antibiotics that were prescribed for someone else because this may not be the appropriate form of treatment and may delay the time it takes to diagnose your real illness.

2. Do I know what side effects to expect?

Once it has been established that an antibiotic is indicated for your illness, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects that can occur with taking the antibiotic. Antibiotics are extremely helpful drugs, but they are not without their drawbacks—which is another reason you should make sure they are completely necessary. One common side effect is antibiotic-associated diarrhea, which means loose or watery bowel movements during the course of the treatment. Typically, antibiotic-associated diarrhea will be mild and requires no treatment; it will usually stop within a couple of days of completing the course. It is thought that antibiotic-associated diarrhea comes from upsetting the balance of bacteria that normally exists in the gastrointestinal tract. There is a more severe and complicated type of bacterial infection called Clostridium difficile (C.diff) that can occur after antibiotic use. Clostridium difficile is a serious condition that can cause fever, abdominal pain, excess diarrhea, and possible colitis. If you have any of these symptoms after taking antibiotics, you should contact your health care provider for a full evaluation.

3. Should I be taking a probiotic?

Not all bacteria are bad; in fact, there are a ton of bacteria living in, on, and around our body that play a crucial role in keeping us healthy. Sadly, antibiotics cannot always distinguish between the good and the harmful bacteria, so they can kill off the healthy bacteria too. In order to replenish them, taking a probiotic may be recommended. Probiotics are supplements that contain good bacteria that are either the same as or very similar to the bacteria that are already in your body. Probiotics can also be found in some yogurts, cheeses, and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut. Not all probiotic supplements are equal, so ask your health care provider which brand of probiotics they recommend!

4. Will it interact with anything else I’m taking?

Antibiotics are prescribed to be helpful, but it’s important to be aware of your other medical conditions and, in particular, your current medication and supplement list when taking an antibiotic. Certain classes of antibiotics can cause interactions with medications you may already be taking. In particular, some classes of antibiotics may interfere with the efficacy of oral birth control. Your health care provider may recommend backup or a nonhormonal method of birth control while you are taking the antibiotics and for one week afterward.

5. How soon will I feel better?

This is probably one of the most important questions when you are already feeling sick. Typically we think that within 24 to 48 hours after your first antibiotic dose, you should start to feel some improvement. Antibiotics are not magic pills, and so it’s important to follow the trajectory rather than complete resolution of symptoms within that time frame. Alternatively, you may feel completely better within two days’ time, however, this does not mean that you should stop taking your medications.

In a recent article in the British Medical Journal, the need to complete the course of antibiotics has been called into question. However, this is something that the medical community needs to examine more closely. So while the professionals continue to study this, it is best for you to take your antibiotics exactly as prescribed!