Conflicts of interest helping to shape health care  

According to this article, practitioners involved in just about every “area of medicine” are to a greater or lesser extent, respectively, in the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry.

“More than two-thirds of patient advocacy organizations that responded to a survey indicated that they had received industry funding in their last fiscal year. For most, the money represented a small share of their budget. But 12 percent said they received more than half of their money from industry.”

We’re talking about “those who write guidelines that shape doctors’ practices, patient advocacy organizations, letter writers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and even oncologists on Twitter.”

What it amounts to is that vast conflicts of interest are actually helping to shape health care.

“The very way we all think about disease — and the best ways to research, define, prevent, and treat it — is being subtly distorted because so many of the ostensibly independent players, including patient advocacy groups, are largely singing tunes acceptable to companies seeking to maximize markets for drugs and devices,” researchers Ray Moynihan and Lisa Bero wrote in an accompanying commentary.

She married one of the firemen who helped save her  

Twenty-year-old college student Melissa Dohme was stabbed more than 30 times and left for dead by her insanely jealous ex-boyfriend.

Melissa was desperately close to death, and the emergency services team that rushed to the scene, after a 911 call from a passerby, had to work frantically to keep her alive long enough to get her to the hospital.

According to the trauma surgeons who performed emergency surgery on her at the hospital, Melissa died several times on the table and had to be resuscitated time and again.

Miraculously, Melissa pulled through — and married one of the firefighters who helped save her.

And, oh yes, the jealous ex-boyfriend who tried to kill Melissa got what was coming to him — in spades.

Juvenile sea lion was so happy to be rescued  

After getting hooked by fishing gear off the coast of Southern California, but pulled free in the nick of time by the crew of a Coast Guard boat, a juvenile sea lion showed its appreciation by hopping aboard and posing for photographs.

Beards are the new growth industry  

It seems beards are becoming more fashionable by the day. If the trend continues, pretty soon it’ll be unusual to see a clean-shaven face.

This has created a rising demand for facial hair care products, which enterprising firms are rushing to fill. For instance, Beard Balm, a Detroit-based company, sells over 400,000 tins a year of its product — “a mix of bees wax, lanolin and other beard-taming ingredients — for $16 a pop.”

I decided to grow a beard once, but changed my mind and shaved it off after about a week. I just hated the feel of it on my face. My younger brother, on the other hand, has never ever shaved, as far as I know.

Can’t imagine what he’d look like without a beard.

When an airplane gets struck by lightning  

Imagine watching a plane packed with passengers — including one or more of your friends or relatives whom you’ve just seen off at the airport — take off in a thunder storm and a couple of thousand feet up it gets struck by a great big jagged bolt of lightning.

That would be horrendous. Right?

Not necessarily. The plane would most probably continue on its way without pause, its passengers blissfully unaware of what you just saw happen from the ground.

Find that hard to believe?

Then watch this video, taken by an onlooker, of a passenger plane actually getting struck in midair by a lightning bolt.

The return of Europe’s extinct wild supercows  

Once upon a time, aurochs, — mighty cows “that stood almost as tall as elephants, with lean, powerful frames and fearsome horns,” — roamed wild in Europe.

For thousands of years these great mammals lived in relative peace, mostly invulnerable to attacks by wolves (the only beasts of prey in the same neck of the woods they needed to keep an eye on).

Then humans found them and began to decimate their numbers until the last auroch died in Poland in 1627.

But here’s the thing. While the auroch is indeed extinct, some of its genes survived and are to this day present in various breeds of cattle in Europe.

And this article explains why that’s key, both to bringing back these magnificent animals and to benefitting the region’s ecology .

Radical football fans in the Arab Muslim capital of America  

I found this great article about “a Muslim enclave that is openly radicalized (over who loves this country even more), deeply divided (over which team to root for) and secretly plotting in the garage about a controversial religion: football.”