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Daughter of former All Black charged over alleged hit and run death

<p>The daughter of former New Zealand All Black has been charged over an alleged hit and run that left a 65-year-old man dead in Auckland. </p> <p>Helena Jade Cribb, the daughter of Ron Cribb, was charged earlier this year after Jason Collins' body was found by a member of the public on O'Brien Rd, Lucas Heights in the early hours of December 7. </p> <p>The 22-year-old previously had a name suppression, which has now lapsed. </p> <p>Earlier this year, Detective Sergeant Ben Bergin said the driver allegedly involved had been identified not long after Collins' death. </p> <p>"A thorough investigation has been underway into the tragic circumstances by the Waitematā CIB and we have reached a point where charges have been filed," Bergin said.</p> <p>Collins has been remembered as a devoted father, husband and friend. </p> <p>"The tragic loss of Jason has left an unfillable void in our hearts," a statement on behalf of his family read. </p> <p>"...his absence is a constant ache, a relentless reminder of what we've lost.</p> <p>"Taken from us too soon, his departure is a profound and senseless blow that we struggle to comprehend.</p> <p>"Each day is a battle against the overwhelming emptiness left in his wake.</p> <p>"We ask for privacy at this time as we continue to grieve."</p> <p>The 22-year-old reportedly faces a charge of operating a vehicle carelessly, causing death while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. </p> <p>She is set to reappear in court in September. </p> <p><em>Image: NZ Police</em></p> <p> </p>

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Former All Blacks star dies at 58

<p>Former All Black and Canterbury stalwart Shayne Philpott has died aged 58. </p> <p>The former New Zealand rugby union player died on Tuesday after a medical event. </p> <p>Philpott was All Black No.895 and a prolific points scorer during a decade-long career for Canterbury, playing 113 games for them. </p> <p>His death has been confirmed by New Zealand Rugby. </p> <p>"Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of former All Black Shayne Philpott, who has passed away aged 58," their tribute read on social media. </p> <p>"Philpott played 14 matches for the All Blacks between 1988-1991, and was a stalwart of Canterbury rugby. </p> <p>"Rest in love All Black #895 🖤"</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of former All Black Shayne Philpott, who has passed away aged 58.</p> <p>Philpott played 14 matches for the All Blacks between 1988-1991, and was a stalwart of Canterbury rugby.</p> <p>Rest in love All Black #895 🖤 <a href="https://t.co/M7IcglhhxW">pic.twitter.com/M7IcglhhxW</a></p> <p>— New Zealand Rugby (@NZRugby) <a href="https://twitter.com/NZRugby/status/1805737931849572842?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 25, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>Philpott started playing for Canterbury in 1986 at the age of 20, before being selected by the All Backs and making his debut on the 1988 tour of Australia. </p> <p>He played 12 games and two Tests for the All Blacks, and was known for his versatility as he could fill most positions in the backline. </p> <p>Loved ones have paid tribute to the rugby player and father. </p> <p>“It is with a very heavy heart that we share the shocking news of Shayne Philpott’s passing today ..." one family member wrote on Facebook. </p> <p>“A much-loved father and brother. Rest in peace brother.”</p> <p>“It’s just unfathomable…,” another emotional tribute read. </p> <p>“Shayne Philpott you have been the epitome of humbleness and decency. I will miss you at celebrations, with your great yarns and humour.</p> <p>“I’m just so terribly sad we don’t get to say goodbye, and to thank you for being you. You are gone way too soon my friend. Rest in peace and love, you wonderful human xox.”</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter</em></p> <p> </p>

Caring

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Lots of women try herbs like black cohosh for menopausal symptoms like hot flushes – but does it work?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sasha-taylor-1461085">Sasha Taylor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-davis-10376">Susan Davis</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>Menopause is the stage of life where the ovaries stop releasing eggs and menstrual periods cease. Most Australian women go through menopause between <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrdp20154">45 and 55</a> years of age, with the average age being 51 years, although some women may be younger.</p> <p>Hot flushes and night sweats are <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrendo.2017.180">typical symptoms</a> of menopause, with vaginal dryness, muscle and joint pains, mood changes and sleep disturbance also commonly reported. Up to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25706184/">75% of women</a> experience menopausal symptoms, with nearly 30% severely affected.</p> <p>These symptoms can negatively impact day-to-day life and wellbeing. The main therapies available include menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) and non-hormonal prescription therapy. Some women will elect to try complementary and alternative medicines, such as herbal medicines and nutritional supplements. Black cohosh is one of them.</p> <h2>What causes hot flushes</h2> <p>The cause of hormonal hot flushes (also called hot flashes) still isn’t completely understood, but the decline in oestrogen at menopause appears to play a role in a process that involves the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3833827/">area of the brain that regulates temperature</a> (the hypothalamus).</p> <p>Factors linked to a greater likelihood of hot flushes include <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19675142/">being overweight or having obesity</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25706184/">smoking</a>.</p> <p>MHT, previously known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), usually includes oestrogen and is the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26444994/">most effective treatment</a> for menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes. But women may choose complementary and alternative medicines instead – either because they shouldn’t take hormone therapy, for example because they have breast cancer, or because of personal preference.</p> <p>Close <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26224187/">to 40%</a> of Australian women report using complementary and alternative medicines for menopausal symptoms, and up to 20% using them specifically to treat hot flushes and sweats.</p> <h2>A long history</h2> <p>Complementary and alternative medicines have a long history of use in many cultures. Today, their potential benefits for menopausal symptoms are promoted by the companies that make and sell them.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6419242/">complementary and alternative medicines</a> women often try for menopausal symptoms include phytoestrogens, wild yam, dong quai, ginseng and black cohosh.</p> <p>Black cohosh (plant name <em>Cimicifuga racemosa</em>) was <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6599854/">traditionally</a> used by Native Americans to treat a variety of health concerns such as sore throat, kidney trouble, musculoskeletal pain and menstrual problems. It is now a popular herbal choice for hot flushes and night sweats, as well as vaginal dryness and mood changes.</p> <p>There are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37252752/">many theories</a> for how the active ingredients in black cohosh might work in the body, such as acting like oestrogen, or affecting chemical pathways in the brain. But despite extensive research, the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6599854/">evidence to support these theories remains inconclusive</a>.</p> <p>It is also not clear whether black cohosh is effective for hot flushes. Results from individual studies are mixed, with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17565936/">some</a> finding black cohosh improves hot flushes, while <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18257142/">others</a> have found it doesn’t.</p> <p>A 2012 <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6599854/">review</a> combined all the results from studies of menopausal women using black cohosh to that date and found overall there was no proof black cohosh reduces hot flushes more effectively than an inactive treatment (placebo). <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6599854/">This review</a> also revealed that many studies did not use rigorous research methods, so the findings are hard to interpret.</p> <p>A more recent <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33021111/">review</a> of clinical trials claimed black cohosh may ease menopausal symptoms, but the included studies were mostly small, less than six months long, and included women with mild symptoms.</p> <p>There is also no meaningful evidence black cohosh helps other symptoms of menopause, such as vaginal symptoms, sexual problems, or poor general wellbeing, or that it protects against bone loss.</p> <p>Evidence for how black cohosh is absorbed and metabolised by the body is also lacking, and it is not known what dose or formulation is best to use.</p> <p>More good quality studies are needed to decide whether black cohosh works for hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms.</p> <h2>Is it safe to try?</h2> <p>A <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33021111/">review of studies</a> suggests black cohosh is safe to use, although many of the studies have not reported possible adverse reactions in detail. Side effects such as gastrointestinal upset and rashes may occur.</p> <p>While there have been <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2008/188/7/liver-failure-associated-use-black-cohosh-menopausal-symptoms#0_i1091948">rare reports of liver damage</a>, there is <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21228727/">no clear evidence</a> black cohosh was the cause. Even so, in Australia, black cohosh manufacturers and suppliers are required to put a warning label for the potential of harm to the liver on their products.</p> <p>It is recommended black cohosh is not used by women with menopausal symptoms <a href="https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/cancer-types/breast-cancer/impacted-by-breast-cancer/physical-changes/menopause/treatments-menopausal-symptoms">after breast cancer</a>, as its safety after breast cancer is uncertain. All women should consult with their doctor before using black cohosh if they are taking other medications in case of possible drug interactions.</p> <p>Many women like to try herbal therapies for hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms. While black cohosh is generally considered safe and some women may find it helps them, at the moment there is not enough scientific evidence to show its effects are any better than placebo.</p> <p>Women experiencing troublesome menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, should talk to their doctor about the best treatment options for them.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211272/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sasha-taylor-1461085"><em>Sasha Taylor</em></a><em>, Research fellow, Chronic Disease &amp; Ageing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-davis-10376">Susan Davis</a>, Chair of Women's Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty </em><em>Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/lots-of-women-try-herbs-like-black-cohosh-for-menopausal-symptoms-like-hot-flushes-but-does-it-work-211272">original article</a>.</em></p>

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The strange history of these 5 common superstitions

<p><strong>Where superstitions come from</strong></p> <p>You probably engage in many of these superstitions as second nature, but have you ever thought about where they come from?</p> <p><strong>Superstition: Black cats are bad omens</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>The backstory</em></span>: Despite centuries of royal treatment (Egyptians worshipped them; the Norse goddess Freya rode in a chariot pulled by them), cats took a big hit to their reputation in the 1200s, when Pope Gregory IX, waging a culture war on pagan symbols, damned cats as servants of Satan.</p> <p>As a result, cats – especially black ones – were killed across Europe. One unintended consequence, according to some historians: The cat-deprived continent may have allowed disease-carrying rodents to flourish and spread the bubonic plague of 1348.</p> <p>Rumours that the feline’s fangs and fur were venomous persisted, and by the witch-hunting days of the 1600s, many Puritans believed black cats to be “familiars” – supernatural demons that serve witches – and avoided them (to borrow an apt phrase) like the plague.</p> <p><strong>Superstition: Never walk under a ladder</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>The backstory</em></span>: Depending on your background, a ladder leaning against a wall can represent an honest day’s work, a textbook geometry problem, or a symbol of the Holy Trinity that, if breached, will damn your soul. That last bit is what some ancient Christians believed – that any triangle represented the Trinity, and disrupting one could summon the Evil One.</p> <p>These days, our under-ladder phobia is a smidge more practical: Avoid it because you might get beaned by falling tools, debris, or an even less lucky human.</p> <p><strong>Superstition: Break a mirror and see seven years of bad luck</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>The backstory</em></span>: Numerous ancient cultures agree: Your reflection doesn’t just reveal whether you’re having a bad hair day – it also holds a piece of your soul. To break a mirror, then, is to fracture your very essence, leaving you vulnerable to bad luck.</p> <p>So why should the sentence last seven years? Some writers cite the ancient Romans, who are said to have believed that the human body and soul fully regenerate every seven years. Any poor pleb who fractured his or her soul in the looking glass would therefore have to endure the bad karma until the soul renewed again.</p> <p><strong>Superstition: A full moon brings out the crazies</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>The backstory</em></span>: Ever wonder where the word lunatic came from? Look no further than luna, the Latin word for the moon. Many Greeks knew that the moon and its goddess, Luna, held the tides in their thrall, and Aristotle considered the human brain – the “moistest” organ – particularly susceptible to Luna’s pull.</p> <p>Ancient physician Hippocrates agreed, writing, “One who is seized with terror, fright and madness during the night is being visited by the goddess of the moon.” Today, some emergency room workers still believe the full moon means trouble.</p> <p><strong>Superstition: Say “God bless you” after a sneeze or risk something worse than a cold</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>The backstory</em></span>: You’ve probably heard the myth that a sneeze stops the heart (it doesn’t) or separates body from soul (science declines to comment there). But to explain the ritual of post-sneeze “blessing,” we can look to another pope.</p> <p>During the first recorded plague pandemic, in the sixth century, severe sneezing often portended sudden death. As a desperate precaution, Pope Gregory I supposedly asked followers to say “God bless you” every time someone sneezed. Today, it’s just polite.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/this-is-the-history-behind-these-5-common-superstitions" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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Princess Di's black sheep jumper sells for 14 times over asking price

<p>Princess Diana's famous "black sheep" jumper has sold at auction for more than $1.1million.   </p> <p>The iconic red and white (and one tiny bit of black, of course!) jumper fetched precisely $1,143,000 at Sotheby's in New York - making it the most expensive piece of clothing owned by the former Princess of Wales to sell at auction, as well as the most expensive jumper to ever be sold at auction. </p> <p>There were a total of 44 bids within the final 15 minutes of a two-week online bidding process for the famous item of clothing - during which the bidding leapt from $190,000 to $1,143,000, which ultimately pushed the sale to a staggering 14 times over the initial asking price of $80,000.  </p> <p>The woollen jumper was worn by Lady Di to a polo match in Windsor in June 1981, just one month before she married the then-Prince Charles. </p> <p>Soon after Diana wore the garment, it was returned to Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, founders of the label Warm & Wonderful because of a tear at the cuff.</p> <p>It was sent back to the designers along with a note from Buckingham Palace, requesting that the jumper be either repaired or replaced.</p> <p>A new jumper was knitted for Diana, with Osborne believing the original garment had been lost after the replacement was sent to the Princess of Wales, which she wore to another polo match in 1983. </p> <p>However, Osborne later discovered the jumper, which had been preserved underneath an old cotton bedspread, while searching her attic looking for an old pattern. </p> <p>She got in touch with Sotheby's auction house which gave the garment an auction estimate of around $80,000 - $120,000.</p> <p>Speaking to <em>The Telegraph UK</em>, Osborne said, "We didn't think we had any of the original sheep jumpers, because at the time, we were so desperate to complete orders that we never owned one ourselves, so I couldn't believe I'd found the original Diana sheep jumper."</p> <p>"It took a while to sink in. And we're so lucky it's not fallen to pieces."</p> <p>Sotheby's said of the now-iconic design, "The Black Sheep sweater is one of the most iconic pieces worn by Princess Diana to ever come to market."</p> <p>"The cultural impact of this moment from the 1980s is exemplified by the head of Rowing Blazers, Jack Carlson, who in 2020, requested to partner with the original designers and license the sheep design to be reproduced for his own fashion line."</p> <p>"Since stumbling upon the sweater ... we have been reliving the fond memories of Princess Diana appearing on the front pages of every newspaper in 1981, wearing our very own sweater.  </p> <p>"While we are forever indebted to her for the impact this had on our business, our deepest appreciation lies in the knowledge that she shared a unique connection to the black sheep design. We are thrilled that this cherished sweater has now found a new home, carrying with it the enduring legacy of Princess Diana."</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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A rose in every cheek: 100 years of Vegemite, the wartime spread that became an Aussie icon

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hannah-viney-1153558">Hannah Viney</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>There are roughly <a href="https://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/vegemite">22 million jars of Vegemite</a> manufactured in the original Melbourne factory every year. According to the Vegemite website, around 80% of Australian households have a jar in the cupboard.</p> <p>The cultural status of Vegemite is so enduring that, in 2022, the City of Melbourne Council <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jun/01/smell-of-vegemite-factory-given-special-heritage-recognition-by-melbourne-council">included the smell of the factory</a> at 1 Vegemite Way, Fishermans Bend, in a statement of heritage significance.</p> <p>Vegemite first hit Australian supermarket shelves in 1923, but it took a while to find its feet.</p> <p>Indeed, the now classic spread may have failed into obscurity as “Parwill” if not for a very clever advertising campaign in the second world war.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YNiOZInvLog?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>A product of war</h2> <p>Vegemite has German U-boats to thank for its invention.</p> <p>When the first world war began in 1914, Australians were big fans of <a href="https://www.marmite.co.uk/">Marmite</a>, the British yeast extract spread.</p> <p>As the Germans began sinking ships full of British supplies to Australia, Marmite disappeared from the shelves. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/JHRM-06-2015-0019">Due to the conditions of its patent</a>, Marmite could only be manufactured in Britain.</p> <p>As a result, there was a gap in the market for a yeast spread.</p> <p><a href="https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/walker-fred-8953">Fred Walker</a>, who produced canned foods, hired food technologist <a href="https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/callister-cyril-percy-5468">Cyril P. Callister</a> to create a homegrown yeast spread using brewer’s yeast from the Carlton Brewery.</p> <p>Callister’s experiments produced a thicker, stronger spread than the original Marmite. Callister’s inclusion of vegetable extracts to improve the flavour would <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/08949468.1993.9966612">give the spread its name, Vegemite</a>, chosen by Walker’s daughter from competition entries.</p> <p>Australians were wary of Vegemite when it first appeared on grocery shelves, perhaps due to brand loyalty to Marmite.</p> <p>To try and combat this, <a href="https://vegemite.com.au/heritage/">Walker renamed Vegemite “Parwill”</a> in 1928 as a play on Marmite: “if Ma might, Pa will”.</p> <p>This rebrand was short-lived. Australians were not any more interested in Parwill than they were in Vegemite.</p> <h2>A nutritious food replacement</h2> <p>In the 1930s, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/JHRM-06-2015-0019">Walker hired American advertiser J. Walter Thompson</a>. Thompson began offering free samples of Vegemite with purchases of other Kraft-Walker products, including the popular Kraft cheese.</p> <p>Kraft-Walker also ran limerick competitions to advertise Vegemite. Entrants would write the final line of a limerick to enter into the draw to win a brand new car.</p> <p>It would take another world war, however, before Vegemite became part of Australian national identity.</p> <p>The second world war also disrupted shipping supply routes. <a href="https://www.oldtreasurybuilding.org.au/work-for-victory/housewives-to-action/food-rationing/">With other foodstuffs hard to come by</a>, Vegemite was marketed as a nutritious replacement for many foods. One 1945 advertisement <a href="http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1106308">read</a>: "If you are one of those who don’t need Vegemite medicinally, the thousands of invalids and babies are asking you to deny yourself of it for the time being."</p> <p>With its long shelf life and high levels of B-vitamins, the Department of Supply also saw the advantages of Vegemite. The department began buying Vegemite in bulk and <a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1070486">including it in ration kits</a> sent to soldiers on the front lines.</p> <p>Due to this demand, Kraft-Walker foods rationed the Vegemite available to civilians. Yet the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/JHRM-06-2015-0019">brand increased advertisements</a>. Consumers were told Vegemite was limited because it was in demand for Australian troops due to its incredible health benefits.</p> <p><a href="http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1106308">One ad told Australians</a>: "In all operational areas where our men and those of our Allies are engaged, and in military hospitals, Vegemite is in great demand, because of its value in fighting Vitamin B deficiency diseases. That’s why the fighting forces have first call on all Vegemite produced. And that is why Vegemite is in short supply for civilian consumption. But it won’t always be that way. When the peace is won and our men come home, ample stocks of this extra tasty yeast extract will be available for everyone."</p> <p>This clever advertising linked Vegemite with Australian nationalism. Though most could not buy the spread during the rationing years, the idea that Vegemite was vital for the armed forces cemented the idea that Vegemite was fundamentally Australian.</p> <p>Buying Vegemite was an act of patriotism and a way to support Australian troops overseas.</p> <h2>Happy little Vegemites</h2> <p>In the postwar baby boom, Vegemite advertisements responded to concerns about the nation’s health and the need to rebuild a healthy population.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vLhk_wE4l2Q?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>This emphasis on <a href="http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46442748">Vegemite as part of a healthy diet</a> for growing children would remain the key advertising focus of the next 60 years.</p> <p><a href="https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/happy-little-vegemites-jingle-1953">The ear-catching jingle was composed</a> in the early 1950s, first for radio and then later used in the 1959 television ad.</p> <p>The link between Australian identity and Vegemite was popularised internationally by Men At Work’s 1981 song Down Under, with the lyrics “He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich”.</p> <p>The 1980s also saw <a href="https://youtu.be/h5r3HAJh8es">the first remake of the 1950s television campaign</a>, re-colourising it for nostalgic young parents who had grown up with the original.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/h5r3HAJh8es?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>In February 2022, the first international arrivals welcomed back into Australia post-COVID were greeted with a DJ playing Down Under, koala plushies and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/feb/21/today-we-rejoined-the-world-hugs-tears-and-vegemite-as-australia-reopens-international-borders">jars of Vegemite</a>.</p> <p>On Vegemite’s centenary in 2023, the unassuming spread is now firmly cemented as an Australian cultural icon. Love it or hate it, Vegemite is here to stay. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/204917/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hannah-viney-1153558">Hannah Viney</a>, Researcher, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-rose-in-every-cheek-100-years-of-vegemite-the-wartime-spread-that-became-an-aussie-icon-204917">original article</a>.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Stars lead the Met Gala carpet in stunning black and white

<p dir="ltr">Often dubbed the “Super Bowl of fashion”, the annual Met Gala has once again showcased the best that high fashion has to offer. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Met Gala serves as the annual fundraiser for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, and gives the whos-who of Hollywood the chance to experiment with their wildest fashion choices. </p> <p dir="ltr">This year, the annual affair celebrated the exhibition “<a href="https://www.vogue.com/article/karl-lagerfeld-a-line-of-beauty-will-be-the-metropolitan-museum-of-arts-spring-2023-costume-institute-exhibition" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty</a>,” which honours the legacy of the late designer who died in February 2019. </p> <p dir="ltr">Lagerfeld helmed fashion houses such as Chanel, Fendi, and his own eponymous line, and raised funds for The Met’s Costume Institute while having an immeasurable impact on the fashion industry. </p> <p dir="ltr">As a result of this year’s theme, the stars largely turned out in various designs of black and white, which was a class colour combination that became Lagerfeld’s signature. </p> <p dir="ltr">Some looks on the star-studded carpet included Lagerfeld’s staples such as Chanel tweed, pearl embellishments, seemingly conflicting texture and endless, endless tulle. </p> <p dir="ltr">Celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Glenn Close, Hugh Jackman, Pedro Pascal, Naomi Campbell, Jessica Chastain, Salma Hayek, and many many more graced the carpet, posing up a storm and showing off their intricately designed looks. </p> <p dir="ltr">One of the more unusual looks on the carpet came from actor and musician Jared Leto, who ran with his own unique interpretation of the theme and arrived dressed as Karl Lagerfeld’s cat Choupette, which translates to “sweetie” in French. </p> <p dir="ltr">While many of the celebrities in attendance interpreted the theme in their own ways, there is no doubt that the Hollywood A-listers who were lucky enough to be invited know how to make an entrance. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>All image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Backlash after new docudrama casts Cleopatra as a black woman

<p>When Netflix announced their docu-series on Queen Cleopatra VII, excitement was high among the cast and crew.</p> <p>As the series’ star, Adele James, put it “I don’t know if there are words powerful enough to express what I hope this will mean for young people all over the world who look like me (and who don’t!) who will now get to grow up seeing the greatest leader of all time (of the greatest ancient civilisation, no less!!) being portrayed by a black-mixed woman on one of the biggest streaming services in the world!!!!!”</p> <p>However, it wasn’t long before problems arose, with many voicing their opinion that Netflix was ‘blackwashing’ the show, and Egyptian experts weighing in to the mounting criticism. </p> <p>And now, those same people are taking steps towards making sure the show never gets the chance to hit screens in Egypt. The trailer alone, with over 2 million views on YouTube, does not allow comments in the wake of its backlash. </p> <p>The series, titled <em>African Queens: Queen Cleopatra</em>, marks 27-year-old biracial actress Adele James’ Netflix debut. It is also narrated and executive produced by Jade Pinkett Smith. </p> <p>And while Queen Cleopatra’s race has long been a subject of dispute, as Pinkett Smith confessed to Tudum, the decision to cast James was intended as “a nod to the centuries-long conversation about the ruler’s race. </p> <p>“During the time of her reign, Egypt’s population was multicultural and multiracial. Cleopatra’s race was unlikely to be documented, and the identities of her mother and paternal grandparents weren’t known. Some speculate she was a native Egyptian woman while others say she was Greek.”</p> <p>“I really wanted to represent Black women,” Pinkett Smith added. “We don’t often get to see or hear stories about Black queens, and that was really important for me.”</p> <p>The portrayal, however, has been dubbed “completely fake” by some experts. Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who believes the late queen was Greek and definitively “not black”, has accused streaming giant Netflix of “trying to provoke confusion by spreading false and deceptive facts that the origin of the Egyptian civilization is black”.</p> <p>As he told the <em>Al-Masry al-Youm</em> newspaper, “Cleopatra was Greek, meaning that she was light-skinned, not black.”</p> <p>Mahmoud al-Semary, a lawyer who is of the same opinion, went so far as to file a complaint with Egypt’s public prosecutor, demanding that Netflix be blocked in Egypt for their attempts to “promote the Afrocentric thinking … which includes slogans and writings aimed at distorting and erasing the Egyptian identity.”</p> <p>And he wasn’t the only one to take action, with a petition circling online to “Cancel Netflix’s ‘Queen Cleopatra’”. And while a former petition calling for the same thing was removed by Change.org despite its 85,000 signatures, the second attempt has so far gathered over 4,000. </p> <p>Meanwhile, Egyptologist Sally-Ann Ashton - who acted as a consultant for Netflix during the series’ preparation phase - has noted that the belief Cleopatra should be depicted as entirely European is “strange”. </p> <p>“Cleopatra ruled in Egypt long before the Arab settlement in North Africa,” she explained. “If the maternal side of her family were indigenous women, they would’ve been African, and this should be reflected in contemporary representations of Cleopatra.”</p> <p>And as Adele James put it best - along with some all important advice - to the flood of criticism aimed at her, “if you don’t like the casting don’t watch the show. Or do &amp; engage in (expert) opinion different to yours. Either way, I’M GASSED and will continue to be!”</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

TV

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Olympian makes surprise announcement of new baby boy!

<p>Tom Daley and husband Dustin Lance Black have announced the news of their second child's arrival.</p> <p>The pair shared the news with the <em>Times</em> before taking to Instagram to reveal their son’s unique name, giving fans quite a surprise as they had not publicly revealed what they were expecting.</p> <p>Daley posted a picture of his now family of four and a sweet picture of him holding the newborn, paired with the caption, “🧡 PHOENIX ROSE BLACK-DALEY 🧡”</p> <p>"Our family has grown in the last week, we welcomed Phoenix to the world on 28/03/23 and he's just perfect 🧡 Robbie is loving being a BIG BRO! 👨‍👨‍👦‍👦”</p> <p>Friends and fans were quick to celebrate the couple’s new addition to the family in the comment section.</p> <p>Fellow Olympic diver Matty Lee wrote, “Can’t wait to meet him! Love you all ❤️”</p> <p>"Oh my god tom 😍💖 congrats angel!!!!” wrote social media star Holly H.</p> <p>Black also took to Instagram, posting a photo of the four of them, writing "And then there were four. Our second son, Phoenix Rose Black-Daley, arrived at 3:34 pm on March 28, 2023. ❤️"</p> <p>His comment section was also filled with excited friends and celebs wishing them well.</p> <p>“Congrats fellas!!!!” NSYNC singer Lance Bass wrote.</p> <p>“MAZEL TOV!!! ❤️🙌” TV presenter Andy Cohen said.</p> <p>The couple, who were married in 2017, welcomed their first child, five-year-old Robert Ray via surrogate in 2018.</p> <p>Young Phoenix isn’t the only newborn with an unusual name in the news at the moment, with proud mum <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/my-whole-heart-paris-hilton-shares-new-photos-of-baby-boy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Paris Hilton announcing the birth of her first child</a>, a son with a name you won't forget.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Neighbours reveals which stars are moving back to Ramsay Street

<p>New details have emerged over which <em>Neighbours</em> cast members will be returning to Ramsay St when the series launches on Amazon’s FreeVee late 2023. </p> <p>The show - axed after 27 years on air - will benefit from the presence of a few fan favourite faces, with Annie Jones, Rebekah Elmaloglou, Georgie Stone, and Tim Kano reprising their roles as Jane Harries, Terese Willis, Mackenzie Hargreaves, and Leo Tanaka respectively. </p> <p>And for those hoping to see Ramsay St’s iconic faces in the mix again, have no fear, Ian Smith will be returning at Harold Bishop. He will, however, only be returning as a guest, along with April Rose Pengilly (the actress behind Chloe Brennan), and Melissa Bell (Lucy Robinson). </p> <p>The announcement is not the first to delight fans of the long-running soap, with the likes of Stefan Dennis (Paul Robinson), Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy), Alan Fletcher (Karl Kennedy), and Ryan Moloney (Toadie Rebecchi) already having confirmed their commitment to the revival. </p> <p>Georgie Stone took to Instagram to share the news of her return, along with a series of snaps with her fellow cast members. </p> <p>“Ramsay Street here we come… (again!),” she captioned the image, noting her excitement and that fans should “stay tuned”.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CpNEXARrsfH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CpNEXARrsfH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Georgie Stone (@georgiestone)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Fans were thrilled with the news, and showered Georgie with their enthusiasm in the comments - a few, however, were miffed that they’d been through an entire finale only to have to pick it all back up again. </p> <p>“Fantastic to see the familiar favourites all coming back!” gushed one fan. “Can't wait for <em>Neighbours</em> to start back again! Honestly, I barely watch TV anymore without my daily fix of Neighbours.”</p> <p>“Yes, can't wait for watch <em>Neighbours </em>again,” echoed one. </p> <p>“Cannot wait to have you back on our screens,” wrote another.</p> <p>And in a comment that appeared to speak for the masses, one declared “love that you guys are all back!” </p> <p>The news was also shared to Neighbours’ official twitter account, with a special video from the cast members to commemorate the announcement. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">We're so excited to announce that Annie Jones, Georgie Stone, Rebekah Elmaloglou and Tim Kano will be reprising their roles in the new episodes of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Neighbours?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Neighbours</a> later this year! 🎉✨ Plus we will have special guest appearances by Ian Smith, April Rose Pengilly &amp; Melissa Bell! <a href="https://t.co/6ZLKkmKJWE">pic.twitter.com/6ZLKkmKJWE</a></p> <p>— Neighbours (@neighbours) <a href="https://twitter.com/neighbours/status/1630529084013834240?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 28, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p><em>Neighbours</em>’ producers have announced that the series will not be jumping around with its timeline, instead picking up where the finale left off. </p> <p>The series is set to go into production in the next few months, with new episodes likely in the spring - Australians will be able to catch the first-run episodes on Channel 10, and one week later on Amazon Prime Video. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

TV

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Does black tea improve heart health?

<p>Tea is full of flavonoids: a class of substances thought to have a range of health benefits.</p> <p>They also appear in fruits and vegetables like berries, oranges and apples – as well as red wine and dark chocolate.</p> <p>An international team of researchers, based in Western Australia, has found a link between flavonoids and better arterial health.</p> <p>The study, which looked at the diets of 881 women aged between 78 and 82, found that those who consumed a lot of flavonoids – which in this group, mainly came from black tea – were less likely to have an extensive build-up of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC).</p> <p>AAC is a process in the body’s biggest artery (the aorta), and it’s a predictor of a range of health conditions including heart attacks, strokes and late-life dementia.</p> <p>“This research is really exciting because it’s the first time we have seen in humans, that higher long-term dietary flavonoid intake appears to protect against vascular calcification,” says lead researcher Ben Parmenter, a researcher at Edith Cowan University’s Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute.</p> <p>“While several studies have shown a potential link in rodents, ours is the first human study, linking total dietary flavonoid consumption with a lower propensity of the abdominal aorta to calcify.”</p> <p>The researchers examined data from the Perth Longitudinal Study of Ageing Women, a long-term study done on older, white Western Australian women to investigate bone health and calcium intake.</p> <p>“Recruitment for this study took place in 1998—back when I was in primary school!” says Parmenter.</p> <p>“It was at this time that the medical examinations and participant questionnaires were collected.”</p> <p>The researchers compared the diets each woman reported to their AAC.</p> <p>Black tea was the biggest source of flavonoids in the study, accounting for 76% of total flavonoid intake.</p> <p>Those who drank between two and six cups daily had a 16-42% lower chance of having extensive AAC.</p> <p>“Out of the women who don’t drink black tea, higher total non-tea flavonoid intake also appears to protect against extensive calcification of the arteries,” says Parmenter.</p> <p>Participants who had higher flavonoid intake in total had a 36-39% lower chance of extensive AAC.</p> <p>But some specific flavonoid sources – red wine, fruit juice and chocolate – weren’t associated with better AAC.</p> <p>Parmenter says that, since this study was done on a fairly select demographic, it’s hard to tell if the results would be similar younger people, males, or other ethnicities.</p> <p>“Although we hypothesis that the benefits are likely to extend to these demographics – ultimately, further research is needed to investigate this.”</p> <p>Next, the researchers are interested in looking at the relationship between flavonoids and stroke.</p> <p>“We previously released findings showing that higher habitual dietary flavonoid consumption associates with lower long-term risk of stroke, but we have now gone further, to investigate specific mechanisms,” says Parmenter.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/flavonoids-black-tea/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Ellen Phiddian.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Body

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Caught in the act: supermassive black hole 8.5 billion light years away enjoys violent stellar snack

<p>A supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy some 8.5 billion years way has ripped apart a nearby star, producing some of the most luminous jets ever seen.</p> <p>When stars and other objects stray too close to a <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/how-big-is-a-black-hole-watch-how-it-eats/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">supermassive black hole</a> they are destroyed by the black hole’s immense gravity.</p> <p>These occurrences, known as <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/a-star-is-torn/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">tidal-disruption events (TDEs)</a>, result in a <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/the-sleeping-giant-black-hole-that-awoke-to-destroy-a-star/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">circling disk of material</a> that is slowly pulled into the black hole and very occasionally, as in the case of supermassive black hole AT2022cmc, ejecting bright beams of material travelling close to the speed of light.</p> <p>Luminous jets are produced in an estimated 1% of cases and are known as a type of astronomical occurrence known as a transient, because they are short-lived.</p> <p>Bright flashes from the jets were spotted in data from the <a href="https://www.ztf.caltech.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF)</a> in <a href="https://astronomerstelegram.org/?read=15232" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">February this year</a> using a special new technique which can comb through the equivalent of a million pages of information every night.</p> <p>Due to the rapid results produced by the novel data analysis method, a research team in the US was able to swiftly follow up on the transient event with multiwavelength observations of the system from different observatory facilities.</p> <p>The jets were visible across many wavelengths, from X-rays to radio, and follow-up observations enabled the European Southern Observatory’s <a href="https://www.eso.org/public/australia/teles-instr/paranal-observatory/vlt/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Very Large Telescope</a> to place AT2022cmc at a whopping distance of 8.5 billion light years away, while optical and infrared observation from NASA’s <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/main/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Hubble telescope</a> were able to precisely pinpoint AT2022cmc’s location.</p> <p>“The last time scientists discovered one of these jets was well over a decade ago,” said Michael Coughlin, an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and co-lead on the paper <a href="https://www.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05465-8" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">published in <em>Nature</em></a>. “From the data we have, we can estimate that relativistic jets are launched in only 1% of these destructive events, making AT2022cmc an extremely rare occurrence.”</p> <p>Exactly why this behaviour is so rare remains an enigma, however, the research team believe that AT2022cmc’s rapid spin powers the jets, adding to the current understanding of the physics of these behemoth dead stars at the centres of galaxies.</p> <p>This detection – and the method used to discover it – are valuable as a future models for astronomers as they scour the skies for more events. “Scientists can use AT2022cmc as a model for what to look for and find more disruptive events from distant black holes,” says lead author Igor Andreoni, from the Department of Astronomy at UMD and NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre.</p> <p>This includes using ground-based optical surveys, as opposed to gamma-ray observatories in space – how previous jets were primarily discovered.</p> <p>“Our new search technique helps us to quickly identify rare cosmic events in the ZTF survey data,” says Andreoni.</p> <p>“And since ZTF and upcoming larger surveys such as <a href="https://www.lsst.org/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Vera Rubin’s Large Synoptic Survey Telescope</a> scan the sky so frequently, we can now expect to uncover a wealth of rare, or previously undiscovered cosmic events and study them in detail. More than ever, big data mining is an important tool to advance our knowledge of the universe”.</p> <p><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --></p> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=226753&amp;title=Caught+in+the+act%3A+supermassive+black+hole+8.5+billion+light+years+away+enjoys+violent+stellar+snack" width="1" height="1" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /></p> <p><!-- End of tracking content syndication --></p> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/supermassive-black-hole-stellar-snack/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This article</a> was originally published on Cosmos Magazine and was written by Clare Kenyon. </em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

Technology

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Black Friday: so many online returns end up in landfill – here’s what needs to happen to change that

<p><a href="https://www.salecycle.com/blog/featured/11-black-friday-and-cyber-monday-online-retail-stats/">Two of the busiest</a> online shopping days of the year are upon us. In the middle of a cost-of-living crisis and <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/65cd5dda-a5ea-411a-b0ef-08caee388b47">recession</a>, retailers will be desperately hoping that shoppers take advantage of discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to bump up annual sales figures. </p> <p>While this would boost a sector that has <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-retail-sales-rise-by-06-october-2022-11-18/">yet to fully recover</a> from the COVID pandemic, there’s a major downside. The more that shoppers buy online, the bigger the problem with returned goods. </p> <p>Almost <a href="https://www.statista.com/topics/2333/e-commerce-in-the-united-kingdom/">60 million people</a> shop online in the UK – in other words the vast majority. But most shoppers buy more than they intend to keep. They order multiple sizes and colours to find the perfect item, safe in the knowledge that there’s a convenient and “free” return option to dispose of the rest. </p> <h2>The returns nightmare</h2> <p>This has become so standard that there’s even a name for it – “wardrobing”. Around <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinessdevelopmentcouncil/2020/06/12/how-your-return-policy-can-influence-new-sales-and-long-term-loyalty/?sh=4749b17a1c42">66% of </a> people in the UK consider the returns policy before buying online, and abandon orders when the policy isn’t obvious. <a href="https://inews.co.uk/news/consumer/instagram-shoppers-buy-clothes-wear-once-ootd-picture-return-186572">One in ten shoppers</a>even admit to buying clothes solely for the purpose of taking a photo for social media. </p> <p><a href="https://www.royalmail.com/sites/royalmail.com/files/2019-08/royal-mail-delivery-matters-returns-2018.pdf">More than half</a> of all clothes purchased online are returned. Put another way, each British shopper returns an average of <a href="https://www.royalmail.com/sites/royalmail.com/files/2019-08/royal-mail-delivery-matters-returns-2018.pdf">one item per month</a>.</p> <p>But if people have become used to treating their bedrooms and living rooms as the new in-store changing room, it’s not only clothes that cause an online returns problem. For example, <a href="https://www.royalmail.com/sites/royalmail.com/files/2019-08/royal-mail-delivery-matters-returns-2018.pdf">42% of electrical goods</a> ordered online get returned, mostly because they arrive damaged or faulty. </p> <p>Returned goods are much more <a href="https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/170890/">complex to process</a> than other stock because they tend to arrive as single items that need inspecting individually to see why they were returned. They need sorting and possibly repairing or cleaning before being returned to stock, which for many retailers is in a different location. </p> <p>The associated costs are significantly higher than shipping out new products. According to <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2022/06/26/business/retail-returns/index.html">one US expert</a>, every dollar in returned merchandise costs a retailer between 15 and 30 cents. </p> <p>Returns were estimated to be costing retailers <a href="https://www.clearreturns.com/portfolio-item/black-friday-costs-uk-retailers-180m-in-returned-goods/">about £20 billion a year</a> in 2016, roughly half that of shop-bought products. Since then, it will have <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/286384/internet-share-of-retail-sales-monthly-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/">increased considerably</a> – particularly during COVID as online sales went through the roof. </p> <p>Every time you move a product there are also environmental costs associated with the journey. According to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01246-9">one recent study</a>, the carbon emissions from returning a product are about a third higher than shipping it out in the first place. </p> <h2>What can be done</h2> <p>It is tempting to think we need rules to curb all this over-buying and returning. But that would be very difficult to police and also potentially disastrous for online retailers. </p> <p>In any case, the sector is developing its own solutions: <a href="https://internetretailing.net/delivery/25-of-top500-brands-now-charging-consumers-for-returns/">a quarter</a> of leading UK brands now charge customers for returns, including fast-fashion players like <a href="https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2022/11/end-free-returns/">Zara and Boohoo</a>. They will not be doing this lightly: the Royal Mail <a href="https://www.royalmail.com/business/system/files/delivery-matters-uk-edition-2018.pdf">estimates 52%</a> of shoppers would be unlikely to use a particular online retailer if they had to pay for the returns. </p> <p>We both still see reports online claiming that substantial amounts of returned clothes end up in landfill, but this is not what we hear from our discussions with leading retailers. <a href="https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/You-and-your-home/Waste-and-recycling/Furniture-andhousehold-items/Clothing">Over 95%</a> of returned clothing can be reprocessed and made available for resale as a new product – subject to cleaning and sewing repairs and retailers having access to ozone cleaning facilities to remove perfume/aftershave smells, which is actually a major one issue.</p> <p>Our understanding is that many retailers are approaching that sort of turnaround figure. ASOS reportedly <a href="https://www.asos.com/responsible-fashion/packaging-and-delivery/6-ways-our-returns-are-more-responsible/">resells over 97%</a> of its returns, for instance. </p> <h2>Challenges with bulky goods</h2> <p>Unfortunately it’s very different with bulkier goods like furniture or kitchen appliances. These often require additional packaging, two-person collection and much more besides. </p> <p>Take memory foam mattresses. A consumer returning one won’t be able to squeeze out all the air and put it back in the modest-sized delivery box. The return will therefore be the size of a mattress, and you can’t get that many on a truck.</p> <p>Mattresses have also been slept on so there are hygiene considerations. The cover needs to be washed or discarded, depending on its condition. The mattress has to be inspected for damage like scuff marks, then cleaned and sanitised before being reboxed to be sold as reconditioned.</p> <p>There are comparable challenges across the board with bulkier products. To give another example, electrical items are expensive to repair and by law need to be tested before they can be resold. </p> <p>Faced with such issues, retailers frequently take the easy way out. They let returns languish in distributors’ warehouses before eventually sending them to landfill. </p> <p>We have seen this first hand in <a href="https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/170890/">our research</a>, working with four major retail brands that use returns specialist Prolog. One beauty retailer insists their returned electrical products in beauty kits be destroyed to protect their brand, leading to many being sent to landfill. </p> <p>We were able to demonstrate that these items could be processed more sustainably by harvesting the unused components for new kits, retained by Prolog Fulfilment for supplying missing components to other customers, or salvaged for warranty replacements. </p> <p>These sorts of options are available with a bit of investigation. Sometimes value engineering is also possible, where engineers repair returned products and provide feedback to manufacturers about common reasons for returns. </p> <p>Carbon footprints can also be reduced. For instance, the delivery company could hold the returns rather than sending them back to the retailer’s distribution centre. It’s still commonplace for retailers to process returns in a different location from where they ship out new products, so companies need to look at this too. </p> <p>These failures are both unacceptable from a sustainability point of view but also a major missed selling opportunity. Many returns could be refurbished with little effort and sold as “A-” grade at a small discount. </p> <p>When products can’t be resold, other options include resizing, donating to charity or working with specialist recycling companies to dismantle and recycle the smaller components to prevent any material going to landfill. </p> <p>As everyone gears up for the Black Friday weekend and then Christmas, it’s time for these retailers to do better. Consumers also need to be aware of this issue and apply more pressure.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/black-friday-so-many-online-returns-end-up-in-landfill-heres-what-needs-to-happen-to-change-that-195310" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Family forced to live in a tent after mould infestation makes house "unliveable"

<p>A family of five have been forced to live in a tent in their backyard after their home was overrun with an infestation of black mould that was making their children sick. </p> <p>Andrew Walsh-Baldwin and his wife Angalina took the drastic measure to move into the backyard of their $480,000 property in Victoria after the toxic mould in their newly purchased home caused all three of their young kids to fall ill.</p> <p>Their home has been rendered "unliveable" by construction experts, who said their home has not allowed for proper drainage during the unprecedented amount of rain. </p> <p>Ms Walsh-Baldwin broke down in tears when talking to Nine News, as she said "it's been freezing" living in the tent.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">A family of five is living in a tent, after heavy rain caused black mould to flourish in their home. </p> <p>Serious building defects in the newly purchased property are also contributing to the spread, which is making the kids sick. <a href="https://twitter.com/reid_butler9?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@reid_butler9</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/9News?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#9News</a> <a href="https://t.co/IR1AqLNpI3">pic.twitter.com/IR1AqLNpI3</a></p> <p>— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) <a href="https://twitter.com/9NewsMelb/status/1594595429681098759?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 21, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>"This was supposed to be our home," she said.</p> <p>Her husband Baldwin said, "The other week we got 190ml (of rain). I can't believe... we've got to this point."</p> <p>"The kids have been getting sick and missed a full term of kinder," he said. "You just feel inadequate now because, as a parent, we've failed."</p> <p>Dr Cameron Jones of Biological Health Services, who inspected the house, said it was among the worst cases of mould he'd ever seen. </p> <p>"When I've done moisture testing on the timbers, they're showing anywhere from 20 to 30 per cent plus," he said, before revealing the safe level is a maximum of 15 per cent.</p> <p>Building inspector Zeher Khalil, who is helping the family out free of charge, said what he found at the house is "unbelievable". </p> <p>"To pay $480,000 for this house, I mean I just feel like I've been ripped off," he said.</p> <p>The family is insured with Allianz, but their claims were rejected because the company said the defects were pre-existing, with Ms Walsh-Baldwin saying, "We've got rights too."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

Real Estate

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Office worker sent home for “distracting” outfit

<p dir="ltr">An office worker has claimed she was sent home from work for wearing a “distracting” dress. </p> <p dir="ltr">US woman Marie Dee wore a black figure-hugging dress with a high neckline to her office on a standard work day, but a human resources employee allegedly deemed her outfit inappropriate.</p> <p dir="ltr">The mother-of-two secretly filmed herself being confronted by the “HR girl” who dubbed her dress “way too revealing and distracting” for the office.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Guys it happened again, I’m getting sent home for my outfit,” Marie said in the viral TikTok video.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is getting ridiculous.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The footage shows Marie walking over to the HR employee’s office to ask what was wrong with her outfit. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m sorry you still can’t wear that. It’s way too revealing and distracting,” the HR woman can be heard saying.</p> <p dir="ltr">Confused, Marie responded, “It’s distracting?” to which the HR staff member replied, “Very.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The video has been viewed more than 20 million times, with thousands of commenters jumping to Marie’s defence. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m an HR leader and I think your outfit is professional and polished,” one said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Another wrote, “You look very professional, I think the HR girl is a bit jealous that you are so beautiful.”</p> <p dir="ltr">One suggested, “I’m an HR manager and I would wear that myself!”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another added, “You look great and very professional... I don’t understand. There’s nothing wrong with that.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another person said, “HR seems to be overstepping here. I don’t think anything is wrong here.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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An ancient seed could prove wonders for your hair and skin

<p dir="ltr">In a world of products saturated with new formulas and hero ingredients that promise wondrous benefits, it can feel overwhelming to find a product that works for you.</p> <p dir="ltr">A new contender is the oil of the humble Black Cumin seed, or <em>Nigella sativa</em>, which is the hero ingredient in Hab Shifa’s line of beauty products, including a body wash, moisturiser shampoo and conditioner.</p> <p dir="ltr">With its use dating back to the Ancient Egyptians and in some of the world’s oldest religious and medical texts, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2583426/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">clinical studies</a> of the Black Seed have since found it has various health benefits, thanks to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, and even anti-diabetic properties.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-a685ac50-7fff-e15d-7f6e-64f04896e501"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">When it comes to our skin and hair, Black Seed oil has been praised for its ability to cleanse hair of impurities while nurturing the scalp.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CiOcuLuNVYA/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CiOcuLuNVYA/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Hab Shifa Australia (@hab_shifa_black_seed)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Hab Shifa takes advantage of these qualities and combines Black Seed oil with other anti-irritant ingredients, with the resulting combination helping restore skin elasticity and minimise the loss of moisture in the barriers of the skin.</p> <p dir="ltr">After trialling Hab Shifa’s products over the last few months, I can safely say the shampoo and conditioner make easy work of my hair, leaving it feeling lighter, softer, and clean even when it has been at its greasiest.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-7a65138d-7fff-fd3a-4496-5aba5fa2e455"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">The body wash and moisturiser have delivered similar results for my skin, with the scrub helping my skin feel exfoliated while the moisturiser has put an end to my usual bouts of dry skin.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Ch1t5DOLeXI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Ch1t5DOLeXI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Hab Shifa Australia (@hab_shifa_black_seed)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">I’m not the only one who has seen the benefits of using Hab Shifa’s Black Seed oil products either.</p> <p dir="ltr">After searching for a product to help with dryness and cracking - a problem made all the worse due to increased hand-washing during the COVID-19 pandemic - nurse Margie Ryan has since made the moisturiser her go-to product, even over pharmaceutical and heavy-duty products.</p> <p dir="ltr">She says the moisturiser absorbs well and that it doesn’t feel like oils are transferred, and recommends it for anyone who works in industries where their hands are frequently in water or where they are prone to dryness or cracking.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Hab Shifa Black Seed skin and hair care range consists of the <a href="https://habshifa.com.au/collections/nourishment-tq/products/black-seed-nurturing-shampoo-1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Nurturing Shampoo</a> and <a href="https://habshifa.com.au/collections/nourishment-tq/products/black-seed-nurturing-conditioner" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Nurturing Conditioner</a>, the <a href="https://habshifa.com.au/collections/nourishment-tq/products/black-seed-revitalizing-body-wash" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Revitalizing Body Wash</a>, and the <a href="https://habshifa.com.au/collections/nourishment-tq/products/black-seed-hydrating-moisturizing-lotion" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hydrating Moisturizing Lotion</a>, which retail for $19.95 each or can be purchased as <a href="https://habshifa.com.au/collections/gift-packs/products/gift-of-beauty-gift-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a bundle</a> for $77.50 on Hab Shifa’s online store.</p> <p dir="ltr">To find their products in-store, head <a href="https://habshifa.com.au/pages/store-locator" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a> to locate your closest one.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-dd856881-7fff-150d-3a26-2cdd567f32d9"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Mortali-tea! Black tea drinking linked to lower risk of dying

<p>The health benefits of green tea are well-established, but black tea might be a good idea too, according to a new analysis.</p> <p>The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, draws on data from nearly half a million people to find a link between black tea drinking and lower mortality risk.</p> <p>The researchers, who are based at the US National Institute of Health, examined data from the long-term UK Biobank study, which tracked a cohort of 502,488 UK residents aged between 40 and 69.</p> <p>Between 2006 and 2010, participants in this study regularly logged a range of lifestyle, and health-related information via touchscreens at assessment centres. This information included tea drinking, by number of cups per day.</p> <p>Among the 498,043 participants who logged tea-drinking information, 85% reported regularly drinking tea. Nearly a fifth of participants (19%) reported drinking more than six cups of tea per day.</p> <p>A separate survey of a smaller cohort of participants suggested that 89% of the tea drinkers drank black tea, while 7% drank green tea.</p> <p>According to the UN, the UK consumes around 100,000 tonnes of tea each year – or about 1.5 kilograms per person.</p> <p>The American researchers combined the tea-drinking information in the UK with mortality data.</p> <p>Once they’d adjusted for age and demographics, they found that participants who drank at least two cups of tea per day had a 9-13% lower risk of dying.</p> <p>Drinking 2-3 cups per day was associated with the lowest mortality risk, but even drinking 10 or more cups was linked to a lower mortality risk than drinking no tea at all.</p> <p>In their paper, the researchers say that their findings reflect similar studies based in China and Japan, where green tea is much more common than black.</p> <p>“Fewer studies have assessed tea intake and mortality in populations where black tea is predominantly consumed, such as in the United States and Europe, and results have varied across studies,” write the researchers.</p> <p>They point out, however, that they didn’t track some “potentially important aspects” like tea strength or cup size, making it harder to draw precise conclusions.</p> <p>While the study is observational and thus can’t establish a cause, the researchers point out that the polyphenols and flavonoids in black tea have been linked to a variety of health benefits in small randomized-control trials – including lower cholesterol, and a lower risk of carcinogenesis and type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>“These findings provide reassurance to tea drinkers and suggest that black tea can be part of a healthy diet,” write the researchers.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared in <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/black-tea-mortality-risk/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Ellen Phiddian.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Spinetingling audio of a black hole goes viral, here’s why

<p dir="ltr">Audio that allows us to “hear a black hole” has gone viral online since it was shared by NASA, with listeners describing it as “creepy” and “ethereally beautiful”.</p> <p dir="ltr">NASA first shared the audio taken from the black hole in the Perseus galaxy cluster in May, which it described as a remixed sonification of sound waves discovered in 2003, but a recent re-posting on Twitter has seen it gone viral.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-f388abe3-7fff-2cd0-68cf-89aaead1f146"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Here’s how it sounds:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The misconception that there is no sound in space originates because most space is a ~vacuum, providing no way for sound waves to travel. A galaxy cluster has so much gas that we've picked up actual sound. Here it's amplified, and mixed with other data, to hear a black hole! <a href="https://t.co/RobcZs7F9e">pic.twitter.com/RobcZs7F9e</a></p> <p>— NASA Exoplanets (@NASAExoplanets) <a href="https://twitter.com/NASAExoplanets/status/1561442514078314496?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 21, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Nearly twenty years ago, researchers at the Chandra X-Ray Observatory “discovered that pressure waves sent out by the black hole caused ripples in the cluster’s hot gas that could be translated into a note”.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, said note was too low for humans to hear, being the equivalent of a B-flat 57 octaves below the middle C note on a piano, according to NASA.</p> <p dir="ltr">To create something we could actually hear, scientists used a process called sonification, which is where astronomical data is translated into sound.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to NASA, the  creepy sound was created using sound waves extracted outwards from the centre of the Perseus cluster, with astronomers increasing the frequency by 57 and 58 octaves.</p> <p dir="ltr">A radar-like scan around the image was also used to help us hear sound waves emitted in different directions.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b422c896-7fff-4c03-4c1f-0b305a6f28e2"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“Another way to put this is that they are being heard 144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion times higher than their original frequency,” NASA said.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I was today years old when I found out that sound could travel into space.<br />In fact, NASA released sound waves received from a black hole!<br />Creepy 😲<br />Next, music please? 🎶<a href="https://t.co/myk0laXDV4">pic.twitter.com/myk0laXDV4</a></p> <p>— Elie Habib (@elie_h) <a href="https://twitter.com/elie_h/status/1561773483092320256?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 22, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">James Miller-Jones, a Professor of Astrophysics at Curtin University, told the <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-24/nasa-audio-black-hole-sounds-viral-hear-space/101360094" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ABC</a></em> that the frequencies of these sound waves are impacted by gases in the Perseus cluster.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Those sound waves are bumping into regions of dense gas, hotter gas, cooler gas, so they'll move in slightly different speeds in different directions," he explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">"That means they don't have a perfect circular shape. So as they scan around the cluster … it's capturing slightly different pitches."</p> <p dir="ltr">While this isn’t the first time the space agency has <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/technology/hear-recordings-of-space-from-nasa-s-spacecraft" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shared sounds from space</a>, these sounds of the Perseus cluster differ in that they also use sound waves.</p> <p dir="ltr">"This is the only one that I've seen that is really translating real sound waves into the sonification, and to me that's just a beautiful demonstration of what is going on. It's quite powerful," Professor Miller-Jones said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It tells us a lot about the cluster, and how energy is transported through it."</p> <p dir="ltr">Kimberly Arcand, the principal investigator of the sonification project, described the sound as “a beautiful Hans Zimmer score with the moody level set at really high” when she first heard it in late 2021.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was such a wonderful representation of what existed in my mind,” she told <em><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/08/23/nasa-black-hole-sound/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Washington Post</a></em>, adding that it was a “tipping point” for the project in that it “really sparked people’s imagination”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The idea that there are these supermassive black holes sprinkled throughout the universe that are … belching out incredible songs is a very tantalising thing,” Arcand added.</p> <p dir="ltr">The decision to release the “re-sonification” of the sound waves nearly two decades later came as part of NASA’s efforts to share complex scientific discoveries in plain English with its millions of social media followers.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-afb09788-7fff-6723-82cd-3c0338da2593"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Though some experts have cautioned that NASA’s clip isn’t exactly what you’d hear in space, others argue that it would be realistic to believe that it would be what we’d hear if we had ears that were sensitive enough.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I'm not religious, but I'm starting to think that those souls sent to Hell actually end up in a black hole.</p> <p>Sound ON to be horrified <a href="https://t.co/75v74pkkhu">https://t.co/75v74pkkhu</a></p> <p>— Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) <a href="https://twitter.com/ThePlanetaryGuy/status/1562065393581277185?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 23, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Even so, plenty of social media users have shared their thoughts on the sound, making comparisons to the Lord of the Rings and Silent Hill series or sharing it was an image of an intergalactic puppy overlaid.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I can confirm that the black hole noise Nasa released is the sound of hell,” one user <a href="https://twitter.com/SlimeRegis/status/1562005777488945152" target="_blank" rel="noopener">wrote</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“New genre just dropped: Cosmic Horror,” another <a href="https://twitter.com/cybxrart/status/1561690611983343616" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shared</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-4a0fce13-7fff-7e3a-478a-a1cb41c49d94"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: @NASAExoplanets (Twitter)</em></p>

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