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Kansas Flamingo, 17 Years on the Lam, Shows Up in Texas

And that’s not the only place No. 492 has been over the course of these last two decades.

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There are no shortage of horror stories out there about escaped animals wreaking havoc during their time on the loose, but every now and then we hear an inspiring tale of freedom instead.

All too often, some potentially dangerous animal breaks free from a zoo or circus, only to spend their last few hours or days on earth frightened, hungry, or chased until they can be dealt with…often tragically.  But this week, an animal that’s been on the lam for 17 years was spotted soaking up the sun on the Lone Star State coast.

One of two flamingos that escaped from a Kansas zoo during a storm 17 years ago has been spotted on the coast of Texas, wildlife officials said.

The Coastal Fisheries division of Texas Parks and Wildlife confirmed Tuesday to The Associated Press that the African flamingo — known as No. 492 because of the number on its leg band — was captured on video shot March 10 by an environmental activist near Port Lavaca, Texas, at Rhodes Point in Cox Bay. Officials were able to make out the bird’s leg band on the video.

The bird and another flamingo escaped from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita on a stormy night in June 2005. Employees had not yet clipped the birds’ wings to prevent them from flying, which facilitated their escape.

And, almost unbelievably, ol’ 492 has seen quite a bit of this great nation of ours.

While the other flamingo was never seen again, No. 492 has been spotted several times in Wisconsin, Louisiana and Texas, sometimes with other wild flamingos. Officials said it had been a year or two since the bird was last seen in Texas.

Zoo officials are not concerned with recapturing No. 492, as it could create undue stress for both the individual bird and for those in its immediate vicinity.

Opinion

Retirees Increasingly Ditching the Mortgage to Live on Cruise Ships

Sailing the seven seas in your seventies really does sound like serendipity. 

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Every now and then, a very unorthodox idea gets more than a few people scratching their heads and a movement is born.  This might just be the case with cruise ship retirements in the 21st century.

As it turns out, living nearly full-time on a cruise ship is far less expensive than one might imagine, especially when you start to compare the cost of living at home with the all-inclusive situation at sea.  And so much so that an increasing number of retirees are setting sail as opposed to settling down.

Serial cruiser and author Lee Wachtstetter, for instance, wrote a much-read memoir about living on cruise ships for 12 years after her husband died. Farschman, meanwhile, chronicles his sea-faring ventures on his blog — facilitated by on-board WiFi that’s “become so much more reliable, though sadly not necessarily more affordable,” he said.

Upgraded connectivity has also allowed semi-retired cruisers to be based at sea while still working. “The WiFi on most vessels is now strong enough for Zooms,” said Tara Bruce, a consultant and creative brand manager at Goodwin Investment Advisory Services, a Woodstock, Georgia-based financial advisory firm that helps folks retiring at sea.

In many ways, retiring on a cruise ship makes a lot of sense. Stereotypes aside, cruising has always appealed to older travelers. In fact, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, one-third of the 28.5 million people who took a cruise in 2018 were over 60 years old — and more than 50% were over 50 years old.

What’s more, cruise ships offer many of the essential elements seniors need to thrive: organized activities, a decent level of medical care and, most crucially, a built-in community of like-minded travelers.

And that’s not all:

“With cruising, you cover all of your living expenses — food, housing, entertainment — in one place,” said Bruce. Although pricing on luxury liners can inch towards $250 per day, “we’ve seen folks get costs down to $89 per day, which is far cheaper than assisted care or other kinds of senior living.”

Repeat cruisers like Farschman are also eligible for on-board credits towards premium meals, drinks, spas and other activities that can easily reach “hundreds of dollars per voyage,” Farschman said.

When you say it like that, sailing the seven seas in your seventies really does sound like serendipity.

Every now and then, a very unorthodox idea gets more than a few people scratching their heads and a movement is born.  This might just be the case with cruise ship retirements in the 21st century. As it turns out, living nearly full-time on a cruise ship is far less expensive than one might imagine, especially when you start to compare the cost of living at home with the all-inclusive situation at sea.  And so much so that an increasing number of retirees are setting sail as opposed to settling down. Serial cruiser and author Lee Wachtstetter, for instance, wrote a much-read memoir about living on cruise ships for 12 years after her husband died. Farschman, meanwhile, chronicles his sea-faring ventures on his blog — facilitated by on-board WiFi that’s “become so much more reliable, though sadly not necessarily more affordable,” he said. Upgraded connectivity has also allowed semi-retired cruisers to be based at sea while still working. “The WiFi on most vessels is now strong enough for Zooms,” said Tara Bruce, a consultant and creative brand manager at Goodwin Investment Advisory Services, a Woodstock, Georgia-based financial advisory firm that helps folks retiring at sea. In many ways, retiring on a cruise ship makes a lot of sense. Stereotypes aside, cruising has always appealed to older travelers. In fact, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, one-third of the 28.5 million people who took a cruise in 2018 were over 60 years old — and more than 50% were over 50 years old. What’s more, cruise ships offer many of the essential elements seniors need to thrive: organized activities, a decent level of medical care and, most crucially, a built-in community of like-minded travelers. And that’s not all: “With cruising, you cover all of your living expenses — food, housing,…

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Opinion

New Study Shows Eating Only During Daytime Has Wild Effect on Longevity

More bacon, less brussel sprouts…got it.

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The world has long been filled with fad diets and exercise gimmicks.  From the Stairmaster to the Atkins Diet, and from Bowflex to intermittent fasting, human beings will try just about anything to lose weight.

And while a great many of the actions we take to be leaner and healthier are rather drastic, (looking at you, liposuction), a new study seems to suggest that a simple adjustment to the time that we eat our meals could lengthen our lives significantly.

Eating primarily during the day instead of at night could be the key to a longer life, new research reveals. Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center say it’s not just what you consume, but when.

Their study finds that cutting down on fatty and sugary foods and having meals at the right time increased the longevity of mice by 35 percent. Experiments found the body clock’s daily rhythms play a big part in the benefits of a healthy diet. Rodents are nocturnal animals that are most active in the dark. Meanwhile, humans are generally livelier during the day. With that in mind, study authors say people should restrict their dining to the most active hours of the day.

The amount of extra life that these animals conjured was impressive.

In lab animals tracked over four years, a reduced-calorie diet alone extended survival by 10 percent. However, the improvement increased significantly with an exclusive nighttime feeding schedule. The combination tacked on an extra nine months to their typical two-year average lifespan.

And it really did seem that simple:

Lead author Professor Joseph Takahashi says a similar plan for people would restrict eating to the daytime hours. Eating less is known to boost health. Studies on a variety of animals have shown it can lead to a longer, healthier life. The latest findings add to the evidence that having a hearty breakfast or lunch instead of dinner is also key — at least for humans.

While the diet may take some getting used to for some, for others it just sounds like they’ll be having more bacon than brussel sprouts going forward.

The world has long been filled with fad diets and exercise gimmicks.  From the Stairmaster to the Atkins Diet, and from Bowflex to intermittent fasting, human beings will try just about anything to lose weight. And while a great many of the actions we take to be leaner and healthier are rather drastic, (looking at you, liposuction), a new study seems to suggest that a simple adjustment to the time that we eat our meals could lengthen our lives significantly. Eating primarily during the day instead of at night could be the key to a longer life, new research reveals. Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center say it’s not just what you consume, but when. Their study finds that cutting down on fatty and sugary foods and having meals at the right time increased the longevity of mice by 35 percent. Experiments found the body clock’s daily rhythms play a big part in the benefits of a healthy diet. Rodents are nocturnal animals that are most active in the dark. Meanwhile, humans are generally livelier during the day. With that in mind, study authors say people should restrict their dining to the most active hours of the day. The amount of extra life that these animals conjured was impressive. In lab animals tracked over four years, a reduced-calorie diet alone extended survival by 10 percent. However, the improvement increased significantly with an exclusive nighttime feeding schedule. The combination tacked on an extra nine months to their typical two-year average lifespan. And it really did seem that simple: Lead author Professor Joseph Takahashi says a similar plan for people would restrict eating to the daytime hours. Eating less is known to boost health. Studies on a variety of animals have shown it can lead to a longer, healthier life.…

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