2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Give The Gift Of Pure Luxury With Ada Diamond’s Latest “Delicate” And “Strong” Jewelry Collections

Ada Diamonds, best known for bespoke, high-end cultured diamond jewelry, unveiled its latest jewelry collections featuring soft and bold pieces for both women and men, perfect for the holiday gift giving season.ada-diamonds-2

Cultured in high-end laboratories, Ada Diamonds offers the most meaningful diamond jewelry across the globe, combining cutting-edge technology, unmatched craftsmanship and sustainable designs. Especially knowing Ada’s lab-grown diamond process brings no harm to the environment, ecosystems or wildlife, the company presents customers the chance to wow their loved ones with 100% conflict free, luxury jewelry pieces sure to impress everyone on their list.

Launching the Delicate and Strong Collections the first week of November, Ada Diamonds celebrates its laboratory-grown diamonds through the creation of these spectacular pieces brightening the holidays for anyone who receives them.


Ada Diamonds’ new Delicate Collection. www.adadiamonds.com.

Ada DiamondsDelicate Collection boasts modern, timeless pieces that take the guesswork out of gift giving. Offered in a setting of 14kt white, yellow or rose gold, this gorgeous set of necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets are ready to wear and feature up to 0.24ctw of cultured diamonds. Retailing at just $500, the Delicate Collection launches with 30 different pieces and is ideal for the holidays, graduation and bridesmaid gifts and even as a personal, well-deserved treat.

Ada Diamonds Strong

Ada Diamonds’ new Strong Collection. www.adadiamonds.com (PRNewsFoto-Ada Diamonds)

In contrast to the Delicate Collection, Ada Diamond‘s Strong Collection gives customers the opportunity to wear something extraordinary. Each ring in the Collection is made of millions of cultured diamonds permanently fused together under a million PSI and under temperatures of over 1500 degrees Celsius. The polycrystalline diamond material, Polydiamond, possesses incredible strength and is the ultimate expression of unbreakable, long-lasting love for both men and women. The striking black color is a result of these millions of diamond crystals pressed together in non-symmetrical orientation, thus absorbing light rather than light passing through as it does a single diamond crystal. The durable, unscratchable nature of the Strong Collection makes it an excellent choice for men’s wedding bands, starting at $1,500.

We all have people on our holiday lists that we want to impress this season – look no further than Ada Diamonds and our two latest collections that are daily wear and ready to wear,” says Jason Payne, CEO of Ada Diamonds. “Jewelry pieces from both the Delicate and Strong Collections ship in one to two weeks.”

National Geographic Presents Extreme Weather

An Astonishing Documentary Film About Wildfires, Melting Glaciers, Tornadoes and How These Powerful Forces Are Colliding

Extreme Weather Opens in IMAX®, Giant Screen, and Digital Cinemas in North America beginning Todayng-ew-hd

This fall, National Geographic presents Extreme Weather, an immersive new giant-screen film experience that brings audiences face to face with Mother Nature at her most dangerous. Wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis — hardly a week passes without a natural catastrophe making the nightly news. Extreme Weather goes behind the headlines to explore the rapid changes to Earth’s oceans, atmosphere and land and their connection to these increasingly devastating events.

Traveling to Alaska’s melting glaciers, filmmakers capture the action as massive chunks of ice shear off into the frigid water with explosive force. In the Midwest, cameras roll as storm chasers risk their lives to capture data as deadly tornadoes race toward them. And in drought-ravaged California, filmmakers embed themselves with courageous first responders fighting to contain raging wildfires.national-geographic

Featuring insights from experts including National Geographic Emerging Explorer Dr. Erin Pettit and Oklahoma tornado researcher Justin Walker, Extreme Weather dramatically demonstrates how climate change is rapidly affecting our land, oceans and atmosphere to produce natural disasters as ruinous as they are spectacular. The film unveils the surprising linkages between these three areas, demonstrating how a small change in one place can have large effects elsewhere.

Extreme Weather features a first-hand examination of tidewater glaciers in southern Alaska, where Pettit bears witness to massive iceberg shards shearing into warming seawater. In Oklahoma, the film captures astonishing footage of powerful tornadoes as Walker and his team collect data with their “Tornado pods.” And in the drought-ravaged American West, camera crews accompany firefighters to document the ferocity of California wildfires, where forests have become so dry the slightest spark can ignite out-of-control flames.

Interwoven with these stunning images are startling facts about the rapid changes our planet is undergoing. Richly informative and visually astonishing, Extreme Weather underscores how seemingly random changes impact the planet’s intricately interconnected ecosystem.


Extreme Weather also provides viewers with a remarkable look at violent twisters ripping through the American heartland. (Image provided by Meaghan Calnan of Natinal Geographic) 

Directed and filmed by Sean Casey (“Storm Chasers”, “Tornado Alley”, “Forces of Nature”), EXTREME WEATHER showcases breathtaking cinematography reflecting Casey’s life-long immersion in the world of giant-screen nature documentaries. “I’ve always had a fascination with weather,” says Casey. “We wanted to go into the field and capture incredible imagery. The 150-foot flames, the 400-foot wall of ice falling, the tornadoes — there’s a majesty to all of that. The way I see it, EXTREME WEATHER lives at the crossroads of beauty and destruction.” The film is produced by Jen Casey.

EXTREME WEATHER offers viewers an up-close look at some of the most astonishing and potentially deadly natural phenomena, while showing how they are interconnected and changing our world in dramatic ways,” says Antonietta Monteleone, vice president of film distribution for National Geographic Cinema Ventures. “It’s exactly the type of film giant-screen cinema was made for.”

As a boy growing up in southern California, Extreme Weather director Sean Casey remembers tagging along on expeditions with his filmmaker father George Casey. “For 30 years, my dad was an IMAX filmmaker,” Casey recalls. “At an early age, I’d go on film shoots with him, so that kind of life got imprinted on me as the family trade: ‘This is how you make a living. You travel to places with a very large camera and film visually stunning natural phenomena.’”

After receiving a film degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Casey served as a time-lapse photographer on the 1999 large-format documentary Amazing Journeys and as cinematographer on Natural Disasters: Forces of Nature, both directed by his father. “For Forces of Nature, I filmed earthquakes and volcanoes,” he says. “Then I volunteered to go storm chasing. I fell in love with tornadoes.” Casey and his high-tech approach to monitoring and filming tornadoes were central to the Discovery Channel’s reality series “Storm Chasers.”

After stepping into the director’s role for Tornado Alley in 2011, Casey was anxious to include an even broader array of weather-related phenomena in his next large-format production. “I’ve always had a fascination with weather,” he says. “We wanted to go into the field and capture some incredible imagery. The 150-foot flames, the 400-foot wall of ice falling, the tornadoes — there’s a majesty to all of that. The way I see it, Extreme Weather lives at this crossroads of beauty and destruction.”

That destruction has been exacerbated in recent years by the fact that our planet is getting warmer at an alarming rate. In the past decade alone, 150 million people have lost their homes to fires, storms, flooding and other weather-related catastrophes. And while sea level rose only eight inches in the 20th century, it is projected to rise three feet this century, which could spell disaster for the one billion people who live in 11 of the world’s largest cities located in coastal regions.


Still from Extreme Weather: To document this literal meltdown, Casey and his small crew set up camp across the river from Dawes Glacier in the Endicott Arm Fjord of southern Alaska. (Image provided by Meaghan Calnan of National Geographic)

Glaciers on Ice

The rising seas are caused by the rapid melting of billions of tons of glacial ice in places like Alaska, Greenland and Antarctica, where an ice shelf the size of Rhode Island collapsed in two weeks. To document this literal meltdown, Casey and his small crew set up camp across the river from Dawes Glacier in the Endicott Arm Fjord of southern Alaska. “I worked on a film called Alaska: Spirit of the Wild in 2004 and in that scenario, there was a river between us and the glacier creating a fixed distance,” Casey recalls. “For Extreme Weather, our goal was to get as close to the glacier as possible.

Of course Casey couldn’t predict exactly when pieces of the glacier would shear off. “During our first expedition, in the spring of 2015, there was a lot of waiting around,” says Casey. “We beachcamped a mile away from the glacier and hit a rough patch of rain. We were wet, miserable and cold for a week.” The crew put in 14-hour days in front of the glacier, dealing with the potentially deadly currents, winds and icebergs it generated. “It was this constant process of re-positioning ourselves and navigating how close we could get to the glacier and still feel comfortable. We realized there’s a real fine line between being a safe distance and being in what we called the kill zone.” Continue reading

National Geographic Launches First Hosted Digital Video Series

Ingredients,” with Host George Zaidan, Launches on National Geographic’s YouTube Channel and on NationalGeographic.com

National Geographic is bringing its 128 years of science, adventure and exploration to its first hosted digital video series, “Ingredients, The Stuff Inside Your Stuff,” premiering today on YouTube and on NationalGeographic.com.

Join MIT-trained chemist and science-educator George Zaidan (@GeorgeZaidan), co-host of CNBC’s “Make Me a Millionaire Inventor,” as he tries to recreate everyday household products like toothpaste, lipstick and shaving cream using only natural ingredients… and no recipe. In each episode, George will decode long lists of intimidating chemical names, figure out what they all do, try and find natural substitutes and cook up the do-it-yourself versions in his chemistry lab/kitchen. While George may or may not succeed, we’ll all learn something new and surprising about the products we take for granted every day. For more information on the series by executive producer Danielle Steinberg, visit natgeo.com/ingredients or follow National Geographic on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.ingredients-logo-634x214

In this series, I take viewers on a journey to discover the magic behind some of our society’s most common and widely used products,” said Zaidan. “I want to understand why there are so many different ‘things’ in some of the most basic products many of us use every day, what they all do and how complicated (or in some cases, straightforward) it is to make natural consumer products in my kitchen. We’ll all learn together. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s science.

Episodes Include:

  • Toothpaste on Sept. 15: Ancient toothpaste used stuff like rocks and bones — and modern toothpaste isn’t all that different.
  • Lipstick on Sept. 22: From ground-up bugs to rust, there might be some unexpected ingredients in your lipstick.
  • Shaving Cream on Sept. 29: What gives shaving cream all that lathery goodness?
  • Nail Polish on Oct. 6: Nail polish has a ton of ingredients. Here’s why.
  • Gum Base on Oct. 13: What makes gum stay chewy for so long?
  • Air Freshener on Oct. 20: Do air fresheners really purify the air? Kind of…
  • Peanut Butter on Oct. 27: Crunchy vs. creamy, runny vs. solid… there’s more to peanut butter than peanuts and salt.
  • Conditioner on Nov. 3: Conditioner — it makes your hair silky smooth and it’s a lot like… fat.
  • Hand Sanitizer on Nov. 10: There’s more to hand sanitizer than just alcohol.
  • Dry-Erase Markers on Nov. 17: What makes a dry-erase marker erasable?
  • Gum Sweetener on Nov. 24: How can sugar-free gum taste sweet?

This series offers a better understanding not just of the products themselves, but of how our world is constructed for us from afar,” said James Williams (@burningtoast), Vice President Of Digital Video for National Geographic. “We often take for granted the science behind ordinary life, but it’s fascinating when you start peeling back the layers. You’ll never look at these products the same way again, and you’ll likely appreciate them even more.

George Zaidan is the co-host of CNBC’s new hit TV series, “Make Me a george-zaidanMillionaire Inventor.” He co-writes and directs MIT’s webseries “Science Out Loud.” He has also developed, written and hosted shows for TED-Ed, The Weather Channel and The Pentagon Channel. His work has been featured in Forbes, The Boston Globe, NPR’s The Salt, NBC’s Cosmic Log, Science, Business Insider and Gizmodo. Zaidan holds an S.B. in chemistry from MIT, where he won the F.D. Greene Teaching Award. He is a New Media Consortium Emerging Leader and Khan Academy Talent Search Winner. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Education and a member of the American Chemical Society. He is an avid rock climber, former single-digit-handicap golfer, beginning tennis player and recreational cook.

National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

PBS Rolls Out New Dramas, Arts, Performance, History and Election Coverage This Fall

PBS Confirms Premiere Date for HAMILTON’S AMERICA, a Behind-the-Scenes Special on the Making of the Tony Award-Winning Broadway Phenomenon and Centerpiece of PBS Arts Fall Festival

MASTERPIECE Offers New Seasons of “Poldark” and “Indian Summers”

Renée Fleming Performance to Headline PBS TCA Press Tour Sessions Also Featuring Josh Radnor, John Singleton and Aidan Turner, andTony Award-winner Sophie Okonedo

Election and History Specials Bring New Insights Into Past and Present

PBS’ fall 2016 primetime schedule is rich in politics, arts, drama and political history, covering a span from the American Revolution to the upcoming Presidential election. FRONTLINE’s acclaimed series “The Choice 2016”returns on September 27 with an in-depth look at this year’s presidential candidates, while THE CONTENDERS – 16 FOR ’16, debuting September 13, looks back at previous elections through the stories of former candidates. History and politics carry over into the arts with “Hamilton’s America” from GREAT PERFORMANCES, an intimate look at the making of the wildly successful Broadway production of Hamilton, winner of 11 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, which kicks off the sixth season of the PBS ARTS FALL FESTIVAL on October 21. Fall 2016 also brings the highly–anticipated return of “Poldark” on MASTERPIECE (date TBA), whose Season 2 continues the story of Captain Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) in a love story set in windswept Cornwall of the late 1700s. On September 6, PBS presents 9/11 INSIDE THEPENTAGON, a documentary that goes behind the scenes at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and airs in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the attack [VIEW CLIP]. On September 20, Ken Burns’s DEFYING THE NAZIS: THE SHARPS’ WAR tells the moving story of an American couple who rescued hundreds trying to escape the Nazis [VIEW CLIP].


Image: (L) MASTERPIECE “Poldark,” Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark. © Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for MASTERPIECE. (R) GREAT PERFORMANCES “Hamilton’s America,” Phillipa Soo and Lin-Manuel Miranda. © Joan Marcus

As part of PBS’ commitment to education, the fall season will kick off with “SPOTLIGHT EDUCATION”, a week of primetime programming focused on the challenges facing America’s education system. Starting Monday, Sept.12, PBS will lead a national dialogue on-air, online and across communities, exploring ideas and solutions to improve outcomes for all of America’s youth. National broadcast programs include POV “All the Difference,” TED TALKS “Education Revolution,” [VIEW CLIPFRONTLINE “The Diploma Mill,(w.t.), NOVA “School of the Future,CRAFT IN AMERICA “Teachers” and TIME FOR SCHOOL. Funding for these programs is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), in partnership with PBS, as part of the public media initiative, “American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen.”

On October 25, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You” on AMERICAN MASTERS celebrates the life of the acclaimed, and often controversial, TV writer and producer. In BLACK AMERICA SINCE MLK: AND STILL I RISE, which debuts in two-parts on November 15 and November 22, acclaimed scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the last 50 years of African-American history, looking at culture, politics and an ever-changing racial landscape to explore the remarkable progress, daunting setbacks and deep contradictions of black America. ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, a new feature film starring Martin Sheen and based on the iconic book by L.M. Montgomery, will air on Thanksgiving night, November 24.

As part of PBS’ partnership with NPR to cover the 2016 elections, the 2016 Campaign Connection site offers a round-up of election coverage from across public media. FRONTLINE’s The Choice 2016” and THE CONTENDERS – 16 FOR ’16 are part of the PBS ELECTION 2016 lineupwhich  brings together venerable news and public affairs shows with new programs and specials to offer viewers information and insights about the 2016 elections, the candidates and key issues for voters. PBS NEWSHOUR, WASHINGTON WEEK WITH GWEN IFILL and PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND will provide distinctive coverage of the ongoing national, state and local campaigns, as well as presidential and vice presidential debates. On election night, PBS NEWSHOUR will offer live coverage of national and local results. 

PBS’ fall programming truly stands out for its amazing variety, quality and diversity,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS’ Chief Programming Executive and General Manager. “Like the artists who populate our Friday primetime cultural programs this fall, PBS brings new perspectives to stories both well-known and untold. PBS viewers will discover everything from joyous musical creations to thoughtful approaches to presidential elections, learn from biographies of acclaimed Americans and find inspiration even in history’s darkest hours.

MASTERPIECE enhances PBS’ Sunday night drama block with the September 11 debut of CHURCHILL’S SECRET, with Emmy® Award-winner Michael Gambon as Winston Churchill in an all-star production based on a little-known incident in Churchill’s illustrious life. Following CHURCHILL’S SECRET on September 11 is INDIAN SUMMERS, set during the tumultuous period of British Colonialism in the 1930s.  Rachel Griffiths and Art Malik join Julie Walters, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, and Nikesh Patel for Season 2 of the picturesque series. POLDARK, starring Aidan Turner in a love story set in windswept Cornwall in the late 1700s, returns for a second highly-anticipated season (date TBA).

The PBS Arts Fall Festival kicks off on October 21, and continues with a number of new programs on Friday nights throughout the fall. Joining Hamilton’s America” from GREAT PERFORMANCES are Imelda Staunton as the iconic Momma Rose in a British revival of the classic American musical Gypsy” and Shakespeare Live! From the Royal Shakespeare Company.” LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER returns to the festival this year with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater” and pianist Lang Lang’s New York Rhapsody.” Full broadcast dates and several other programs that are part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival will be announced later. SOUNDBREAKING: STORIES FROM THE CUTTING EDGE OF RECORDED MUSIC, an eight-episode series that explores how cutting edge technology combines with human artistry to create modern recorded music, premieres on November 14. ART IN THE 21ST CENTURY, hosted by Claire Danes and produced by ART21 premieres a new season on September 16.

PBS will unveil many of these new shows at the Television Critics Association Press Tour July 28 and 29 with a range of stars from the worlds of arts and politics. Talent appearing at the TCA include Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, Rufus Sewell and Daisy Goodwin for MASTERPIECE “Victoria”; Aidan Turner, Heida Reed and Eleanor Tomlinson for Season 2 of Poldark” on MASTERPIECE; Ken Burns for DEFYING THE NAZIS: THE SHARPS’ WAR; McKinley Belcher III, Gary Cole, Hannah James andJosh Radnor for MERCY STREET Season 2; Tom Sturridge,Sophie Okonedo and award-winning director Dominic Cooke forGREAT PERFORMANCES “The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses”; and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. for BLACK AMERICA SINCE MLK: AND STILL I RISE. A panel introducing THE CONTENDERS – 16 FOR ’16 will feature series producer Carlos Watson (host of the weekly PBS talk show POINT TAKEN) and several of the politicians who appear in the series, which showcases the memorable presidential and vice presidential campaigns of Howard Dean, Michael Dukakis, Ralph Nader and John McCain, among othersPBS will also welcome Kenya Barris, creator and executive producer of black-ish, and Oscar-nominated filmmaker John Singleton on a panel for THE TALK.  PBS is delighted to feature a special performance by celebrated soprano and music ambassador Renée Fleming. The star of many PBS productions, Ms. Fleming most recently was featured in PBS’ National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, DC. Her next project, which she curated, will be the broadcast of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Bel Canto” on GREAT PERFORMANCES (airdate TBA).  Other talent and performers will be announced later.  

A chronological listing of Fall 2016 PBS programs follows, grouped by month and premiere date:


POV “The Birth of Saké” – Go behind the scenes at Japan’s Yoshida Brewery, where a brotherhood of artisans, ranging from 20 to 70, spend six months in nearly monastic isolation as they follow an age-old process to create saké, the nation’s revered rice wine.Monday, September 5, 10-11 p.m. ET

9/11 INSIDE THE PENTAGON – On September 11, 2001 at 9:37 a.m. American Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon killing 184 people. What happened behind the walls of the Pentagon is a largely untold chapter in history. Fifteen years later, survivors and first responders shed light on that tragic day. Tuesday, September 6, 8-9 p.m. ET

AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS: THE NEW DECIDERS– Learn how Asian-American, black millennial, Arab-American, and Latino evangelical voters are exerting their growing strength and influence in this 2016 election special about power and politics, demographics and democracy.  Tuesday, September 6, 10-11 p.m. ET

CHURCHILL’S SECRET ON MASTERPIECE – Michael Gambon (The Singing DetectiveHarry Potter) stars as Winston Churchill in this dramatization of Churchill’s life-threatening stroke in the summer of 1953, when he was prime minister for the second time.  His illness and battle to recover were kept secret from the world. Lindsay Duncan (Birdman) plays Churchill’s wife Clementine, and Romola Garai (The Hour) is the remarkable young nurse who cared for him. Sunday, September 11, 8-10 pm ET

INDIAN SUMMERS ON MASTERPIECE  – It’s 1935 in Simla—an Indian retreat for British colonials set in the Himalayas. An assassination attempt on the Viceroy Lord Willingdon (Patrick Malahide), and the surprise arrival of Lord Hawthorne (James Fleet, Outlander), puts Ralph’s (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) future in the balance. Meanwhile, Cynthia’s (Julie Walters) Royal Simla Club plays host to an important royal guest, the Maharaja Maritpur (Art Malik, Upstairs Downstairs) and his elegant and mysterious mistress Sirene (Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters). Sundays, September 11-November 20, 10-11 p.m. ET Continue reading

National Geographic Magazine’s April 2016 Issue Features 10 Different Covers for the First Time in Publication’s History

Documenting the World’s Animals, One Picture at a Time.

Multiple Covers Celebrate Photographer Joel Sartore’s “Photo Ark” Project

In a publishing first for National Geographic magazine, the April 2016 issue has 10 different covers featuring the work of well-known National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore. U.S. subscribers will receive one of the covers at random in their homes, and print newsstands similarly will offer a selection of the covers.


©National Geographic Top row, from left: waxy monkey tree frog, hippopotamus, Reimann’s snake-necked turtle, snowy owl, Malayan tiger. Bottom row, from left: Brazilian porcupine, southern three-banded armadillo, Indian peafowl, mother and baby koalas, Coquerel’s sifaka.

The April covers highlight the National Geographic Photo Ark project, a multiyear effort with Sartore to photograph all captive species and inspire people to save these animals before they disappear. For many of Earth’s creatures, time is running out. Species are disappearing at an alarming rate. To motivate people to care and help stop the crisis, Sartore is creating intimate portraits of an estimated 12,000 species of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. To date, he has photographed nearly 6,000 animals. Once completed, Photo Ark will serve as an important record of each animal’s existence and a powerful testament to the importance of saving them. 

(National Geographic magazine’s “Every Last One” feature (April 2016 cover story):http://on.natgeo.com/1WkPr6h)


Greenbottle blue tarantula, Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens, Lincoln Children’s Zoo, Nebraska

Greenbottle blue tarantula, Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens, Lincoln Children’s Zoo, Nebraska

The 10 published covers feature portraits of the following animals: waxy monkey tree frog, hippopotamus, Reimann’s snake-necked turtle, snowy owl, Malayan tiger, Brazilian porcupine, southern three-banded armadillo, Indian peafowl, mother and baby koalas, and Coquerel’s sifaka. Sartore shot the cover images at a number of locations, including Rolling Hills Zoo, the San Antonio Zoo, Zoo Atlanta, Raptor Recovery Nebraska, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, the Saint Louis Zoo, Lincoln Children’s Zoo, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and the Houston Zoo.

Bat star, Patiria miniata, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Bat star, Patiria miniata, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Blue-spotted emperor butterfly, Charaxes cithaeron, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Blue-spotted emperor butterfly, Charaxes cithaeron, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Chinese flying frog, Rhacophorus dennysi, Phoenix Zoo

Chinese Flying Frog,mRhacophorus dennysi, Phoenix Zoo

Chinstrap penguin, Pygoscelis antarctica, Newport Aquarium, Kentucky

Chinstrap penguin, Pygoscelis antarctica, Newport Aquarium, Kentucky

Pink-sided tree frog, Agalychnis litodryas, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador

Pink-sided tree frog, Agalychnis litodryas, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador

Roanoke logperch, Percina rex, Conservation Fisheries, Inc., Tennessee

Roanoke logperch, Percina rex, Conservation Fisheries, Inc., Tennessee

Sand cat, Felis margarita, Chattanooga Zoo

Sand cat, Felis margarita, Chattanooga Zoo

Eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes, Dallas Zoo

Eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes, Dallas Zoo

With so many animals to choose from, the magazine staff had a difficult time selecting the 10 to use on the covers.

Fennec Fox The smallest foxes in the world have enormous ears to cool them down as they traverse sand dunes in the Sahara, where they are common. Their cuteness makes them attractive to the wild-pet trade.  2

Fennec Fox The smallest foxes in the world have enormous ears to cool them down as they traverse sand dunes in the Sahara, where they are common. Their cuteness makes them attractive to the wild-pet trade.

We wanted species diversity, from the charismatic and cute to the often overlooked. A mix of engaging characters that started to hint at the scale of Joel’s project was key,” says Susan Goldberg, National Geographic Partners editorial director and National Geographic magazine editor in chief. Continue reading

CDC: Highlights from The 2016 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections

The annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016) took place in Boston, Massachusetts earlier this week at the Hynes Convention Center. CROI is the premier international venue for bridging basic and clinical investigation to clinical practice in the field of HIV and related viruses. Top scientists, clinicians, and policy makers from around the world had the opportunity to share with each other the latest studies, important developments, and best research methods in the ongoing battle against HIV and AIDS and related infectious diseases.croi-boston

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists presented more than 40 abstracts that highlighted new HIV research findings and its implications for HIV prevention efforts across the nation. Symposium and plenary lectures, workshops, themed discussions, and oral presentations are available online as webcasts. (You can also follow CDC highlights from CROI on Twitter @CDC_HIVAIDS or #CROI2016 to see conversations from this year’s conference.)

Studies that may be of particular interest to readers are briefly summarized below.

Estimating the Lifetime Risk of a Diagnosis of HIV Infection in the United States. Study authored by Kristen Hess, Xiaohong Hu, Amy Lansky, Jonathan Mermin, and H. Irene Hall

This study presents the first-ever comprehensive national estimates of lifetime risk of an HIV diagnosis by race/ethnicity, geographic area, and risk group for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Using mortality, census, and HIV surveillance data from 2009-2013, the authors estimate 1 in 99 people will receive a diagnosis of HIV infection during their lifetime, a decrease of 22% from a previous study that analyzed data from 2004-2005. Despite overall progress, this study reveals vast disparities among race/ethnicity, sexual risk, age, and geographic location:

  • By risk group, men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to face the greatest burden of HIV.

    • At current rates, an estimated 1 in 6 MSM will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, nearly 80 times more likely than for heterosexual men.

    • The risk also varies considerably by race and ethnicity—1 in 2 black MSM, and 1 in 4 Latino MSM will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, compared to 1 in 11 white MSM.

  • African Americans remain the most affected racial or ethnic group, with 1 in 20 men, and 1 in 48 women at risk for HIV in their lifetime.

  • People who inject drugs are at much higher risk than the general population, with 1 in 23 for women, and 1 in 36 for men.

  • By region, people living in the Southern U.S. face the highest risks for HIV, including Washington, D.C. (1 in 13) and the states of Maryland (1 in 49), Georgia (1 in 51), Florida (1 in 54), and Louisiana (1 in 56).

While lifetime risk has decreased compared to previous estimates, continued improvements in HIV prevention and treatment are needed. The data on lifetime risk may help to communicate the risk of HIV infection to affected communities and increase public awareness of HIV.  

Impact of Improving HIV Care and Treatment and Initiating PrEP in the U.S., 2015-2020. Study authored by Emine Yaylali, Paul G. Farnham, Evin Jacobson, Stephanie L. Sansom, et al.

The authors developed a dynamic model of HIV transmission that shows dramatic reductions in new HIV infections are possible by 2020, if the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) goals of increasing diagnosis, care, and treatment for people living with HIV, and scaling up the use of PrEP* are met. The results show thousands of new HIV infections can be averted in different scenarios:

  • As many as 185,000 infections can be prevented if we reach national targets for HIV testing, and treatment, while scaling up PrEP:

    • Meeting the NHAS 2020 target of increasing the percentage of people living with HIV who are diagnosed to 90% and the percentage of persons with an HIV diagnosis who are virally suppressed to 80%, could prevent 168,000 new HIV infections.

    • Rapid uptake of PrEP can help prevent another 17,000 new HIV infections by 2020, if 40% of high-risk MSM, 10% of injection drug users, and 10% of high-risk heterosexuals used PrEP.

  • If current rates of diagnosis, care, and treatment are maintained from 2015 – 2020:

    • More than 265,000 new infections could occur over that period without PrEP.

    • The addition of PrEP would help prevent more than 40,000 cases by 2020.

Findings from this study highlight the promising outcomes of expanding testing, treatment, and PrEP and reaching the NHAS goals. While the model offers an encouraging glimpse into the future, more work remains to accelerate access to testing, treatment, and PrEP uptake over the next five years. Continue reading

CDC Reports: 1 In 3 Adults Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep is critical for good health. But that doesn’t mean that most of us are getting the required eight hours a sleep each night. More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, according to a new study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. This is the first study to document estimates of self-reported healthy sleep duration (7 or more hours per day) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.CDC logo

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.

As a nation we are not getting enough sleep,” said Wayne Giles, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.”

Prevalence Of Healthy Sleep Duration Varies By Geography, Race/Ethnicity, Employment, Marital Status

CDC researchers reviewed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a state-based, random-digit–dialed telephone survey conducted collaboratively by state health departments and CDC.

Key Findings includes:

  • Healthy sleep duration was lower among Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (54 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (54 percent), multiracial non-Hispanics (54 percent) and American Indians/Alaska Natives (60 percent) compared with non-Hispanic whites (67 percent), Hispanics (66 percent), and Asians (63 percent).

  • The prevalence of healthy sleep duration varied among states and ranged from 56 percent in Hawaii to 72 percent in South Dakota.

  • A lower proportion of adults reported getting at least seven hours of sleep per day in states clustered in the southeastern region of the United States and the Appalachian Mountains. Previous studies have shown that these regions also have the highest prevalence of obesity and other chronic conditions.

  • People who reported they were unable to work or were unemployed had lower healthy sleep duration (51 percent and 60 percent, respectively) than did employed respondents (65 percent). The prevalence of healthy sleep duration was highest among people with a college degree or higher (72 percent).

  • The percentage reporting a healthy sleep duration was higher among people who were married (67 percent) compared with those who were never married (62 percent) or divorced, widowed, or separated (56 percent).

The CDC Recommends The Following Healthy Sleep Tips:

  • Healthcare providers should routinely assess patients’ sleep patterns and discuss sleep-related problems such as snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness.

  • Healthcare providers should also educate patients about the importance of sleep to their health.

  • Individuals should make getting enough sleep a priority and practice good sleep habits.

  • Employers can consider adjusting work schedules to allow their workers time to get enough sleep.

  • Employers can also educate their shift workers about how to improve their sleep.

For more information on CDC’s Sleep and Sleep Disorders Program, please visit www.cdc.gov/sleep.