Laugh your way to better health

As funny as it may sound, laughter may be the new exercise, according to American health researchers. “A term I like to use is called laughercise,” said Dr. Lee S. Berk, a preventive care specialist and psychoneuroimmunology researcher.

Hey Ho, Coho! A prodigal fish returns

The California coho salmon, a magnificent fish that was all but wiped out during the 1990s, have begun to trickle back to the rain-swollen Russian River and its tributaries.

It feels like a miracle.

“When it starts to rain, it somehow clicks in them that it’s time — that they can get through to their spawning waters,” says Harry Morse, communications official of the California Department of Fish and Game.

The Russian River coho salmon population faced near-extinction in 2000, he said, for reasons that are still debated. In their heyday, the size of the coho fishery off the Sonoma Coast was 200,000 to 500,000 fish in the 1940s. By 2000 the number of salmon shrank to one percent of that, and the fish was listed as a threatened species.

“Why they disappeared is the $64,000 question,” Morse said in a telephone interview.

He acknowledged that in some coastal fisheries, habitat damage caused by logging operations may have affected the fish, which depend on cool, clear, sustained flows and stable, structural elements of streams in old-growth forests.

But there are a host of other factors that may have contributed to the near-total wipeout along the Northern California coast, Morse says.

The Buzz is Catching

Second-hand smoke? Not an issue for electronic cigarettes, which emit nicotine-infused vapor. That’s good news for nonsmokers, and those who want to skirt anti-smoking laws. But should the FDA regulate them as “drug delivery devices” for nicotine addicts? Photo: Izuaniz

Future National Seashore?

Rising tides may destroy Everglades National Park in Florida, sherpas fear melting ice will cause glacial lakes to burst their banks in a “mountain tsunami” and wipe out Mt. Everest’s climbing trails … how will climate change ruin your vacation? Photo: Everglades National Park/Heartajack