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Looking at Cute Animals Makes You Work Harder

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If your boss has ever gotten on your back for looking at Cute Overload, I Can Has Cheezburger or any other site filled with pictures of adorable little animals, you can now defend your predilection for precious pet pictures. As it turns out, researchers have discovered that looking at pictures of cute animals can boost your focus and improve your work performance.

To figure this out, scientists at Hiroshima University in Japan had students perform a number of tasks, including playing a game sort of like Operation before and after viewing pictures of baby ("cute") and adult ("less cute") animals. "Results show that participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images. This is interpreted as the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion," the study reads.

If you're interested, you can read more about it over at io9, but you'll probably be better off just looking at more cute animal pictures and getting back to work instead.

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Courtesy Cleveland Clinic
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This Just In
This 90-Year-Old Has Knitted More Than 2000 Hats for Newborn Babies
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Courtesy Cleveland Clinic

Since 2009, 90-year-old Barbara Lowe has been a fixture at Hillcrest Hospital outside Cleveland, but she's not a patient. Almost a decade ago, the Mayfield Heights, Ohio, resident took it upon herself to begin knitting tiny hats for newborn babies delivered at Hillcrest, and has now delivered 2252 hats and counting, according to ABC News.

Lowe lives in a senior living complex across the street from the hospital, so it was an easy jump to go from whipping up hats for the children of her family and friends to delivering teeny headgear to the maternity ward.

Seven pastel knit caps lie on a wooden table.
Courtesy Cleveland Clinic

Using fine baby yarns, Lowe makes ribbed hats with a brim and a detachable flower, spending around four hours on each one. They come in a variety of pastel colors. Lowe is known around town for her work with the hospital, and the manager at the Michaels store she buys her supplies from gives her a discount on the yarn she uses for hospital caps.

"It's my therapy," Lowe told ABC News. "When you're 90, you've got aches and pains. You don't want to think about it. Well, you're not thinking about it if you're concentrating on what you're doing."

Lowe learned to crochet and sew as a child, and later taught herself to knit. She considers it a "dream" to be able to give back to her community by gifting the hats to new parents and their bundles of warm-headed joy. According to the hospital, the hats do more than just keep babies toasty after their first bath—they provide a teaching opportunity to help new parents learn how to keep their babies feeling warm, as a hospital official told Cleveland.com.

[h/t ABC News]

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iStock
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Animals
Meet the Golden Retriever Who is Cleaning Up China's Polluted Rivers, One Plastic Bottle at a Time
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iStock

Instead of simply teaching his dog to “sit,” “shake,” or “roll over,” one environmentally conscious pet owner in China has trained his Golden Retriever to fetch trash from the eastern Jiangsu province’s polluted rivers, Vocativ reports.

When the dog is commanded to “retrieve,” it goes searching for plastic water bottles. The pooch reportedly collects around 20 to 30 bottles a day, and has removed more than 2000 items from the region’s waterways in the past decade.

According to a 2016 report by Public Radio International, China—along with Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam—is one of the world’s leading producers of plastic ocean waste.  Together, the five Asian nations contribute as much as 60 percent of the plastic waste that enters the world’s seas.

This statistic is staggering—but thanks to this persistent dog, we’re reminded that every little bit helps to make a difference.

[h/t Vocativ]

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