14 Things You Need To Know Today (December 18)

1. Turns out, dogs have been man's best friend for a long, long time.

Humans have interacted with domestic dogs for at least the last 33,000 years, studies find. (The Guardian)

2. Not many people could run 3,100 miles in 52 days.

But that's exactly what the Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence Race is all about — and Ashprihanal Aalto finished fastest and broke the world record. (The New Yorker)

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3. Arctic temperatures are higher than ever.

Record high temperatures in the Arctic are reshaping the region's ecosystem and diminishing its ice cover. This is bad news for all of us — melting ice means more flooding across the world. (The Guardian)

4. Kids as young as 3 can suffer from depression.

It was previously thought that young children couldn't experience major depression. Now, a new study shows that preschool-age children with symptoms of depression actually have changes in the gray matter of their brains, which reveals that it is not only possible but also shows the importance of taking the condition seriously. (TIME)

5. NYC's latest boutique fitness studio opening will feature ex-cons.

Our favorite ex-con trainer, Coss Marte, will open his fitness studio, ConBody, on January 1. (EventBrite)

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6. This video of a giant salamander will haunt your dreams.

The critically endangered creature was just discovered in a cave in China, and it's thought to be 200 years old. (TIME)

7. Meet the man who is licensed to have sex.

It's more nuanced than that, but Larry Villarin is one of 10 male sex surrogates in America, meaning he works with women who have trouble with physical or emotional intimacy, helping them to get comfortable with sex, sexuality, and their bodies. (Broadly)

8. Science says most cancers are actually avoidable.

A new study published in Nature magazine says that cancer may be less a matter of “bad luck” and much more in our control. It's mostly a result of external, environmental risk factors, which challenges prominent research into the causes of cancer. (mbg)

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9. Mark Bittman has some big ideas about how to clean up the state of food in America.

One of them includes carding kids to make sure they can't buy soda until they're 16. (Lucky Peach)

10. It turns out the vegetarian diet isn't that great for the environment.

Actually, it turns out it could be contributing to climate change. A study by Carnegie Mellon reveals that lettuce could produce three times more greenhouse gas emissions than bacon. (CMU)

11. The president put his survival skills to the test.

President Obama appeared last night on Running Wild With Bear Grylls. He and Grylls toured a vast glacier in Alaska, observing the devastating effects of climate change. (New York Times)

12. These are the most Googled health questions of 2015.

But actually, what is gluten? (mbg)

13. DNA testing might help people beat depression faster.

Thirty to forty percent of people don't take well to the first antidepressant they try. It often takes months or years to find the drug (or combination of drugs) that relieves your symptoms without causing side effects that negatively outweigh the benefits. By swabbing your cheek and examining the DNA collected, doctors can find the best medication for an individual, based on their unique set of enzymes and receptors. (QZ)

14. Teens are drinking and smoking less.

A new report from the University of Michigan says that today's teens are smoking and drinking less than their parents' generation — and that the use of alcohol and drugs reached its lowest point since the survey began in 1975. We look forward to welcoming a new generation of mbg readers. (University of Michigan)

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